My Adventures in Telluride, Colorado (by )

I don't know why, but I had this strange desire to attend the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival in Colorado.  I wanted to do this so much it made it my bucket list.   I loved the idea of the Festival parade which seemed like a small town parade where folks dressed up as mushrooms.

Hearing about the great mushrooms in Colorado did not hurt either.  This year, I finally managed to get this Festival on my schedule and I was not disappointed.

Majestic Colorado Have you ever visited Colorado Rockies?  It is beautiful.   I managed to coerce my friend Genine, another FFSC member, to join me on my adventure and agree to dress up with me for the parade which was the highlight of my trip.  This became my sole focus and bucket list item, "to walk in the Telluride festival dressed as a mushroom".   No silly Amanita hat for me, for my bucket list it had to be a costume, I made.   After months of agonizing what to do, I finally got around to make the costume.   It took 3 weekends and probably only 6 hours of actual work not including the hours agonizing how to make my vision a reality.   Then it was done, and no one was allowed to see until I pranced onto the parade for the "grand reveal".

Telluride is NOT a cheap event.   The festival tickets are $240 for the early bird tickets.   Lodging around Telluride is also pricy, unless you plan on camping out nearby.   Adding the plane fare and car rental it all adds up.  

We landed in Colorado and got into the car and headed to the Rockies.    It reminded me of Alaska.   The majestic mountains with snow and trees.   This was Genine's first time in Colorado and she was amazed.  

3 little agarics We spent most of our time hiking in the mountains.   Our first festival event was the all day foray led by Chad Hyatt and Chris from the Colorado club.   Telluride is located about 8000-9000'.   The foray took us to 10,000 to 11,000'.   We found mushrooms but for me, each exertion was tough.  I had difficulty with the elevation, and it was hard for me not to slow down.   It took 3 full days for the acclimation to finally set.   By then, I was in full mushroom frenzy.   For those of you have seen me hunting know what that means.  Porcini, hawkwings, chanterelles, milk caps and many assorted other fungi.   I made a point of collecting fresh specimens for the table.

I did however make some of other festival events:   Wild Foods Lecture by Katrina Blair which was more focused bio remediation which was very interesting, Wild Food dinner, Beer and Wine happy hour (cordyceps and rieshi beer),  and the keynote speaker Tradd Cotter who also focused on bio remediation.  Here is a link to the events.

The festival was trying out a new scheduling experiment, which I felt was trying.   You had to lineup to get the limited tickets for some of the events.   Unfortunately the locations are around town and the overlapping of events do not allow you to stand in line 20 mins before, while you were attending another at a different location.   You can to plan very carefully what, where and when and for the cost, not being to attend was frustrating for many ticket holders.   Since, I was hiking most days it was not possible for me.  Here is the link to the festival if you are interested.   Everyone should check it out if you can.

All in all, it was a fun extended weekend.  Lots of good food, good folks, interesting lectures and plenty of nature to explore.   Definitely something to do again.

Yes we did find mushrooms in Colorado and it was as beautiful as everyone says.