Tag Archives: mushroom

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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No luck with fungi

Old What’s Her Face* and I slept in this morning. We decided to check our favorite morel spot and see if any were out. There wasn’t any reason to get up early, since they don’t run away at sunrise.

Morels are one of the finest mushrooms in the world, and they grow wild here in Idaho. We usually find them in June and July, but the weather this year has been strange. Mostly, we just wanted to get out.

I remember crawling under the burned out root ball of a ponderosa pine about five years ago. I plucked out a grocery bag full of morels as big as my fist. You can find quite a few, when you find them at all.

We went to a little place called Warm Lake. Traffic was pretty heavy for the holiday weekend, but as we found increasingly smaller roads it thinned out. It was sunny and warm, and generally beautiful outside.

The ground was surprisingly dry. This time of year it’s usually pretty damp, foggy, and even muddy. All of the LBMs (little brown mushrooms) I found were wrinkled and dry. Note: only eat a mushroom you can positively identify. LBMs have been the cause of many hospital visits.

I found one really pretty false morel. It isn’t hard to tell the difference, but these are for looking only.

I’ve had my best luck where the ground has been disturbed around ponderosa pines. There was a huge forest fire near Warm Lake a few years ago, and it disturbed the ground. Experts say to look where and when the trilliums bloom. I found trillium in abundance.

Sadly, this pitiful specimen was the only morel either of us found. It looks like one of the small grey fire morels. It was about the size of my little finger tip. I decided to photograph it, and leave it to encourage its friends.


Not even enough to make scrambled eggs with tomorrow. Maybe next trip. We decided it’s date night tonight. I have to get this posted and get cleaned up.

* Not my wife’s actual name.


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