I get so excited when I start to see berries on the trail.
And it’s even more fun when I am walking with someone who shares my enthusiasm for picking them.
This past summer, we found blueberries, blackberries and raspberries on the Via Alpina.
And blackberries were absolutely everywhere along our summer hikes in England.
Berry picking was a thread that ran through hiking trips from July to September this year.
I first sent Simon down the lane with his cousin in July to grab berries for a crumble after dinner.
Then Anna and I slowed everyone down with our constant raspberry picking on the first few days of the Via Alpina.
Once she left, I had some new berry picking comrades show up in my sister-in-law, Koko and my friend Jermaine. They were the first ones to spot the tiny wild blueberries along the path.
Our last week in Switzerland, we stayed on a farm and picked blackberries every morning to have in our yogurt for breakfast.
In September, I hiked with my parents and my dad and I picked berries together. They were absolutely everywhere by early September in our area. And then we met friends in the Lake District who were also game to stop for picking blackberries.
Koko even filled her water bottle with them to take back to her partner who couldn’t hike with us. I love her for that! It’s not enough just to pick and enjoy the berries yourself, but also you want to spread that berry love.
My sister, brother and I first picked blackberries with my grandparents in Arkansas. They lived out in the country. As kids, we would go stay with them in June and pick berries down the road from their house. Then my grandmother would make blackberry pie and blackberry jam.
Blackberry pie was always my favorite dessert growing up. I would request it on my birthday instead of cake.
And now my brother has just opened one in North Little Rock, Arkansas. (You should definitely go visit.)
Though it can add a considerable amount of time to your hike, finding wild berries is always a good excuse for a stop on the trail.
Now, on these winter days,
when I walk by the sleeping blackberry bushes,
I imagine them full with berries again.
When the time comes, I’ll be ready with my pail,
and hopefully I’ll have a friend around who is willing to stop and share the joy picking blackberries.