This morning, we went to pick cranberries on top of Mount MacIntyre. I was planning to go berry picking, rain or shine. We got neither. The sky was dark and looked like it was going to pour, but it never did. It never cleared up, either. For the entire day, the sky remained dark.
It seemed unnaturally warm out when we loaded the car, and there was a gusty wind blowing. I knew that the wind would be stronger on top of the mountain, but I didn't know how strong.
We picked berries for about three seconds before we started seeking refuge from the streaming gustiness. With the wind at our back, we walked over to the lee side of the mountain, but even there it was blowing. It seemed like there was no escape. We turned back, walking into the wind. Jade loved it.
When we got back to our original berry picking spot, I felt like I had run a marathon. It still wasn't the kind of wind that you could lean into and be held up, but it was still pretty strong.
I've seen it windier - I grew up in Saskatchewan - but I've never experienced anything windier than that day in 1996 in Auyuittuq National Park at the Schwartzenbach Falls, where the falling water never even made it to the ground because of the wind. My new Sierra Designs tent, which was supposed to handle winds up to 120km/h, flattened itself to the ground and, in spite of my coaxing, insisted that it did not want to be resurrected. Hikers walking up the pass couldn't proceed. We were walking out, with the wind at our backs, and covered two worth days of hiking in about half a day. Even with a full pack, it was the kind of wind that you could lean into and not fall over.
We started picking berries again. Either we had gotten used to the wind, or it had become a little more gentle. But only a little.
Jade began the important task of filling her mouth with blueberries and cranberries, finding patches near where we were picking.
Before long, Fawn was commenting on Jade's eyes. They were turning red and her eyelids were turning pink. Her nose was streaming. My mind started racing; was Jade having an allergic reaction to the berries? I looked at Fawn. Fawn's eyes were also red, complete with the pink around her eyelids. Her nose was also running. My nose was running, too. It was because of the wind.
Though I would have been quite happy to tough it out, we didn't pick berries for much longer after that. Fawn and Jade retreated to the car to get out of the wind and stay warm. Charmaine and I picked for only a little while longer taking the hint that it was time to go home.
It was a successful harvest, albeit a short one. It'll be nice to have those berries in the freezer for baking during the upcoming winter. Yummm.....berries....