Tag: how to find morels

A tribute: 2016 Morel Mushroom Season

A tribute: 2016 Morel Mushroom Season

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I am sad to say that the Rogue Valley’s 2016 morel mushroom season is wrapping up. I do believe that areas above 5000 ft in elevation may continue to see blooms if the wet weather continues. I will continue to venture these areas. Morel mushroom season gives way to salmon season, and I am quite excited about that! Thank you for all the feed back and support this year. The morel mushroom hunters of Southern Oregon – cheers!

Mary Jane Feetham

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Sunset Trail – Lake of the Woods

Sunset Trail – Lake of the Woods

Our local mountain lakes have so much to offer our families.Experience a leisurely stroll on the network of trails located at Lake of the Woods!

 

The Sunset Trail leads you along the lake side, through the forest, towards the resort. Epic scenes of Mount McLoughlin and Lake of the Woods itself are almost constantly visible. The trail itself is well maintained and easy to wheel a stroller on.

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Educational Boards are located along the trail side that teach you about the history of the area and the ecology of our local wilderness. Chairs along the trail make for a luxurious rest along the way.

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The Sunset trail meanders along the lake and crosses the Rainbow Bay Park at one mile. Here is another set of restrooms, and the resort is less than 1/8 of a mile from that point. Enjoy the day by making use of this wonderful trail system. You may learn a thing or to on the way about the area.

Lake of the Woods is about 45 minutes from down town Medford. From Hwy 62 head up Hwy 140, towards Klamath Falls to the Lake of the Woods Resort Rd. Turn right and pass the resort entrance. At the stop sign, turn right on Dead Indian Memorial Hwy. In less than a mile, turn into the Sunset Bay Campground area. There is a boat launch, an excellent swimming area, a bathroom, and a trail head. It is $5 to park for the whole day at the Day Use Area.

Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

Morels at 4467 Ft

I am following the morels as they continue to pop in higher elevations. Currently, I am having very good luck off of Highway 140, in Jackson County, Oregon.

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Freshly popped clusters of 2″ – 3″  morels

As the first flushes of morels at this elevation begin to age out, the second flush is just popping up. A lot of solid, fresh naturals growing to good size.

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Fresh morels that are firm, cream colored stocks

 

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Aged morels that are squishy and stocks beginning to turn yellow

I usually leave the aged morels to do their thing, hoping to preserve the quality of these morel picking spots.

Mary Jane Feetham

Morels in the Buffer Zones

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This time of year, every day is a new opportunity for morel hunters. I wish I could get out more than I do. I watch activity all year round, looking for new spots and expanding on the areas that I know are faithful. I dubbed those locations “relative spots”. I start getting calls in the Spring time from people close to me who know I am always on the hunt, anxious to get out themselves. Often, this will be there only hunt, so I take them to those spots I know will produce.

I had seen the logging operation the year before and was set on following up on this spot. A lot of times I have that idea and never make it back because life gets in the way sometimes. However, I hit it perfect with this one. Large slash piles that stood the year before were nothing but a circular bare spot on the forest floor with charred log butts spread about.

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If you had not seen the logging operation in action, there was not much to give the site away apart from the fact that the logging roads had obviously been recently maintained. There are buffer zones running alongside the road where a strip of land had not been processed by the machinery. In this case it is because there was a creek on the road side and the logging operation had to set aside this portion so as not to damage the water source. Beyond this buffer zone strip, out of view of the road, was the leftover land and pounds of morels.

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This is always very interesting to me. It is dramatic to see side by side the forest before and after a logging operation comes through. As I am walking through the slash piles with my nose on the ground, scanning for mushrooms, I had an overall change of environment. I do not know how to explain it, but in a few steps I crossed the threshold of the buffer zone, from processed to pristine. The trees were large and numerous with high canopies that created a quiet darkness and the ground opened up, from tons of underbrush to open space. The diversity of plant types in a few steps went from mainly knee high shrubs to a variety of plants and wild flowers and marker mushrooms. I started finding naturals as a followed the buffer zone into a larger untouched area off of the road.

I am not a master in ecology, but I understand differences in environment in relation to morel hunting. In the logging zones, the morels are numerous and come in a few flushes and are never enormous in size. In less traumatized zones, morels are fewer and farther in between, but are much larger in size and the season is extended in these areas. I have thought that possibly the morel spores are easy spread into the mycelium in areas of soil disruption, which would make sense why logging operations and burns get the poundage not seen in more natural settings.

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I get a thrill out of finding them either way. As the morels start to climb in elevation around the Rogue Valley, the excitement increases for me. I like to get out of the logging areas and the burns and as morels climb the mountains, the naturals are more abundant and easier to find.

Mary Jane Feetham

Morel Craze

Just an hour drive from Medford’s core lies a network of old logging roads plush with wild flowers and . . . morels. Head towards Prospect on Butte Falls-Prospect Hwy and take any number of the marked side roads for success!

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Bring a map!

I like to hone in on young logging sites. The disruption of the soil combined with the spores being tracked around by heavy equipment leads to high yields in these areas. However, morels still come up in sites that are years older. Unless marked, I attempt to gauge the age of a logging site by the height of the planted trees. They are planted as seedlings and  grow 2-4″ a year.

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The soil looks dry and unproductive from afar, but I was surprised when I stuck my finger into the dirt how moist it was right underneath the surface. Since this was an older logging I site, I was not expecting much but took a look around anyways.

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Among the grass blades and dried plant debris were morels. The more I looked around, the more I found. It was intriguing how hidden these morels were. The children had a good time digging through the grass!

It never seizes to amaze me how elusive yet abundant morel mushrooms are here in Southern Oregon. It is an extension of Easter for my family. The hunt continues . . .

Mary Jane Feetham