No, I don’t eat mushrooms I pick in the wild — that can sometimes be a deadly hobby. And I did not plan this “mushroom hunt” today. This was planned to be a “wildflower day” instead.
What happened was that I met with naturalist and writer Jack Wennerstrom for a nature walk in Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area. Jack being the author of several books, including the NEA’s namesake volume Soldiers Delight Journal and Leaning Sycamores, is obviously intimately knowledgeable about this area, and we intended to see the fringed gentians in bloom today.
Unfortunately this was a dreary day — windy and drizzling at times. We saw a lot of wildflowers, including gray goldenrods, serpentine asters and, needless to say, the famed fringed gentians. The walk was thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to Jack’s keen observations and patient explanations. However, the weather was not favorable for taking pictures of the flowers as the wind kept them constantly quivering.
After struggling with the flowers for some time without much success, I turned my attention to the floor of wooded areas. There I found a lot of mushrooms and fungi, some of which very colorful. Mushrooms are much sturdier than the slender wildflowers and they are nearly static no matter how strong the wind is. With a tripod and a macro lens, I was able to capture the following pictures:
I also saw my first black-and-white warbler on this “dreary” day. You just never know what surprises nature has in store for you. So perhaps this day was not dreary after all.