Beer Cans and Cattle Guards

Hello lovelies,

Short updates:

* I’ve made it to Grants — a town that’s depressingly on the verge of dying 

* This trail has an unfortunate amount of road walking

* Pizza delivery drivers make for the best impromptu Lyft rides

Longer updates:

There were about 10 of us that stayed in the Toaster House in Pie Town.  

The Toaster House is a house that exists in yet another gradually-dying New Mexican town.  Rather than degrade into antiquity, the house has been repurposed for use by thru-hikers as a place to mail packages, sleep, and deal with general hiker resupply on the CDT. The archway of dead hiking shoes that exists there is impressive. There’s a nice caretaker that’s around the property from time to time, but for the most part it’s just a bunch of hikers coming and going.

The 8 of us that left Pie Town left feeling exceptionally well fed.  We hiked a gravel road for 15 miles before deciding to camp at a random ranch run by a family (TLC ranch).  In exchange for moving a large roll of carpet into their little homestead, they fed us a boat-load of dinner and several fantastic pies.  It turns out the person that brought the pies to our impromptu dinner used to run one of the pie shops in Pie Town before the landlord declined to renew her lease.  It’s too bad — her pie was much better than what was offered at the only restaurant remaining.

The following day, our fellowship fractured due to the “choose your own adventure” nature of the trail.  Samwise, Sock Drawer, and Myself opted for the “CDT centerline”, the default route that’s about 30 miles longer than the alternative but avoids 40 miles of asphalt road walking in exchange for lava rocks, some single track trail, and a lot of dirt and gravel road walking.   

The trail, when it exists, has frequent barbed wire fence crossings (climb on over!), and requires a lucky level of finding rock cairns in the distance.  The roads, however, are marked by endless cattle crossings and beer cans that have accumulated on the side of the road every few feet.  Comparatively, the asphalt roads have featured a steady parade of pick-up truck drivers cheering us onward and acknowledging our presence with a head nod, a sip of their open Budweiser, and an incoherent shout out the window. What’s asphalt, after all, if not just a trail for cars?

After three 31-mile days, we found ourselves in Grants, cursing asphalt and searching for food.  We managed to find some food on a Sunday night, booked a room in the holiday inn, and paid a pizza delivery driver some money to drive us to the hotel.  All-in-all, a pretty solid few days!

My shoes have started failing, and I’ve overnighted myself some new shoes to Cuba (NM), which I’ll get to in a handful of days.  I am expecting to meetup with my friend Radar soon, and take a few zeroes to give the snow outside of Chama some time to melt.

With sore feet and clean-ish clothes,

Jeff

Toaster House Shoe Collection in Pie Town, New Mexico

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