I first noticed them, with the total disbelief of a blackberry deprived Northeasterners, as we were riding our bikes just outside of Bainbridge. We'd taken the 9:20 ferry, arrived just a little before 10:00, rented some horrendous rental bikes (I now get why some people don't like to ride bikes, I wouldn't either if this way my experience) and immediately pedalled out to circumnavigate the island. After grinding through 6 gears and 2 chain rings up a hill, we were speeding down when I noticed that all those bushes crowding the side of the road were overflowing with blackberries. I braked. SD swore, almost ran into me, and narrowly avoided another broken collarbone which may be the reason he was not as impressed as I was. There were blackberries everywhere.
At least they sure looked like blackberries, but what were blackberries doing on the side of the road? Unpicked by humans, untouched by birds, unnibbled by rodents? I glanced up the road to see if anyone was watching, any cars approaching. The coast was clear so I picked and ate one. At this point I was expecting that perhaps they just looked like blackberries but were infact some insidiously disguised poison fruit. But oooh, they tasted like black juicy sweetness itself. I picked another and handed it to SD, hoping it would justify his close encounter with 3 months of intense shoulder pain. I'm not sure it did, but he did smile. We ate some more, me still glancing furtively around wondering when some angry farmer would appear waving a shot gun, and then we rode off.
Talking about this later with Pacific Northwesterners, transplants, and other visitors, I learned this first encounter with blackberries was typical. That they are in fact so plentiful as to be considered an invasive weed. The bushes are everywhere, in highway medians, on the side of the LinkRail tracks, in vacant warehouse lots, in parks, everywhere.
Strangely enough, they still sell in Seattle grocery stores for $3.99 pint.