CDT 2023 Reserve to Pie Town

At the Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, upper right by the fireplace around the table clockwise: Container, Eager Beaver, Brittany, ?, Falcon, El Chapo, ?

I forgot to talk about the elevation in New Mexico. When I flew into Silver City , I was at 6000’. The day I hiked out towards Gila Hot Springs I topped out at 7200’. This last stretch I slept in Reserve at 5800’ after climbing to 9000’ the day before. The shuttle from Reserve dropped me at the trailhead at 7300’ and that day I climbed over Mangas Mountain at 9600’ before pitching my tent on the downside at 8300’. It doesn’t look like I’m at elevation, it looks like flat to hilly desert.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail north last year, I went up and down stunning mountain ranges, some of the oldest mountains I’ve ever been in, but their elevation is comparatively low. The Whites in New Hampshire have a calling to peak baggers—summit all 48 4000footers (4000’). That’s in contrast to Colorado’s challenge—bag all 58 14ers (14,000’). And I’ve spent quite a bit of time in California’s Sierra, including hiking Mt Whitney a few times, the highest peak in the Lower 48 at 14,505’.

5/1/23 zero

I’m still exhausted, even after a night in a quiet, comfy room—dammit!

Twigs and Foghorn took a zero yesterday and were going to hike out today but Twigs has a swollen, sore Achilles so she and Foghorn are going to rest up another day—the only hikers here until suddenly in the afternoon, they were swarming like flies. Or, you know, maybe flies were swarming stinky hiker trash.

Thor is camping behind the laundry room, then Auzzie and pup Waydoe (yes!). Falcon and his just trail named companion, Roadside Poopah (or just Roadside because the diarrhea next to the trail doesn’t need to be thought about every time you hear his name). Roadside has 2 sore Achilles and is going to get a ride ahead to Toaster House in Pie Town. Falcon will take a zero in Reserve.

We all went to the only place open for food, Bill’s Bar. I shot pool for the first time since Crystal Palace and Saloon in Juneau in the 70’s I think. I even made a few shots—me and Falcon vs Twigs and Foghorn. More hikers rolled in for food and beer—Tucker and Ian, Dr Doolittle and Sherpa (met at Doc’s). Fun!

Cats in Reserve

5/2/23 16.3 miles

So I got the shuttle (thanks again Darryl!), hiked a shortish day and am now drinking the Sante Fe 7K IPA I carried out of Reserve. I’m purposely doing 2 nights so I can hike into Toaster House on morning 3 in the hopes that hikers have cleared out and I can get a bunk inside. I’ve done it before and the plan has worked. The latest info is that new caretaker Dana is cleaning things up, and sticking to quiet hour and good behavior rules. If it’s overrun like in 2021, I can grab my resupply box and hitch to Quemado where there is a motel. Why do I stress about this?

1st snow I’ve seen, Mangas Mountain
Water source for the day

5/3/23 15.4 miles

An uneventful day of gravel road walking. I stopped at Davila Ranch at about noon and owner John was there. I met him way back when and I’d heard he’d had some health issues since. But he looked good and it was fun talking to him. Since I told him I’d been there before, he asked if I knew DogMa. Of course! She’d been at Davila just a week or so before, for the second time (the 1st was in 2019 when she and I met on the porch of Toaster House with her dog with the sprained tail from swimming the Gila River). John said he didn’t recognize DogMa but described her, not present this year, dog to perfection. Kinda like me, I’ll get the dog’s name and forget the hiker’s name. John dug a 500’ well so he could provide this hiker oasis. There’s a covered area with a refrigerator stocked with eggs and potatoes, 2 washers and dryers, a kitchen area, a wash station, flush toilet and shower complete with towels and loaner clothes. All for donation. What kindness!

I hung out an hour and a half, first with Forest Jill, and older hiker couple Home and Eric, and then with Twigs and Foghorn. I carried enough water to camp and went another 6 miles, ducking under a barbed wire fence and stealth camping in wind and clouds, hidden from the road, leaving no trace and perfectly comfortable.

Good morning sun!

5/4/23 8 miles

Cats in Pie Town

Made it to Toaster House by 10 am. Got my bunk on the ledge upstairs. No problems. Not wall to wall mattresses like in 2021, whew. The washer works again in the single bathroom with shower. Towels and sheets are clean. I did another load and hung them to dry outside in the wind—bone dry towels within an hour. Dana, the caretaker, is trying, stressing to make it a great hiker stop again, and we got along great. She’s only been here a week and is trying to get things straightened up as the hiker bubble keeps rolling in. Most want to zero, staying is by donation. Twigs and Foghorn went to eat at the cafe with me and then moved on, either hiking a ways or hitching to Grants I think. I’ll miss them.

5/5/23 zero

Hikers in the piano room at the Pie-O-Neer. Playing is Lamb, behind Container and El Chapo

Falcon arrived. There are lots of Germans here too. El Chapo and wife Brittany, physios from Toronto, awesome people! More food at the Pie-O-Neer with hikers including Lamb (Liam sounds like Lamb with his Aussie accent), Canister (German from Hamburg), sweet Eager Beaver, Falcon, El Chapo and Brittany. And more!

Somehow, the single bedroom I stayed in years ago was vacated by an old French guy and I got it. I saw it was empty and asked Dana if she was saving it for someone. She said I could have it because she knew I wouldn’t mess with the stuff stored there (paper towels, cleaning products, nothing a hiker would take, I was kinda confused). Bliss! Privacy (with my earplugs in). I found out AFTER, the next day when I was on trail and talked with Gonzo, that she’d told others to get out of the room. I feel kind of bad because as I was hiking out, an innocent hiker guy asked if I had a bunk and I told him about the single room. I wonder if Dana kicked him out?

Gonzo and Catwater hiking out from Toaster House

3 thoughts on “CDT 2023 Reserve to Pie Town

  1. Some things never change. Dirt trail, hikers, beer and the elevation! Such great reminders of things to come. Glad you are finding your people and your solitude in single rooms. Oh the sweet pleasures! Carryon my friend.


  2. Thanks for sharing all the details of this adventure! I feel like I am there……the pictures make it all so real🌞


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