In The Thicket

Yesterday I spent the day with my friend Justin and his girlfriend Amanda at Justin’s property out past Steeleville.  It is literally in the middle of nowhere.  And it’s awesome!  Last summer, I went out for the weekend.  This trip was just for the day, but we had a great time.

Our plan was to pick blackberries, ride ATVs, and shoot rifles.  We didn’t end up shooting, but we most certainly had fun.  Before we left, Justin’s dad told us that the forest ranger for the area said that they had found bear poop on their property – i.e. bears had moved in.  No one in Justin’s family had seen any bears, but we wanted to be prepared, especially since blackberries would be prime area for black bears. (We didn’t see any bears or traces of bears either.)

Getting out to their land takes you through part of the country that most people never see.  It is certainly an experience and I really do like it.  There are definitely parts of that culture though that I do not understand, other than perhaps doing things that are convenient (e.g. parking a car in the middle of a front yard of a house on main street, using a school that caught on fire as a junk yard).

We drove around on the ATVs, raced through some fields, and picked a ton of blackberries.  The grass was high and I definitely ate some grass seed :-).  We spent several hours out there picking blackberries, walking into blackberry thickets (really the only way to describe them), getting stuck by thorns, picking berries, and trying to avoid bugs and bees that were buzzing around.  We even got out a machete and hacked our way into different areas in the middle of the bushes to get more berries.

I had to wash my hands about 20 times to get the stains out.  Those berries sure are good.

Getting ready to head out for a day of ATV riding and blackberry picking.