Tuesday, May 22, 2012

22 May - Day 32 - Another marathon, to glorious Hiker Heaven

Messenger Flats (Mile 430.6) to Soledad Canyon (444.3) [KOA] to Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce (Mile 454.9)

Total Trail Miles: 24.3
Total Miles hiked today: 27

Elevation 5878 ft to 2269 ft

Chris here.

We thought the hot slog was over yesterday once we got to the scenic overlook above our campsite and looked out on the skyscrapers of downtown LA and far off Santa Catalina Isalnd. Nope. Another slog today in what is probably the most unremitting, unrelenting heat so far (about 103°). But aside from the heat it was a good day: we encountered some trail magic, met some fun new hikers, and ended the day at the Saufleys, Hiker Heaven.

The descent from Messenger Flats to the KOA in the valley below was maddening. I was only just over 13 miles but the sun was bearing down the whole time, the scenery was somewhat charmless, but most importantly we could see the road and the KOA the entire way down the mountain but we were descending in wide serpentine switchbacks that would take us way out in the wrong direction, then all he way 360 around a hill only to find that we ended up only 8 feet below where we had been when we started around the hill. Ahhh! Sean and I were joking that it seemed like we were in one of those Escher labrynths or an old Twilight Zone episode - in order to go forward you have to change gravity and walk in circles on the roof for a while.

Well we finally got down to the road where we were warmly received by a trail angel, Visa. He had Gatorade and fried chicken (not something I knew I wanted but soooo good) & cookies & Milky Way bars & oranges. Another couple of hikers (Accent & ?) were already there enjoying. They eventually moved on and Visa gave us a ride to the KOA down the street. Thanks again, Visa.

Visa in the white t-shirt. Dancing Feet with the geranium behind her ear. Dirty Brown holding a box of goodies.

We met up with a big group of hikers there --some of whom we have been hiking with (3 Bears and Justin) and some of whom we met for the first time (notably Dancing Feet a fellow blogger - holla girl!). We relaxed for a bit and had a beer or two with he group. Sean and I did laundry in the lawn while the sprinklers were on, you know, the usual hiker trash stuff. (The whole time we were talking about how there are moments when you really know you are hiker trash and this was one. We started riffing on Jeff Foxworthy redneck jokes, like: "if you think that flat spot between the railroad and busy highway is a good camp site you might be hiker trash." ... Or "if you use duct tape to seal open wounds you might be hiker trash. ... If you think the highway underpass is a desireable place for a nap etc.")

We left in the early afternoon and made a mad dash across the remaining few miles to Agua Dulce and the famous Hiker Heaven. The Vasquez rocks were beautiful at sundown . . .

Vasquez Rocks. Photo by 3Bears.
. . . but we unfortunately didn't have the intellect or the resilience to investigate them further. Instead we zoomed into town and finally into the warm welcome by volunteers Jack & Barb, and then into the angelic arms of our gracious hostess, Donna Saufley.

A view of just part of the huge compound that is Hiker Heaven.

Our shirts definitely showed the salt over time ... and with the blasting heat, we sweat! [photo courtesy of Donna Saufley]

After showers, we rode Hiker Heaven bikes into town for Hefeweizen, salad, pasta & pizza.

Donna and her volunteers Jack (Tequila Kid) & Barbara (Booboo) provided us with great accommodations. Fifty other hikers are present tonight chez Sauffleys. Wow.

What a place. We'll describe it better tomorrow. G'nite.

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