Underwriting provided by:
The Laura Moore Cunningham
Foundation

Fall

Charles Cavanaugh sits on a hill surrounded by huckleberry bushes [Credit: Kris Millgate]

Charles Cavanaugh is one of the oldest Palisades users. At age 90, he's not here for fish. He's here for Idaho's state fruit. Huckleberries. "They're sweet. Real super sweet and very nutritious," he says. "If you guys don't eat some along the way you're gonna starve."

He spends the early hours hiking to his patch, the afternoon picking the patch and he makes sure he's out of the woods with a bucket full of berries from the patch by sundown. He makes the trek a handful of times between August and September. "It's pleasure walking up the hill. It's nothing but pleasure," Cavanaugh says. "Look at this. Look at the surroundings — you can't beat that."

Fall colors on the South Fork of the Salmon River [Credit: Kris Millgate]After almost a century of outdoor exploration, he's still fascinated by the wild and as his prime patch peaks through the fall foliage his excitement grows. Cavanaugh starts stripping the branches of berries with his weathered hands. At first, he eats his harvest as fast as he picks it. Then he settles into the patch and the coffee can collects his find for the trip home. Cavanaugh can pick 40 thousand berries, or four pounds, in two hours.

Just over the ridge from Cavanaugh's cache is a recent burn. One started on purpose to generate aspen growth. Prescribed burns are common in the fall in Palisades. Round ups are common too. Cattle come out of every drainage with winter following close on their heels.