It was 25 years ago in May that I joined a foray to Yosemite led by David Arora. We camped at the Sweetwater campground on Hwy. 120 outside the park. I was new to FFSC then and didn’t know anyone, but feel that there must have been a club member or two on the trip. David says there were about twenty of us in total but sadly I have no photos of the foray and can’t remember the people. The first day we hunted the Nat. forest off Evergreen road and found morels. I remember being very proud of a prime 3” specimen. David found some Amanita velosa and cooked them up for us to taste that evening. He told us they were some of the best-tasting mushrooms and, of course, added the obligatory warning about eating amanitas that we weren’t absolutely sure of.
The next day about eight off us went into the Park to hunt the Foresta area which had experienced a significant wildfire the previous year. Foresta is an area of private homes wholly within the National Park boundary, so the Park rules still apply. I don’t know if David knew this but he led us there anyway. Possibly he thought it was not part of the Park. Perhaps the Rangers didn’t normally patrol this area of private homes. There were morels and we busied ourselves collecting them, but after about an hour a Ranger showed up in his patrol car and we were busted!!! I suspect one of the residents saw us snooping around furtively and called the cops. We all had to surrender our ID’s and our names were duly recorded just like the Bobbies used to do back in the old country. Nobody carried an ID in those days and the Bobby would say “ I’m going to have to take down your name and address, Sir!” which he did in his little black book.
Of course he relied on you telling the truth because no-one would lie to a policeman. If it were an attractive lady, he might say “I’m going to have to take down your particulars!” – a phrase that was not uncommon then and which would generate hearty chuckles for us young boys.
We were given a stern warning by the Ranger and told to surrender our mushrooms so that they could “scatter the spores in the forest”. Hah!!! We each went to our cars and gave him a few morels – it was a case of tithing to the government. So we got our ID’s back and left the park. We didn’t find any more morels but we had enough to make it a very successful first foray for me – and obviously a memorable one.