Skip Out Early

I left work at 3:45 and got myself home as quick as I could to pick up the dog (the wife and daughter are out of town) and get west of town for some mushroom hunting. Unfortunately the state is paving the road every five miles so the drive took an extra 15 minuets. When you are racing against the sun going down at 6:45 every minuet stuck in traffic seems like eternity. I parked, checked my compass to see which direction the road was, and took off. I kept up a fast pace and managed to find about three or four gallons of Chantrelles in an hour and a half.

One load before being processed for dehydrating:

Kids and mushrooms

It’s almost time to get back to fishing. Fall in the NW hits and I can never seem to get outside enough days to do all the amazing things that are happening with the start of the rain. Huge trout feeding like crazy for winter, Coho, Chinook, and Chanterelles. I got out several times this fall for some amazing trout fishing on the McKenzie and tried to find some salmon on the North Coast rivers (with no luck since there are so few this year). But when the cold air starts to move it’s way in I always start to get worried about my reserve of Chanterelle mushrooms for the year. I have a 5 Liter (1.3 Gallons) glass jar with a hinge lock glass lid that I store them all in once they are dehydrated and if the jar isn’t full come the freezing weather, that kills the mushrooms, then I know I will definitely run out by next Chanterelle season (Oct–Nov).

In the past I have had no issue filling the jar and several gallon zip-lock bags with the dried mushrooms but this year I have a little something on my back slowing me down:


(Chloe & Me — Alex & Lorenzo. Not sure why I look so short as I am the same size as Alex.)

What a work out climbing up a 45 degree hill, over and under fallen trees, and trying to spot small morsels of happiness (the Chanterelles) mixed in with all the other similarly colored leaves scattered around. Not to mention that when you do find one you get to do a power squat with 20 or so pounds on your back. Now repeat for two hours and dozens of mushrooms. Wheeeeee.

I did get to run down to my favorite area, which is about 30 minuets from my house, solo on Monday. I was out during one of those rain storms that the TV loves to jump on “FIRST FLOODING OF THE SEASON – TONIGHT ON CHANNEL 12”. Lucky for me I don’t watch TV so I didn’t know that the hard rain was supposed to be the first large storm of the season or I would have known and gone anyway. I hiked around at full speed with my dog and proceeded to find one Chanterelle in 20 minuets. But then as I hiked further up the hill I spotted one that was trying to hide in a large patch of Oregon Grape. As I got closer I noticed that there were tons of them all in this one area. I went home happy and the jar is sure to be filled as soon as they are all dry. Now back to fishing.

Go with the snow

Alex and I got away on Sunday and as we drove into Washington in search of mushrooms realized that the awesome weather we get here in the NW during fall is quickly coming to a close. We headed up into the hills and started to see a dusting of snow around, nothing to worry about. But then we started seeing the cars coming down that had inches of snow on the roofs, ummm. While when we got to the mushroom gathering area I was singing that Christmas song about riding in a wonder land of snow because it looked like this:

Ugghhh. I hate snow. Only thing it’s good for is staying in the mountains, away from me, and melting so I have water in my rivers. While we got out anyway and to our surprise we actually found some white chanterelles in the white snow. A whole basket of them in 30 minuets.  Alex was wearing all bright orange and I was all in black. Guess which of us is going to get shot by a hunter first. I had a hunter tell me one time that I must be “stupid to run around in huntin’ woods dressed like that” (not really what he said but close) so I bought a reflective vest I just forgot it this trip.

We had enough of the snow and headed back down the hill to the warmer weather. As we got near Bonneville Dam we thought we would just stop and see what was going on at the mouth of Eagle Creek. There were not the vast amounts of salmon stacked there but there were a lot. Some fresher fish were interspersed with the ones on there last leg. If only I could have got some of the fresh ones. While this fish fought hard and he deserves his photo anyway:

We cast farther down along the bank but no luck. I will never end up there at the “right” time because I don’t want to stand around with the 100 or so people that were combat fishing there at the “right” time. I will stick to my spots where I am alone and will go catch my fresh salmon in Alaska (or Costco, they carry fresh wild salmon at the one near me).

Alex got this photo of me. Ahh moody Oregon…

Chanterelles

Not a bad haul for the start of the season—2.5 pounds of ’em. It’s more complicated to hike through the woods and bend down to cut mushrooms with a baby on your back, but it was a great time with my family. I made some delicious Chanterelle Risotto (a specialty of mine—learned from a friend) that Emily and I just couldn’t stop eating. Can’t wait to fry up some Risotto patties for lunch tomorrow!