In May and June 2023 we completed our fourth annual coast-to-coast mushroom tour, focusing on the northeast states of Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. We found some nice blond morels in south-central Pennsylvania, and also foraged a lot of ramps, but in general were too late in the season to harvest mushrooms elsewhere.
First blonde morel find in the woods of south-central Pennsylvania.
The prior spring (2022) we had great luck with fire morels in the Schneider Springs burn area about 15 miles due east of Mt. Rainier in the wilderness, collecting more than 250 morels. But a 2023 return to this area left us emptyhanded.
In the spring of 2023 was the first time we foraged both edible fern fiddleheads (depicted above) and ramps (wild leeks, below, with morels). We've also harvested a good crop of mountain huckleberries.
In the Fall of 2022, due to warm and dry conditions throughout September and October, we also came up short on Fall mushrooms in our usual hunting areas in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest as well as the Olympic Peninsula. We found small quantities of chanterelles, boletes, and lobsters, but nothing to write home about.
Fall 2023 Thus Far
Since mid-August we have been doing every-other-week forays in the Gifford Pinchot, hoping for better results. The past four weeks we've harvested a good crop of nice lobsters, and small quantities of chicken of the woods; but not a single chanterelle, bolete, hedgehog or other exotic edible has yet been harvested.
Nice lobsters harvested in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in August 2023.
Intermittent rains and cooler weather ought to bring out some chanterelles and boletes. We return for a new survey next Monday evening and Tuesday and will report back on our findings.
Welcome Radagast, Mushroom Wizard of the Forest
In other news, we retired our former basecamp vehicle, a class C RV fondly referred to as "Jedediah." In June we acquired a new off-grid towable basecamp vehicle which we christened "Radagast, Mushroom Wizard of the Forest." This unique folding cabin is a 100% solar mobile trailer manufactured in a partnership between Camp365 in Minnesota and GoSun in Iowa. We had Radagast prepared to our specs and picked it up during our return from our Spring tour of the northeast states.
Since it's 100% solar, the easily towable Radagast can go many places other RVs can't and stay off-grid for up to weeks at a time. Currently it's the only vehicle of it's type in the state of Washington. Attached on top is a photo of our Radagast basecamp in the wilderness east of Mt. Rainier, and above with the solar setup deployed in our driveway at home.
As Fall mushrooms begin to appear in greater quantities at altitude, we will announce a series of 2-hour weekend forays and invite our followers to sign up for these. During these free forays we teach hunting safety and positive identification.
So stay tuned to this space for more updates!