5/1/16

Eating Wild

Hiking up to Bertha Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada) a nice older couple introduced me to the the Saskatoon berry, Amelanchier alnifolia.  They resemble blueberries, but are actually in the rose family. I soon discovered the huckleberry, then the thimbleberry.  I quickly fell in love with eating wild berries, and through Waterton Lakes, Glacier, and Teton National Parks, any chance I got to get off my bike and go for a hike involved a lot of berry picking.  Roadside berry patches also proved distracting while riding, and sometimes the picking was too good to pass up. Often I couldn't help but pull over and wade into the bushes, passing drivers staring at me like I was a bear. 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail I spent a lot more time thinking about what plants I could eat.  Once the berries started to appear around Virginia my picking began and I ate and learned more plants as I moved north.  Wild food is wonderful.  It is a source of nutritious water dense calories that you don't have to carry or pay for, and I'm eager to keep learning more.  Similar to drinking water straight from a mountain creek, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, a most intimate way of communing with nature. However, it's not all sunshine and raspberries.