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.