Of course he slept till five o'clock. Of course (he usually wakes up at 3:30). He's still getting used to the whole toddler bed thing and so he's been going to sleep a little later than normal, despite the fact that he's been starting his naptime at the usual 1:30 or 2. I let him have a few books so that he's not tempted to get up and play and so he's been spending at least 30 minutes reading before he finally falls asleep.
Anyway...back to our spontaneous blueberry picking expedition. Once he did wake up, I was ready with snacks and water packed as well as our berry picking pails, so I just changed his diaper, packed him and Raina into the truck and headed out towards Hatcher's Pass. For those of you who are familiar with the area, we drove down the "bumpy bumpy" (Riggs' description that I heard over and over again as we slowly drove along) dirt road leading back to Archangel Valley. The road is closed at the bridge, so we parked there and then walked about half a mile up the road before veering off on a little side trail up to where there the berries are thick.
There were lots of people at the 'parking lot' in front of the bridge, and a few said they'd seen a grizzly bear while picking on one side of the trail, so we avoided that area. But it's a good reminder to always be bear aware - making plenty of noise and having bear spray handy. I was a little nervous being by myself in the sometimes thick brush, so I went up by another family of blueberry hunters. I explained that I wasn't trying to steal 'their' berry patch, but that I just wanted to have some safety in numbers. Luckily they didn't mind at all.
We got about two cups of berries before hungry babies and swarms of mosquitos and flies drove us back down the mountain to our truck and then home. I'm hoping to get my sister out here to go again with me and maybe get enough to put some away in the freezer. We'll see...
If you Alaskan readers head up there for some berries, here's a list of what to bring:
- bug spray
- pepper spray
- bear bell
- layers (it can be ten degrees colder up there than in Palmer)
- clothes you don't mind getting grubby/stained
- pails/blueberry collecting device
- good attitudes! (helps with the swarms of flies)
Also, there's no cell phone reception, so be sure to let someone know where and when you're going. Okay, lecture over...now for the pictures!