August 02, 2012

Mushroom Days: The Russians are Coming

Hawkswings and boletes, mostly.

It's been raining some (although not enough at our house), so M. and I decided to go mushroom hunting.

We went once last week, but brought back only about half a shopping bag's worth. Today was better.

We had filled two bags at the place we call The Mushroom Store when M., who was closer to the narrow Forest Service road, heard a car pass and then stop. Then we heard a man shouting something in the woods.

She came over to me. "He's calling, 'Anya! Natalia!,' " she said. "I thought that I heard kids."

"Oh, ****," I said, "Russians!" Notable mycophiles, those Russians.

Keeping in touch with soft, bird-like whistles, we faded away through the thick firs, crossed a barbed-wire drift fence at a place where we knew it was broken, and circled off down the ridge.

If they spotted us walking towards the Jeep with our heavy bags, we would be coming from the exact opposite direction from where we picked most of the 'shrooms. This is just basic Mushroom Tactics 101.

As quietly as we could, we drove away.

Then we tried another stop, hiking up a washed-out old road to a small mine. The road was just blossoming with Amanitas, but we found more king boletes as well. It's going to be a good year.

Some other blog posts about mushrooms in the Wet Moutains.


Peculiar said...

We looked last weekend in the Pecos, saw nothing but one unidentified mushroom, not so much as an amanita in areas that have treated us well in the past. I'll probably check back, but it's not looking good down here.

Almost all the other mushroom-hunters I've seen near Santa Fe have been Russkies working at Los Alamos. And I once strolled on an Alaskan island with a priest from Vladivostok and his translator; glimpsing mushrooms seemed to be the highlight of their entire trip to North America, judging by the tireless calls and responses of "Gryb!" "Gryb!" as we walked through the forest. Mycophiles indeed!

Moma Fauna said...

It is a good year here too, although it seems to be heavy with Russula species instead of my beloved Boletes. Then again, we have moved closer to the coast...

The move has changed our competition also. Up on the hillside we had competition from Russians, but they seemed to prefer the Hawk's Wings & other species I am not so interested in. That made it easier, our only real competition being over the Porcinis... Now we get to vie with the sizeable Asian population who have a love & knowledge of the fungi all their own. From my broken conversations thus far, all but the "slimy yellow ones" are up for grabs. Good grief, I need some language lessons!

Enjoy & good hunting!

Chas S. Clifton said...

Actually, my wife thinks that hawk's wing mushrooms are more flavorful than porcini/king boletes.

Steve Bodio said...

It has started raining gain so perhaps our season will produce a few yet.

Despite my Russophily, Russkis in the grybi patch would be scary! Mycophiles in our mountains are still so rare we share info.