We arrive at Innerdalen, a beautiful mountain valley at the end of a one way gravel road. Visitnorway.com goes further and calls „Innerdalen – Norway’s most beautiful mountain valley”. We spent last night at least an hour to look for a nice longer but not too strenuous hike.
The weather is still fine when we pack our light day rucksack and decide to leave the rain pants in the car. Some cows are rustling through the forest, a slightly downhill grazing field.
We walk along the easy main path when a small uphill trail through the forest catches our eyes. It is steeper and muddier but the green moss and trees lure us in.
About 15 minutes into walking uphill and avoiding muddy puddles Bridget stops in her tracks. I follow her gaze. There are blueberry bushes everywhere.
My mind is still set on the mission of today’s hike and the first rain drops make me worry a little. “We have nothing to collect them in,” I shout towards her. So, she just zips off one leg of her hiking pants, makes a small knot and starts to collect blueberries into it. „Fine. I will look further uphill,“ I tell her and turn towards my side of the trail.
We learnt about the blueberries from Maike, a Dutch girl we met on our rainy first hike somewhere near Stedjeåsen. She studied climate change at the local university and we talked a lot about the state of the world during our uphill walk. She also told us about bags and bags of blueberries she collected last time and was slightly disappointed she could only show us the almost empty low bushes all around. We weren’t disappointed at all. We regained old knowledge and confidence to pick them – and eat them – the next time we would stumble upon them!
I have no idea how much time passes. The rain trickles onto the leaves of the broad-leafed trees around us and we stay mostly dry while looking for blueberry after blueberry. I focus on my technique – is it better to get two or more at a time with one hand or does that lead to more greens and parts you don’t want to eat? At some point Bridget’s provisional berry container, the pant leg, is pretty much full with blueberries. We have a short discussion if it is worth to unzip the other leg but decide to continue our small hike.
Like an open invitation the rain gets harder and hits us through the canopy. I can feel my feet getting wet and after another 15 minutes we are soaked. We reach the end of the small trail and turn around on the broader hiking path, back to the car, when the sun makes a short appearance and the rain slows down.
On the way to the car park we meet people after people who started their hike after the rain.
„I look like something went terribly wrong.“
Bridget’s hair is hanging soaking wet from her head, her hiking pants miss one leg which she used to collect the blueberries and holds up in her right hand, her also wet jacket is open wide because she couldn’t shut it with the small backpack she protected underneath which gives her a light hunchback.
I have to laugh so hard. And love her even more in that moment.
It is so weird how we have lost our connection to nature and are trained well to trust the supermarket berries more than our old knowledge of the healthy wild version.
I was scared more than once that I would pick a wrong, poisonous berry by accident in between all the blueberries. It doesn’t help that my mum takes every chance to remind me of the fox tapeworm. Bridget checked Google for us and found encouraging articles like „10 Tasty Wild Berries to Try (and 8 Poisonous Ones to Avoid)“. She came back from her virtual research with the argument that all scientists say one of the Norwegian poisonous berries could not kill a human. Cool. We also washed them thoroughly because of the, you know, fox tapeworm. I also found an encouraging Swedish article that ensured me that „our berry breaks in the forest, then, are not acutely threatened“.
Around most of the blueberry bushes we found a similar looking bush with bright red berries. They looked very similar to the blueberries but I was not brave enough to collect them and check on them later. We found out that they were Lingonberries and we could have actually picked and eaten them.
It’s funny. I didn’t take any picture or video of the blueberries at all. So, the lingonberries had to do their best to represent this blog with a picture. I wonder who actually thought something like “Why? Doesn’t Leon know that blueberries are blue?”
Also, the trip gave us the opportunity for a beautiful spot for the van, just by a river and a huge toad stool.
As always, thanks for your time. If you have any questions about a specific spot or thought I am happy to reply.