Picking Huckleberries


Yesterday we were at our Cabin up in Donnelly Idaho.  Stacie and I decided to go for a long hike instead of working out.  It is important to note that we have owned this property since 1998 and we built our cabin in 1999.  We have been spending weekends and vacations here for the past 15 years.  We were an hour or so into our hike when we noticed a minivan parked along the forest service road we were walking along.  As we approached the van we noticed a mother with two small children about 30 yards up the steep hill to our right.  Since stepping down from my role at Balihoo, I have made a commitment to be more outgoing and curious with the world around me.  Two months ago I would have avoided contact with the mother in order to maintain the solitude of our walk, but instead my curiosity got the better of me and I asked what they were doing.  The mother let me know they were picking Huckleberries.  

Now you have to understand that we have been exposed to Huckleberries in every form since buying our property 15 years ago.  Huckleberry ice cream, lemonade, lotion, lip balm, pie, you name it, people make it with Huckleberries up here.  Hell the town closest to the cabin, Donnelly Idaho, even has a Huckleberry festival every year (which we have never been to). 

We said good luck and kept walking, but about 50 feet later I turned to Stacie and asked, β€œcan we go look, I have never seen a Huckleberry?”.  Given that Stacie is on her way to a Horticulture degree, this was a stupid question, of course we could go look.  So we walked back and scampered up the hill to where they were picking.  The mother, who was probably a little freaked out at this point, politely showed us the Huckleberry bushes and we sampled a few of the berries.  We said thanks and then kept on moving, however, all of a sudden we had a new purpose to our walk, now we were looking for our own patch to pick from.  We also noticed that there were a lot of people wandering around the mountain looking for these berries. 

About a quarter mile up the road we found a small trail leading straight up the mountain.  100 yards or so up this trail we found an immense patch of ripe berries just waiting for harvest.  We hustled back to the cabin and gathered some Ball jars to hold our bounty and headed back out to pick the berries.  We spent about 30 minutes picking and then headed back to the cabin with berry stained hands.

I am just about to make the kids their first ever batch of Huckleberry pancakes, and none of this would have happened if I kept my head down and kept to myself.

The past 5 weeks since I stepped down have been filled with to-do lists and busywork, but this small discovery has me thrilled and excited to see what else I have missed because my head has been down focused on work.