Along a certain river, not too far from Whitehorse, the blueberries are ripe for the picking. Not wanting to miss out on the delicious little berries (which are far, far tastier than their gigantic, farmed cousins).
Norris and I drove to the river just after lunch. The river, like most of the rivers in the southern Yukon right now, was higher than usual. The flooding made it a little more difficult to access some of the berry bushes, but that didn't stop us from collecting a few containers full.
As we walked along the bank of the river, looking for the prime berry patches, we noticed a small island, loaded with blueberry plants, from shore to shore and tip to tail. Normally, the island would only be an island during the spring run-off, but the higher water levels have made it into an island again. I had to get there.
Luckily, the water was fairly clear, and I could see the river bottom. The crossing to the island looked manageable. I took my shoes, socks, and pants off and bundled them together. I stepped into the cool water and waded across the current, along a gravel ridge that led to the island. I was able to cross with ease, the water just past my knees at the deepest spot.
The island was blueberry paridise. I called for Norris to cross but he was reulctant. Nanuq swam back and forth from the bank to the island, as if to show Norris that everything was OK. With some reluctance, Norris removed his pants, shoes and socks and stepped into the river. He made it across without any difficulties and we started picking berries, standing in the river, accessing the biggest and best berries with ease.
We spent most of our berry picking time around the island. We stood in the river almost the entire time. After the first little while, Norris complained that he couldn't feel his feet any more, but soon got used to it.
My back was sore from leaning over all afternoon, but it was a good harvest. There'll be even more blueberries in a week or two. I'm thinking of going back for more.
I couldn't feel my toes for awhile! It was an experience I won't forget. :-)
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