Fiddleheading with Samuel

People committed to going fiddlehead picking. Then as usual, one by one, they drop out. But not Samuel. He’s in. I pick him up at 530 and we head to Eaglecrest. This is his 3rd annual trip. It’s a beautiful day. Clouds are moving in and gonna rain tomorrow. But today, partly sunny still and 60 degrees. Perfect weather. We head across the muskeg to the creek. Samuel is talking a mile a minute. Asking all kinds of questions about where we’re going, how long till we get there, will we find the waterbottle he lost last year. I turn around and point to the peak of a mountain that’s behind where we parked the car. I tell them that’s what we aim for when we come back so we come right to the car.  We hike down to the creek. We walk upstream till I see the tree across the creek I crossed last week. A hand hold here and there so not trying to balance beam the whole way across. I cross. He struggles to get up the side of the root wad to the tree trunk, then makes it, and crosses without trepidation. Samuel knew there’s be devils club galore but forgot his gloves. I’m all about experiential learning. He complains about the devils club, as I press on with my gloves, moving it aside and heading up hill. I clear most of the devils club and wait to be sure Samuel sees me. Then I continue. Soon, we’re up in the alder patch on the hillside. The fiddleheads have grown 8 inches high in places, but in the shady spots, they are still just coming up through the dead grass. I show Samuel what to pick. He continues talking while I pick. I fill one nut jar. Then a second. Samuel is still talking. Soon, he’s off to a patch of snow up the hillside.  Then he announces he has to go “number 2”. On Samuel’s first trip 3 years ago, he didn’t know how to take a leak in the woods. Now he’s veteran of all bodily functions in the out of doors. He asks if I have any toilet paper. I say no. I usually use a piece of devils club to wipe. I can’t see him, but am guessing he’s using snow or moss or whatever is handy. In no time, I’ve got my nine jars filled and ask Samuel where is his jug. He says it’s up here. I climb up to get it and he comes down to meet me with it. I tell him I’ll finish picking the last jar. I get in front of him far enough that he can’t see and dump the few fiddleheads he’d picked in case he picked any post “number 2”.  I start filling it and he asks where are the one’s he picked and I lie and say I added them to my other jars of fiddleheads and he accepts that and I continue to pick.   Soon, all 10 jars are filled and we head back. I find a better path to the creek with not so many devils club and Samuel is happy for that. We cross the same tree, and then back up the hill. I ask him where we’re supposed to be heading and he says the mountain peak.  Good boy, I think. Soon we’re in the open heading across the muskeg. We talk about the scout trip and I ask if he apologized to his friend Oliver about a rough housing incident and he said he did. I hope he gets it. We drive back talking about whatever. He plays with the GPS map in the electric car. I show him how we gain miles to go as we descend the mountain.  I drop him off and then head home. I’m dying to try a new way to clean fiddleheads my boss told me she saw on Facebook. Put them in a game bag and put in the dryer. Sounds about right. I get home, and Sara finds me a pillow case to use. I pour in 5 of the jars and put an overhand knot in the top and into the dryer.  Worked like a freakin’ dream.

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