Panorama from the t-bar at Mount Cain. (Zoë Ducklow)

Panorama from the t-bar at Mount Cain. (Zoë Ducklow)

Mount Cain in the off-season hosts many tasty delights

This beautiful north Island alpine park is not just for snow sports

Mount Cain is not just for the snow lover.

It is for the view lover, the silence and wind lover, the berry lover, for the one who loves to walk where snow will soon obscure.

There are basic trails from parking lot to peak, but prepare to wander accidentally, either from losing the way or being lured by fresh berries.

Wild blueberries are in season as are black huckleberries, salal berries, and Alaska huckleberries. The strange and curious gall growths on willow trees are abundant on the slopes, as well as strawberry runners and creeping cedar. Bring a plant book or better yet, a friendly horticulturalist if possible. Also snacks.

Always pack water and snacks. This time of year, late summer, do bring a basket, pail, bag, empty lunch box, etc. to collect berries. There are only so many a hiker can eat!

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One way to enjoy fresh wild blueberries. (Zoë Ducklow)