Total Miles: 2138.9
Contrary to popular opinion—including my own—it is sometimes very much indeed about the destination, the journey be damned. When the journey is along yet another hot and dusty road for miles on end, it’s not hard to see why the old adage might begin to lose some of its shine. Add to that the anticipation of landing at our next resupply stop—a rather famous one at that—and today became one of those very days where the oft maligned destination finally got its due.
A clear black sky with nothing but stars had ushered in an especially cold night that made the reappearance of the sun more noteworthy than usual. From our camp spot in the great wide open, we had only to walk a few hundred yards to pick up where we’d left off from our road walk the day before, one that would continue for another 24 miles and beyond. At the end of those 24 miles, the hamlet of Pie Town awaited.
All told, only about 10 miles of the stretch from Grants to Pie Town will have been on something other than a paved, dirt, or gravel road—a recipe that almost guarantees the kind of foot fatigue and pain that you’d expect long ago to have moved beyond. Even lying here on a mattress, I can still feel the balls of my feet throbbing from the abuse.
With a population of roughly 200, a post office, and a single operating restaurant, Pie Town is not a place you immediately expect to be ravenous with anticipation for. But its placement along such a long segment of road walking paired with a hostel famous for its history of hosting hikers over the years imbues it with a somewhat special status among hiking circles. To hikers, the town itself is nearly synonymous with the hostel at its heart: the Toaster House.
Aptly named given the array of toasters—yes, toasters—adorning the fence and front gate, we arrived to find only the caretaker, a wonderful man named Jefferson, and our waiting resupply box. The home itself belongs to Jefferson’s cousin Nita, a trail angel who years ago essentially opened the house to whomever happened to be passing through and in need of a shower and a bed, all for nothing more than a voluntary donation.
Whiling away the early evening in conversation, we settled into a stay with the place all to ourselves as Jefferson cooked up a delicious, and unexpected, pasta dinner for us. In a place that feels like it has quite a bit of history, having a quiet evening with Jefferson and sharing stories felt like we were adding a bit of our own.