I’m Your Huckleberry

20 08 2013

When I was in high school, Tombstone was one of my favorite movies. Still is. I love quoting Doc Holliday – he was the best character in that movie! I never really knew what he meant most of the time, but that didn’t matter. “I’m your huckleberry.”

Last weekend, I got to tag along with J on Take Your Girlfriend and Dog To Work As Volunteers Day. Oh, the things we do to spend time with our significant others. But J has a really nice office, and honestly, I had nothing better to do!

We headed up to a gorgeous spot (I have yet to find anywhere in this neck of the woods not insanely beautiful…) and met up with one of J’s rangers. We were going to work on some campsite restoration projects and had a lot of tools and signage to carry. Good thing we didn’t have far to go!

campsite restoration work at Thomas Lakes, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Whatever it takes to only make one trip!

dog helper, Thomas Lakes, Gifford Pinchot National Forest WA

Everyone has to earn their pay!

Even Simba contributed by carrying a sign for us. A short hike up the trail and we started passing breath-taking lakes! To the left, to the right – rough day at the office, indeed.

Thomas Lakes, Gifford Pinchot Forest, WA

I like the decor of J’s “office” better than mine….

Simba went wading in one lake – they’re all so shallow! – then it was time to get down to business. Some of the campsites are too close to the water, so J and his crew are closing sites and moving the designations to new areas, so the old campsites can melt back to nature. We helped out a bit, breaking up the compacted soil and making the area generally discouraging to campers.

campsite restoration, Thomas Lakes, Indian Heaven Wilderness WA

Hard, physical labor and getting super dirty are good for the soul

We finally finished up this site and my day of manual labor was over. We left J’s ranger behind, as she was camping up there and had more work to do. I secretly wished I was staying up there with her, camping in this incredible spot, but it was getting crowded and J made promises of good things to come if I hiked the short distance back to the truck.

Thomas Lakes, Indian Heaven Wilderness, WA

One last cool-down for the hard-working mutt

Good things, indeed! J handed me a Tupperware container from the truck and pointed the way to some bushes.


(You knew I would come back to that, right?) I had heard tales of the amazing huckleberry picking to be had in the area, but honestly, I didn’t really even know what a huckleberry was. I do now!

huckleberry picking, Indian Heaven Wilderness WA

Huckleberries: they’re just wild blueberries! YUM

J wandered off to his own bushes, leaving me to forage on my own. The day was gorgeous, a slight breeze blowing through the trees. The quiet noise of the forest settled over me and I slowly fell into a rhythm. I was humming the tune to Toby Keith’s song, Huckleberry, swaying slightly, fingers working steadily. Soon, I was performing my own huckleberry dance, moving to the time of nature.

Pick a berry, push a leaf, drop drop drop. Pick a berry, eat a berry, drop drop drop.

I swatted mosquitoes and called to the birds, picking the luscious little berries all the while. Reality faded, nothing left but the berries, the bushes, and me. My imagination put me back in the time when only Native Americans occupied this slice of heaven. My red-purple stained fingers plucked and pulled and picked. I cried out in anguish anytime one escaped my grasp – why did the biggest, juiciest, best berries of the bush have to be the ones I dropped?!

Then J brought my dance to a halt, crashing back through some underbrush. A peek into his container brought me great disappointment – how did he pick so much more than me?! (Answer: he probably just picked berries, none of this nature-dance shenanigans.)

Oh, well, between the two of us, we did pretty well. Enough to make something delicious!


huckleberries Indian Heaven Wilderness WA

Success any way you look at it!

So now I know: huckleberries are delicious wild blueberries. And the saying “I’m your huckleberry” means “I’m the man for the job” or “I’m the right man.”

I feel my life is now complete.





4 responses

22 08 2013
Lucille Glasgow

You lucky lady! I like your writing style! Love you, Grandma

23 08 2013

Thanks Grandma! Now I need some of your pie-making skills to whip these berries into a delicious dessert! 🙂

30 08 2013
Miss Snarky Pants

What a beautiful place to work. Maybe Hubby should consider a career switch. He’d love picking fresh berries!

2 09 2013

I’ve often thought I should consider a career switch! 🙂

Give it to me straight -

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