We woke up yesterday to the cool breezes of fall. No idea if this weather will stay or go, but we don't really care. We embrace this change like no other. To us, fall means no lawn mowing; no beds to make; nothing to get ready for. Weekends stretch out before us with plenty of options for good times. In other words, fall means that we're both in GOOD MOODS. At the SAME TIME. Best not to waste it.
Earlier this week, M. took the plane up and found some roads and trails in the Swan Valley he wanted to explore on foot. This was a great trail because the altitude gain was completed in the car (great for foot injuries, like mine)! And oddly groomed for such a remote place. Most of all, we liked the fact that there wasn't anyone else around. Here we are at 6,500 feet. Click on it. Make it bigger.
So, we get about 1/4 of mile in and we start seeing huckleberry bushes. At 1/2 mile, we start seeing scads of huckleberry bushes that haven't been cleaned by other hikers.
Now, a huckleberry is something special. They only grow at altitude, they are small, and pretty time consuming to pick. They are about the width of your pinky fingernail and they hide under the leaves. A good bush will maybe give you fifteen berries at most. It takes a long, long, time to fill a ziploc.
My sister snapped this photo when we picked a few weeks ago. On that trip, the temperature dropped to 40 degrees and it hailed or rained on us the entire evening. You know, after about five minutes, hail HURTS, you know what I'm saying?
We had gone up with the intention of hiking, but walking past a huckleberry mother lode is like walking past a whole bunch of $100 bills scattered all over the ground. Can't be done. I don't care who you are.
(I pretty much ripped this photo off the internet because it makes the point.)
Hands down, sitting at bush-level picking berries with my husband - having the entire day in front of us to do what we wanted - will go in the books as one of the best H & M moments on record. We talked about the randomness of how we met and wound up in this completely unlikely second location, picking huckleberries on our butts in rural Montana.
Two hours and four hands YIELDED half a ziploc bag of hucks.
This morning, I made a huckleberry coffee cake with vanilla crumb topping. Loosely based on this recipe from Cory Schreiber. The main ingredients in this cake are butter and sugar, with a lot of butter and sugar on top.
After eating what could be described as "fistfuls" of the vanilla crumb topping, I finally dished out some cottage cheese and Kashi Go Lean cereal so I'd have some protein in my body before the cake came out of the oven. Check yo'self before you wreck yo'self type of thing.