Chanterelles usually grow in a low-growing fern-like mossy cover. But yesterday when the Captain and I went picking, there were only a few in this kind of vegetation.
The salal bushes seemed to get thicker and taller (waist high) and we wanted to get out of that patch and find something more mossy. I took the easiest path through the salal bushes. But wait a minute! This was a place that no human had walked through in a long time. Why am I following a path?
The path of least resistance that I was following was most likely a game trail. Game? It had to be game big enough to clear a path waist high…. Deer? Maybe. But more likely bears. I felt the hair prickle on the back of my neck and thought about getting out of there, when I spotted something champagne coloured – a chanterelle! And then another, and another, and another. They’re not supposed to be growing under the salal like this.
In the photo above, you can see that we had two cans of never used bear spray with us, just in case, but I honestly wasn’t worried about bears once I found my first chanterelle. It was great exercise and fun to find the mushrooms.
As we walked back to the truck, we saw a small deposit of processed berries at the side of the road. Oregon grape and salal berries are prolific in the woods we had just walked through. Apparently a bear had enjoyed this walk while foraging for his breakfast too.
Luckily, it seemed to be a day or two old. I was relieved to see that it was not steaming hot, as these finds sometimes are.
PS Notice the well-placed flower.