Day 16: a half mile beyond the Mangas Peak Lookout at ~9500 feet to the Toaster House in Pie Town, ~24 miles, ~315 miles total
My goal had been to get to and beyond the Mangas Peak Lookout yesterday for two reasons. One, I wanted to see at least one if the lookouts administered by the Gila NF after reading Philip Connors book Fire Season. Two, pushing for the lookout would mean only 24 miles to reach Pie Town and pie!
The very cold morning (some ice in our water) had us packed up and moving in short time. A puffy coat, flip mitts and balaclava morning for sure.
This day required 24 miles of road walking. With a break and some futzing stops it took us about seven hours to get to Pie Town.
Road walking can be monotonous on the mind and the body. Thankfully we had intermittent snow flurries, clouds, and some sunlight to constantly alter the road and landscape. It was, at times, a gorgeous walk into town.
We also had “deep conversations” about great movies from the 80s that all kids should watch (including The Goonies, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future). As well as a growing list if movies we’ll watch when we get home (Silverado and Return to Snowy River).
We were also heavily motivated by thoughts of pie and concern that a small town restaurant might close early. This kept us moving all afternoon (as well as the chilly weather) and we walked into town just before 4:00.
Instantly we transitioned from hiker time to the fast pace of town time. As we walked by the Community Center Seminole popped out the door. A few seconds later, there was Rainer. A few seconds more and Nita, the trail angel and owner if the Toaster House greeted us with a beautiful smile and warm, “Aloha.”
The three of them had us pile into Nita’s car and whisked us of to the Pie-O-Neer minutes before it closed! Nita pointed out the town and had on a radio station that was playing Navajo singing. The first music we’ve heard in days.
The pie shop was all that I’d been hoping for and anticipating these last few years in dreaming about the CDT. Kathy, Lisa and Stan greeted us with warm smiles. Delicious green chile stew, quiche (with greens!), and of course, pie! After being cold all day and hungry for real food, here was everything we most desired. For desert we had a slice of sweet potato pie and New Mexico apple pie a la mode. We also ordered most of a quiche and a slice of pecan pie for later. We knew we’d be back the next day for more Pie-O-Neer love.
Well fed. At last. Content. Now we could look for the Toaster House, our boxes, our first showers in eight days, and our friends who had made it to town.