Greenway Trails a Summer Treat

On the hottest days, when the asphalt can burn my dog Watson’s paws, we head for the shade of the Greenway. Our favorite entry is at the top of Ponderosa. Our first steps lead us into the shade, where Watson can’t resist the intriguing smells on the swordferns.

                Sometimes we head to the right toward the lookout platform at Lower Hawk’s Pond. Red-winged blackbirds sway on the cattails in the pond for part of the summer, filling the air with their delightful song. They’re gone now until probably January and the pond is quiet, but red huckleberries growing next to stumps or downed trees are nearly as inviting. The sweet berries are the size of peas and easily reachable from the trails, which is important because hikers are asked to stick to the trails.

                Blackberries are much more abundant in the Greenway than huckleberries. Most are invasive, but they’re still delicious and a treat on a hot hike. I can’t ignore an invasive species when it’s trying to win my favor with its heavenly goodness.

                Most years I’ve found hordes of juicy blackberries between Bear Meadow Vista (8) and the turnoff to the newest trails (40). The berries are plentiful and I can feed myself while Watson pulls me along, though thorns periodically stab me.

                The Madrona entrance to the new trails leads to the best berry picking. Bushes hanging heavy with dark purple blackberries line the dirt road and almost make the absence of tree shade bearable.

                Trail blackberries are native to the area and delicious, but they ripen in early July. Watson and I feast on the trail blackberries on the Hood Canal Trail by the first bridge, close to the ground under the Oregon grape bushes.

                Where are your favorite berry spots?

Cynthia Taggart