Wednesday, April 23, 2014

117. Hiker Horseshoes

My dad told me recently that one of the big secrets of being a good parent is developing the ability to make up a game, on the spot, with whatever materials you have available to you. This can be at a restaurant, sitting in the bleachers at a particularly slow baseball game, or in the waiting room at a doctor's office. The games can be stationary, involving only words or visuals, or they can involve small objects such as sugar packets at the restaurant, mustard packets at the game, or the weird plastic model of human organs sitting on the side table at the doctor's office.When I was a child, gameboys existed, but I never owned one (GEEK CRED: DIMINISHED), and so we just got good at inventing ways to keep ourselves occupied.

As I mentioned on Monday, this ability to entertain yourself is something that became critical for surviving the Appalachian Trail. But what do you do if you don't have any cards, or dice, or a chess set? How do you get through the late afternoon if you're done hiking but you're not tired yet? What if you've been hiking with the same group of people for weeks and you already know quite literally every single thing there is to know about them, including when they learned to talk and what the breath of their first kiss smelled like?

At this point, my friend, it's time for HIKER HORSESHOES!

Here is the instruction manual for Hiker Horseshoes.

Materials Needed:
- Small rocks
- An arbitrary target at which to chuck the small rocks
- An inherent ability to be easily entertained.

Got all your materials? Good! Now it's time to learn the rules of Hiker Horseshoes.

Rule #1. There are no rules for Hiker Horseshoes.

Got that? Excellent! It's a lot like Calvinball, in the sense that it's not actually a game at all, but just a name that you can use when people ask you why you've been sitting in one spot for 45 minutes, taking turns throwing rocks with your friend.

Here are some variations!

Bottle Hiker Horseshoes:

In this fast paced, family friendly game, you take an empty water bottle and balance it upside down on a log, approximately 20 feet away. You get 1 point if you hit the bottle and your rock bounces off. You get 2 points if you completely knock the bottle off the log. Your rocks can be no bigger than a postage stamp.

Tree Hole Hiker Horseshoes:

In this slow paced game that is guaranteed to ruin friendships and make you want to tear all of your hair of your head, you first need to find a tiny hole in a large tree. This hole should be no wider than 2 inches across, and perhaps is home to a small chipmunk which is about to get very angry at you. Then, from 20 feet away, you try to throw your tiny rocks into the hole. There is no point system for this, because you will never get it into the hole. You will spend over an hour doing this, and you will start to question everything about your own existence.

Pond Hiker Horseshoes:

In this game that will inevitable end with someone getting very wet, find yourself a pond with a small boulder or a log sticking above the surface of the water, some distance from the shore. Assign point values for different sections of the rock or log, and collect points for successfully hitting those spots with your tiny rocks. Argue about where a rock actually hit before ricochetting off into the water. Push your friend into the pond for 5,000 points.

Feel free to be creative, this is your Hiker Horseshoes! Just find your tiny rocks and get ready for some rip-roarin' back country fun. Almost as fun as brewing moonshine, and just a little bit more fun than accidentally blowing up your house from incorrectly brewing moonshine*.

Clever Girl

*You may have surmised that I have no experience with moonshine.

1 comment:

  1. Yet another whimsical adventure with my morning coffee. Thanks CG!