The shoes have been working out great. It took me some time to get used to them, but overall the wide toe box is great. In my old shoes, my feet were squished due to swelling but in the new shoes they don’t even touch.
Our next stop is a small town of Agua Dulce. The town is so small, it does not even have a hotel or a laundromat. You may ask, where would a hiker stay if they needed rest, wanted a day off or simply take a shower & do laundry? Hiker Heaven is what they call Donna & Jeff Saufley’s home. On their private residency they have horses, chickens, 6+ dogs and many excited hikers.
This year is the biggest year for PCT yet, 3,000 PCT hiking permits were issued in 2016 versus 1,500 last year. Movie “Wild” gave the trail a lot of national exposure bringing many outdoors enthusiasts to try their luck on the trail. Donna has not turned away a single hiker. One day they had 80 hikers showed up at their home. With help of volunteers everything was so seemlessly organized. They do your laundry, you can take a nice hot shower, and camp in their backyard. There was a big tent set up with 3 laptops which hikers could use to connect with the outside world. There was another tent with a sawing machine where damaged gear or clothes could be repaired. The shower was so clean and had all of the amenities up to razors, baby powder, lotion, q-tips you name it. I was truly amazed and touched by the kindness of these people who offer this to thru-hikers. I remember around 10pm passing by their open garage door and saw Donna with one of the volunteers still up and doing a laundry load. I couldn’t help but come over with tears of gratefulness in my eyes and give her a big bear hug for everything she does.