Monday, August 23, 2010

near the end

As Steve Bodio has recently noted, we're getting right to the cusp of fall here in the higher parts of the Southwest. Recently, A and I decided to hit some more high country and look for mushrooms and, having had some success nearby, headed further north and quite a bit higher. We were hoping for lobster mushrooms or chanterelles, both no-shows. However, we did find the Rocky Mountain variant of boletus edulis, the king bolete. Sporting a nice dark mahogany colored cap, the kings were up quite high and were remarkably free of fly larvae compared to the kings and barowsii we'd found further south a couple of weeks ago.

Interestingly, the mushrooms were also much more heavily browsed. Lot of stems eaten off at ground level by somethings much bigger than squirrels. My money's on elk.

We found most of the 'shrooms back up under spruce.

The best ones were up high. How high? Pretty high-

Even big ceps were free of bugs, making the long drive worthwhile. Along the way we saw turkeys, deer, antelope, and a coyote that was lying in the sun some hundred yards down a scree slope. I'd stuck my head over the ridge and was scanning for elk when A walked up.

She asked "Isn't that an animal down by that little green patch?" Said patch being about two hundred yards below, I'd noted the light colored spot and dismissed it as a bleached stump, for no critter would hold still with me moving around so near. A asked me for the binos, claiming the "stump" had moved it's head. About the time I got them to her, the stump, a big 'yote, got up out of it's sunny day bed and loped for cover. Huh.

The country felt like fall. No real attempt at afternoon thundershowers, skunk cabbage and some ferns going brown and gold, coolness to the air and the sky turning a more pale blue. I kept thinking about grouse and bird hunting.

Still, on the way out, big shaggymanes had popped up in the bar ditch and shone in the headlights. We left them, having all the ceps we wanted to handle.

Fall is nigh. Stand by!

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