Every week I'm out there (on the slopes of Mt. Rainier) hunting this fall, there seems to be a different variety of exotic mushrooms predominating. At first (about a month or so ago) it was Lobsters, loads of Lobsters. Then shortly after that the Chanterelles started, but didn't come in as strong as usual; but after the rains what did come in strong were the Boletes: Fat Jacks, Zeller's Boletes (pictured at right), even Admirables.
We've had a few weeks with almost no rain, now, and the Boletes are drying out and thinning out a bit. But what is coming on strong now is Chanterelles, lots and lots of them! You can see some beauties in my basket above, which is the result of a two-hour foray on Sunday afternoon.
Also in the basket: Angel Wings, more than I've ever seen before. (They are the white oyster-like shrooms in the basket pictured ... these typically grow on down and decaying fir, as in the photo above.) I'm going to be a little cautious with those, because while no one in the Western Hemisphere (that I am aware of in my reading) has ever been sickened by sufficiently prepared Angel Wings, there was a bizarre case in Japan a few years back where a number of elderly feasted on a large batch of Angel Wings, and several died afterward. They are not toxic, and so my guess would be either they weren't sufficiently sanitized, or something evil got mixed in somehow. But caution is warranted with Angel Wings, nonetheless.
Also still going (though in much smaller quantities): Lobsters! I had three smallish ones in the basket pictured. As well as Ramaria (club fungus, or coral fungus). Ramaria is very pretty, but there are many varieties nad some have a tendency to give many people diarrhea. I've eaten Ramaria with no ill effect, but in my opinion they just don't taste that great, so it's not really worth the risk. But they are pretty!
The one thing that I haven't seen out there yet (which I really miss) is Hedgehogs, or Hydnum repandum. A toothed fungus, they are a relative of Lion's Mane (which I love but rarely find here in the wild). They are a beigey-golden color and rounder than Chanterelles, but have little teeth on the bottom rather than gills. I rarely find them in large quantity, but when I find them at all I rejoice, as they are one of my favorite savory breakfast mushrooms.
They do like moist little rivulets full of ferns, and cool weather, so they may be yet to come on. Believe me, I've been looking!
Well, the good news is that we're not done yet with the Fall Mushroom Season here in the Pacific Northwest. We have about two weeks of rain in the forecast, but no freezing temperatures yet. I'm hopeful that after two weeks we can get back out there and be up to our ears in mushrooms again! Please let me know if you are interested in a Friday afternoon/Saturday forage, potentially on November 2/3 or 9/10 depending on weather.
Also, I've been having loads of fun this season introducing young families to the joy of hunting. The kids pictured here did awesome and really enjoyed themselves!
We founded MushroomObsession as a "family-friendly" organization, one of our key goals being to teach families how to help their kids enjoy a safe and productive outdoor adventure, enjoying God's creation the way it's meant to be enjoyed (leave no trace, etc.). Too many people out there are trashing the forests. We seek to help raise up a generation that will respect what God has created.
So if you'd like to join us in a foray (they're free, we just ask for a donation if you join us for a BBQ lunch at our basecamp in the forest afterward), please let us know! And then, next year we'll begin offering key mushroom-related products on this website where you can help support this effort and pay it back. Happy shrooming!