BIKE Cranberries 

Today Oct 13, 30 miles.  This was a brilliant day full of blue sky, mountain drama and 11 happy bikers.  We went where no MBC group ride has ever gone before – and we scored big.  The fire haze lingered in the bigger Fraser valley but not noticeable where we were riding.  

There was no wind the entire day so the river, lake and wetlands remained flat and smooth like mirrors.  It was easy to take many photographs.  I altered our route from a big circle around the Pitt Meadow fields to a northerly loop up to Pitt Lake so we could observe 2 cranberry fields actively being harvested.

Our first bog was the best one for observation.  Bright red berries had previously been ‘raked’ with machines moving through the flooded bog, separating the berries from the plants so they could float as a solid mass on the water.  We watched men in waders walking nets through knee deep water to catch the berries, pulling them into a semi circle working towards a bog corner where a machine sucked them up and spit them out – waste here and product there.  Big trucks were hauling their loads down the backroads to the local processor, someone like Ocean Spray.  Lower BC produces 12% of North America’s cranberry.  The methodology is simple and quite old but machinery now expedites the work and the human factor is still quite necessary.

Striking further north, we took a less traveled path along the Pitt River that was lovely.  This became good single track over the top of a mowed dyke.  At the north end was a parking lot for Pitt Lake, which runs further north 15 miles.  Steep mountains surround this lake with the very popular Golden Ears Provincial Park boxing in much of the area.  We rode a few miles across the bottom of the lake then looped down to circle the Pitt Addington Marsh and Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve.  The Marsh and Reserve areas have trails to walk and tall sheltered observation towers.   Our perimeter was basically 2 single tracks along the top of a mowed dyke.  No one had any problems on this surface.

Our second bog was active with many people working to group up the berries but the sun was in our eyes and good photos were not possible.  Besides, we were all hungry so we moved on to a golf course club house that provided hearty fare and even brick oven pizza.  We had plenty of shade on their deck with a beautiful view.  

Then we blasted back along the dykes to our cars, ready to head home.  A grand time was had by all.  The dykes throughout the Meadows as well as the Marsh and Reserve area up at Pitt Lake would be an excellent outing any day of the year.  Tom and I particularly enjoyed it during the winters. 

Everyone promised to send me their many photos, which I in turn will post to the club’s photos link.   Please give me a day or so to gather and submit.

Most of the Pitt Meadow dykes are quite smooth, like rock dust and easy to move over.  We passed many cranberry fields showing some color so harvesting is still going on if you want to venture up there for yourself.  We saw a great amount of blueberry fields and there are a handful of good places to eat within the fields or parameters.  There’s a wonderful Pumpkin Patch at the south end of the Meadows, perfect to take your grand/children.