The year of the Berries

2007 Sep 3

This has been the best year in my memory for wild berries. And today I must have eaten a pound of huckleberries and blackberries!

I explored two parks that I never before had visited. I walked their trails, took in their sights and ate their berries. Both parks are in forested valleys. The main trails in Terrace Creek Park were gently sloped and sometimes paved. Yost Park is quite steep in places. It's trails were nicely maintained with bark or other surfacing.

Logging was once a primary industry in the Pacific Northwest. Many of these old-growth evergreen trees had become huge. Loggers characteristically cut them off above the place where the trunk widened into the roots. Since they decompose slowly, these stumps from trees logged even a century ago are still commonplace. And huckleberries love to grow out of old stumps.

This has been a summer of interesting weather. It has been hot, but mostly at the beginning. Dry days spaced rains. Normally by August, the lawn grass has gone dormant and brown, but this time it stayed green all summer. And this weather has also been kind to berries.

When Melanie and I went to Mt Vernon, we ate excellent early huckleberries. They were tart and juicy.

In most years the huckleberries are gone by now; instead they are still profuse. In fact, they are sometimes improved. They have been able to stay on the bush and be just slightly dehydrated by the sun. This concentrates their sugars. Some of the berries I ate almost tasted like a jam or fruit preserve!


When I go walking in the woods, I like to snack on natural edibles there. There are a lot of berries: Salmonberry, Thimbleberry, Red Huckleberry, Salal, Oregon Grape and Blackberry. (In rough order of their appearance.) Also there is a mushroom: Shaggy Mane. At present, the blackberries are in full season and the Shaggy Manes haven't appeared yet.


One of the Yost Park's trails came out at the hill top of Main Street. Across the street was a a development with fantastic views of the Puget Sound. And a trail ran from there into the development to a small local green-space park. That was the place with the best berries of the day! And the views were gorgeous! Who could ask for better?