My daughters and I went to the mountain this morning to pick huckleberries. My mom, Kaleb, and Shanoah also made the trip with us.
We follow a tradition going back thousands of years; the Spokane historically traveled to these mountains every summer to gather enough huckleberries to last all year. Nowadays, we simply collect enough berries to honor our traditions. We freeze them and save them for winter. Eating huckleberries at a winter feast is like having a mouthful of summer.
And for me, the huckleberries help me keep my traditions alive. My ancestors come alive during the ceremony dinners and when we gather our traditional foods. I feel close to the spirit in those moments, and hope to instill that feeling in my children.
A thunderstorm roared over the mountain at about 4:00 in the afternoon, drenching the hillside in rain. Thunderbolts cracked overhead and almost convinced us to abandon our mission. But when the storm passed, we discovered a hidden cache of berries, now sparkling amid crystal drops of water.