Hiking in the great northwest of the US brings you into contact with many types of people.
My first encounter with mushroom hunters began with the honk of a horn from a passenger van when I slowed on the roadway searching for a turn to a hiking trailhead near Mount Hood National Forest.
I pulled over to let the two passenger vans pass, and I followed them to what eventually became the location I was searching for.
The vans unloaded twenty people who were enthusiastic mushroom hunters carrying paper bags, baskets, utility scissors, mushroom knives, soft bristle brushes and digging trowels. Some wore utility vests, backpacks, carrying notebooks, and I saw several magnifying glasses in the vest pockets.
During my hike, I encountered them along the trail, and three hours later when I returned to my car, I met the group drooling with sheer excitement with their finds. They invited me to their gathering at a local restaurant, and since I had never attended a mushroom enthusiasts after hunt gathering, I said yes.
I had no idea what to expect, but as I followed the vans. I imagined someone in the group would use the mushroom illegally. However, when I entered the restaurant, my nose was fragrantly pleased with the aromas permeating my senses stirring the hunger in my stomach.
Every type of edible mushroom was in everything served, beginning with mushroom teas, appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and yes even the deserts. For the next hour, I enjoyed every tasty morsel and flavor of edible mushrooms. I could never have imagined how my hiking day would end with new beautiful friends and knowledge about mushrooms. (Click the highlighted link for the types of tasty mushrooms served.)
I was given several varieties with recipes to prepare at home, and now I’m a happy mushroom consumer. But, I will need several more identification classes before I feel comfortable with hunting my own mushrooms for consumption, just to be on the safe side. 🙂