Great day in the woods!

We started our day at 9:00 AM. Mushrooms don't sneak away and hide at sunup. We took a lot of people, and it's nice to get a slightly later start. It's a long drive to my normal spots, and with family, you stop more often. It's all good, I'm more into the experience than the score these days. I've had many a fish-less day along the Snake River, and never regretted one of them.

My first spot is kind of hit and miss. For the last few years it's been miss, and this was no exception. It's right alongside a turnout on the highway. Competition usually beats me to these.

It was lunchtime, but nobody wanted to stop for lunch. We went to my second spot. It was loaded with fresh morels and we gathered a good haul. My guess about the early weather patterns was right. We decided to brave Landmark Summit. This is just under 7000ft in elevation. Most years it doesn't open until the Fourth of July. It was dry as a bone today. One year, my brother and I went up there in late May and found eight feet of snow. Not this year.

My wife and I have a new spot out in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the summit. This year it turned out to be the mother lode. We all spent part of our time pointing at morels just so the grandkids could pick them. This usually means more dirt for Grandpa to clean off, but it was worth it. My grandson started his day complaining that there was no WIFI. By the end of the day, he was a regular pioneer.

Grandpa caught a tiny little frog, and everyone insisted I show the kids. I made them swear they wouldn't hurt it. They decided to fight over it, and parental interference prevented frogacide. Tiny froggy hopped away with a good story to tell.

We found quite a few snow morels today. One of them was the size and shape of a human brain. I left my phone in the car, because it tends to fall out with all that bending. I wish I had a photo for you, because it was cool. Snow morels are considered inedible at best, and poisonous at worst. They actually look nothing like an actual morel.

The weather was beautiful, sunny and not too hot yet. I think I felt two raindrops all day. My back and knees are going to make me suffer tomorrow. At one point, I got down on all fours and picked twelve plump morels without moving an inch. Still, it was a lot of bending down, squatting, and crawling over deadfall. At least oyster mushrooms have the courtesy to grow on tree trunks. Not these morels. The little buggers are right down in the dirt.

Far enough away that they stay anonymous

Our picnic wound up being an event. My son made some baked beans from scratch, and we threw in a skillet to warm them up. My wife made her grilled potato salad, and we grilled hotdogs and chorizos on site.

The little kids ran around like wild animals while we cooked, and while we cleaned up. Something tells me they'll sleep well tonight.

One of two huge bags of morels

The only downside was on the way home. I was following another vehicle, my son was following me, and my daughter and her friend brought up the rear. We drove past a county sheriff, and he pulled the girls over. He told them they were speeding, but we were all in a row driving the same speed. I have a theory his probable cause amounted to two girls driving while cute. He never ticketed them.

That and the wood tick I pulled off my shirt. I've already paid my dues to them. I spent a couple days in the hospital and drank a couple of bottle of IV fluids back in the 1980s. I think I've served my sentence with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. At least he wasn't burrowed in when I found him.

I started putting this post together at 10:00 PM. I allowed myself one hour for Game of Thrones. We put everything away, but still have a skillet to wash. I spent two hours cleaning mushrooms and putting them away. That doesn't count the batch my daughter–in-law took home. One bowl I set aside and didn't freeze. Grandpa is having an omelet tomorrow morning with a touch of Swiss cheese and fresh morels.

I hope all of you had a great day too.

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “Great day in the woods!

  1. What a great day! Truly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The morels. I am so jealous. Just finding decent ones in a grocery store is dang near impossible. I have a great chicken recipe that utilizes them. To die for. (Wipes drool onto her sleeve…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can get two dried ones at the grocery store for $20. At that rate, I must have cleaned $1000 worth tonight, and that doesn’t count the bag the others took home.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right? I need to move. That being said, with all of the rain we are getting down here (weeks of dark brooding clouds, I have never seen anything like it) I have tons of shrooms and even moss growing in my yard. Moss! I have never had moss in my back yard.

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      • All of our weather patterns are a mess. The West could use some of the water the East is getting in abundance. Our rivers look like they run about half what a normal May does.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great day. Better than most of my fishing days. Sooooo jealous. I love those things. Mail please.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a great day. The description of your lunch sounded particularly good, I could eat all that right now (it’s just after 8am), and then I’ll have your swiss cheese and morel omelette for lunch instead. I don’t think I’d trust myself to get it right picking wild mushrooms, but I guess morels are pretty distinctive and hard to confuse with something poisonous?

    I got stopped for speeding once in Vegas and when I was getting my licence out, the cop spotted my gym membership card and commented on it, and then after he’d checked out my details etc he said “I won’t give you a ticket because I work out at that same gym and would hate to see you there knowing I’d given you a ticket.” Which I thought was rather strange reasoning, but I wasn’t going to argue!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My credo is to learn one or two mushrooms and only harvest those. I won’t even learn the ones with gills, because there are so many similar bad ones. Morels and giant puff balls are pretty easy. You can study oyster mushrooms at the grocery store. I swear the cop never intended to ticket you. You were a victim of lonely cop syndrome.

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  5. What a haul! I’m salavating here! I seriously have to learn about mushrooms so I go pick so this year without poisoning myself or anyone else. 🙂 Perhaps I’ll make foraging a Green Bean Challeneg!

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    • I learned one or two easy ones, and never vary from them. Giant puffballs and morels are very distinct. You can even study oyster mushrooms at the grocery store. Foraging is fun. Lots of wild fruit in the fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You had an awesome and successful day, it seems. An omelet with Swiss cheese and fresh morels sounds mouth-watering, Craig.
    Thanks for sharing your day with us.

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  7. Sounds like a fabulous day! Bet that omelet tasted GOOD!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like an awesome day. Congrats on the great haul.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like you had a stellar day, Craig! I’m so envious of you and your morels. It’s been a drier spring than usual, and I don’t know of any good spots anyway. We found a couple black morels in the yard last year, so this year I’m hoping we can get to them before they’re past their useful life.

    Kudos to you for a) catching the little frog–they’re buggers to catch, b) giving the grandkids a good close look at it, and c) making sure it got away in one piece and breathing. I think it’s so important for kids to see the wildlife, but also to learn that it’s important to let the animals go. Of course, there are exceptions: spiders are left alone and alive outside, but when they’re in the house, they’re fair game. Same with mice. Okay, maybe mice aren’t a good example–they’re fair game no matter what, because they have a bad habit of taking up residence in cars and trucks left parked over the winter.

    BTW, the yummy omelet should take your mind off the aches and pains 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My metabolism is odd. I normally won’t get aches and pains until tomorrow. You want to note when the morals showed up in your yard, and make a walk in the woods. They’re hard to spot, but you might have a day like I did. Check areas where the forest burned in the last couple of years. The damage to the soil causes them to bloom like crazy.

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  10. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a morel. Are they indigenous to your area?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As a kid, in Idaho, we would go mushroom hunting every spring with my dad. Morels were and still are my favorite, but hard to find near my neck of the woods. Now where I live they are even harder to find. So envious of your haul! Thanks for sharing and if you ever feel like sharing your secret spot, I’d love to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can’t share the location, but I did mention Landmark Summit. Where are you these days? Thanks for stopping by.

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      • I know those special places are closely guarded secrets. I was raised in Hailey, and now reside in the Salt Lake City area. When we get up in the mountains, I usually only find boletus and puff balls, and nothing like the variety we used to find when I was young. Too many people any more.
        My brother brought some morels down for a family gathering a couple of weeks ago. The memories that taste brought back was indescribable. Can’t thank you enough for sharing the pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I cook up giant puffballs and King boletes too.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I haven’t had morels in years, and boy do I love them! I’m slobbering over the idea of your omelet! We seldom get out into the country where people have land to hunt the morels. Boo on us!
    It does seem that the day was ideal.
    I still haven’t watched last night’s Game of Thrones.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It sounds like a wonderful day! And a wonderful omelet, too!

    I’ve never gathered mushrooms. Do you know Cynthia Bertelsen’s book Mushroom: A Global History or her blog?
    I always think I’ll go to the mushroom festival in Chester County, PA, but haven’t made it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would be fun. There is a truffle festival in Oregon I keep thinking of, but I’ve never gone either. I use an Audobon Field Guide. Learned a couple of easy varieties, and refuse to mess with ones who have an evil look alike.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It sounds beautiful. I think your theory about why they stopped the girls sounds right. Never tried those mushrooms although so far I’ve loved all the ones I’ve tried. It’s wonderful to find new special places…:) Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sounds like a great day. I’ve been hearing a lot about morels lately. Apparently that have quite a fanatical following. They must be awesome.

    So glad you found that wood tick, too. Very scary the sickness they can cause!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A lovely day spent with loved ones. Doesn’t get much better – and morels to boot! (Keep an eye on the spot where bit by the tick – just to be safe.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. WOW! That’s a lot of mushrooms! It seems like an awful lot of work, but it does sound like an amazingly fun day. So you can freeze those without cooking them first? Did the granddaughter that was sick get well enough to go?

    Liked by 1 person

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