2017 promises to be a great year, with winter rains leaving much needed water in our drought-stricken region. It will be a very special year at Hiker Heaven since we will be celebrating our 20th year hosting hikers. We are very excited about meeting all of you and to help you along your way.
We listened to feedback from the Class of 2016, which was our largest group of hikers ever (over 1,600 hosted), and will be instituting a few new policies in 2017 as a result. There is always a peak to the hiker traffic on or around Memorial Day weekend. In 2016 we had 120 hikers present in one day; too many to make the experience enjoyable for everyone. To cut down on the number of hikers during this window, we will be screening for permits on the following dates and only hikers holding a permit will be welcome to stay on these dates:
Saturday May 20, Sunday May 21
Saturday May 27, Sunday May 28, and Monday May 29
Saturday June 3 and Sunday June 4
These are the weekends that bookend and include Memorial Day weekend. These weekends have seen the peak number of hikers in every year that we’ve hosted. The rationale behind limiting to permit holders only is that those without permits are presumed to be in excess of the 50 per day border start date limit instituted by the PCTA at the behest of the agencies that manage the trail. The reason for the quota is the abuse of the trail and its resources by large numbers of hikers in short periods. Overwhelming numbers of hikers affect our resources as trail hosts too, so it makes sense to limit the numbers based on this parameter. Those without permits may pick up packages and mail at Hiker Heaven, but other services will not be offered.
Another new policy is that we ask that hikers please arrive before 9:00 p.m., or after 7:00 a.m. Hikers arriving during the night should camp in the group camp area at Vasquez Rocks County Park or back at the KOA, and arrive at Hiker Heaven in the morning. We, and our neighbors, thank you for this consideration.
Somehow in 2016 the rumor was on the trail that Hiker Heaven is a party place, which it never was or meant to be. Don’t get us wrong, we want hikers to have fun here. But to keep the party atmosphere down to respectable roar, we are going to require that hikers vacate the seating areas near the Saufley residence at 9:00 p.m., and move their groups and conversations away from under the windows of our home (we run an electrical contracting business and Mr. Saufley, aka Mumbles/Buzz Saw/Cruise Control/Richard Duncan has to go to work in the morning). We are also going to request that “library voices” are used on the property after 10:00 p.m., to respect our neighbors as well as the hikers who need and want to rest before hitting the trail.
Last but not least, smokers are still welcome, but smoking cigarettes will be confined to the fire pit area. We like to open our windows at night to cool off the house.
We trust that these new policies will make for a better and more pleasant experience for all. Please contact us if you have any questions!