Just a quick note on Pie Town: it is really called that! There are about 10 houses in Pie Town and 2 Pie Shops and a post office (where we sent ourselves resupply food for the next 90 mile stretch). Some bloke moved out there in the 1930’s and started selling pie to passing tourists. He changed the name of the town to Pie Town (with resistance from the post office who considered it a silly and undignified name) and it became a famous place to stop and eat pie.
The current owners of the Pie-O-Neer have revived this fame and their pie is incredible – never seen a crust as fluffy as that! They have been subject of articles in many foody magazines and even been covered in a TV documentary on a US TV channel dedicated to food. There is another restaurant in town that also does breakfast and burgers as well as pies: the “Daily Pie”! We ate at both.
In Pie Town a lovely woman called Nita has made her old house available to hikers (she and her family moved to another house in town) including shower, washing machine, kitchen and a lovely porch to sit on in the evening. We stayed there with Ted and Richard and also met Jim and his dog Slick who are long-time Divide travellers (on horseback though) and are currently looking after the place (Jim fixed the bathroom door while we were there).
Brian managed to stash some water a day up the trail with the help of Gordon and his van (Gordon was there to support another set of thru-hikers). We left Pie Town quite late (15:20), aiming to get to a ranch which has a tap in the garden for hikers to get water – 16 miles down the trail. Richard came with us and Ted decided to stay another day in Pie Town.
We hiked hard on dirt road and made it to the ranch just as the light began to seriously fade! Ranchers have guns. They have big yard dogs. They might not expect a bunch of dirty tramps (that’s us) walking up their drive in the dark … we were a bit nervous as we approached the big steel shed at the Thomas Mountain Ranch.
But as we timidly “hallo-ed”, a small door in the shed opened and a friendly man in his 70’s asked us in, overtaken by his even friendlier wife who immediately ordered us to put down our things, make ourselves at home, we would be sleeping in the shed tonight. The shed contained a whole household (kitchen, living room, dining room, big TV and huge fireplace with a roaring fire in it). Did we want some bread and butter pudding? John and Ainsi Thomas made us completely at home and were splendid company over dinner. The previous day had been their 58th wedding anniversary!
Suddenly there was a knock and a voice outside the door. Ted had changed his mind as he saw the three of us hike up the road and had come after us. So that night we slept in the shed and in the morning we got real coffee.
The kindness and hospitality of people here is quite incredible!