Road walking, lots of road walking.
After crossing the Gila River a near countless number of times, I cross the Gila creek once and then made my way to Snow Lake (Dipping Vat Campground). Hitting this point also meant that water would become more rare upon the trail. Nothing too crazy but I did have to keep water sources in mind as I progressed from the campground.
Out of the campground, I followed a gravel road, which eventually turned into a little dirt track, and eventually totally disappeared as I traveled cross country towards a canyon. At the far end of the canyon was a small pond where I ran into Mulie again and enjoyed a quick supper while I filtered water.
Following supper, I climbed out of th canyon and hopped onto a Forest Service road, basically just another dirt track road. Eventually this became a dirt road that I followed for miles and miles. Fairly uneventful really, just following this road around until the highway that is just east of Reserve, NM. Atleast that is what I should have done, but I was counting on a particular water source around 20miles from the canyon to help me out, it was dry. Now for a lot of hikers, doing 30+ miles a day, they can push is and make it to the next source, I'm not one of those hiker,. I need my water. I truged on but as a lone vehicle passed me on this road, they offered me a ride up to the Apache Creek store which was on that highway leading to Reserve. I took the ride, and got some water in me.
After a brief rest in Reserve, I attempted to hitch out back to where the trail meets the highway. Fortunately I met up with Mulie once again as she had paid for a shuttle out to the trail and let me join on.
The section out of Reserve is affictionately known as the 'Pie Town road walk.' If the road walking in the previous section wasn't enough, this was 40 miles of dirt road. To be fair there is some new trail that has been created that heads west of Pie Town and ends with a 16 miles paved road walk into Pie Town. This new trail is the 'offical' route. I'll avoid a long rant here, but I'm not a fan of how the trail has been getting rerouted. Pie Town has traditionally been a major highlight of the trail, always talked about, and extraordinarly hiker friendly and was a highlight of my trip. I did the traditional route even though it had more road walking.
The traditional route was just a rarely traveled gravel road, the only real highlight of this trail was that I had to drink my first (but not last) nasty looking water.
It really wasn't as bad as it looked, didn't taste bad at all. There was supposed to be some amazing spring water around but myself and a few other hikers who were also camping in the area were unable to find anything but this tub of water.
Other than that, just walking the road...the fortunate thing was there was practically no traffic (I saw 3 vehicles) so I could walk on whatever part of the road was most convienient for my feet.
Finally, I reached Pie Town. I wasn't expecting much out of Pie Town, but I had heard plenty. This little place far exceeded my expectations, First, with a name like Pie Town I absolutely had to have some Pie. I went to The Gatherin Place first, for a hearty meal and a Chocolate-Cherry pie for desert. The pie was excelent but a bit on the expensive side for the size. Secondly, I went to the Pie-o-neer, which is only open 3 days out of the week, and only serves pie, also expensive but I had the best Coconut Cream Pie I have ever had there, if I'm ever in Pie Town again I'll be returning to the Pie-o-neer for sure.