Brett Sutherland N7KG 
 
 
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 Amateur Mycology
      In 1987 I climbed Mt. Raineer. I flew to Seattle from Fort Worth and then took a bus to Raineer. As I was there a couple of days early for the climb, I camped lower on the mountain - below the treeline. While hiking around I noticed a Sulfur Shelf. I never forgot how unique it was, visible from a great distance. In 1998 I met Ardean Watts, one of the most notable amateur mycologists from Utah. He was a protege of Kent H. McKnight, who was the author of A Field Guide to Mushrooms : North America. After a number of visits with Ardean, I decided to take up amateur mycology - hunting for wild mushrooms.

Ardean is currently President of the Mushroom Society of Utah (MSU), which is in turn an affiliated club of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA). I am currently a member of both groups and have very much enjoyed the forays. Here is a link to the MSU web page and Yahoo Group.

Mushroom hunting is a terrific past time that can be done while mowing the lawn, hiking, driving, fishing, hunting or just walking around the block. Virtually noone minds if you take mushrooms from their lawn! However, one should always join a Mycological Society, buy numerous field guides and consult with a person knowledgable in local species before eating a wild mushroom. Many edible mushrooms are indiscernable from LETHAL mushrooms with the naked eye.

That said, it is a fantastic and rewarding hobby. There are many excellent links on the web for learning about mushrooms. One of my favorites is the Mushroom Expert.

The season has started off favourably with a foray to the traditional airport site where my boys and I gathered over 20 lbs of Agaricus bitorquis. On the same day we headed to an area north of here to gather morels. We came home with a sampling, but no great heap. Some is always better than none.

2006 Mushroom Forays

We didn't get in much mushrooming this year. We ended up going to the airport for the usual Agaricus Fest. The next foray we went on was the Annual Fall Foray sponsored by the Mushroom Society of Utah. We didn't do well at the foray. Others did better. We went to Fehr Lake and only found stumps of Boletus edulis. We ran across a group of picnickers who said that someone was collecting to sell to restaurants just the day before. I believe it is illegal to do so in the National Forests.

We did find quite a few Lactarius deliciosus. I've always wanted to try them, but it didn't happen. There is always next year.

Just yesterday, 8/25/2006 the kids came home with what keyed out to be Leucoagaricus naucina. Some people eat them, but given the Amanita look alikes, I don't think I'll take the risk. We did find an edulis on the road to Scotts' Peak. Unfortunately, it froze at that elevation just a few days afterward and before we had a chance to go back on a Foray. Needless to say we are looking forward to next year when we can do a little more mushrooming.

 
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