Life is full of Plan B, and often works its way through the alphabet. Our hope of finding a prospective buyer for our home and Hiker Heaven within the hiking community sparked a lot of interest, but no solid proposal or offer materialized by our December deadline. Our contingency plans if we lacked an offer or proposal were to formally list the house in March 2020, meaning the end of Hiker Heaven. Of course, we did not foresee what Fate had in store and how those plans might shift.
Shift they have. An opportunity we feel compelled to follow has presented us with possibilities that were not available when we made the original plan. One of those possibilities allows us to keep the house in Agua Dulce by having it sustain itself under an AirBnB-type model. Keeping the house in Agua Dulce is something we dearly wanted to do, but could not see a way to until a door opened for us to reside elsewhere (more on that will be revealed later). This choice does mean a slower path to our new home-to-be in Washington, but has some incredible upside benefits should this new Plan B prove viable.
So what does that mean for this year’s PCT hikers? It means that Hiker Heaven is becoming a business, not a free hostel. We anticipate renting out the guesthouse initially sometime early next spring (late March or early April) on whatever platform we ultimately decide to choose (advice appreciated). If that works out – meaning hikers don’t abuse it and it makes fiscal sense — we will consider expanding the offering to include the main house at some point, and perhaps ultimately the entire property and horse facilities. But first things first, one step at a time. There is much work to be done to pimp-out the guest house to make it a special offering worthy of good ratings. We want to be ready to please our guests on a whole new level!
It is sad that we cannot continue in the free hostel model as we have since 1997. Things change, and people move on and do other things. We do hope however that Hiker Heaven will continue to be a place offering hospitality geared toward hiker’s needs. This is mixed news and admittedly our choice is self-serving, which feels strange after so many years of service to others. The end of one era is the start of the new.
While specifics are still gelling and the website woefully incorrect and in need of major overhaul, here are some basics: the guesthouse can sleep 8, and we will hold boxes for those who have reservations, and provide laundry service (I will still do the laundry for those requiring). Animals will still be welcome. Jeff and I will reside on site for a period TBD, after which we will need a caretaker, which will be a paying position which will include accommodations, wi-fi, and utilities. I am hoping for someone within the hiking community (private message me about this).
Hikers should know that there are multiple other AirBnB listings in Agua Dulce with varying prices. While I was checking out local AirBnBs in our neighborhood, and found a listing reading “hikers heaven Pacific Crest Trail Room.” This is NOT us or our listing, and it is clear they were hijacking our reputation to advertise their room. I contacted the owner of the listing and AirBnB directly requesting that this cease. The owner contacted me and said they “thought we were hikers haven,” which indicated to me they about us, then they immediately changed their rental’s name to “hikers haven Pacific Crest Trail Room.” Do not be confused. When we do list on any vacation rental site, we will list as Saufley’s Hiker Heaven, and indicate that our property has been a welcome destination for hikers for over 22 years. I’ve also sought to trademark our name. Never thought we’d have to do that. Geesh.
You never know what you will find around the next corner, but I can promise that Class of 2019 photos will be posted soon!