Friday, August 17, 2012

Blueberry Festival

The fam enjoyed the annual blueberry festival at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood even more this year because we had three families accompany us.  We didn't spend too much time at the festival itself since our big goal for the day was to harvest some berries!

It was pretty comical at times, the huge herd of our four families lumbering down the Winner Creek Trail, the energetic children gallivanting through the rainforest, oblivious to the vicious pricks of the devil's club thorns brushing up against their clothes.  As for the berry harvest itself, we weren't very impressed.  It seemed Winner Creek (on the resort side) was either picked over already or is still trying to recover from last year's moth infestation. The few that were still there were small and tart.

In any case, the mini hike was still fun for all.  
Never mind the formal footbridge crossing the creek...the fallen log was much more enticing to cross to the other side...

 The kids had a great time along the trail boardwalks, keen to spot a ripe berry or two waiting for them off the trail.

After heading back to soothe our grumbling tummies with some bison burgers and mac and cheese with reindeer sausage, the group slowly started to disassemble.  One fam decided to stay behind to pick on the slopes of the ski mountain.  Another had to leave to make a prior engagement.

The rest of us left behind drove to the other end of the trail to pull ourselves across the gorge, where the confluence of the Crow, Winner, and Glacier creeks roared below, via hand tram (mentioned in a previous post).

 The view from inside the cage, suspended midway between terminals.

 The girls peering down, just a bit nervous.
The berry picking on that side was more successful, with large ripe almost black Alaska blueberries and juicy salmonberries all for the taking.

On a side note, I just found a treasure trove of picking places on post!  
 Small but sweet and juicy raspberries

We had found this bush plus a couple others during a nice drive around base one night. I had wanted to bring a friend along the next day with me to pick them, but since she was busy, I just took the kids instead.
 The kids got a kick out of this pic since Liv's position in the foreground made her look a bit gigantic compared to the other two.

Now, the big surprise of this mini-picking trip with my kiddos was not the red currants, lingonberries, and raspberries we picked...but these HUMONGOUS watermelon berries! They were the biggest we've ever seen them...big as grapes!

 And then we found THESE.  The dreaded and DEADLY baneberry. All it takes is a couple of these berries and a small child will suffer cardiac arrest within minutes.
I was quite excited to find them just so I could see a plant in person. I used that as an opportunity to teach the kids to look out for this berry/plant and to NEVER EVER pick them. (Actually, as a general rule, the kids are not allowed to pick round red berries because of this very reason.  Blueberries, watermelon, and salmonberries/raspberries are all they are allowed to pick.)
They look pretty scary, don't they?

My bowl of watermelon berries. We had stopped by hubby's workshop to drop him off some of these (they're his favorite...and he couldn't believe how big they were). Thank goodness we did as these were GONE a minute or two after this picture was taken.

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