I think we probably first found thimbleberries in 1963 when we "left the map" on a National Forest road northwest of Marquette, Michigan and were lost in the woods for a couple hours with 5 kids aged 1-8 in the back of the station wagon. Thimbleberries helped sustain them. We also had the excitement of seeing a wolf in the wild which we were sure was not one of the 8 known wolves in the UP shown on a map at a museum in Traverse City. We came back to civilization at the ghost town of Pequaming, where Ford had made wooden sides for station wagons in the days when they had wooden sides.
We also thought we might have imagined thimbleberries. Our next encounter was another family trip in 1970
when the 5 were 8 to 15 years old and we headed west for three weeks casing out a school for our oldest
which was located in British Columbia 80 miles past the end of the Grayhound bus line in Nelson BC. They
are magic berries and memories for me.
A UP friend of mine says they only grow naturally North of the 45th parallel.