I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.


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Monday, August 30, 2010

MWT - Mycology

01 11-98 Gaelyn with Lobster mushroom at Eagles Cliff  WA (563x800) (559x796)

Lobster mushroom - Eagles Cliff, Washington - November 1998

I am not a mycologist. I am a generalologist. Yet when I lived in the Pacific Northwest I learned to confidently gather about 14 species of wild edible mushrooms. And let me tell you, they are delish. I enjoy learning about all the plants wherever I am, but especially the edibles. You just never know.

02 Gaelyn deydrating mushrooms ORCA 9-03 (796x594)

Dehydrating at Oregon Caves

In between seasons leading cave tours at Oregon Caves National Monument I volunteered one winter and helped with their mycology inventory. It’s a job I’d never been hired to do, but then you can volunteer to do a lot of things you’re not qualified for.

(all following images taken along the Widforss trail Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim)

03 01 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

I’d walk trails hunting mushrooms, take photos on site, give each one a number, carefully pop it out of the ground and take more photos, then gently pack it in a box and go on to another mushroom.

04 02 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

I built a lab in an abandoned building for the next step which included filling out a form with as much description as possible, photographing again, whole and cut in half, then put them in the dehydrator.

05 03 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

Once dry, I’d package them in plastic bags and put them in the freezer to await shipping to the real mycologist in Portland. When I found choice edibles I was allowed to gather enough to eat, plus some for my supervisor.

06 04 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

When Mike and I discovered such a variety of mushrooms hiking the Widforss Trail, including a choice Oyster, I emailed our Science division and asked about their mycology inventory.

07 05 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

After about six people that couldn’t tell me a thing I was finally sent a list of the North Rim inventory, taken back in the 1950s. And by the looks of it, whoever found the mushrooms around our Administration offices didn’t know any more about mushrooms than I do.

08 06 Maybe Russula mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

I was invited to help out. I mentioned the need for a dehydrator so samples could be added to the Park’s herbarium. Maybe next year I was told.

09 07 Maybe Russula mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

Two weeks later I returned to the Widforss trail to look for mushrooms, taking more photos with identification in mind.

09a Widforss trailhead from 01 unknown mushroom NR GRCA NP AZ (1024x768)

Barely 100 yards (91 m) from the trailhead I spotted a variety of species so sat down with my notebook, camera and knife.

10 08 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

After eight species my pen ran out of ink.

11 09 Gem-studded Puffball Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

So I continued my hike just taking more photos and looking for the Oyster choice edibles but they were past their prime.

12 10 unknown mushroom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

That’s the day I came home and Mike showed me the choice Shaggy Manes.

13 Poisonous Fly Agaric mushrom Widforss trail NR GRCA NP AZ 

So, I’ll just keep on looking at mushrooms in the meantime and hoping for some more choice edibles.


To see what’s happening around the world go to My World Tuesday by clicking here.


Diane said...

What an interesting post. That lobster mushroom is huge! Diane

Anonymous said...

So awesome Gaelyn! What an amazing variety of mushrooms you found along that trail. Isn't it funny when you suggest a project like that how long it can take for people to warm up to the idea? Keep enjoying the beauty of the mushroom world!

Sylvia K said...

Terrific, interesting post, Gaelyn and fantastic photos! I never realized there were that many different kinds of mushrooms either. There is so much beauty everywhere if you just take the time to look. Have a great week!


Jo said...

Brilliant and interesting post, Gaelyn. You are full of surprises. I agree you never know when you may need to know whether a plant is edible. I'm fascinated by the red one. Looks like it should belong in a childrens' fairy tale book. Have a wonderful day. (((Hugs))) Jo

Zane said...

Wow - plenty edible mushrooms - wonder what sort of flavours the wild gives the mushroom, as opposed to cultivation in controlled conditions.

I know that fish that I spear on one side (the bay) definitely do not taste as fresh as the fish from the wildside (westside). We speculate that it is due to the generally cooler wildside water, cleaner wildside water and the diet (better food sources) on the wildside.

Must hold true for mushrooms too. Maybe you can try to experiment with some cultivated mushrooms versus those you find in the wild (obviously the same type of mushroom) :)

Barb said...

That mushroom inventory and identification would be a fascinating job, Gaelyn. On the hike I took to Crystal Lake this week, we saw many varieties and a man collecting the edible ones for his dinner. I do like the looks of the poisonous red ones!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for teaching me much i did not know before. Please have a good Tuesday.

daily athens

eileeninmd said...

Interesting post, Gaelyn! The first lobster mushroom is cool looking and I like the colors on the the last group.

Anonymous said...

that's one job i would gladly volunteer to. i love to eat mushrooms and i'd be delighted to know all the varieties.

what a fabulous post. thanks.

Jim said...

Fascinating post.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Anonymous said...

What fabulous beauties. The Swedes are big on picking mushrooms too.

BraCom said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful mushroom photos

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

Regina said...

Fascinating world! I love mushroom.
Enjoy a great week.

Firefly the Travel Guy said...

I am in awe with your dedication with enriching yourself. Ok, I also did (some of) it when I was a guide, but you are amazing. Plus, I know the difference between ink cap, bracket and on or two others, so I am miles behind you. And that is why I won't try eating wild mushrooms.

Pat said...

When you find wild mushrooms that are edible, take very clear and detailed photos and post them! I'll be waiting...

Ruth said...

Very interesting post. I read through your recent posts and enjoyed your pictures. It is nice that the red mushroom warns of its toxicity with the bright colour, but I know there are other poisonous varieties. I will stick to the supermarket for my fungi for now. :-)

Small City Scenes said...

My goodness you catalogued a lot of unknowns. My Mother was a great mushroom hunter but I never had the knack.

Not much going on in my world---I have to try to fix the yard hydrant that goes to the horses pasture---And I figure it's not going to be be a quick fix. MB

blog with no name said...

Remember what the door knob said?

Small City Scenes said...

Regarding the jelly making: I have been all over the woods here looking for more than a handful of Huckleberries--the red ones--to make jam but it seems the critters have already been there before me. I am going to try the rosehips though---MB

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Gaelyn: What a neat post with a lot of different mushrooms. I have a friend that knows them and I have gone with him. Two that look the same on top can have different gill coloring and be poisonous.

Russ said...

Those are cool. I really like the mushroom panels. Looks like a good start to a mushroom guide :)

Quiet Paths said...

What a very fun and interesting post. Good for you. Happy mushrooming!

Arija said...

Gaelyn, we do have such a lot in common. I too have been a hunter gatherer as long as i can remember and learned mushrooming when I could barely toddle into the forest with y granny. Nuts, berries, buds and roots, anything that grows in the wild. I think I have a thing about being able to survive wherever fate drops me.

Great post with even greater photography.

Craver Vii said...

I think I recognize that Fly Agaric from video games my kids play. It is a pretty mushroom... that red cap with white spots. I know they're not all poisonous, but I read that some of these shrooms account for half of all mushroom related deaths. Wow!

Elaine said...

I was surprised by how many mushrooms you found in the Canyon. I would have thought the climate to be too dry for so many different varieties, but then we also have a dry climate here in Interior Alaska, and we have lots of mushrooms. So I guess I really shouldn't be surprised.

Karen said...

Very interesting. I love mushrooms, too, but have been to afraid to gather them from the wild.

Dawn Fine said...

One of my favorite thing to do is pick edible mushrooms..
I also know about 15 mushrooms that I am confidant picking and eating.
The others are Little brown mushrooms.
Good luck on your IDs
Happy Hunting!

Rambling Woods said...

and yet more interesting adventures that you've been on...really interesting post...

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