Date: April 10-12, 2015
Leader: Charlotte Caplan
All the signs were good – the weather, the wildflowers, the foliage, and yet, for the third straight year, the morels were (mostly) uncooperative. On the plus side, the weather cooperated, the potluck was superb, and almost all of us had a good time.
On Friday, about 16 people met at the State park, and heard the bad news from Whitey Hitchcock that our usual haunts were not looking good. He proposed to take us to a new site – Loyston Point – so off we went in four cars. We scoured those woods, finding only a handful of morels along the edge of the graveled track. When we got back to the cars, three people were missing, so a search party set off and found them pretty quickly. Back at the park people settled into their cabins and bunkhouses and after dinner we gathered in the dining hall, for a fascinating talk by Whitey on the celebrated sociobiologist E. O. Wilson and his friend and colleague W. G. Rosen.
Saturday was a glorious sunny day, and 26 of us, including Whitey and George, piled into a rented school bus and set off on the hour's drive to Airplane Mountain. After some sound, but, as it turned out, unprofitable topographical advice from Whitey we scattered along the wide wooded slope between the lake and the ridge. When we returned to the bus to compare our hauls, three of us had stumbled on a wonderful fruiting of about 100 prime yellow morels around a dead hickory. The rest found next to nothing. And again three people, a different three, were missing! Contacted them by phone, they said they were returning along the main trail. An hour passed. Finally a search party went out. After another hour, they were found. They had been on the ridge and somehow descended on the far side without realizing it – so when first contacted they had been hiking directly away from the bus. They had run out of water and one person was tired and dehydrated.
But all was forgiven at the potluck. I swear that George's pizza, featuring some of those great yellows, was the best ever!
We even created a species list featuring 20 polypores and spring mushrooms, including two “ firsts” for the club: Agrocybe praecox (Cracked-cap Agrocybe) and Verpa conica (Smooth Thimble Cap), a morel relative. Neither is rare – we just haven't been very diligent in recording spring mushrooms.