In search of Thimbleberries
September 18, 2017
One of the great end of summer treats in the Lost Sierra is Thimbleberries. They are delicious! Sweet with just the right amount of tart, almost imperceptible seeds, and they grow in patches all over Lakes Basin in the cool, shady, forest understory.
Last week’s electrical storms in the Basin delayed my annual berry-picking, but today I thought I’d check a couple of patches that lie just off the trail from the Lakes Basin campground toward Long Lake. Typically, the ripening season is just after Labor Day so I knew I was a little late, but I had my fingers crossed that I might get lucky since everything bloomed late this year.
Thimbleberries are a member of the Rubus family (think blackberries, raspberries, etc.) and like raspberries they have no thorns so they’re fun to pick and eat. They grow low to the ground and are easily identified by their large, palm-shaped leaves.
The lower elevation patches had passed their prime and I found very few berries, but I headed to higher elevation to test my luck. Fortunately, I found a big patch with many berries still left on the vine. Some of the bright red berries were dried out, but I managed to find enough juicy berries to sate my seasonal appetite.
An added bonus was the discovery of late season wildflowers!
Be sure to add the search for Thimbleberries to next summer’s list of Lost Sierra adventures. It’s a great outing for the whole family.