Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finding mushrooms

Since we've had a tiny bit of moisture in the past few days, we decided to go for a hike yesterday in search of those rare fungi, at least in our Utah's high-desert climate where they don't show up every year. We rode the Canyon's gondola and climbed our way up towards the ridge; the hike in itself was a lot of fun and yes, we managed to find a few boletus and lactarius, we even spotted a few dry chanterelles that had come out much earlier. While they can be easily found in Colorado, mushrooms in Utah are almost a unique event, more like a fully solar eclipse. The last time I picked mushrooms in our region, was in nearby Brighton in 1999!

More recently, I had picked tons of chanterelles in Vail, Colorado, just by the side of the trail. When they show up, you only have to bend over and pick them up; unlike the Alps when everyone and his brother is eagerly tracking down these delicacies, they are totally ignored in the Rocky Mountains.
Only a few Italian, Eastern European and weirdos like me, will lower themselves to pick them up. I think thanks to Walt Disney, Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, the fear of poison mushrooms is deeply instilled into the American psyche. Even my dear wife isn't so sure about my mushroom identifying skills and when our kids lived with us, they were downright terrorized when I brought wild mushrooms home and always refused to eat them. We had our little harvest made into an omelet last night and yeah, I survived to tell the tale!

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