With free babysitting lined up for the day, I simply couldn't pass up an opportunity to get out in the woods and hunt the morels. They're only here for a couple of weeks. My to-do list will probably still be here months from now.
|Black Morel (Morchella elata)|
This is the spot where I found the majority of them. Almost all of the trees in this area were tulip poplars. Many of the black morels I found were snuggled up close to the base of the trees at the bottom of this northwest facing slope. The ground was evenly moist from the run-off of recent rains. The location receives good, filtered, late afternoon sunshine.
The woods were so quiet and peaceful yesterday. I really needed a day like this; alone and unhurried. I spent about three hours exploring new trails. I kept an easy pace, stopping here and there to check out a few promising spots. Judging from the time it took me to get back, I think I only went out about three miles.
I'm not afraid to go out here by myself. I never see a soul. On Saturdays, you'll hear a few four-wheelers go by on the main road, but they never venture into the deep woods which are only passable on foot. At this high elevation, I get good cellphone reception everywhere I go.
I did find a handful of dried up oyster mushrooms on a fallen tree. They were too old and tough to bother collecting.
|Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) - top view|
|Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) - bottom view|
I thought this exposed rocky shelf was interesting. The boulders were as big as a row of townhouses. No mushrooms out here though, as the woods turned mainly to oak and black pine. You will not find morels there. Trees are the best way to judge a potential spot.
Here's a cluster of Devil's Urns I found. They come up just before the morels. I always see a few.
|The Devil's Urn (Urnula craterium)|
On my way back out, I found a solitary yellow morel just emerging in my favorite patch. I had scanned the area lightly on my way in and missed it. When these are up, they are everywhere. I can't wait to come back for them in a few days and hopefully get a bag full!
|Yellow Morel (Morchella species)|
|2 small yellows and 18 black morels|