A series of what could be considered unfortunate events led to an experience I absolutely needed. Pie Town, NM. A town literally named for the fresh baked pie. What a place. There are about 60 people living there, and they treat the hikers like family. You can stay at Nita’s Toaster House if you’re a weary traveler. Nita was not there, but her neighbors keep the fridge stocked and you can crash anywhere there is space to lay down.
I got behind schedule from being lost and was going to just spend the night and head out the next morning, but then I woke up sick in the middle of the night. I think it was something I ate. The next morning, I felt a bit nauseous and still thought heading out that afternoon was a good idea. Which is silly. Yet, my old friend from the PCT, Thirsty Boots, changed my mind right quick. I had no idea he was on the trail this year and was thrilled to see him. He’s one of the only hikers I’ve met on any thru-hike that I had visited in their home. I know all about his family and he knows the people in my life too (Shasta and Eric, Thirst Boots says, “hello”). We caught up with each others lives a bit and talked trails. It felt great. He also mentioned that later that night, he was hoping to recruit a friend in town with guitars over for some music. That sounded incredible. Turns out we’re both rather fond of old Appalachian tunes.
I took a lot of naps that day, which was perfect. Hikers pet me on the head, and wished me well and brought me some tea. My old friend Cookie Monster was especially kind. It felt great. Like a hiker family. Considerably better than sleeping alone in my tent would have been.
In the afternoon, I felt much better and went out for some pie. It sat well, so I knew the sickness had passed. A familiar sound was coming from the art room. A friendly band of string players were singing some of my favorite songs in harmony. Which was such an amazing comfort. I forgot how much that music can warm you. I went in and sat in the room with them and sang along. They were the nicest people and so talented. A banjo, a fiddle, and a guitar, with the occasional string bass and mandolin added in. It reminded my of my past winter in Montana and was an incredible spirit lifter.
Shortly after another nap at the Toaster House, I awoke to good food and my friend G-Funk, who I had zeroed with in Silver City. Then later that night, we sang more of those wonderful mountain tunes. It felt like a slice of home and family and gave me wings on my feet to get up here to Grants. I even sang an original tune that I had written about thru-hiking. They were the perfect audience to appreciate it.
Life is great here. Beautiful people, great challenges, and always the love of Montana and my friends and family walking with me. Gratitude!