Never have we been surrounded by so many berries of so many varieties while hiking on trail. British Columbia must be some sort of berry Mecca in the hiking world, and we were absolutely blown away by the sheer amounts of blooms and berries at all stages of development on the Sunshine Coast.
Whether it was on the new 2nd growth logged sections of trail or along roads and trails in town, everywhere you looked, berries were available. We were slightly early in the season or we would have been able to pick gallons of berries along the trails each day (and would have struggled to resist the urge). At first we were hesitant graze on these berries and accidentally poison ourselves, but the more we checked with local Canadians the more confident we felt. The more we picked, the more we decided if we lived here we would open a pie and jam company and make millions. Haha
Please remember to be careful before you sample any berries in the back county, we recommend a good guide book and talking to the locals before eating anything. We personally found the locals to be the best and most reliable source on what was safe to eat and good tasting.
Here’s a rundown of what we were able to sample:
Trailing black berries
Our favorite based on flavor, these were the ripest and sweetest of the ripe berries. They were low to the ground and easier to miss, but the most ripe and ready in late June for us. These were juicy, sweet, and tight.
These were the most plentiful bushes encountered, but were just coming on, it was hard to find a black one when we visited, but in a week or two they would be everywhere. These most matched the flavor of what we would expect of berries in Indiana- tart and seedy.
These wild blueberries were smaller, drier, and less sweet than our domestic ones at home, but certainly were unmistakably blueberries.
These were our favorite as they had the most unusual look and flavor for us. Ripe, these ranged from bright yellow, to red, then finally purple. They are a very mild berry with an open/juicy round shape, less seedy and with a larger juice pocket. The darker the color the sweeter the flavor. Locals seemed unimpressed with this berry for its mild flavor, but we found it an exciting different berry.
We knew of thimble berries from our time in the UP of Michigan, but this was the first encounter with ripe ones. These were more rare and spread out and seemed to just be coming on for the season. While beloved for their mild, unusual flavor, these were hard to pick as they wanted to disintegrate when picking and had a very fuzzy coating like a soft peach. We often found them in patches of blackberries that had not yet ripened.
These were not fully ripe for us, but when trying the darkest red ones we could find found them to taste like a sour cherry in Indiana. They looked like small round holly berries and made us question if they were poisonous as they resembled all things poisonous from Indiana.
Black Capped raspberries
These were the rarest and we really on found them in 2 locations and with only a few ripe bushes, but these were a very typical raspberry flavor.
With a early light of day start, we were up and on the trail by 6:50 a.m. in anticipation of a much longer day on the trail. The first steps away from the hut had us on a steep descend from the bluffs into the valley below. Shortly after the downhill was an opportunity to refill water after 7km up on the bluffs. We pushed on toward Malaspina Road and continued the now familiar up and down climbs of the SCT The earlier start kept us slightly cooler, but with the climbs we were quickly dripping in sweat once again.