Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tiger Mushroom

It wasn't actually raining today and Judy was in town so I had a companion for a forest walk.  We decided to try out Wren's new back carrier and walk Tiger Mountain and look out for mushrooms to identify.

After getting vaguely lost on every prior hike on Tiger Mountain, I was well equipped with my New Green Trails Map of Tiger Mountain.  It was really peculiar knowing where I was and was lucky that we were able to measure distances I would otherwise have despaired of and turned back thinking I had taken a wrong turn.  Judy was a reassuring navigator, finding landmarks like streams and gulches to mark our progress. 
We had a break at the intersection of Tiger 3 and Talus Loop
 Over the weekend I bought a Sherpani hiking carrier for kids off Craigslist.  It is extremely light and comfortable but nothing can really make up for the discomfit of carrying a 35lb kid (plus a few lbs of snack, water, baskets, raincoats and emergency supplies like a compass, whistle and signal mirror in case we were lost overnight out there in the urban wilderness).

Overall, the backpack was a great success in that we did a bit of a  longer walk than would otherwise be possible with Wren.  I think we covered 3 miles - 1 mile up, one a traverse with some switchbacks and then a pretty sharp descent.  I carried Wren a large part of the ascent, about half of the traverse and only a little bit of the descent.   I got a good workout but my shoulders are a bit sore in a way that suggests I could adjust it better.

Wren walks slowly with an ongoing narrative.
 Wren is not an easy hiker.  He does not get the whole directionality thing.  Even while looking for mushrooms I have a sense of motion, especially when it gets past 12.45 and I haven't had lunch.  As he walked Judy encouraged Wren to count his steps, to follow me or to aim at something ahead.  Nothing really caught on until we were moving down.  He liked moving down.

One of his little games going along was scraping a patch of moss off each tree as he past.  He called this "shaving the tree".  Each tree got a little shave, the moss being dropped in the ferns.  If you look at the pictures you will see that this forest had many trees along the path so it took a long long time proceeding in this fashion.  Finally, Judy told Wren "This is the last tree that gets a shave because people coming along later will be worried that an animal has been hurting the trees."

This puzzling explanation seemed to satisfy Wren who then wanted to be carried.

No sooner was he up than he wanted to be down.  He complained I was jiggling him by walking or that he wanted to walk himself so he could have a stick like Judy.  Judy was quite the standard of excellence in Wren's mind.  At various points along the trail while I was carrying him, Wren would say reassuringly in my ear:

"I love you Mummy."
"I love you too, Wren" I'd reply.
"I love Judy too." he would add.

He would also enjoy looking for mushrooms from up high. 

"MUSHROOM" he would shriek, nearly deafening me and causing me to wobble as he lurched around to indicate the small brown something in the fallen leaves.  He really has a good eye for them but even carrying a 35lb kid seems easy in comparison to crouching down to retrieve a small mushroom while carrying a 35lb kid.

I think I did ok.

Here are some mushrooms I am planning to draw this evening.  They are like nothing I have seen outside the US and I find their folded caps quite intriguing.

A selection of gyromitas and helvella which were well
distributed on the Western part of the trail.
 We explored the Talus Rocks before taking the Nook Trail back down to the base.  Wren was very interested in the rocks as now says this was his favorite part of the walk.  We took a little loop through the rocks and looked down into a cave where I have been told there are bats.  Also found a tiny hedgehog mushroom over the crevasse.
Exploring Talus Rocks.  Wren was concerned that we would SEE the bats
rumored to live in the cave.

Wren in the Sherpani.  Why did I wait until my kid weighed 35lbs
to try this?

Bright orange saporific fungi I hope to identify later
(when Frost goes to bed and I can use the Matchmaker online key_
I shall post an update with a list of some of the mushrooms we saw today.  There were not many common edibles but many of beauty and interest.  After we returned to the trailhead we drove home to Vios at Third Place and had a rather large lunch with their current seasonal beet soup.  Oh my god, it was delicious.  Wren ordered one and then refused to eat it so he ate my beet salad and I had the soup.  Mrmrm.  I am going to make some at home this week.

Making spore prints for identification

1 comment:

nautilus said...

I remember passing Tiger Mountain. I wish i was there with you! Love MUM