Thursday, August 13, 2015

Canyon Ridge 2015

Looking out at the view
Only eight Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to start our hike up Canyon Ridge. I'm not sure why, but it might be because it had been almost five years since our last time on this trail, and we might have forgotten how nice it can be on a sunny day. Since that's all we've been having for many months now, you can see how dry everything has become.  All the flowers are long since gone, and even the late-summer fireweed has gone to seed. We last hiked this in October 2010 and you can see here what it looked like back then. Although it was October, the blueberries had just gotten ripe. But today... well, more on that in a minute.
Mt. Baker was a little hazy today, but still beautiful
We didn't have a cloud in the sky, but there was a distinct haze as we looked across at the mountains. Apparently we are getting smoke from the wildfires in California, which is being lifted up over the high pressure ridge that has been keeping all the sun and warmth around here. But one thing that is very positive about all this heat: the huckleberries and blueberries are already ripe!
Brought to a standstill by all the berries
There have been many years when we have seen little to no berries, but we really did luck out today. In fact, it was hard sometimes to keep going on the trail, as you can see from the scene above. You may wonder about the difference between huckleberries and blueberries, so here's a little tutorial.
These huckleberries are high on the plant, usually at about eye level. And this year they are incredibly sweet and succulent. Usually they are nowhere near ripe at this time of year, but today they certainly were. And then, down low to the ground, are the blueberries.
The blueberries, although abundant, were small and nowhere near as sweet this year as in past years. Perhaps it's the drought, but it didn't seem to keep many of them from producing berries. We managed to pick plenty of both before we reluctantly returned to the trail.
Bob and Jacqueline show their stained fingers
It was fun to stuff these little guys in and reach for more. See how small those blueberries are? When you compare them to the juicy large huckleberries, I'd say you get more bang for your buck from the huck. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) But finally, we made it to our lunch spot after about three miles. This is where we always stop.
Our lunch spot
Al led us to this lovely spot, but you might notice there is no shade. I took it for as long as I could, and then I retreated into the woods a little ways to find some shade while they continued to bask in the sunshine. That's Mt. Shuksan in the far distance, faint but still visible.
The brown foliage in front, and a view of our trail
If you look carefully at the mound directly in front in this picture, you can see the faint trail showing where we ascended to this spot. But frankly, it's much more visible in the 2010 pictures. In October, much of the foliage had turned colors, where today they are pretty much just brown from the lack of moisture.
Mountain ash berries
It was hot today, but not brutally so, as we've had on previous hikes this year. We also had a fairly short hike of just under six miles round trip, with an elevation gain and loss of 1,600 feet. Plus some of the time we were in the trees, so it turned out to be a very enjoyable outing. It's a little disconcerting to see all the dry foliage, but it's still very beautiful and a wonderful way to have spent my Thursday.


  1. i believe i'd have stayed at the berry bushes and you'd have had to pick me back up on the way down. :) those look delicious. and laughed at buck for huck. :)

  2. Six miles is a suitable distance in the heat. We've been very hot...32 C. Tomorrow and Sunday it changes.

  3. That would be fun to pick and eat the berries; I have 2 blueberry bushes in our garden. The hike sounds good.

  4. I love huckleberries! They seem to be ripening much earlier this year.

  5. The berries look good! I have never tasted a huckleberry, so I will take your word for how they taste! Hope you get some moisture soon, we got an inch of rain last will help with our dryness:)

  6. As a child I went with my family every year into the high country in the Oregon Cascades to pick huckleberries. My dad was a logger and he knew the logging roads and where to find the best picking. We would bring back gallons of berries, which would go into the freezer for winter pies, but not before we had some that very next day for supper, cooked into a sweetened sauce, into which we dipped warm freshly baked bread. Oh my! I can still see and taste that memory.

  7. I am pretty certain that (if I had got that far) you would have found me with TexWisGirl, getting more huck for my buck.
    Thank you for taking us with you. Again.

  8. I have never tasted huckleberries, so thanks for the tutorial.
    You had splendid views of the mountains today.

  9. Yep, I would have definitely stopped for the berries. The blue berries are the smallest I have ever seen. Our blueberry fields round here are ripe in couple of weeks and their looking for pickers. Shall I put you and your troop's names on the list at the store. ha,ha...just no eating haha Bob's hands say he picked more than Jacqueline??

  10. Thanks for the report ... brought back fond memories for me of picking blueberries in New England as a kid. Btw, I wonder, how high up go you get on that trail? Gives me vertigo!

  11. It does look oddly dry for your area. I do hope the drought soon is over. Those berries...yum!!

  12. Dry but still gorgeous and dramatic scenery!

  13. Got a chuckle out of the stained fingers. Those were some serious berry eaters. So sorry you are still having lack of rain. Hope that changes soon. You have the gear to handle a good rain.

  14. Oh to go hiking where there is an abundance of such delights.

  15. I just love berry stained fingers.
    And your lunch perches!!


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