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Lobster Mushroom, lobsters -

It's August 21. It's warm and dry and the skies are filled with smoke from British Colombia (and some Washington) wildfires, but we had a decent rain at the beginning of last week, and I've been reading reports of lobster mushrooms appearing in Oregon. So I decided to take a few hours off today and do some look-see down in the Gifford Pinchot. And I did find lobsters -- all of them near streams at the 2,500-foot level southeast of Ashford, WA. I collected about a dozen in a two-hour foray. None were much larger than my fist, all were...

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It's become tradition for my son Nathan and I to head to Eastern Washington in the Mother's Day timeframe. This is about the time the Morel Mushrooms begin showing their lovely little heads, typically in areas that have been ravaged by forest fires the prior summer. This year we started early in May in some minor burn areas north of Leavenworth. We've had good luck in the past in the general vicinity. But we found nary a mushroom, so we did what we should have done earlier and paid the local (Wenatchee) Ranger Station a call. (The rangers are always...

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The weather was originally forecast to be dry and sunny on Saturday. So we planned a foray. Last year, we were hunting into mid-November, when the weather finally turned cold and rainy (then snowy). We typically hunt at the 2,000-3,000 foot elevation on the southwestern slopes of Mt. Rainier, in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We have a spot where we find a wide variety of nice fall mushrooms. Streams run through it, and the rainforest is typically quite damp. It's not always the easiest hiking, but it is beautiful, and we enjoy the hike regardless of what we find...

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Calvatia gigantea, Puffball Mushrooms -

Several years ago, we found some Giant Puffball mushrooms growing on my daughter's farm in Pennsylvania. They were the size of small beachballs, and I was very excited to find them ... but disappointed when, upon slicing them open, we discovered that they had gone to spore. They were a disgusting, yellow-green, custardy consistency on the inside, instead of the firm white meat of a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea, or "huge head") in its early, edible stage. But my appetite was whet. I've been reading up on Giant Puffballs, and how to prepare them, and this year when we returned...

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Mushrooms are now to be had in the forests near Mt. Rainier. (Not in the national park, unfortunately ... you can't hunt there. But in the national forests like Gifford Pinchot, learn the licensing and hunting regulations and get out there!) I haven't yet visited outlying areas (like Tiger Mountain, where I frequently hunt Chanterelles and Sulfur Shelf; or the Olympic Peninsula), but I've heard reports that they are going well in these places too.(Photo at left: It's hard to take time for a lunch break while surrounded by mushrooms!) Thanks to abundant rains, a wide variety of very interesting...

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