Miles: 454 to 465.50
Hiker Heaven has a two nights maximum stay and I’m sure if the limit was not set, some hikers would gladly spend the duration of their hike with the Saufley’s. Hot showers, TV, laundry, fully stocked kitchen, comfortable chairs, and endless opportunity to mingle with fellow hikers. It really felt like like Heaven, and we definitely did not hurry to leave.
As a matter of fact, we were not sure whether or not we would leave at all after our first night with the trail angels. Dave’s leg was not feeling 100% right and we considered taking a full zero to give it a rest but in the end we went to town for breakfast (so freaking good to have real food for breakfast), and then we packed and hit the trail at noon, thinking we would do few miles, see how the leg handles the walk.
The first 1.8 miles were a road walk through the community. From the size of the houses and massive gates guarding the properties, we could tell people are rather well off here in Aqua Dulce.
Then we left the civilization and it was good to be on trail again, strolling through a green valley towards a wall of a mountain range.
The trail eventually reached the point where there was no downhill left for us and it started climbing up the hills, and we followed it one switchback at a time, all the way to the top of the climb which gained about 2,000 feet.
Guess what happened on the other side? The trail dropped us into yet another valley. About 2 miles before we reached the valley floor, we had an opportunity to refill on water from a small spring next to the trail. It was the last reliable water source for the next 15 miles and we made sure our bottles were full to the neck.
Camp sites were not exciting tonight. There were about 5 spots pretty much in a ditch by a road with telephone lines above us, but unless we wanted to climb five more miles on the other side of the valley, that was it for tonight. Some people pushed on but many chose to end their day here like us.
The daylight had not yet completely faded when everybody retreated to their tents. We are expecting a hot day tomorrow and I guess everybody is getting up early to make some miles before the sun lays its scorching rays on us.