|Trip to Trinity Alps yields no edible fungal friends
The Sportsman’s Report
A mountain adventure to the remote Trinity Alps turned out to be a bust…well, not exactly a bust. The scenery was outstanding, and the wildlife was remarkable including well-fed bears.
It’s possible they were upwind or decided they don’t like the taste of Swedish outdoor writers. The goal was a trifecta, and first on the list was morel mushrooms. We hit the trail in late afternoon after setting up camp in a burn area near Marble Mountain. Two hours of tromping around yielded a few fungal friends, but none edible and no morel.
We turned in early after an evening of sitting around the campfire. I’m not sure what hour it was, but zero-dark-30 for sure. There was some rustling outside the tent and the growling, purring chatter of raccoons. They can mess around all they like, but everything they were interested in was suspended from a tall tree limb.
The truck was also locked because the ‘coons will get in your car and drive off with it, at least that’s what someone said on a long ago camping trip. I’ve been a victim of raccoon marauders in the past.
They can open just about any container you use, so lock and key is a requirement in raccoon country.
Once on a backpack hike in Desolation Wilderness, the rangers advised us to put any edibles in a sack and hang it from a tree limb far enough out that they couldn’t reach it from the tree with their fuzzy little arms.
I wrongly figured my Snickers bars were safe under my pillow. Around dawn something woke me, my eyes opened, and I was eyeball to snout with Mr. Raccoon. His arm was under my pillow trying to snag my candy. I yelled like a girl and he hissed and barked at me and backed off a bit. Raccoons are not afraid of much, and as cute as they are, they will bite holes in your arm faster than you can get away. The candy thief decided it was more trouble than it was worth and scurried off to molest someone else.
Back at Marble Mountain, the other two legs of the trifecta were California Jade, a beautiful green rock that polishes up to a beautiful high luster. No luck, only some Serpentine and a few choice pieces of Jasper.
The last leg of our goal was a good trout fishing stream. On the maps, there were a few small waterways that looked promising.
In the flesh, so to speak, the streams were so steep that the trout would need a ski lift to get anywhere.
In the end, a great time was had by all in spite of missing our goals. I hope California Chrome does better.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.