Monday, May 17, 2010

Morning SlackPack

Slim Jim, here! Managed to find some time on an open laptop at trail angels, the Saufleys, house today. At mile 455, the trail enters downtown Agua Dulce, where most hikers detour about a mile up Darling Road to the Hiker Haven of the Saufley home. Donna and Tim Saufley have been dedicating much of their lives for a few months each year to PCT thru hikers by welcoming myself and others into their home. Everything is very organized. The first thing you encounter when walking through their gate is a large tent with clothes(shorts, jeans, sweats, T's, sweaters, sandals, etc.) to change into while Donna takes care of your laundry while you take care of showering. The Saufley's acre backyard is full of comfy cots to sleep on under large tailgating type tents, a large fire ring, bikes to ride to and from town, numerous dogs of all types, and hikers likewise. Running along their fence in a roomy double wide trailer just for us hikers. It is fully equipped with a giant fridge and full kitchen, comfy couches surrounding a living room with tv, and piano, two bedrooms, and a full bath. We are also open to utilize their deck full of patio furniture and a massive gas grille, which always seems to be cooking up something tasty. The Saufley's place truly is the Hiker Haven. Most of my hiker friends by the end of the day were here. Mango, Golden Child, Hot Mess, Tooth Fairy, Furniture, Bojangles, Ishmael, Rally, Shawn, Patchwork, Zorro, the Israeli Gear. Others are showing up today: Smiles, Duff, the Mayor, Richard Wizard, Uncle Tom, General Lee, Train, Apricots, Phsyco, Smile Train. All hikers go to Hiker Haven!
Yesterday was full of good trail magic. With about five miles left of the 45 mile road walk detour, trail angels, Law and Order, pulled over to offer cold drinks, brownies, and good advice. They suggested taking the current road I was traveling a mile further than I had planned to reach the town of Acton, CA and then another road to a KOA campsite to save my legs and time. After taking their advice and planning on camping in the KOA, another car pulled over to offer further services when I was just shy of end of the day's destination. Tom, who had previously helped me out about three weeks ago at Warner Hot Springs Resort by paying for my nights fare, hopped out of his car to recognize right away. He was heading to the Saufley's for the night. At this point I had another 11 miles to trail walk before reaching the Saufley's. He offered the idea of letting himself take me to the Saufley's for the night, and taking me back to where he was picking me up the next morning with an opportunity to slack pack back to the Saufley's. I told him I needed a second to consume the idea and consider it. While i was talking aloud analyzing the possibilities, Tom butted in by saying, " I'll start making room in the car." I was sold on the idea.
So this morning Tom drove myself, the Golden Child, and Chuck Norris back to the KOA from the Saufley's to slack pack the 11 miles north back to our Hiker Haven. Slack packing is basically a term meaning to day hike a section of the trail without carry your usual full pack load. So, after being picked up and driven to the Saufley's yesterday, I had skipped 11 miles of trail that I would need to hike. Being at the Saufley's, I left my entire pack their, knowing I'd be back. I only needed to carry a liter of water, camera, SPOT, and a couple cliff bars back to Hiker Haven. The morning was full of fog climbing into Vasquez Rocks. It seemed like King Kong would be tumbling over the misty hillside at any moment. The Vazquez rock section remind me of Arches National Park, with towering red rock sandstone conglomerate rising sideways from the sandy floor. Tom got me back to the trail by 7:30am this morning, so without a backpack on, and only 11 miles to walk, I was back here at the Saufley's by 11:00am. Mango, Golden Child and I went to a Mexican restaurant in town, and did some grocery shopping for dinner over the grille tonight. It still early, and I'll be staying here at Hiker Haven again tonight, with some time to relax and do more homework about the trail ahead.
Maybe I'll find time to get back to the blog later this afternoon. Thanks again for everyone's support and prayers. I love getting the mail. Thanks to all who have written already, some more than once. It is a needed surprise at the post offices! Happy Trails- Slim Jim

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