Preheat oven to 425F with rack in top third of oven. Have a baking sheet ready (best choice is one that is just a bit larger than the two squash halves.
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, trying to keep the two halves as even in size as possible (for even cooking). Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the squash and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin and the whitish layer just beneath it to expose bright orange flesh. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut side down. Brush squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Remove squash halves to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut slits 1/4-inch apart in the squash, cutting almost but not all the way through. *Tip: Place the handle of a wooden spoon alongside the squash to act as a guard to prevent cutting too far down.
Return cut squash to the same baking sheet. Heat the 1/4 cup maple syrup and 2 Tbsp. butter in the microwave or a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Stir well to combine. Brush with maple/butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle dried thyme leaves over squash, trying to get in the slits a bit, if possible. Pour 1/4 cup water in to bottom of pan, then return to 425F oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, baste with more maple/butter mixture. add another 1/4 of water to the pan and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Tuck 2 or 3 thyme sprigs between a few slits in each squash half. Add pecans to remaining maple/butter mixture and stir to combine. *Note: If mixture has hardened at all, re-warm before adding pecans so it's liquid again. Brush pecan/maple/butter mixture over-top of squash. Add a final 1/4 cup of water to the pan and return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Remove from oven. Drizzle a bit of maple syrup over each half. Sprinkle with finishing salt.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!