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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Tuesday, August 13
Journal August 13, 2002. 12:30 Aspen Grove Campground, near Lincoln

Black huckleberries “…are among our most delicious and highly prized berries,” according to my Rocky Mountain Nature Guide, found in “…open, subalpine sites…” Not only are they highly prized by humans, but ripening time is eagerly awaited by the bears which range the northern Rockies. Therefore, it is in the berry patches that bears are likely to be found, and I recall that the North Trekking Team’s guide through Glacier National Park would call out to announce our trespass through the sometimes dense growth of Vaccinium mambranaceum and V. globulare. “Ay, Boo!” he would boom out so the bears, busily gobbling the purple-black globes of pure goodness, would not be surprised with their mouths full by our approach.
“Ay, Boo?”
I’ve heard that before, and now it occurs to me that one of my high school classmates took on the character of Yogi Bear, who used to say something like that. Admittedly, that was a long time ago, about the time when Huckleberry Hound and his pal Yogi appeared on T.V. with that curious cast of critters in Jellystone Park (1959!). Remember? There was Yogi’s sweetie Cindy Bear, his sidekick Boo-Boo, Ranger John Smith, Snagglepuss, Yakky Doodle Duck, and so on. Bill—my classmate—sounded like Yogi, acted like him, and maybe even looked a bit like him. At our last class reunion I greeted him with the customary “Ay, Yogi Bear!” and he responded with “Ay, Boo-Boo!”
Even I get the connection between “Jellystone” and “Yellowstone,” and I suspected that Yogi’s name was too similar to another Yogi to be accidental. But Huckleberry Hound? I never really thought about the origin of that name. I have been recently enlightened. Based on the number of roadside stands where giant hand-painted signs (purple paint, of course) shout “Huckleberries!” and “Huckleberry Jam!” and “Huckleberry T-shirts!” the economy of Western Montana seems to revolve around the collection and sale of the tasty berry products to tourists. My curiosity forced me to stop at the “Dew Drop Inn” after my second day in the area. The proprietor offered a small bowl of the berries for me to sample. Delicious. “Ummmm, good! Like blueberries.” I ventured.
“Hummmp!” the man sneered. “Better.”
Thinking they would go well in Paul’s pancake mix, I pointed to a small bag of the product on the counter. I reached into my pocket for change. “How much?” I asked, delighted at the prospect of everyone in camp enjoying huckleberry pancakes.
“Ten bucks,” he responded, and he didn’t even batt an eye.
“Gaaaah!” I choked. “How is that possible?”
“Ain’t easy, “ he drawled. “We gotta fight the bears for ‘em.”
Businesses promote their products by making reference to huckleberries, as in “Huckleberry Motel,” “Huckleberry Diner,” Huckleberry this and Huckleberry that. All the restaurants promote their huckleberry pies, jams, and sauces. Sometimes the huckleberries are mixed with other berries or with rhubarb. Ice cream or whipped cream on top is good, too, but not necessary. The berries can stand by themselves. I recall meeting “Cajun Mary” at one of the educational outreach programs last week. She cooks in an enormous wood-fired barbeque pit, and the aroma of the beef, pork, and chicken she prepared was heavenly. Beale Street’s ribs were good, but Mary’s were scrumptious. But she ignored my questions about the necessary temperature, types of wood, cuts of meat, time of preparation, and all the other notions that popped into my head.
“You want to try my huckleberry pie?” she asked. “Now, that’s really good.”.
for Tuesday, August 13
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
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Saturday, September 21
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Friday, September 20
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Thursday, September 19
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Wednesday, September 18
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Tuesday, September 17
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Monday, September 16
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Sunday, September 15
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Saturday, September 14
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Friday, September 13
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Wednesday, September 11
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Monday, September 9
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Saturday, September 7
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Wednesday, September 4
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Tuesday, September 3
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Sunday, September 1
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Friday, August 30
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Thursday, August 29
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Wednesday, August 28
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Sunday, August 25
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Friday, August 23
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Thursday, August 22
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Wednesday, August 21
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Tuesday, August 20
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Saturday, August 17
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Friday, August 16
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Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
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Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
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Tuesday, August 13
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Monday, August 12
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Sunday, August 11
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Wednesday, August 7
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Wednesday, August 7
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Wednesday, August 7
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Sunday, August 4
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Saturday, August 3
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Thursday, August 1
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