Thoughts, ramblings, experiences and joys of an Alaska girl. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly rooted in the Great Land of Alaska.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Blueberry Slogging

Yesterday, Alex and I went hiking up Harp Mountain in Eagle River. Ok, I'll be honest, Alex went hiking, I went berry picking. We had entered some geocache locations in our GPS unit that morning before heading out. Alex headed up the Harp Mountain Slog to find the geocache box at the top of the peak, and I stayed below, picking to my heart's content.

I decided yesterday, after berry picking for 1/2 the time and getting 2X the blueberries, I will never pick berries up Arctic Valley again. It was a bit of a hike to get to prime berry picking grounds up Harp Mountain, but no one else was there, I didn't have to compete with others, pay for parking, or search and search for ripe berries. Right above the treeline, the berries were there, waiting to be picked. At Arctic Valley, I had to hike and hike, just to find berries, and then they were so sparce that I spent hours there for less than 1 1/2 quarts of berries.

The only thing I advise about picking in an area with few people, remote areas, is to bring bear spray. The area I picked in was an area where this past June, my friend Julie and I had seen a very large black bear about 200 yards away from us on the other side. Also, Alex saw wolves when he was going up and over the slog peak of Harp Mountain.

You'll notice I didn't tell you WHERE Harp Mountain is. I guess I'll let you find that out on your own. It's my way of attempting to have a "secret" berry spot. Not many know where Harp Mountain is, and if you are willing to do the research, drive to Eagle River, and hike to the berries, I'm more than happy to share! Please remember though, this area is surrounded by private property housing, there are no restrooms and little parking, and no trash cans. If you pick there, please leave the area the way you found it, bring doggy doo bags and don't let your pups annoy the locals much.

Happy picking!


Angie M said...

I know where it is! But I'll still leave the berries for you to pick.

Cristine said...

Shhhhhhhh... let everyone else find it! :) Alex asked me yesterday why I was telling everyone where my "secret" spot was. I told him that I just like sharing so much. Plus, I know that few will drive all the way from Anchorage just to hike for the berries. I'm not worried. It's a big mountain. There are plenty for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha I found it its on my back roads explorer CD. Now I'm gonna go pick all the berries that I can eat, LOL to bad I live so far away that it would take a couple of days and lots of money to get to them to pick. I really do loooooooove blue berries

signed hungry in florida

Kim said...

I basically live across the river from Harp Mtn. I've been planning to hike the trail as I saw it listed as a good berry picking place on some website; however I have been unsure about the length of the hike or the conditions of the trail (I don't own a GPS and don't want to end up lost!). Never been picking in Alaska (although blackberry picking was big in our own backyards in Lousiana), even though I have lived here since 1999, but I am dying to get out there and get a new hobby going again! Order 2 books from Amazon on Alaska berries about 3 weeks ago, and they are taking forever to get here. Unfortunately I don't think they will arrive til the season is basically over. :( Might try to go this weekend though and keep samples of the leaves to search on the internet (don't want to eat anything poisoness!) How was the hike and the time required to do it in?

Cristine said...

Hungry, I'm sorry you live so far away! email me at I may be able to be convinced to send you some jam!

Kim, email me at the same address... since you know where it is, and it's not a "secret" to you, if it's nice this weekend, I'll meet you at the trail entrance and we'll do some picking. It's not that far up, just past the "roadway right of way" sign above the treeline! I was thinking of going tonight (Wednesday), as Alex has a fantasy football draft tonight, and I have dog obedience lessons with our super cute, super useless pooch. Let me know if you'd be interested in going for an hour or two. I get off of work at 5 and would be able to make it to the trailhead by about 5:45. I'll bring the bear spray!