December 2017 mushroom foray 🍄🎄

The Bay Area Mycological Society organized a foray on December 9 to collect specimens for the Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fair. Around 50 people participated, splitting into groups to search Point Reyes and neighboring parks.

My wife (who observed “trees were full of life, even after death”) and I chose to look along the Mt Wittenberg trail, teaming up briefly with a forager and his sons (one in a Baby Bjorn) from Petaluma, and later with a grad student from Berkeley (who was momentarily “captivated by another kingdom” while admiring a large Bay tree).

The trail passed pines, under which we found Suillus (granulatus?), Xerocomellus chrysenteron (Cracking Red Bolete), Russula xerampelina (Shrimp Russula), Armillaria mellea (Honey Mushroom) and lots of Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis, and through Bay forrest in which we found Gymnopilus ventricosus (Jumbo Gym) and ‎Hypholoma fasciculare (Sulphur Tuft). Foragers gathered at the Red Barn classroom to compare and identify. Others found many more varieties, including Bolete edulis (King Bolete) with bagel-shaped caps.

This trip was joyful for a number of reasons: kids and adults were able to participate equally (most adults were novice hunters) and families could participate together; I finally glimpsed Amanita muscaria (“Super Mario mushroom” to one fellow hiker), which appeared like Santa under a Christmas tree (next to the parking lot!), and Amanita phalloides (Death Cap), striking with its cup, veil and metallic yellow-green tint, which I’ve long feared, but never seen; interactions with many smart, friendly people; hours of immersion in nature, off-trail, intently searching for treasure in the leaves.

Things I’d bring next time:

I highly recommend attending a foray. See you there!

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