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Round Valley Lake Foray
May 20-22, 2007

Cecelia and Herman Brown led a small group of BAMS members on a fungus foray, using the Round Valley Lake Resort near Greenville, as a base. We were given permission by the owners to have the now-closed campground all to ourselves.

Round Valley Lake

The beautiful lakeside meadow where we camped. © Photo by Herman Brown

As told by Herman:

The first to arrive after us were the organizers, David Rust and Debbie Viess, followed by Sandi and Hugh Smith.

I had been worried about the lack of mushrooms around the lake, but we did find a few Spring Kings in the campground, which encouraged me a bit. However, more scouting revealed no more than a few morels, which are usually rare anyway for the area, and a few Amanita aprica.

We talked them all into sharing dinner with us, so we all got to share some some gorgonzola-stuffed morels along with spaghetti with Italian sausage and porcini.

The next morning we were joined by Bolek Kuznik and Larry Stickney, and Richard Lyons, who had come the night before but couldn't locate us in the dark.

Sandi Smith at Round Valley Round Valley morels

Sandi Smith finds a nice cluster of morels. © Photos by Hugh Smith

It was decided we would to go to a higher elevation to hunt for morels, and maybe check the area around the lake when we got back, or on Sunday morning. I led them all farther north to one of the spots I had just visited last week, which was a large area of old logging at around 5000 ft. that seemed to keep supplying us with a few natural morels every week. I showed them where I was going to pick on the other side of the road, and pointed to the areas on the side of the road where we parked, saying that we had not checked the hills there yet, but had found a few near the side of the road.

Right out of the car, Larry Stickney spotted a few morels in a fire ring along the side of the road and off they all went. I don't think they heard about the hill area, but seemed to be doing pretty good in the valley. They were soon joined by Sherri Scott, and after picking a batch of morels on the other side of the road, I checked the other side of the road along with the rest of the group, but didn't seem to be finding very many.

I was ready to take everyone to the next spot when David said that Debbie still seemed to be finding them up the hill a bit. We all went in her direction as soon as she yelled, "They're everywhere!" They were. We picked and picked and picked, and then we picked some more. While we were busy up the hill, Larry had picked a full bag right near the cars.

It was getting close to my time for lunch, so when the fever finally subsided a bit, I convinced the group to go up to Domingo Spring for a lunch break and a drink of ice-cold spring water. I also wanted to show off more of the beautiful area and to see if any Calvatia sculpta had come up yet.

Calvatia sculpta

Calvatia sculpta © Photo by Hugh Smith

After lunch and the spring water, I took them to my special Calvatia sculpta spot, where everyone viewed lots and collected a few, and then to a burn area across the road from where we parked. We only found a few batches of morels there, but that fever came back again, and most went back to the previous spot to hunt for more morels. I was pretty tired, as was Larry, so he and I stayed back with Bolek, and we checked a few more spots before we left for the day. Bolek did much better than I.

Larry Stickney and Dimitar Bojantchev Bolek Kuznik

Left: Larry Stickney and Dimitar Bojantchev. Right: Bolek Kuznik © Photos by Hugh Smith

That evening we had the Potluck Feast, enjoying Debbie's Beans with Ham and Candy Caps, David's Fire-Roasted Morels, Hugh's Cheese-Stuffed Fire-roasted Morels, Cecelia's Morels in a Cream Sauce over a Rice Medley, and Hugh's and Sherri's Fresh-Picked Cherries. The owners of the campground, Bob and Deanna Carter, joined us in the festivities, along with Mike Thomas, and Dimitar and Alex Bojantchev, who had just arrived.

On Sunday morning, I led some of the remaining few to the other side of the lake, to see if we could find any morels in an old logging area. We only found a few mushrooms, Larry saw a bear, Bolek didn't take a picture of it, and on the way back, Larry spotted some Spring Kings along the side of the road just about where I was going to park the car. We stopped there and found a few more.

Both Sherri and Debbie also took pictures of some of the beautiful wildflowers they saw over the weekend.

It was a great weekend, to say the least, and we also found some mushrooms.

Herman Brown

top To see Herman's original post on Fungi-zette with lots more photos, follow this ink.