Day Thirty

Miles today: 10
Total miles: 454

We left the KOA this morning at 6:00 am with Rotisserie, and left Papa Bear and Milkman sleeping. Papa Bear was waiting for sunshine, as usual, and Milkman wanted to hike again with Pickles and Irish.

We only had 10 miles to get to our next town, Agua Dulce, and pancakes were calling our name.

On the way we passed through Vasquez State Park, which was a drastic difference from the burned stretches of desert hills we have been seeing. This area reminded me more of Arizona, with its layered, rocky spires and rich plant life. It was also strange entering a park from the inside and exiting where all the tourists were arriving, as if we were emerging from the wilderness itself somehow.

We were spit into Aqua Dulce itself, no hitch necessary. The PCT actually runs through the middle of town, and luckily enough, right by a breakfast cafe with a big sign on the front porch reading: Welcome PCT hikers! Naturally we stopped.

After a full plate of pancakes (which Rotisserie and Katie claimed were the best on the trail so far) we walked to our next stop: the trail angel home of the Sauffleys. The Sauffleys have been trail angels on the PCT for seventeen years, and they had it down to a science. When we arrived, some volunteer trail angels (usually hikers from last year who were paying it forward) gave us the grand tour. There was a backyard full of tents and cots to sleep in, a bonfire circle, a rack of bikes to ride into town for resupplying, a trailer with a full kitchen, shower, and living room with movie selections. In the garage was even more organized amazingness: racks of post office packages waiting for hikers, a full shipping station for us to mail things forward, and a laundry station complete with laundry bags and carefully labeled bins of loaner clothes for us to wear while our clothes were being washed. It was all amazing.

We signed up for showers, filled a laundry bag with clothes and marked it with our names, then selected cots for the night. Our hiker friends were all around us, lounging under shady tents, riding bikes into town, watching movies, milling about and catching up with friends new and old.

I relished a shower and then indulged in something I've been craving since day one: I found the softest cotton sweats I could find from the loaner bin and wore them around for the rest of the day. Oh! To wear something other than synthetic hiking clothes! Even freshly laundered there is no substitute for a good cotton t-shirt and sweat pants.

We spent the day resupplying at the grocery store and watching old movies (does anyone else realize that Point Break is a ridiculous movie? I got more than one punch in the arm from G-Dub as I made fun of it all night. Apparently he didn't find my sarcastic commentary about Keanu Reeves' impeccable acting skills as hilarious as I did.)

The night was deliciously cool and for once it was glorious to roll out my sleeping bag on a cot instead of the ground. I lay looking up at the stars and listening to the snores of fifty other hikers around me as I drifted to sleep.