CDT Day 133 — November 5
Pie Town Road water tank to Pie Town, NM
Donkey Invasion Camp to the Toaster House
Miles hiked: 23.8
Total miles: 2376.5
Pie. Pie in Pie Town. Pie is a powerful motivator. The fear of missing pie is what kept the group going today. Hiking with a deadline isn’t generally fun, but it was this time and we hiked hard to make sure we made it to town before the pie shop closed at 5pm. You see, it would be closed tomorrow and the next day. We absolutely had to make it this afternoon. Absolutely. Fortune smiled on us, bringing amazing weather and easy walking all the way. The hardest part of the day was deciding what to eat when we got there.
SpiceRack and I woke naturally, no need for the alarm. It was still dark, but Crunchberry and Rooster were up to their usually rustling and mixing of packets and bags. Crunch got going as the horizon began to gain hazy definition, then color. 6am. I guess we should start packing up. Spice did the same with me not far behind her. Rooster was still fiddling with whoknowswhat, but he hikes fast, so there’s no danger in leaving him behind. It was only 15°F, but it felt warm though my water was slushy with ice. I turned back onto the dirt road, happy to have been spared by the donkey spirits.
Spice and I walked and talked together as the road took us up and over a bunch of rolly hills into dispersed forest of pinion and juniper. Long shadows clung to dawn across the dirt, but they wouldn’t last long. The morning was clear and the spinning of the earth would not be stopped. And sure enough, Rooster caught up before long and we leapfrogged one another as we stopped to delayer and apply sunscreen.
The three of us turned right at an American flag through the gates of TLC Ranch, under new ownership and a haven for hikers. We found our way to the main house, a warehouse really, a cozy warehouse, where Crunchberry was already in a phase of pre-relaxation, with coffee and banana bread on the way. I used the toilet, then plowed through the stack of vegan biscottis that my mom mailed to Grants. Spice, Roost, and Crunch at the whole loaf of banana bread. Warming up for pie. But as welcoming as this place and its people were, we needed to get going if we wanted to make it before closing time. One of the dudes living at the ranch actually worked at the pie shop and assured us that they would stay open if we made it by 5pm.
After grabbing some water, we got back on the road to Pie Town. Like yesterday we riddled and questioned to pass the time. Clouds partly clouded the sky, which kept the temperature down and the sweat to a minimum. Those cool jaggy mountains came and went as we skirted around them on rolling terrain. They reminded me of Central and/or South America for some reason. Jungley cliffs like something out of Temple of Doom.
We had lunch in the shade of a tree, but kept it quick. A little singing, a little running, and a lot of laughing. But then the endless road came to an end at a paved road. 100 yards to our left, there was the pie shop. 4:10pm, we made it with plenty of time to spare. I was pooped, but in the right place to deal with it. Although pie wasn’t on the menu for me, I knew there would be warm nourishment. Amanita was hanging out with Jolly Rancher when we pushed through the two doors into Pie Town Café, halfway through his second basket of bottomless fries. Well, that’s encouraging. We ordered all the things including one of the dankest burritos I’ve found on the CDT. Beans and green chili. That is all. Some slices of pie later and we all left satisfied.
In the gathering darkness we made our way back down the highway then hung a louie at the post office to arrive a couple houses later at the Toaster House, a place that defies yet requires explanation. Nita, a local resident, keeps her old house open to all hikers and bikers as a sort of hostel. I don’t know where the toaster theme started, but there are a lot of toasters there. The home was warm and welcoming with a wood fire burning, plenty of beds to spare, and all sorts of interesting bits of knick-knackery to examine. After a shower and the extra burritos that Spice, with a stroke of genius, decided to bring from the café, I crashed hard. Maybe I was coming down from a Coca-Cola sugar high or maybe it was the hour shift getting me groggy. But that’s okay. With a belly full of burrito and a comfy bed, I don’t need to stay awake. Pie Town, what a weird, awesome place.