Day 16: An Everest and a Bunyan

Start: Valle Tio Outhouse
Stop: Pie Town Toaster House
15 miles
Total miles: 302.7

Beads’ alarm goes off at 5:15 am and we shuffle to life in our cozy outhouse. We emerge just before 6 am to find a thin layer of frozen white. The moon reflects off the ice crystals. We walk the road as the temperature drops and ice forms in our water bottles.

At 9:30 am we part ways as I’ve decided on a shorter route with a highway hitching option. Beads the badass, will walk straight into Pie Town for a 30 mile day. I walk most the way to hwy 60 and then get a hitch from a local water witcher. Once on hwy 60 I walk for about an hour as the first 10 cars pass my reaching thumb. Eventually, Steve from Arizona who’s headed to Texas, stops and takes me to Pie Town.

I drop my pack at the Toaster House, plug in my external battery to charge, check to see if my resupply box has arrived (thank you angel parents!) and then head out to the highway to find the cafe. I’ve literally walked 10 steps when a car slows beside me and the questioning words “Lion Heart?” come out the open car window. I respond with a questioning “Paul Bunyan?” as she leaps out the car and gives me a hug. I met Paul Bunyan on the PCT in 2013 where we shared a “the best sunset of the trip” atop Muir Pass. She and her husband Everest live in Albuquerque and came out for the day to see if they could find any hiker trash.

They drive me the short distance to the cafe where I order breakfast for lunch. I scarf it down before remembering to take a picture. Then we head over to Pie-O-Neer for pie (of course!). So much pie. I get Beads some pie because they close at 4pm and will be closed the next few days. This is our only chance for Pie-O-Neer pie!

Back at the Toaster House, Paul Bunyan and Everest cook up brats and grilled cheese sandwiches for all the hungry hikers. Chips, salsa, fruit, beer, gatorade. They bring the works. This is the first trail magic for some hikers. Thank you angels Bunyan and Everest!

Beads rolls in about 5 pm and we cheer her. Eventually there are showers, laundry, pie eating and chatting with other hikers. I can’t get over the fact that if I hadn’t done a little hitching I would have totally missed Paul Bunyan and Everest. It’s funny how things work out.

With Paul Bunyan and Everest at Toaster House

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