Twenty-five novice fungus foragers gathered outside of the Conservation Center in Paonia on Aug. 24, pocket knives and baskets in hand. Eager to learn about wild edible mushroom identification, they hopped into a chain of carpools to Lost Lake — the moist forested promise land of mushroom abundance.
What they discovered in this area of Forest Service land was grand. The group split up and spread out across the forest — frolicked through aspen groves, along a mountain stream, and through fields of wild flowers in search of edible morsels. Guided by some of the North Fork's most knowledgeable mushroom lovers, Chris Dalbow, Don Lareau, Tara Edna Miller and Ryan Warwick, they spotted and harvested more than a dozen species of mushrooms. With the help of the mushroom experts, the hikers were able to ID nearly all of them — including oysters, hawks wings, shrimp russula, lackluster laccaria, boletes (the most prolific), and chanterelles (the most precious). Everyone left with new knowledge and sizeable baskets of goodies, making for some rich conversations over tasty dinners that evening.
The Mushroom Fouray was part of a series of hikes organized by the Western Slope Conservation Center to showcase Forest Service and BLM lands on the Western Slope with special conservation values. The organization took more than 100 Delta County residents on guided hikes in the Adobe Badlands, Roubideau Canyon and Jumbo Mountain this past spring. The hikes were so well attended that they decided to extend the series into the fall.
"The Lost Lake/Kebler Pass area this time of year is teeming with wildlife. It's an ideal place to learn about our landscape's edible treasures. We were really glad to share this unique seasonal experience with so many folks and we hope that they will continue to not only return to this area, but also stand up to protect and steward it in the future," said Conservation Center executive director Sarah Sauter.
The next fall hikes with the Conservation Center will be a back country trash cleanup in the Raggeds Wilderness on Saturday, Sept. 14; a hike in the Thompson Divide on Sept. 21, and a hike at Bear Ranch in October (TBD).
For more information and to RSVP, visit the Conservation Center's website www.theconservationcenter.org.blog comments powered by Disqus