As far as we know, the bears here are unarmed. Our kids, however, armed with a little knowledge foraged a delicious salad from flowers, shoots and leaves (good eats). At lunch they were collecting trillium leaves and explaining to a couple other hikers that the leaves were edible (a virtual tidbit picked up from their grandfather over the interwebs). It turns out these other hikers were master foragers.
They pulled out a dog-eared copy of Peterson’s Guide to Wild Edible Plants of North America, and showed the kids how to identify and harvest ramps (a garlicky, onion like flavor), trout lilies (the yellow lilies we’ve been seeing have and edible bulbous root that tastes much like cattail roots, as well as edible leaves and petals), wild mint, wild onions, and Carolina spring beauties (a white flower with an edible bulbous root).
While Mama Bear cooked dinner, the kids busily foraged the area around the shelter and put together a salad of mostly trillium and trout lily. They added some diced cashews, cranberries and sunflower seeds from our trail mix, sprinkled a little olive oil, salt and pepper over the top, and we could have been in a fancy Portland bistro. While they’re not quite ready to teach the edible flower class that a co-worker (Mr. Im) and his wife teach at the coastal Maine botanical gardens, they’re well on their way, and they put together quite a tasty treat.
That was our afternoon. The parents were alone in the tent last night and woke up this morning to the sounds of a mouse crawling around underneath them. It’s pretty unusual to see mice outside the shelters (and we were tent camping), so we hastily scrambled around to locate whatever food might have been left in someone’s pocket in order to prevent the mouse from chewing an unwanted hole in our gear. The mad scramble revealed that it was not in fact a mouse, but a beetle about the size of one that had hitch-hiked in on someone’s pack. We captured the culprit and jettisoned him out the tent door, whereupon it started crawling around underneath Orion. This set off his proximity alarm, so it was time to rise and shine (Cartwheel can be seen shining in the pictures below, after her first night of “cowgirl camping.”
Then in the evening hours (after dinner) we hike to the top of high rock and set up camp (I’m writing this now from a bluff overlooking distant city lights). Tonight Cartwheel tries the hammock. The forecast we heard third-hand calls for a forty percent chance of rain, so she probably won’t get wet. Tomorrow we head up over six thousand feet for the last time until Mt. Washington in NH. We’re hoping to beat the weather system that is rumored to be moving in sometime tomorrow and staying for the week.