Eleven mushroom hunters headed up Highway 126 and stopped at the McKenzie Ranger’s Station to get individual picker permits. The required permits are free for home/non-commercial users. Harriet Kelly, a member of the Cascade Mycological Society and a leader of Cascade Myco forays, offered a synopsis of mushroom hunting safety and an overview on what we might expect to find in the Trail Bridge area. The group caravanned up to the trailhead, described by Bill Sullivan’s Central Oregon Cascades hike #61 McKenzie River. We walked the first mile in (towards Tamolitch Pool) as a group, learning what to look for and how the terrain might indicate the presence of a target species. Chanterelles were located beneath Doug firs, where the understory included deep duff and was relatively clear of salal. The most successful collection of edibles was found fruiting in the carpet of mosses nearest the streams, just west of the river trail. Pig’s Ears (Ghompus), golden chanterelles, Lobster Mushroom, white chanterelles, hedgehogs, and winter chanterelles (Yellow Foot) were a sampling of edibles harvested.
After the initial walk-in together, the hunters headed off-trail and dispersed loosely into twos and threes. Walkie-talkies were used to keep contact. A core group stayed together to benefit from the extra eyeballs and Harriet’s identification ability and educational information. Many mushrooms were found just off the trail. A few participants were climbing and scouring the hillsides with great enthusiasm.
After lunch, we started moving back to the trailhead to check an area on the other side of the road. This area produced several large Lobster Mushrooms, and more white Chanterelles. By this time, participants were finding mushrooms regularly on their own. Brief discussions on how to cook and freeze their “catch” were offered. Identification of mystery mushrooms and inedible species began with a pocket field guide and Harriet’s varied and useful experience in gathering mushrooms. We are looking forward to a second foray this Fall, likely to the Coast.Members: Harriet Kelly, Judy Ness, Darko Sojak, Tom Woxell, Jim Whitfield, Howard Loewinger, Julie Dorland, Randy Sinnott, Lana Lindstrom. Nonmembers: Donna Heath.
Nov 8 2012, Mushroom Foray, Bautifu andl tasty violet pig's ear—photo by Darko Sojak
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