I’m not really an outdoorsy type. But I can be talked into a hike if promised extraordinary scenery, relative ease of travel, and/or a cold beer at the end. That or pie.
Which is how my friend talked me into this one – she promised me all four items. Including a warm piece of pie from that Mammoth Mountain institution, Pie in the Sky.
She warned, however, that we’d have to make good time on our hike. The pies, made fresh each day by proprietress Susan King, tended to sell out by mid-day. And indeed, when our party of six arrived at the tiny inn at Rock Creek Lakes and Resorts, all that were left were blackberry, lemon creme and chocolate pecan slices.
When we left, there was only one piece of chocolate pecan left. We dined under the glowering stares of many disappointed hikers who came in behind us. Tough patooty, fellahs. Walk faster next time.
Sue King and her husband Jim bought this charming little restaurant about 30 years ago. The place had already made a reputation as the place to go for fresh pie apre hike, thanks to the efforts of two women known mostly as “The Pie Ladies.” King took up where they left off. These days she bakes on average 40 pies a day, of all sorts, depending on the season, and sells out most days easily.
For instance, by the time we staggered in, the rhubarb pie was long gone. Ditto the Dutch apple, blueberry and cherry pies.
“Don’t know what it is,” she told me over the counter, refilling my coffee mug for the third time. “People just really seem to appreciate a warm piece of pie after a hike up to the lake.”
Go figure. We appreciated our slices of pie as expected. And yes, as promised, my piece of blackberry pie was indeed warm. Within minutes, there was nary a crumb left on anybody’s plate.
The boy begged me to return and buy him another slice of pie. He really wanted to try the banana creme pie. Alas, his mother’s navigational skills made finding the place again a challenge that bested her, and we continued our drive back home.
To placate him, I promised to make him a banana creme pie when we returned. He sounded (smartly) dubious of my abilities. “And you said you’d never buy a pie when you could make one.”
“I made you a strawberry pie like I promised,” I reminded him. “I mean, I eventually did.”
“Yeah, but that was easy,” he said. “Anyone could make a strawberry pie. That’s what you think of when you think of pie.”
“And banana creme isn’t?”
“You can’t make a banana creme pie,” he said.
Oh can’t I? (Oh can I?”)