Hugh Erle Smith
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Favorite Forays

Oregon Foray, October 6 - 11, 2009

intro | mushrooms | miscellaneous | creatures

It was early October. The rain had come and the rain had gone.

There had been a reasonable amount of time between when the rain visited and when we visited. The temperature was perfect, day and night. 

Six days!

It's 460 miles to where we were going on this 2nd foray in Oregon.

It took 9 hours plus stops. Of course, some of us don't need stops, but alas, some genders do.

As we arrived across the border, we called ahead. Some of our party had started out days ahead of US! who couldn't quit our jobs.

They, of course, had been hunting in several of my favorite places already. Oregon for one.

We asked how it was going and they began to describe in detail everything we had missed (Imagine, three cell phones talking to three cell phones). Cauliflowers had been found this day, but being fairly new to the hunt, they (those ahead of us) had no idea what they had discovered.

So they picked one. But when they found out what it was, they cursed themselves for not picking the other (We found many in the days ahead). Fortunately for them (and us), when we called and asked where we might stop for a hunt, they were able to give us the two-mile markers where the discovery had been made. Of course, we easily found the two mile markers, but we stopped in the wrong place.

A mile is a big area, no?

Do you know what it's like to drive for 9 hours, pull off the road, get out of the car and immediately begin finding mushrooms? Bliss.

Ecstasy! The Vulcan word is...unpronounceable.

I never wanted it to end. 

Sandi says I'm married to a Mushroom Widow. What does she know?

She likes to hunt too, it's just that I don't want to quit while there's still daylight. And there's daylight tomorrow.

That night we ate mushrooms in everything. I was pretty worried about what I would be getting for dinner in regards to meat. There were Princes, Boletus, Matsutake, Hedgehogs, Lobsters, Chanterelles...

I've never liked Chanterelles, not even once.

That Chanterelle soup was soooo good! And the Princes!

Wait. I don't like mushrooms! Can I have some more of that? (Then pointing at a friend's bowl saying, "Are you gonna eat that?")

We DID have some of the finest chefs available though.

The others were in Greenville and Fort Bragg.

Maybe these chefs are why I liked them (ya think?). Or else I was starving. I even like Zucchini if it's cooked with Bacon. And Chicken is pretty good if it's cooked with skin.

OK, that's enough talk of food! ENOUGH!

Blackberry dessert. Huckleberry dessert.

Black Tongue disease (see photos).

A local expert from Oregon joined us the next day. He said he was a pot hunter. I told him harvest was over.

Mushroom season comes AFTER harvest. "What are you doing here?", I said.

Actually though, he is very knowledgeable in the field of Fungi. I hope to meet him again.

This day was our first major hunt of the trip, MY first major hunt of the season. I can't tell you where we were.

Sure I know where we were. It's one of my secret laughing places. 

I would be glad to show you. Who's driving?

Of course, Oregon is Mushroom City, O O O O Oh! (is it always like this up here?), so we immediately began finding, picking and/or photographing the mushrooms and slime molds. As any photographer would, one of the people in our expedition sat down next to the trail to photograph a specimen (for pictures of any subject, whether it's Coprinus on Dog Doo, Spiders, Snakes, or your kids, you generally need to be at the same level as your subject). Now, the first 100 yards of this trail is sometimes called Dog Doo Alley, no doubt because some dog owners, not wanting to be responsible for their family, use the first section, out of sight of the parking lot. So here's the scoop (no pun intended).

I had already taken some pictures of some Coprinus on some of the many piles on the trail. But someone had been polite enough to move their dog just off the trail so no one would step in it... right where one of our group was now sitting. No one knew this while photos were being taken, but upon standing, a large, wet, brown, did I say Large? smelly patch was discovered on the thigh of their jeans.

We all gagged, laughed, gagged, laughed and gagged some more.

It was wet and thick, soaking yet viscous. Should I elaborate? There was nothing to wipe it off and it was difficult enough just to get near.

The car was too far away (we were at the maximum range of dog owners) and not one of us had any paper.

But it was eventually dealt with and the jokes flew for the rest of the trip. They may still come up occasionally... or incessantly.

Who could forget?

The next day we went to another great spot (all places must be good hunting here). We found some Matsutakes and the King Boletes were starting to show. Beautiful!

No competition like at home. Or else there's just too many to pick.

On the trail, we happened upon a famous mushroomer, famous for his video showing how to hunt Matsutakes. He was recognized immediately by some of our group.

He may have recognized some of us too, but he didn't have any time to run. We all got along great though, so we took a group photo in one of his special places and he showed us all of his secret Matsutake spots.

The last day of our trip to Oregon was the longest hike (not to say that it wasn't rewarding). In one section of this forest, a mountain of sand was pushing eastward from the ocean (over a mile away) through the woods and across the trail, burying this piece of the forest. It is fascinating to see how the sand actually encroaches upon the land, steadily, patiently, relentlessly...naturally.

And we actually got to see the ocean! After all, we WERE on the coast.

"Yes, there it is...see it through the trees?"

So, I'll stop here. I saw many mushrooms new to me, Cordyceps (Podostroma alutaceum and Cordyceps capitata), Gastroboletes, Blue mushrooms (a Blue Ganoderma oregonense and Tyromyces caesius), mushrooms growing in Dead mushrooms (Asterophora parasitica), what I thought was a Fistulina hepatica on Sitka Spruce but what actually turned out to be Ischnoderma resinosum... and Slime Molds and Snakes, Skinks, Newts, Slugs, many things, so much to discover, so much to ponder...

What a planet!

Please excuse the quality of the photos. I'm still working on learning this point and shoot camera.

My thanks to:

Anna, our hostess while in Oregon.
No one could do any better than you.
See you soon!

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