Pilgrims & ThimbleBerries

by kfrego

When things were quiet in camp on off days or holidays Linda and I would take the kids exploring. We would pile into the old Jeep Power Wagon and follow the old roads that were seldom traveled. The old roads were made by loggers, miners, ranchers, and sometimes fire fighters. They weren’t maintained at all. Often they would stop abruptly at a slide, washout, or heavy brush and vegetation. While we were riding we would frequently stop and investigate anything interesting. We often stopped to pick wild berries. The kids loved what we called 4th of July or Thimble Berries. They look like raspberries but are much larger, flatter, and softer. They are delicious when freshly picked while strolling the mountain roads.

On one of our expeditions we were a couple miles from camp on a road covered with a couple feet of brush and weeds. The further we went the worse the condition of the road. I found a place with enough room to turn around. We couldn’t see the ground through the thick underbrush. The turn around was complete and I started moving forward. The passenger side of the Jeep dropped off a ledge with the front and rear tires on the passenger side. The poor old Jeep was hung up and wouldn’t move. We strolled back to camp eating thimble berries and letting the kids set the pace. We had all day. Two year old Dori didn’t want anything to do with being carried and four year old Jamie could walk forever. We took a little break at camp before retrieving the Jeep with our pick-up.

Merriam-Webster says a pilgrim is one who journeys to foreign lands. That fits fine in a scholastic world. When you reside in Washington, Idaho, or Montana a pilgrim is somebody who has no clue about their location or surroundings, most notably outside of metropolitan areas. Most pilgrims are from California, Portland, or Seattle. When you reside several months camping in a national forest you will probably meet some pilgrims. Their first comment is how astounded they are to find people in a place like a national forest. My favorite stunt by pilgrims happened in the middle of one lane forest roads. You’d be driving along and approach a car stopped in the middle of the road. All the doors and the trunk would be open. Behind the car in the forest shade would be a blanket spread out on the compacted gravel. On the blanket would be from 2 to 5 people eating lunch. They would be totally astonished to see another vehicle. These pilgrims probably thought they were the first pioneers to ever use this road. We always tried to be polite to them.

The pilgrims were sincere when they did stupid things………a fool can’t help for what they don’t know.