Sunday, October 21, 2007

Elk Lake Trail, Jeeping and Mushrooming

Well I was wrong. I was too tired to go hiking this week. My class and a fever is kicking my butt. I still managed to get out and have some fun though.

I can't decide what mushroom to eat first! We started our day by hunting for mushrooms on a public right of way but some jerk from a nearby campground came out and tried to give us a warning for mushroom picking in the campground.  Never mind that we had not set foot in the campground and had picked no mushrooms anywhere that day. We told him off and refused to take the written warning he tried to hand us. I'm temped to call his boss and complain.

With all of the rest of Olympic Peninsula open to us we felt no need to linger by the road so we headed up some high elevations sites but they were below the slush line already. Yep it's too cold up there now. Next we checked out two lower elevation sites both of which I had hiked but had not hunted mushrooms on. The second site was great and I got a grocery sack full of chanterelles and several shrimp russulas (Russula xerampelina).
I've not been brave enough to try to identify and eat a Shrimp Russula before.

I've always wanted to drive from Hoodsport to Hamma Hamma on the back road so we gave it a try. It was a bit confusing even with my GPS but we did find our way to the Hamma Hamma via the 24 road. I found Leccinum ponderosum on the way. That is one I've not seen before and it is supposed to taste good but I have to wait a day to eat it. I tried my Shrimp Russulas today and I only try one new to me mushroom per day.

There were a lot of hunters wearing orange vests and driving really slow down the 24, I guess they were looking for something to shoot from their trucks. If they never get out of their trucks what use are the orange vests?

We came out near the Elk Lake trail. That is a trail that I've never hiked because it is too short to hike. Well that's how I see it. It's too short to make a whole day out of hiking it. But our day was almost over so we stopped and "hiked" it. What a lovely old growth forest! We really enjoyed this stub of a trail. I think the trail used to be much longer and it connected with the Jefferson Ridge Trail once upon a time. I found some angel wings on the trail and then on the way to the Hamma Hamma road I found a few old shaggy manes.

I have more mushrooms then I can eat and such a variety too. I have two kinds of chanterelles, Leccinum ponderosum, Angel Wings, Hedgehogs, Shrimp Russulas and Honey Mushrooms.

Honey Mushrooms grow in my back yard. They only came on this week so I was beginning to think we would get none this year. I guess we just have a late fruiting variety in our back yard.

Most fall mushrooms are starting to wind down and the winter mushrooms are coming on. My class found a nice big Cauliflower mushroom last week and I've been finding Hedgehogs.

I wish I had found that Cauliflower, it was a nice fresh one without a trace of yellow. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Leccinum ponderosum or maybe manzanitae

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