Nine years prior, I knew I had to pull something out of my bag of parental tricks to get the boys to go hiking with me. I would always make the hikes easy, and I would insist that they go, but there were plenty of times I was gritting my teeth while they moaned and complained.
They had hiked many times before the advent of Hike Pie Toy. Back when Jasper was two and AJ was still a baby, I took them to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite and distracted them by teaching them how to count in French: “Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq.” And then I would blurt out, “Poop!’
That worked as a distraction on hikes for a couple of years. And then it didn’t.
Little kids generally don’t want to take long walks. And my boys would often resist my early attempts to take them hiking, though I would plow right through their objections with thoughts to myself like, “You can be miserable at home or you can be miserable on vacation.” Hike Pie Toy was essentially an idea to bribe my kids to hike. They were four and six at the time.
Based on the memorable three-word title of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat Pray Love, I invented Hike Pie Toy. I might have called it for what it was, Hike Bribe Boys. But that seemed a bit too direct.
The deal with my sons would be as follows: as part of our annual summer trip to the Sierras, we would set out early in the morning for a drive to Mosquito Flats at the end of the road past Rock Creek Lake, about a 30-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes.