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COMMUNITY HIKING EXPERIENCE? BERRY PICKING? WHY NOT BOTH?
Finding 'em was a cinch. Right there in front of me. Almost daily I walk the trail; you can see a hint of the trail just behind Lucy in the first photo. The Gettman Loop Trail (click the link for great photos) in Newberg, OR.
I told Lucy about the berries. They line parts of the western section of the trail for 1/4 mile or so. Lucy is a real berry picker from childhood on. I figured she'd be tempted. But there was a surprise and here's how she surprised me.
A couple of days later, after I'd forgotten the conversation about the berries (blame dementia I guess), I was preparing for my daily walk. (4 miles around the Gettman Loop plus getting to the Loop from, and then returning to, our home.)
Anyhow, Lucy said, "Can I go with you today?"
"Sure," I said, surprised that she'd want to walk that entire distance.
We walked and walked: down into the Stonybrook gulch, back up the other side, through the forest, south along the farmer's field on the left and the golf course on the right, then down through the primeval forest again for a second crossing of Stonybrook, puffing back up the slope to the golf course, and then finally heading north toward our home.
But before we left the trail we reached the long hedge of berries, Lucy surprised me again. She pulled a plastic Kroger grocery bag from her pocket and said, "Can we pick some berries?"
See that grin on her face? I said "Yes. " She enjoys picking great berries, especially if they're free.
So we picked. And picked. These blackberry bushes have enormous thorns--for self-protection against pickers like us I guess. We continued despite the risk. Suppose you stretch to reach a berry, trip and fall forward into the hedge of berries. I don't want to talk, think, or write about that right now! But it did cross my mind while we were picking. No pain, no gain I guess.
A male hiker stopped to inquire about our picking project. We chatted gleefully about the free berries. As he turned to run on, I called out, "These are for sale, you know."
He chuckled and kept on jogging.
A second young jogger stopped. She and Lucy chatted for some time about the varieties of berries in Oregon: raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries and, of course, wild blackberries. When I asked Lucy about the conversation she said, "What a pleasant hello."
When we'd half-filled the bag we headed for home.
Bake a pie.
Back at home Lucy washed the berries and prepared them for pie filling. After supper we ate a couple of pieces of the award-winning level pie. I mean, if she'd entered the pie into the contest at the Oregon State Fair she'd have won the blue ribbon. I just know that. Fantastic taste: pungent, sweet, powerful berry taste that I'd been missing for decades since my berry-picking as a kid.
The next evening we hosted a family event: a visit from our adult daughter and her two teenagers plus her adult friend and her teenage son. We shared the rest of the pie together after our Friday evening walk visiting art galleries in downtown Newberg. The pie was a hit!
Now I'm thinking that next summer we'll be out on the Gettman Loop picking berries and then (I hope) preparing pie (or even pies--plural! Why not?)
Do you have a wild berry pie story to share? Please click "comment" and have a go at it, either here or on Facebook. Let's build a wild blackberry picker community!
P.S. Supportive prayers for those shot dead in El Pasto and their bereaved families! Just as I posted this, the news arrived. Dear God, when will we develop the guts to control guns? Don't get me wrong. I've owned a rifle. I've killed my game. I'm not opposed to gun ownership. I live in the once-wild West of the U.S.A. But I want my grandkids to feel safe in their communities. I myself want to feel safe as I walk through the dense woods on the Loop Trail in my community. I want strict gun control.)