I obviously still refuse to do that activity starting with “h”. But when people mentioned wild blueberries, I was immediately willing to walk up a (smaller) mountain and pick them. So on Wednesday morning we departed by car from the Homestead (the family house up here in Maine) and drove to a little parking lot from where the trail begins. Armed with sunscreen and mosquito repellent, we ventured to walk through the woods.
I loved that there were so many details to discover like mushrooms, bridges, small waterfalls, etc. Also, I was the only one this walk was new to. Rich’s family tries to go there for blueberry picking every year. So do a lot of other people by the way. I saw several “walkers” with big plastic buckets. We had only a few bigger boxes in our backpacks.
Right next to Whitecap Mountain is – surprise – Black Mountain. It felt a bit like being in “Lord of the Rings” to me. Only we didn’t encounter any dwarves, elves or dragons. But lots of mosquitos and a few dogs.
But far more important: once we were high enough, the forest cleared and blueberry bushes appeared everywhere. At first we just sat down and snacked on the tiny, sweet blueberries. The wild ones are smaller, but at least as sweet. Rich’s dad, who has most blueberry picking experience, decided that this was a good, but not an excellent year. While the berries are a little bigger than normal, they haven’t grown in bunches.
After an early lunch that consisted of sandwiches, we got out our boxes and started picking blueberries to bring home. It takes quite a while to pick a good amount of them. And I didn’t even try to eat any anymore. Professional blueberry pickers apparently use rakes to harvest bigger amounts in a short time.
We also wondered around Whitecap Mountain for a bit and found better blueberry spots a little off the trail. Plus we got to enjoy nice views. Rich’s dad, who spent all his (childhood) summers in the Homestead, named all the mountains around us.
Eventually we tired. The sun was also becoming a little too hot and unpleasant. So we decided that we had enough blueberries to make muffins and pie and return home.
What I wore:
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On the way down we took the time to snack on more blueberries and drink all the water we had carried up the mountain. By then it had also become pretty hot and we actually wished we would have brought more water.
I did pretty well considering that I don’t like walking up and down the mountain. Only the last 20 minutes down were really hard and I started to complain a little. My knees hurt and I stumbled over little branches and stones because I was exhausted.
We even saw a little red squirrel. This was special because up until then I had only known the big grey American squirrels and hadn’t even been aware that there are also other kinds of squirrels in the U.S. I am not sure if this is the same kind, but this little guy looks a lot more like the red squirrels we have in Europe.
Once we had delivered the blueberries to the Homestead, we needed a nice break (read: nap). Then we spent the afternoon at the lake. Or rather lying on floaties in the water for several hours. Because walking up a mountain is hard work, but picking wild blueberries makes it absolutely worthwhile.