Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

WildFood

Nature has so much to give you if you know where to look. Last week we went on a wilderness pack trip and journeyed into the wilderness of the South Chilcotin Mountains. Being an ecologist, I enjoy any opportunity I have to take advantage of and appreciate what nature has to offer. During the trip, as we travelled through narrow paths of various ecosystems, I entertained myself by seeing what was growing for me to eat. In the Pine stands, there were often wild rose bushes from which I could steal a few petals every once and a while and keep on my tongue as a sort of delicious treat. In the spruce stands I would pick a few of the green buds of fresh needle growth on the conifers to eat, which have a sharp, earthy and tasty flavour. In the Fir stands I could do the same, as well as harvest fresh Sitka Mountain Ash branches. Chewing on these releases the compounds on the inside of the bark, which are similar to the aspirin-associated compounds of willow bark.

Later on our journey we came to some beautiful meadows on the mountain sides near Spruce Lake. The meadow was a blanket of yellow flowers of the Arrow-Leafed Balsam Root, and scattered among them were grasses and small white, blue and purple flowers. The Balsam root is an extremely useful plant, and was a staple food source for the First Nations that lived in this area. The root, which is thick, deep, and hard to extract, can be used to make flour, pemmican, poultices, and many other things. The little white flowers were wild potatoes, which were really neat. The taproot narrows to a tip, upon which is a tiny potato no larger than a marble usually, but even more tasty than the usual garden potatoes! Finally, the “grass” like plants were actually wild onions, which although also small, were easily the tastiest onions I’ve ever had. After discovering these in the meadow from our lead guide, I collected a handful of these wild foods from the meadow and enjoyed them for the journey home.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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