|Boletus edulis in the Wet Mountains|
I had planned to be in Pagosa the previous weekend for a state-sponsored fire class, but it was cancelled, so this was sort of a consolation visit.
In Pagosa, the weather was warm, and the San Juan River was running high and brown. Tubing outfitters were busy shuttling their customers to the east side of town so that they could ride down past the city park and the mineral springs, where the terraces were crowded with bathers.
In the midst of this "rubber hatch," I saw one guy casting a spinning rod. I thought of congratulating him for upholding the archetype of the always-optimistic fisherman, but he gave up and walked away.
We visited a couple of thrift stores—nothing exciting—where does all the outdoor gear go?—and then had a late lunch/early supper at the Riff-Raff brew pub ("Hoppy people. Hoppy earth").
I reckoned that my cabrito burger with Hatch green chiles was sort of quasi-locavore-ish.
It rained steadily most of the way back to the campground.
The next morning I observed a mulie doe moving strangely through the woods. She had her nose down like a dog following a scent trail.
Was she eating mushrooms? I had picked a few in that area, mostly Suillis ("slippery jacks"). I tried to follow, but I could not get too close without spooking her, and there were a lot of spruce boughs in the way.
I did see some Suillis that had been scraped by what looked like a deer's lower incisors (Deer don't have upper incisors.) Were there fewer mushrooms than before? Not sure.
Two days later, having done well on a mushroom hunt closer to home, M. and I were easing down a rough forest road in the Jeep when we saw a squirrel wrestling — or something — in the road. It turned out to be trying to carry the stem of a Boletus edulis ("king bolete"), which was nearly as big as it was.
Yesterday M. was walking Fisher on lead down the driveway when he dashed into the oak brush, dragging her along. He had scented another bolete, one unfortunately past its prime. It was probably another Boletus chrysenteron, which grows under oaks, like the one he snarfed off the kitchen counter a few days ago.
Does this mean that he might have a talent for finding good mushrooms? If the French have truffle-sniffing dogs, could we have a Southern Rockies bolete-sniffing dog? Further research is required.