May 10th
Pie Town(318.9)-The Thomas’s(333.9)
I have to say that Pie Town is an inspirational place for me. It’s a place where I could see myself ending up someday. Everyone here knows everyone and they have all been so welcoming (other than all the private ranchers with the NO TRESPASSING signs). Nita, the trail angel that owns the Toaster House opens her home up and it’s donation only. She lives just outside of town and left us her car so we could drive to the next town over (3mi) to do laundry this morning. Just doing the laundry this morning, I was already seeing town folk I met or overlapped with yesterday. We also had multiple people recognize Nita’s car and welcome us as if we’re part of the everyday community and telling us to say hi to Nita for them. Then we drove over to Nita’s home to pick her up. She lived on a sprawling piece of land with picturesque views of the horizon. She just radiates happiness with a peaceful calm. Many people here do! They all have great depth to them and such a weightless feeling of living happily in a simple life. It could be easy to overlook this town of only two restaurants and a post office. Then we all headed to brunch at the Pie Town Cafe and I got a big hug from the cook, Michael who quickly set me up to use his computer while I was greeted by name by the waitress Tania who I spent time talking to yesterday. I just love that homey feel! Here are some of the hikers at brunch today with Nita.

I talked to Shroomer this morning, who did the trail last year and he LOVES Pie Town and the people who live there. He knew I was trying to hike out and he asked if I knew about the trail angels, John and Anzie Thomas, just north of time. Well, it turns out that there’s an older couple just 15mi north of Pie Town that welcomes hikers and has a well that hikers can get water from. They are only here on the weekends to take hikers in. Tania at the restaurant called them and told them I’d be arriving there tonight. It was great to have a an endpoint and defined goal for the day! The rest of the group is taking a zero here and I’m taking a zero in Grants where my computer is, so I’m setting off solo for this fairly simple three night leg. Then I hope we’ll all be able to hike out together from Grants if the timing is right.
Scattered thunderstorms are expected the next 2-3 days and of course right as I was leaving clouds were darkening and lightning and thunder could be seen and heard out east. In my gut, I knew it was a window I needed to take. It’s another 30mi dirt road walk out of town and even if I got poured on for those 15mi today, at least I’d have a warm dry place to stay overnight at the Thomas’s. Everyone figured I was crazy for leaving and tried to encourage me to zero, which I would have done if this was only supposed to happen today. I figure since it’s 2-3 days and isolated, it wouldn’t be too bad. Plus, it’s supposed to be better as I get further north towards Grants. As I left town, I ran into Sunday and Sole to Soul who had just hiked in this morning. My camera was stashed away for the day and I have a waterproof Lifeproof cover on my iPhone, so my outside pictures today are from my iPhone. I had lost a small piece for the headphone jack in Silver City to make it fully waterproof and I ordered extras that are waiting for me in Grants to make it fully waterproof again. The hiker Mark kindly gave me an extra he had so I didn’t have to worry about using the phone in the rain. Sole to Soul took this picture for me as I headed out and hadn’t taken a picture with an iPhone before. I was trying to point to the area of dark clouds with lightning, ha!

I started off about 1:15pm. As I walked, it started out okay and about 40mins later it got breezy and rained harder. It was in the upper 40s and felt really cold. I figured this would also be a good test run for my rain gear strategy and it was. I learned a lot! I checked my phone and Love Note texted that I had left my wallet at Nita’s! Urgh! It’s always something with me! She said they’d drive it up since I was road walking. This is how my walk looked.

I listened to the audiobook Into Thin Air most of the way and have almost finished…probably mot best to listen to a book of people dying on a mountain while hiking, ha! While it was still raining pretty good, I reached a fork in the hwy and of course there was new “trail” that had all my phone, GPS, and maps not matching. I was stopped at the fork comparing everything when Team Mirage flew by me without noticing in Nita’s truck. They realized it a few miles up and turned around. They drove up with a slice of chocolate creme pie for me and told me to jump in the warm truck to warm up. Aww!

It was tempting to go back, but my gut told me this was the right thing to do and that the rain wouldn’t be this bad the whole 15mi to the Thomas’s. I was able to put more layers on in the car and warm up as the rain lightened up. Team Mirage bid me farewell and I was off again…almost left my hiking poles in the back of the truck…close one! It did clear up and only sprinkled from time to time the rest of the way. Excellent rain gear test!

When I reached the Thomas’s, it was about 7pm and I was so happy to see their sign and flag welcoming hikers!

They were outside to welcome me and brought me in like family. They fed me dinner, we talked til 10:30pm, and they offered me the couch to sleep on by the fire. Such wonderful people!

John and Anzee have been married for 62yrs when Anzee was just 14yrs old and John was 18yrs old. They have four children, John was in the Korean War, and he still works hard during the week in the Albuquerque owning a metal and welding business. Over 10yrs ago, they built this large barn-like home that is so unique and wonderful. Just one large space with a wooden fireplace.

I just loved hearing all about their life together and they are such vibrant and energized people. While I was there, John rode off on his huge tractor and collected more wood for the night and filled it as the night continued. Totally reminded me of my dad and how he likes to make fires too! We even ate dinner in front of the big screen tv and watched some of COPS. So funny!

I am just so warmed by the hospitality of the people of Pie Town and the Thomas’s brought tears to my eyes many times. I was glad my gut told me to hike out and that I got to spend an evening with such amazing people!

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