We didn't leave early that morning. Papa Joe was making his famed pancakes, and no one was in a hurry to get out of there. Papa Joe and Terrie offered us rides back to the trail after hanging out for a couple hours that morning.
I remembered once we got back on trail why I hated hiking in groups so much. It's so hard to stop and pee! And the trail was narrow in a lot of places, with no real place to step off and find a secluded spot, so I was stressed out the whole day. All 7 of us got a ride back to the trail at the same time, so we were basically hiking in a line all day. Every single one of us was planning to stop at Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce 24 miles later, too.
The miles felt like they were disappearing quickly
Because I was so stressed about the whole peeing situation, I basically booked it all the way to Agua Dulce. I barely even remember it because I was practically running.
Hiker Heaven is a mile off the trail, and I was doing that mile when a nice woman in a car stopped for me and asked if I wanted a ride up to Hiker Heaven. It was clear everyone around here knew about hikers and Hiker Heaven! As we were driving to Hiker Heaven, we passed Yahtzee, who hopped in.
Made it to Agua Dulce!
Hiker Heaven was one of the best hiker spaces I had encountered on the trail. The trail angel who ran Hiker Heaven, Donna/L-Rod Saufley, did my laundry for
me; not even kidding, I almost cried.
There were loaner clothes so you didn't have to wear your groundsheet as a skirt (I had done this more than once). They had a full kitchen. Chargers and outlets everywhere. An amazing shower. A TV with Netflix and Amazon. I mean, seriously… "Heaven" was absolutely right.
Seriously, I wasn't used to hanging out with this many SOBOs at once
Everyone from Casa de Luna the previous night was here, along with a few other hikers like Big Tex. Big Tex, Yahtzee, and I went to the pizza place a mile away in the town part of Agua Dulce where they had vegan pizza for my sad dairy-intolerant little self, and I might have eaten an entire pizza. Donna and Jeff were also headed into town for dinner, so they offered us a ride there and back, so we didn't even have to do any extra miles. My journal entry for that night ends, "Such a cool space. I love it here."
Pizza always gets a thumbs-up
I had every intention of leaving the next day, but it didn't take long for me to convince myself that I wasn't in a hurry to leave. And slowly, the other hikers in the house decided to stay another day as well. I don't think anyone left that day, actually; we all took a random zero at Hiker Heaven.
We all sat around doing nothing, and I watched The Matrix for the first time. I couldn't believe how lucky I was that I got to meet the Saufleys in their last year hosting hikers as trail angels at Hiker Heaven.