11 years ago today, Day 4: Huckleberries on the trail

My second and last full day in Libby my friend took me on a hike.  We packed a lunch and he drove way up into the Cabinet Mountains south of town on an old mining road.  I thought his old Honda was going to jar into pieces like those cartoons where the doors fall off and the trunk lid and hood pop open and flap about, but it navigated the bumps and rocks and potholes and hairpin turns as if it had done it a hundred times.  Knowing my friend, a hundred times was probably an underestimate.  He’d grown up in Libby, and spent a lot of his time exploring the wilderness around it.

The trailhead was at the edge of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area, and he parked the car and we continued to climb on foot along a trail leading up through the forest.  Along the way, my friend started plucking something off of the low bushes along the side of the trail, and putting them in his mouth. 

Turns out it was huckleberries, and I tried some myself.  They were tiny — it took a dozen or so to make a mouthful — but they were absolutely delicious.  I worried a bit that we would run into a bear who might take exception to us eating his food supply, but we didn’t.  We grazed and munched our way up the trail until we ran out of ripe berries because of the altitude. 

After a couple of miles, we reached Bramlet Lake.

Bramlet Lake is a small glacial tarn nestled down between the peaks, and was much more beautiful than that picture shows.  And buggy — the mosquitoes were rather fierce, but apparently they didn’t like my sunscreen, for which I was grateful.  Mosquitoes normally see me as a feast, and bug bites of all kinds raise rather large welts on me. 
We ate lunch by the lakeside, and watched trout rise to the surface to enjoy the mosquito banquet, before we headed back down the mountainside.  Libby is at about 2000 feet, and according to my journal, Bramlet Lake is at about 7000 feet, so between the mining road and the trail, we’d climbed pretty far.
That night I organized the car and got ready to hit the road again.