It is said that you don’t find mushrooms (or crystals), they find you. After two consecutive dry years and not a mushroom to be foraged, this year the mushrooms found us. In spades.

Our first mushroom foraging session happened in mid-August. We were overwhelmed by the number of Bolete mushrooms that saw us wherever we looked. In less than 2 hours, our bags were full. I weighed our haul at home – 50lbs! The photo below shows a small portion of our total bounty.

Boletes are excellent for dehydrating. Their hearty, earthy flavor seems to be even better once dried and then re-hydrated; great for adding to fall backpacking meals and soups on cold winter nights. I have read that, during World War II, hundreds of thousands of rural people across Europe were sustained and kept from starvation by foraging for Bolete (also known as Porcini) mushrooms.

Our dried collection below should keep us in good shape till next foraging season.

In early September we set out for a couple nights of van camping and to climb a peak. We set up camp in the late afternoon and I decided to head up into the forest to look for more mushrooms. This time, Chanterelles.

Within 7 minutes, they found me. So many that I could not accommodate all of them in my one bag. I filled it knowing I’d be back later for more and went back to the van for our first of many nights feasting on Chanterelles!

This photo shows one of two tubs we ultimately filled.

After a day of peak climbing we spent a another night and enjoyed our second Chanterelle “all you can eat” fest. Next morning we went back to the “motherlode” and refilled all our bags. We then searched the surrounding area for more but they did not find us. We had been drawn to the one magic spot.

Unlike Boletes, Chanterelles do not preserve well, so we ate lots of Chantrelles for the next 6 nights in a row! Sometimes more is better.

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