Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mushroom Hunting

I drove out to the coast for work yesterday, but since my morning client cancelled, I had several hours to wander the forest for mushrooms. It seems there are more folks foraging than I first imagined, although I did not see anyone yesterday. I found a spot to park my car and then decided to hike up a small but steep place where a small spring was pouring down. (What is that called?) Anyways, there were obvious signs that someone else had already decided to do the same thing. I found many spots where I assumed to find mushrooms, but the ground had been disturbed and overturned. I found many broken twigs on trees where someone had walked through. There were hardly any mushrooms to be found. I decided to continue bushwhacking up the mountainside.

I found this stem sticking out of the ground, the cap of the mushroom had been neatly cut off with a knife. I decided to continue up the mountainside wondering, "How high will a mushroom hunter climb?" It turned out to be much higher than I hoped. It wasn't until I almost reached the ridge line that mushrooms began to appear in abundance.

I think these are one of the more sought after mushrooms this time of year. They are called black trumpets. I will have to cook some up one of these days. They sound delicious!
There were several other interesting colors growing on the forest floor.
When I reached the ridge line, I hiked to the east for about 15 minutes. All of a sudden, I caught sight of an enormous salamander lying under a bush. (below)
It was probably at least 12 inches long, and my hand probably would have barely been able to wrap around it. I took several photos of it while he lay amongst the leaves. The only part of his body that moved was the skin under his chin, moving up and down like a frog. It was one of the more fascinating creatures I've seen on a hike in a long time.

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