By Maria Fernanda Laguarda Mallo
Myco club kicked off the 2015 foray season with a morel hunt. We set off from Northeast Minneapolis on a chilly early May Saturday morning, and southbound we went! First stop: Red Wing. After stretching our legs and refueling on some coffee we met with the second group of mycophiles. From Red Wing it was a short drive south to the first spot of the day, Hay Creek Recreation Area.
The area was beautiful. After arriving we walked down the road and then into the woods. For my unexperienced self, the terrain was tough, as the slope was very steep and the forest dense. Despite that, I have to admit that the rough conditions made for a particularly fun hike!
Mycology club members Ally, Nick, Jason scouting the slopes of the Hay Creek area for morels.
Mushrooms were scarce. We found a handful morels in the area, but not as many as we were hoping to find. We believe that the low rainfall over the past few weeks was to blame. Nevertheless, it was an exciting hunt!
A few of the specimens we found in Hay Creek.
After almost two hours exploring Hay Creek we decided to keep heading south to Zumbro Bottoms State Forest. Mycology club members were familiar with this forest after last year’s late May morel hunt, during which two groups explored two different areas of the park and brought home a good amount of the delicious fungi.
This year the group decided to try their luck around the West entrance of the Forest, by the Horse Campground. During the almost 2 hour walk, we found several locations with small clusters of morels.
One of the morel clusters.
After a long day scouting, walking and climbing steep hills, our legs started to feel tired and we decided to head back to the Campground. On our walk back by the Zumbro River, we were lucky to find a few more specimens right by the road, which was the perfect close to our day in the woods!
A few of the last specimens found on the way back to the Campground.
Back in the Campground we took some time to chill and try Gerry’s noodle salad recipe before driving back to the Cities.
Big shout out to our drivers for the day Gerry and Aaron!
(Photo credits: Maria Fernanda Laguarda Mallo)