Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Reserve

 It's prime time for morel mushrooms. But where are they?
 My favorite "never fail" spot ... has failed. I've checked it daily.
 Many people trust Germantown Metropark for mushrooms but, so far, I've been left high and dry there, too. Last Tuesday I went to the Reserve with Dan Poffenberger and Sue Barlett, two friends from my high school years. We enjoyed breakfast at Miss Molly's Bakery & Cafe in Farmersville first (Thanks, Dan!) and then began our hike about 9 a.m.

Large-flowered Trillium

 The wildflowers in the park on April 22 seemed to be at about the right stage for morels to be present. This Trillium grandiflorum was only beginning to bloom. Most plants were not yet flowering. Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) in bloom were few and far between. I saw a few Soloman's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum), too.

 Sue (blue) and Dan (red) rest in the distance. The soil was a bit dry on the paths but the actual forest floor seemed damp. Just about right. And yet the morels were clearly not yet up.

Dogwood in bloom

 And yet today (April 29) when I pulled into the parking lot at the Nature Center, I found four other cars already there. I figured I'd be passing other mushroom hunters. But, no, I didn't see another soul during my hike. Of course the park is large: 1655 acres. I took several trails. The walking path is quite muddy from yesterday's rain.


 I left the trail and looked beneath many mature trees for morels. It was a pleasant hike, at least, even if empty-handed. Above 70° with sunny skies and calm winds was perfect hiking weather. The Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum), also called Mandrakes, are already growing in profusion but I did not find any in bloom.

 There are mushrooms, all right, but not the edible kind I sought. These were coming up at the base of a tree. They served, at least, to show that I can spot a mushroom when there's one to see. It's a good eye test to find something.

 Coming back out of the woods, I saw a group of elderly birdwatchers getting ready to hit the trail. How could I tell? They carried large binoculars and their cameras had expensive telephoto lenses. The seriousness of a birdwatcher is in proportion to the quality of his optical equipment.


  1. Who cares about morels when you have the honor of trillium, dogwoods, the stillness and quietude of a beautiful spring woods...and good friends!? Seriously, 'almost time'...best wishes on your upcoming adventures - hoping the mushroooms become plentiful! Oh, how I wish I could join you guys!