The image that makes this foray for me, is the huge smile on new member, Howard Chen's face as he shows the basket of black trumpets he found while hunting with Zack Mazi and Chef Evan off of highway 20. This is what FFSC forays are all about. The enjoyment of finding and discovering the wonders of mushrooms. Sorry no picture; it is one of those shoulda coulda woulda moments.
Hunting was off and on this trip. Unfortunately for the group of newbies we did not see much diversity mushrooms which made for a lack collections in the baskets. We did however find some large Hydnum repandum hedge hogs off of Lake Road in Mendocino which put some smiles on our faces. We still manged to have a good time and laughs and after several mishaps with group dynamics. All who were lost, were found. After the groups broke off into smaller groups more mushrooms were found. Parking 8 cars in JDF is quite challenging. Later we discovered that there was another mushroom group also hunting nearby which may have explained the diminished mushroom showing at 3 corners, even the yellow feet were missing! When we move to more sunnier areas we managed to find good fruiting of both yellow feet and hedgehogs. Those who heading out to highway 20 and Fort Bragg did better.
What may have been lacking on the mushroom fruiting, the weather more than made up for it. We just recovered from a large storm days before and the weekend of Albion II was clear and warm. We saw many downed trees and slides on the roads where road crews were still cleaning up.
The mushroom diversity was down and we think it was due to the cold snap the previous week, but later we discovered another fungal group was also having their foray at Jackson State Demonstration Forest as well.
Although the group was smaller, the enthusiam and contributions displayed at the potluck was simply amazing. For those of you who did not come, you really missed out. We had a local farm from Casper bring over some produce from the farm and they turned that into a beautiful fresh salad, one of the many gems of the night. It looks like we were too busy eating to take much picture either. Let your imagination go wild.
It was an amazing weekend of sharing, discovery and laughter. Everyone pitched in and helped with what was needed. After listening to Alan's beautiful presentation of mushrooms of Mendocino and Mexico, admiring the id'd collections by Justin, Douglas and Alan, this group helped put the chairs back in the lab and then headed over to the kitchen to cleanup after the potluck. This group hunted all afternoon, prepared food, watched a presentation, reviewed the mushroom collection, then cleaned up after the potluck. The kitchen was spotless Saturday night when we all turned in. When one of the member's car got stuck in the mud, 6 folks headed out the door to help. You should have seen the smile on my face, beaming like a proud Mama.
Thank you everyone who helped make another Albion successful and making me anticipate the next.
Kitty - see you out in the forest...