I decided to leave my iPad at home this camping trip. I have a half read book on it, but wanted to avoid the temptation. I took a couple of short story magazines instead. I needed to recharge my soular batteries. (Get the spelling joke?)
Here was my office for the weekend.
We wound up seeing a flock of turkeys, a few deer, and a dozen or so rooster pheasants. Made me wish I’d brought my shotgun. We had this entire Forest Service campground to ourselves.
I wound up taking a nature walk. Idahoans are notoriously dirty people when it comes to the wild places. You’ll find beer bottles everywhere. Here is a shot of an ancient gas tank deep in the forest, accompanied by a beer can. Why is this so far from any road?
My Muse accompanied me on this walk. I’m reminded of John Dillinger’s missing suitcase of money. This is near the original shore of an old lake that is nearly dry. The forest has taken over now.
Then I spotted a trail that went deep into the forest. By this time I was half way around the lake.
How could I not take this wonderful trail. It beckoned me to some amazing discoveries. While I was walking along I heard one lone rifle shot. I wondered if I just heard the shot that killed my wife who was alone back at the camp. (Of course she was safe. This is the mind of an author at work.)
The rifle probably signaled that some lucky hunter filled his freezer with venison for the winter.
It rained a few days before our camping trip. It turned out to be a wonderful time for mushrooming. I found some amazing things and decided to share a bunch of them with you.
I eat wild mushrooms, but I’m very particular about which ones. There are more gilled mushrooms that are dangerous, deadly even, than the other kinds. I never eat gilled mushrooms from the wild. I know how to identify several of the odd varieties and stick to those.
My Fall mushrooming has been a virtual bust so far. Most of the varieties I know are Spring or Summer varieties. I dream about a secret patch of golden chanterelles or hedgehog mushrooms, but they continue to elude me. Here are some of the nameless finds from my nature walk.
Then this wonderful trail led me to something amazing. The King Bolete is the largest mushroom I know of that actually looks like a classic mushroom. I’ve gathered and eaten them many times, and prefer one of their many European names, porcini. They are usually about the size of a pancake, and the underside resembles a pancake or a sponge.
This awesome specimen was past its expiration date. The bugs made a meal of it, and it was quite dark underneath. It looked like an end table about a hundred feet off the trail.
Still, it made for a fun image to share with everyone. There was another one nearby, but it was also spoiled. It was more standard sized.
I plucked this one up and carried it back to camp. It just begged for a scale photo. I lugged it to our picnic table and placed my tin coffee mug beside it.
That is a standard large tin mug. It’s bigger than my fist. Those squares on the table cloth are about 1.5 inches.
The stock is about the size of my upper arm.
To eat one, the stock is usually discarded. The spongy layer is removed by scraping with a spoon. The cap is the part you eat. You could have tossed this one on the grill and stuffed it. It was about the size of a young pizza.
This one was inedible, but that doesn’t mean its offspring will be. I carried it reverently into the forest and propped it in the upright position so it could release its spores.
I wondered if some supernatural creature might come looking for it that evening. I hope I didn’t steal her throne or anything.
Hopefully, by placing it back in the woods, my karma will lead me to a few patches of those wonderful Fall mushrooms.
I tried to catch up with your blogs, but may have missed a thing or two. That’s what happens when you avoid the Internet for a few days. I hope my iPhone photos came out. It’s the only camera I have and the images are passable from my end. That’s all it was good for with no cellular signal and no WiFi.
Quick Edit: this walk occurred on my 55th birthday. I’m probably lucky that Mario and Luigi didn’t try to jump on me.