2015 Alaska Foray Report (by )

Exit Glacier Group Photo Please forgive my musings. Folks have asked how was it?  "It" being the long distance foray up in the Kenai Pennisula in Alaska. Well, this is my 3rd trip, so that pretty much sums it up. It is alway fanastic and I keep swearing this the LAST one, but 2016 is just around the corner. Oh yeah, as long as Bill White offers our club this "Deal of a Lifetime", how can I say NO?

Alaskan varied mosses The landscape which is Alaska is alone worth the trip.  Snow capped mountains, the fjords, Denali, glaciers, almost virginal forests, deep mosses of varied hues (Not Hugh's),  and turquoise rivers. Then you add the animals:  bears, moose, elk, belugas, killer whales, puffins, bald eagles, musk ox, Dahl sheep, salmon and much much more. If that is not enough, you add the sports: fishing, kayaking, dog sledding, flying, scuba diving, hiking and you get the picture; lots to see and do. Oh did I mention "mushrooms"?  They have mushrooms up there along with berries and other very interesting plants.

This year however, the rains failed us.  On the Kenai pennisula, where Bill has the lodge, they are experiencing a drought where the rivers all throughout the pennisula are 2 feet lower than usual.  Bill pushed the foray week 1 week because last year, the rains came later.  Luckily for me last year, I like to linger and for the last couple of days I was in rain and bolete heaven.  This year however even, that did not work.  We did get a little more the last day before we left.   Our last day's mushroom haul

We however did find mushrooms on our hikes some led by Bill and others we did on our own. Gypsies, Birch boletes, man on horse back, hedge hogs, shaggy manes, hawkwings, alaskan gold and birch polypores.  We should have Sue Labiste do a current write up on that polypore soon based on what she learned from this mushroom.  Here is the past article on the "Tinder Fungus".

We hiked Exit glacier, had dinner at Salmon Bake just outside of Seward attended by a waitress who was tripping on something but made for an entertaining evening, an amazing potluck where Jerome cooked up 2 racks of lamb which was finger licking good, caught a mess of halibut fishing out of Homer, and managed to wrangle some salmon out of the Kenai river in spite of the "banana jinx" on a rainy afternoon.

The stories... this trip had a mess of them. Talk to anyone who went this year and Alaskan botox ask if pepper spray works. We each had a personal encounter.  Did you hear, I got the Alaskan botox?   I fought the local flying bugs won the berries and lost my vision for a day or two.  Nothing a little steroids couldn't fix.  None of us who went fishing will bring bananas on a boat.  By the way — I hear the cure for bananas is iron.  I need to find me a small iron good luck charm for the next trip.

No matter what happens, this foray never disappoints.  Thanks Bill, Jerry and everyone who attended.  You made the trip for me again.

Now to settle down, enjoy grilled halibut and toast topped by a generous dollup of lingon berry (low bush cranberry) jam while perusing this year's Alaskan photos, and reliving the fun all over again. Yep, it was worth it and yes, I most definitely will do it again, given the chance.