Hugh Erle Smith
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Favorite Forays

Oregon BAMS Foray, October 10 - 13, 2007
Florence | McKenzie | Delta Old Growth

If I moved to Oregon, would I grow tired of hunting mushrooms? I don't think so. Are you crazy? Why do you think I joined this club!

Then again, the season on the Oregon coast hardly ends. So yeah, I'd probably get tired of it.

But did I get tired of mushroom hunting in Oregon? Are you kidding? This was mushroom heaven!

I know that when I start doing 3 and 4-day hunts in Northern California during the Fall and Winter, it can be difficult to keep my concentration at a high level unless there's something new.

And there is.

Always something new.

I just have to get closer to the ground.

So many times I have taken pictures of things, only to discover once at home, there are many other subjects of interest in my photographs that I had not noticed.

Once upon a time on the big Island of Hawaii, I was investigating a 1950 lava tube. I was told there were several skeletons laid to rest in this conduit for molten rock. I explored the tube for a hundred yards or so, taking pictures of everything; all the different types of rock, minerals, lichens and yes, mushrooms, and examining the ceiling being
pierced by the jungle above.I never found the skeletons on this first visit.

But when I got home and developed my film, (Film, wow...wasn't the 20th Century great?), I found that I had stood right in front of 5 skulls on a rock shelf, with piles of bones organized below.

I was looking right at them! The skeletons are in multiple pictures. Eerie. 

Sorry, lost my mind for a moment.

But what I was saying when this idea came along was, I have found many different creatures taking shelter under mushrooms.

Newts, salamanders, moths, crickets, caterpillars, and predators like scorpions and spiders lying in wait for others looking for safe harbor.

I've even found active paper wasp nests, hanging from mushrooms partially covered in the duff. Fortunately I saw them.(!)

But many of these things were not seen when the pictures were being composed.

The only thing that stops me from hunting, again and again, is the lack of daylight (I HAVE been on night hunts).
The days are never long enough on this planet.

And in Oregon the days are shorter than in California.

The deciduous parts of the Oregon forests have acknowledged the coming of Autumn. There were golden colored trees everywhere!

Making our way through mushroom heaven, the roads were lined with gold, green, gold and green, with occasional splashes of the rest of the spectrum. The colors were changing Hugh (?) The contrasts were astounding.

The farther north you travel, the greener it gets.

Oregon makes California seem closer to a desert.And Washington makes Oregon seem kinda brown by contrast.

The weather forecast for this trip was showers with one day of cloudy only. Of course we took all of our rain gear. And although there was plenty of rain a week before and right up to this trip, it did not rain the entire time.

So everything was good and wet when we arrived. It was nice to have over pants as a 2nd layer for pushing through the soaking bushes, and a hat, even though I hate them, for pushing through the thicket, face first, going where no one has gone before.

There were so many mushrooms! Many were familiar to me and even more that I had never seen.

All of these edibles standing right next to the trails.Why hasn't anyone been here to pick these?

Must be one of those secret laughing places.

Probably because the population of Oregon isn't nearly that of California. And there's better things to do than hunt mushrooms.

From my home in Yuba City, north of Sacramento, this trip was 8 1/2 hours of driving, more with stops.

Now, Dimitar, one of our society's premier and upcoming scientists, and one of our most important society's assets, flew into Portland, rented a car and met up with us near Eugene.

But Portland is still a long way from where we were hunting. I have since found out that United Airlines flies to Eugene. This city is within one hour of everywhere we went on this trip.

Next time I think I'll fly. More time to hunt.

This man, Dimitar (pronounced di ME' ter) is very thorough in his study and documentation of the forest floor, and he barely covers any territory while I walk for miles. As soon as he enters the forest, he'll see something, and he's down on the ground. I'll go out and find a White Mine, maybe a Gold Mine, and when I come back by him, he's still on the ground. Of course, he sees many things that I don't and vice versa. We both get a different perspective on what we are experiencing. So when we DO finally get together later in a day, we exchange information and ideas and all of us learn a lot more than we EVER could on our own.

That's what makes a mycological society like this so great.

It enables a lot of us to congregate and share our ideas and discoveries.

But you know that.

That's why you joined this club.

We returned to California with a cornucopia of mushrooms, edible and otherwise. We had King Boletes, Gold Chanterelles, White Chanterelles, Matsutakes, Shaggy Manes, Cauliflower, Lion's Mane, Lobsters and Agaricus, to name a few.

Our hostess on the coastess was quite the cook. We had mushroom everything! Of course you remember how I've always said that I don't like to eat mushrooms. But now I think I need to change my philosophy.

If the mushrooms are cooked by someone who knows how to cook (I don't, well OK, toast, Top Ramen), then I honestly cannot say "I don't like mushrooms".

I guess the only thing permanent is change. 

And the more I learn, the less I know.

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