Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

Q&A About Picking Blueberries in Southeast Alaska

Q: Where can I find the best blueberries in Southeast Alaska?

A: Growing out of a steep, mossy, wet slope overhanging an abyss.

Q: No, really, where do I go to find good blueberries?

A: No, really, Southeast Alaskan blueberry bushes love wet, difficult places. They love it even better if they are surrounded by devil’s club. But, okay, there are lots of good places to pick blueberries.

Roadsides, especially along logging roads, often have nice berry patches, but the best place is an old clearcut where the trees haven’t shaded the berries out yet. That said, clearcut areas can be VERY difficult to walk in. Think caulk boots (boots with spiked soles), or at the very least Vibram soles. Plan to encounter steepness, slipperiness, holes, and rotting wood giving way under your feet. You won’t be able to see your feet through the dense bushes much of the time. Just pay attention to where the big devil’s club leaves are, and stay clear of those if you can. Oh, and hang on as you climb up and down the mountainside. Grab berry bushes, hemlock and cedar trees, but not spruce trees. You'll be very aware of the difference the instant you grab hold of a spruce branch.

 

Q: What is blueberryitis?

A: Bruise-like marks that take three days to wash off. See below.

Side effects of extreme blueberry picking.

Q: What makes a berry picker crazy?

A: Finding the mother patch just as it’s getting dark.

Q: What makes a berry picker’s hair stand on end?

A: Finding bear slobber on the berry bush they are picking from. (Yes, I've had this experience! The bear turned out to be nearby, too. Well, nearby is relative - the bear was about 150 feet away. We both departed in separate directions.)

Q: Is blueberry picking worth it?

A: YES! How could you even ask a question like that?

Q: Can blueberry picking be addictive? 

A: I can stop any time I want. 

Q: What is the most common lie a blueberry picker tells?

A: “I’m done. My pack/bucket/ bag is full. I’m going to walk straight out of this berry patch without picking any more berries.”

Q: Why did the blueberry picker cross the road?

A: To pee in the woods.

Happy Foraging!  

Alaska Beachcomber