Walking through sun-dappled trees, baskets in hand, gazing right and left, creates a hypnotic state. We are searching for the black trumpet of death. Far from killing us, it will tickle our palates, if only we can find it. Following cues invisible to me, club members scatter to gather or photograph mushrooms of every size and hue. My husband, Ollie, at first a reluctant newcomer, is now completely taken with the hunt and is way off up ahead. Behind me, butterfly nets in hand, crouch the zoologists of the group, inventorying flies, birds, butterflies, and even small wood frogs. All are united by a keen thirst for knowledge and a sense of adventure that has taken many of the members as far as the Arctic Circle and the British Isles.
Back at the picnic area, we find that we have gathered over fifty kinds of mushrooms in two hours! I eat the most delicious mushroom soup I have ever tasted, made with wild chanterelles and fairy rings by foray leader Phil Tedeschi. Later at home, I sauté in butter the chanterelles that Ollie found. They were delicious, and I'm still here to tell the story!
The Mushroom Hunters lead a foray around Barton Dam on Sunday, May 16.
[Originally published in May, 2004.]