Walk With Me [6 - Part 2] - Big Logs, Mushroom Babies and Lobsters! - Foraging in Oregon's Coastal Forest

in walkwithme •  6 months ago

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With the return of rain in September, and cooler temperatures, Oregon's mushroom season begins. I'm headed back to the Siuslaw National Forest, not far from the Pacific Ocean. Trip Date: September 22, 2017.

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Time To Get Moving

A long time ago, in a Steemit post far away, I went on Part 1 of this walk in Oregon's Coastal Forest. To breathe in the fresh Pacific Ocean air that keeps this forest damp even in the dry season. And to forage for forest mushrooms.

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I left you sitting by the river, gazing deep into the thick forest moss. But now it's time to head into the the forest.

Since there are so many trees in this post, I'm posting it for Tree Tuesday, by @old-guy-photos. I like seeing all the trees on Tuesday!

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A Dense Coastal Forest

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Forests along Oregon's West Coast are dense and big. These Western Sword Ferns are nearly 6 feet tall. This is a rainforest! This area usually gets more than 75 inches of rain every year. Even when it's not raining, the ferns and moss enjoy the fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean.

In Part 1 of this walk, I asked, "What side of the tree does moss grow on?" Thanks to everyone who answered! As a way of atoning for my neglect of the contest, check your wallet if you gave an answer. I'll admit, this is an old nature joke that I can never resist when the opportunity is there. What's the answer? Check out this next picture!

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What side of a tree does the moss grow on? The Outside! The prize for the correct answer goes to @fishyculture. Moss grows any place where there's enough moisture. That could be any side of the tree -- except the inside, lol.

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This is the bark of a Sitka Spruce, the iconic tree in the coastal forest. I can see bits of moss and lichen on the bark. And droplets of sticky sap -- this tree may be trying to fight off invasion by fungus by walling off parts of the tree with resin.[1]

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The Red-Belted Polypore!

Eventually, even the largest trees must fall. When they do, the trees support so much life as they decay back into the forest. One of the most common bracket fungus in forest trees is the Red-Belted Polypore. I make tea with this mushroom, like in my post for the Steemit Iron Chef contest: Fomitopsis Tea, Roasted Chanterelles, Deep-fried Elfin Saddles, with Candied Witches Butter and Cats Tongues!. But I left these in the forest.

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That orange belt between the whitish growing edge and the older, darker part, is a distinctive feature of the Red-belted Polypore. See how the mushroom "shelf" is growing parallel to the ground? That tells me that the mushroom came out of the tree only after the tree fell over.

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But how long has this mushroom been here? Red-belts can live for years! But look underneath the "shelf". It's not flat, more like a thick hoof. That tells me it's pretty young. Certainly not years old.

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Let's look even closer at the underside. That chunk of the mushroom on the right has a flat part that's turning into the pores! I'm guessing this mushroom is from last year, but has started growing again this season -- putting on another layer of new pores. The way to tell for sure is to cut the mushroom in half and count the layers.

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Here's another Red-belted Polypore. It's brand new! It's not a baby, since most of the fungus is really inside the tree. The mushrooms that we see are more like a fruit. A cute little baby mushroom-fruit!

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Lobsters in the Forest!

Going deeper into the forest, the thick tree cover shades out the Sword ferns and makes it easier to travel.

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And then I notice something!

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There it is, peeking out from the moss on the forest floor.

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And there's another one!

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I check out one -- and pull it out!

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And here's the other one!

What are these? Lobster mushrooms! Amazing -- 2 fungi together, with 1 a parasite on the other! Life is harsh in the forest!

I used these for another Steemit Iron Chef entry, Grilled Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Wild Lobster Mushrooms. You can see how I identified and cleaned them in my post, How To Eat Wild Forest Lobsters. And if you want to see lots of identification details, here's a video I made about using a mushroom identification key.

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Spring Water!

On the way back home, I stopped off at the spring I showed in an earlier walk. This time, I had a helper and some containers.

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I've searched and searched for information on this spring, without success. It's not even on a US Geological Survey map! But I see a lot of people coming here to get water and they all have said this is good water. It's coming out of the base of a big hill that's covered with coastal rainforest. So I'm OK with drinking it.

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The water doesn't flow fast, but it was good-tasting water!

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Thanks for Walking With Me

I'll be continuing my series of travels to parts of western Oregon all through the autumn of 2017. I hope you will join me -- especially if you like mushrooms! Earlier posts in this series are: Escape to the Marine Layer - Part 1 and Part 2. // Saunter in the Siuslaw - Part 1 and Part 2 // Foraging in Oregon's Coastal Forest - Part 1

Thanks to @lyndsaybowes for the #walkwithme tag! And to everyone using that tag! Enjoy your walks!

  • Have you ever been in a rainforest?
  • Have you ever seen a Red-belted Polypore?
  • Do you have any natural springs near you?
  • Would you drink that spring water?

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Plant List

  • Western sword fern - Polystichum munitum
  • Sitka spruce - Picea sitchensis
  • Red-belted polypore - Fomitopsis pinicola
  • Lobster mushroom - Hypomyces lactifluorum parasite on Russula brevipes

[1] Compartmentalization of decay in trees

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Haphazard Homestead

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This Laetiporus sulphureus we found in forest during walking wiht my mum. It was delicious for lunch ;)



That's great, @liltammy! I like those mushrooms. They are substantial! Very nice! I'm glad you and your mother know these mushrooms! :D

Great post, HH.

The outside ... haha:)

Lobster mushrooms go for big coin at my local Whole Foods. Are there any species one might confuse a lobster mushroom for that might be poisonous?


Thanks, @pridefoltz! With that crusty orange-red exterior, it would be hard to confuse a lobster mushroom with anything else -- but there's no telling what some folks can get confused about, lol. I think the harder part for this wild mushroom is being able to tell when it is in good shape vs. when it's too old, since people don't get much practice with that, and the guidebooks don't show that kind of stuff. I look for a firm, bright-white interior. At least, at your Whole Foods, you can look and get to know the mushroom without having to buy it! :D


Very true. Thank you, HH:)

Oh yeah, I remember your post, with this curious question about what side of a tree the moss grows on. As a kid growing up in central Europe, the answer was obviously North (where there is the least chance of being killed by the sun. Over in Oregon however, as well as on Vancouver Island, where I am currently, the answer is clearly on the outside.
And since you clearly don't mind old posts, here's a link to a game I published many months ago, inspired by the first time I came to this gorgeous Island in 2016: https://steemit.com/contest/@stortebeker/tree-guessing-game-for-my-200-followers-win-30-sbd


It's so wet here in western Oregon sometimes, I wonder if there is moss on the inside of the trees, too! That was a good game that you made with those conifers!

This post was amazing and the first Walk with Me post that I've read! (Matt has read a few from this account) Your photography is stunning and I am a huge fan of fungi photos. The little gifs were also super fun too. I am learning so much about mushrooms on Steemit, it's becoming a little hobby.

A cute little baby mushroom-fruit!

Ha ha ha! This made me smile!

The ferns remind me of Fernie, BC (appropriately named). We took some gorgeous hikes when we were on our honeymoon and I am definitely missing the scenery. You're photos also took me a little ways down memory lane. Thanks.


Thanks, Aimiee at @canadianrenegade! There are a lot of mushrooms here on Steemit, lol. I"m always surprised at how much fungus there is out there. It just takes consistent rainfall to bring forth the mushrooms where we can see them. And there's such diversity, too. Happy mushrooming!

Always so happy to see you post to the tag HH!! I love pic 4 the one that goes to where the moss grows. Those most colored tress are outstanding!!


Thanks, @old-guy-photos! There's a lot of moss out there, lol. But you haven't seen nothing yet! There's more moss ahead - and on top, and all around! It's the Pacific Northwest and moss is what happens when it rains! :D

@haphazard-hstead it's not terrible to walk with you. Once you wrote that you went to the market through the park and picked up food.)


Thanks, @shady! And you have a good memory about the potato that I found in the park! I'm always looking for something to pick up, lol. : )

Wow, no one does #walkwithme like you @haphazard-hstead!! You are such a GEM!!!!!


Thanks, @lyndsaybowes! I need to step up the pace of my walks, lol. At this rate, I won't get my autumn walks done until next fall. There are so many neat things outdoors!


It will be worth the wait as far as I'm concerned :) xo

Ha ha! Your answer about the moss can make me laugh now….. ;D

It’s great that you walked again into the forest. It’s beautiful with a lot of big trees, especially the wonderful green leaves of the giant Western Sword Ferns. These look really refreshing.

Those mushrooms have very amazing shapes and colors. The water looks cool and clean that I would like to try, too.

I enjoyed walking with you very much and look forward to your next walk with much interest! ;)


I'm glad you enjoyed my nature joke, @tangmo! The forests here are so beautiful. And it's amazing how many mushrooms there are.


I love the forest around your area and those mushrooms are really amazing indeed! ;)

wow it was really cool walking in the forest, your post just giving a pleasure like i'm walking with you. During your walking time you got something, Lobster mushrooms ! another thing i liked from your walking that was the natural water tab. Drinking some fresh natural water in the rain forest. I think it was one of best feeling.
@haphazard-hstead Thank You so much for share some good moments from your walking blog. Waiting for another one.


Thanks, @johndilan, for walking with me in the forest. It's a beautiful place!


You are always welcome for your beautiful job.

Those ferns and fungi...be still my heart. Truly magical.


Ferns and fungi are pretty special, alright. Especially among some of the big trees.

Your walks are lovely, for you its a gorgeous wall around a free supermarket :)


Just about every place is a free supermarket, in the outdoors. Sometimes, the shelves are nearly bare, but everything is at a good price! ; )


You seem to always find something to snack on :)


I do like to eat -- every day! So I have some motivation, lol. ; )

Sir I never been in a rain forest but it was always a dream to walking middle in the rain forest and enjoy with nature like you did. Spring Water! was so amazing and helpful cause when people get tired of walking, they feel thirsty and it was a pretty good source middle in the rain forest to get some fresh water. But can you tell me about that mushrooms, can people eat that ?


I make tea out of the Red-belted polypore. And yes, those Lobster mushrooms are very good to eat. They are pretty easy to identify. They are a unique mushroom, with their bright red color and such a hard crust! Thanks for joining me on my walk! :D


I wish i could get a warm cup of tea from you using that Lobster mushrooms. I'm now curious about that, but it was amazing walking middle in the rain forest, ok then i will wait for our next walk : )


See you then! :D

There is a high flowing spring in my yard that forms a short creek that runs down to the river. Like yours, it comes out of the side of a hill, but houses have been built on the hill, and I would not feel good about drinking it without purifying it first.

I did a post today about the garlic mustard that is taking over my woods. Is it a problem in your area?


I'd be skeptical of that spring, too! So much depends on the local geology and then what people are doing on the land. A good, clean spring is so special. But I bet your spring is still nice to look at. So cool that you have a spring at your place!

Thanks for the heads up about your garlic mustard! I'll go check it out! I don't see it here. I was in St. Paul, MN in May last year and saw it all over the place. What a problem!


I love having Crystal Spring in my yard! In 1893 water from the spring was entered into a competition at the Chicago Worlds Fair and it won first place for best tasting water. My well water comes from the same water source as the spring, so I guess really, I am drinking it!

I will join you and I do like mushrooms but don't know them so I limit myself to what I can buy from the market. It was nice to walk with you my friend!


Thanks, @erikah! That's one reason I like seeing wild mushrooms for sale at the markets. It help everyone see wild mushrooms are real food, and they get practice for identification. You may see those Lobster mushrooms in markets that carry wild mushrooms. They are pretty distinctive, once you get to know them.


Here in Romania selling mushrooms at the traditional market is illegal, unless if you have a license to grow mushrooms or a proof of origin, like an invoice.
You can't sell foraged mushrooms.


That's interesting. Every place has their own set of rules for foraging mushrooms and selling them, too. Around me, I have to pay attention to the rules, too. It all depends on who owns the land. Even the public land has rules that are different from place to place -- and they change over time, too. In one national forest, I don't need a permit. And in another one, I need a $10 permit. But in another one, I need a permit but it is free. It gets complicated, lol. So I am always happy when a tasty mushroom appears in my own yard! :D

I've Never gotten sick from Outdoor water.

It was magical, i lost myself with in the Rain Forest while i was walking with you.I don't know how did i felt that i was walking with you in real.Thank you so much for this amazing adventures, it was fun to enjoy with you beautiful nature and many interesting thing.

Have a Good Day.

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Walking with you is very interesting, friend @haphazard-hsteadU5dskoXQWt828v2GvXZ43DLCwy22ZVe_1680x8400.jpg! In my lands fern is small


Thanks for allowing me to walk with you digitally in the woods 😂 those lobsters are gorgeous. We live in Colorado and find all sorts of things, our latest good find was a bunch of lactarius Deliciosus. They were fantastic. Great blog, forage on!