Numerous request from my wife and an article in the local paper inspired us to plan a family mushroom hunt. I have also been wanting to check out the nearest mountain in the coast range, which is the highest point in the county.
After a few missed turns and locked gates, we found ourselves at the entrance to a huge block of land owned by Stimson Lumber. Turns out that it was only supposed to be open for deer hunting, but the site security said it was OK for us to go touring around, and even though no forest products were supposed to be removed, it would be acceptable for us to pick some mushrooms for our own use.
So off we went into the timberlands. About eight miles in, we saw a likely spot. We pulled off the road, unloaded the family, and went wandering through the forest looking for yellow treasures. It was a beautiful spot, but after stumbling over brush and downed tree limbs for a few minutes, Rochelle said “Mom, this adventure is very tiring!” We finally found two small chanterelles and a few puffballs, but there wasn’t much else. After a few more minutes, we decided to go ahead and drive up the mountain.
About 15 miles later, we found ourselves at another locked gate about 1/2 a mile below the peak. Since the kiddos were tired and everybody wanted to go home, I decided to forgo walking up to the top.
The view was great, but the clear cut in the foreground reminded us that the timber company manages their land for lumber, not appearance.
The tiring adventure proved to be too much for Rochelle. Despite the rough roads, she fell asleep even before she finished eating her snack!
Chantelle was still awake and enjoying the adventure. But as we drove back down the mountain, she soon fell asleep as well.
About half way back to the entrance to the timberlands, Marissa said “why don’t we try one more time”. So we pulled off, leaving the kids sleeping in the car with Grandma to keep an eye on them. After about five minutes of wandering back into the trees, she hit the jackpot.
After we got back home, we cleaned up our bounty. We ended up with at least ten pounds of beautiful golden chanterelles. It was the perfect outcome for a most enjoyable family adventure, and quite a haul for first-time mushroom hunters.