One of the things I love more than anything in this wide world is sharing my love of mushrooms with people who are new to the hobby. To this end, I will be leading a guided mushroom walk and foray at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute in Carrboro, NC on April 18, 2015, from 10 am to 12 pm.
As always, I am very excited to have the opportunity to talk with folks and do a mushroom walk at Pickards Mountain; the habitat at the Eco-Institute blends some of the best features of the North Carolina Piedmont, and there are several distinct ecological zones that are ideal for finding different species of mushrooms. If you have never done a mushroom walk before, here are a few things you might want to bring along and think about to make the most of it!
- Wear sturdy shoes. Since we’re going to be heading into the woods for our mushroom walk, it’s a good idea to wear shoes that are up to the task. Ideally, put on some footwear that gives a bit of ankle support so that if you step on uneven ground you don’t accidentally roll an ankle!
- Bring some water. Since it’s starting to heat up a little bit in North Carolina, you should definitely bring some H2O along with you on the mushroom walk. No need to strap on the CamelBack however, because you can always refill your water if need be in the community dining room and kitchen at Pickards Mountain, if need be. Their well water is deeelish.
- Bring a knife, bag, hand lens, and any other gear you want to use to inspect your mushrooms. I usually encourage folks to bring a pocket knife on mushroom walks so that you can slice open any mushrooms you find! Also, bring along a bag, basket, or box to carry any fungi you find on our mushroom walk! I usually use a paper or canvas bag, but mushrooms aren’t too picky what you put them in! Also, if you have a hand lens, you might want to bring that along so that you can see mushrooms up close!
- Camera. If you’re so inclined, bring along a camera and snap some shots of mushrooms you find. One of the primary things we mushroom fanatics look at when we’re trying to identify a specimen is the fungus’ habitat, so taking a pretty picture can also help with your efforts to figure out what species of mushroom you’ve found. Take a peek at this post for a few guidelines on taking mushroom photographs for identification purposes.
- Keen eyes. Spotting spring fungi can be a little challenging, because the woods are filling in with all sorts of greenery. Bring your peeping eyes with you on the mushroom walk!
- Watch out for ticks, snakes, and other wildlife! This is that particular time of year when some of the creepy crawlies get really busy in our woods, particularly ticks. If you use bug repellant you may want to bring some along; if you don’t like the stuff, I would simply encourage you to do a thorough tick check afterwards! Also, mind your feet, legs, and fingers, especially when walking in tall grass. Mushroom walks are about as safe an activity as you can choose to engage in, but it’s always a good idea to remember that we’re traveling through wildlife habitat and we don’t want to cause a disturbance!
Well, that’s about all I can think of. Look out for some new posts about chanterelle mushrooms, as well as some new silly content about the lives and misadventures of mushroom hunters, on this blog in the coming week. Until then, I remain,
Faithfully Yours in Fungal Fancy,