Thanks to Lil’wat Cultural technician, Johnny Jones, for sharing these images of black huckleberries from his recent site visit to Meager Mountain and Keyhole Falls.
According to the International Wild Huckleberry Association, the black huckleberry (also known as Mountain huckleberry, mountain bilberry, tall huckleberry, big huckleberry, thin-leaved huckleberry, globe huckleberry, or Montana huckleberry (V. membranaceum)) is native to the northwestern U.S. and western Canada, with outcroppings in Arizona and Minnesota.
The plants are usually found in coniferous woods from 2,000 to 11,000 feet elevation, primarily in or around clearings. Canes grow one to nine feet tall. The bushes are rhizomatous and transplant poorly from the wild. The berries are red, blue, purple, black, or rarely white and have good to excellent flavor and aroma.
Down the other end of the corridor, Callaghan Country Lodge, just south of Whistler, is hosting a Huckleberry Festival on Sunday September 16.
According to the Whistler Insider, participants are encouraged to meet at the trailhead to the lodge around 9 AM (directions here) for the trek to the lodge. Anyone who gathers a cup of huckleberries (or mountain blueberries) on their hike-in is rewarded with a berry-pancake lunch and the option to participate in the day’s events or simply relax in the wood-fired Scandinavian sauna.
“We have a clinical herbal therapist who will guide an interpretive hike around Conflict lake to talk about plants and traditional harvest techniques,” Brad explains. “As well as yoga, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, hiking, relaxing, a music jam session and, of course, the pie baking contest.”