Saturday, August 24, 2013

Eating My Way up Right Fork Canyon, Ruby Mountains, Nevada

 Back in July (it sounds so long ago now!) we took a family trip to the Ruby Mountains near Elko, Nevada for some camping and mountain country. The Ruby Mountains receive the most precipitation of all the interior Great Basin ranges, about 40 inches a year at the higher elevations. That's quite a change from the six to seven inches we get on our desert ranch!

I'm a little behind blogging about the trip, but am finally getting to it. I'm going to start with the last day first--I got up and went for an early morning trail run. Of course I had managed to forget my running shoes, but I had some trusty sandals. I put some bandaids in my pocket (it's not the first time I've forgotten my running shoes, and I didn't want to get a blister!), and grabbed my camera and a water bottle. Then I was off.

The trail for the Right Fork Canyon (a tributary to the majestic Lamoille Canyon) starts at a cattleguard and sign by what is now called the Lions Camp (previously Boy Scout Camp and Lamoille Camp). I followed the road to its end, passing a lodge with the smell of bacon coming out of it, some tents, and some cabins. Then I followed a little marked trail to the edge of a slow-moving creek due to the presence of some beaver dams.
The trail was narrow but easily followable, and I made good time. It had rained the night before and some parts were quite muddy, and the vegetation was damp. I was glad I had on running shorts. Before long, the trail entered thicker brush. It was still easy to follow, but I got wetter.
I wasn't sure how far I was going to go, but planned a turnaround time in about 30 minutes. I figured that would give me enough time to see some of the canyon, but not too long to leave my family.

As I was closing in on that 30 minutes, I came out of the brush onto some wonderful rock. Hurray! The canyon beckoned me ahead. I so much wanted to see what else was up there. I decided to go just five minutes more.
 Except the trail got really narrow and eventually disappeared in an aspen grove! I didn't have the time to thoroughly scout it out, so I decided that was a good sign that it was time to turn around. And once I got back out to the big, flat rock place, I again had to stop to take some photos.
 I wandered over to the stream to look at a little waterfall. Then I decided I had better get going, so I took off running fast across the rock, and the next thing I knew I had landed hard on my side and ankle. Dang it. After a quick assessment I decided I was okay to continue. I was bleeding and bruised, but I could still move. Plus, I hadn't seen anyone else on the trail and I didn't know how I would get word to anyone if I was injured. (Note to self: maybe it would be a good idea to carry matches for a trail run in order to make a signal and/or warming fire if needed.) I wasn't all that far up the canyon and in fact could see the camp buildings, but I knew no one could see me.

So I gingerly started making my way back down the trail. And that's when I saw something that made me forget all my aches and pains:
 Thimbleberries! On the way up I had only seen the white ones, but on the way down I found luscious red ones, ripe and wonderful. They are related to raspberries, but even larger and sweeter.

 Then I saw what looked like blueberries. These aren't the sweet kind found in the Midwest and Alaska (and I'm sure other locales), this is a western version that grows on alkaline soil called Serviceberry. I picked some and ate them. They aren't very sweet, but they're okay.

 I saw these white berries, but they looked suspicious, and I wasn't sure what they were, so I didn't touch them.

 I also saw these alluring red berries, but they're baneberry and very poisonous. You really do need to know your berries before you eat them or you could be in a lot of trouble!

Not all red berries are bad. These currants were prime for the picking and delicious! I spent so much time eating my way back down the trail that my downhill return trip was only one minute faster than my uphill jog. It was worth it though, and I look forward to returning again. If you'd like to eat your way along the trail, late July is an ideal time.


Anonymous said...

The white berries remind me of dogwood. Is that a possibility?

Duncan said...

The white berries are definitely dogwood. Not for eating.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates