|Strawberry Mountain, a beautiful spot with ruins of an old lookout on top.|
|Selkirk Mountains with Gunsight Peak and Chimney Rock|
Sixty family fingers and three tongues spent an active afternoon yesterday in the scenic mountains around Rapid Lightning Creek, northeast of Sandpoint.
When the highly focused activity ended, many of those fingers were definitely purple but canine tongues did not receive inspection. Could be they were purple too.
After a brief stop at the Pack River General Store for goodies, which was buzzing with activity, our caravan headed up the road to the same spot where Bill and I had picked some berries a few days before.
Turns out we had just scratched the surface in emptying the bushes that day. Six of us walked no more than a couple of hundred feet away from the rigs, began picking and pretty much occupied our spots for the next couple of hours.
Willie, who happens to be a huck picker extraordinnaire, simply walked along the roadside for his berries.
There was talk afterward of not letting out the secret, which is pretty traditional among seasoned huckleberry pickers.
This year, however, no huckleberry patch secrets are needed.
It's a banner year for Idaho's state fruit. Pretty much anyone who goes pickin' is gonna find an ample supply, and easily so.
The key strategy over the next several days, however, is to go higher as this hot weather will, no doubt, do a number on the berries which are ripe right now.
There wasn't much talk among our group during the afternoon---just quiet, concentrated picking with the occasional rustle of leaves and brush as the three grandpuppies grabbed some goodies off the bushes while making their occasional routine check of all their peeps.
After we gathered back at the vehicles with our bounty, loaded up on liquid and munched a few treats, Bill told the drivers of the other two cars that since they ate our dust on the way up, we could sample theirs on the way down.
Turned out that didn't happen for us. While the others headed downward and as soon as we climbed in the pickup, Bill asked if I wanted to take a drive on up the mountain road, which has been closed over the past few years.
It was still early enough that the animals at home wouldn't be too upset about our being late for chores, so off we went.
We enjoyed a few stunning views as we climbed higher but none quite like the big opening created by fairly recent logging.
The expansive late afternoon view of the Selkirks off in the distance and the phenomenal close-up view of Strawberry mountain, which Bill and I had climbed a few years back, definitely meant some time out of the pickup, walking around, taking photos and simply beholding the grandeur of it all.
Twas a lovely way to top off a wonderful afternoon of pickin' those tasty purple berries with family, both four-legged and two.
Today it's back to the Lovestead blueberry bushes and beans, which, like the hucks, are very abundant.
|Pretty typical sight on huckleberry bushes this year.|
|Laurie heads back with her bucket.|
|We were all pretty happy with our picking yesterday, and we heard that breakfast plans this morning would include some berries.|
|Gunsight Peak on the right in the Selkirk Mountains northwest of Sandpoint.|