A Mushroom Hunting We Will Go

If you’re not in Southern California right now you may have missed out on some of the wonderful weather we’ve been having lately… It has been raining on again, off again for weeks now and it seems like every other day a new record is set for rainfall for any given day. And really – I don’t mean ‘wonderful weather’ in any tongue-in-cheek way – I really love the rain out here…

I set out with the kids the other day to womp about in the rain, muck and mayhem and as we wound our way through an oak grove nearby I started noticing how many mushrooms were pushing up through the leaf-littered ground. We hadn’t set out to go on a mushroom hunt, but once it was evident we were in the middle of some fecund explosion I hastily trumpeted “Mushroom Hunt Alert!” and set the kids to spying as many as they could and reporting back to Dad for an inspection with the camera… There were red mushrooms and green mushrooms, yellow gelatinous things and black jellies creeping along logs, white toadstools and mushrooms that looked like potatoes… I know hardly nothing about any of the mushrooms we saw that day other than if you don’t know what they are, don’t eat them… fortunately for us, we were just out poking around with our eyes and boots, so I wasn’t worried.

Here are some of the photos:

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
Out and about in the rain

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
A happy little guy pushing up through the gravel…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
Some colorful shelf fungi

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
My son on the hunt

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
The chew marks on the edges of most of the mushrooms we saw seem to be from slugs and snails we saw munching on them…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
I was in the middle of telling my son not to knock the mushroom over, when he gave it a quick bump and kicked it over… when it toppled, it plopped stem-up and we saw the amazing clean, white underbelly…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
This stump was pretty amazing to behold… it was covered in a fringe of shelf fungi and looked like something a low tide at the beach might have exposed… altogether enchanting…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
A close-up of some of the shelf fungi on the old stump…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
A strange woody looking mushroom…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
Another curious otherworldly creation…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
A nice pair with a slug gliding in for a mid-afternoon snack below…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
This one looked like it had been seared on a grill and had a greenish-black sidewall…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
This strange arrangement caught my eye as we were heading out… looking at it again, it looks like a face under the leaves or a small cluster of potatoes being unearthed…

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA

Mushroom hunting in Coto de Caza, CA
Off home again…

A couple of days later we were walking through the same woods across the same trails and there was hardly a mushroom in sight – it truly was a quick blossoming of mushrooms we had witnessed…

I’m always out and about, looking for wilderness in the area… I hope you enjoyed the photos and get out yourself to find your own strange adventures!

Jesse

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4 Comments

  1. Coto is beautiful! Especially this time of year. We are so fortunate to live here.

  2. Yeah.. it is beautiful in Coto… for most of the year… it does get whoppin’ hot there in the summer, though…

  3. I l-o-v-e these pictures!!! It makes me miss the rain already *teardrop* :(. What awesome little wonders you have growing in Coto! I love the storybook-ness and coziness of the woods of Coto when it’s raining and cloudy. You totally captured that in the pictures, Jesse. Once again, great pics!

  4. We had a real nice time out there, poking around in the leaves and mud under the dripping canopies… I love the rain, too… we came back the next day and almost all of those mushrooms were gone… we just happened to be in the right place at the right time when we found them.

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