Hugh Erle Smith

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Fort Bragg, January 15, 2005

Just returned from Fort Bragg. It was another awesome trip.

'Sure wish I didn't have to work...then I could keep hunting!

Actually, I quit my job on Thursday morning and headed for Fort Bragg at 6:15 (my boss will hire me back on Monday).
I hit a couple places where I first found Black Trumpets and found a few. But it looks like it's too early for the lower elevations and canyons.

So I headed into some Chanterelle zones I've discovered over the years and found some. There were Black Trumpets too, and as I climbed higher and higher up this mountain I began finding more and more, and they were bigger and bigger! None were old.

Near the summit of this mountain were the biggest clumps of Craterellus. So I cleaned up!

This spot will also be a great Matsutake zone next year.

I could tell no one had been raking here, like at the lower elevation, so I would say they don't like the work involved in a real hike.

But I know this spot is gonna be a real hit! That's makes three Matsutake secret lauging places for me now.
Oh yeah, Black Trumpets too. Almost forgot!

Later, I went to the mushroom buyers to see what was coming in.

They were buying Pigs Ears, Black Trumpets, Chanterelles, Hedgehogs and Yellow Feet. I did pretty well on all of them over the next few days.

But I don't sell. No way! I give them to people who appreciate them and dry the rest. I don't eat them. I'm on the hunt! Black trumpets are pretty good though, but I've never tasted a Chanterelle I liked.

Has anyone ever heard of or seen a White Black Trumpet?

My brother found five of them in a clump, nice and fresh.

They could be Albinos, or they could be something new (not).

But they are no doubt just as tasty.

And it seems there are two kinds of Chanterelles, one kind is the big knarly ones that I normally find, and the other looks like a perfect standard mushroom. There are lots of these this year.

I went out in the dunes for sunset and to my surprise there were Desert Stalked Puffballs poking out of the dunes. They were very perfect and most of the stalks were below ground. There were also some Peziza ammophila in the dunes as well. You can't miss them once you see them, because they look like a hole in the ground. If you blow on them they don't smoke like some ascomycetes, but if you rub or touch their spore surface, they do.

Oh yeah, the sunset was one of those that light up the sky with all the "Hues" of the rainbow. The best part of a sunset happens 10 to 15 minutes AFTER the sun sets. And in Fort Bragg, either you have no sun at all, or the sky is perfectly clear and it's just another sunset, but on occasion you get one of these.

I got a couple "fair" photos of other ascomycetes smoking.

One is the tasty Helvella lacunosa and the other, an Ass' Ear.

My brother also found some very nice, fresh Gyromitra infula.

They are always a pleasure to find.

He has even made some casts of them.

In summary, I would have to say that Black Trumpet season is just beginning, along with Hedgehogs and Yellow Feet.