Monday, October 12, 2015

Mushrooms in the Forest

After a couple of weeks of being unable to get out on a hike, I was looking forward to joining a group from ODATC for a hike in the Appomattox - Buckingham State Forest today.  I was looking forward to it so much that I arrived at the meeting point five minutes early, taking the exit for the huge shopping center, and eagerly looking ahead for Joanne Fabrics, the meeting spot.  The infallible map inside my flawless male brain knew exactly where Joanne's was located, except someone apparently moved the store.  Like, they moved it pretty far.  So I spent 15 minutes driving all over looking for it every which way but in the right place when I suddenly spotted the store across the way and got there just before everyone headed out!

What a great day for a hike!  The weather was perfect and the leaves are just starting to turn.  While we saw no wildlife or great scenery - the view was quintessential central Virginia forest - we did see a lot of interesting mushrooms.  I think that all eight of us enjoyed the hike a lot.  This was the longest hike I've done since the Obsidian Trail in Oregon almost exactly two months ago.

The trails covered somewhere between 10.6 (what my inReach tracked) and 12 (the hike description) miles, mostly level woods roads, with one amazingly steep section.  Here is a view of the track, which we hiked counter clockwise, starting and ending at the purple circle at the top.

Here, the group hikes down what was a typical "trail" for this hike, a woods road.  Things are not always well marked, so you need a map in here, and you need to pay attention.

Our first obstacle was this stream, early in the hike.  It looked like a long day of wet feet, but our fearless leader waded across, found a log, and made a bridge for the rest of us to use.  This saved the five men from proceeding with the suggestion of the three women - that we lie face down across the stream and let the women walk on our backs.  Surely Sir Walter Raleigh would have done so, right?

At our lunch spot, we expected to sit on the bridge, dangling our feet over the water.  But apparently the recent storms washed the bridge out.

Using some care, one could step on rocks, reach the steeply angled bridge remains, and creep upwards to the shore over the slippery wood.

It's fall, and colors are starting to arrive.

But green is still the dominant color.  Here, the group leaves the woods for hiking along a field.

As I said, mushroom was the word of the day.  We saw lots of them, many of them large, and while I can't identify them, here are photos of some of the best ones.


 (he is not holding it - we just wanted someone's hands in the frame so you can get an idea how big it was)


Pretzel colored....
(although for some of us, this looked more like a shiny Christmas tree ornament than a pretzel)

And more yellow...

What a fun hike with a good group of people on a beautiful early fall day!