Tuesday, May 27, 2014

There’s a Fungus Among Us at Priest Lake

We’ve seen some fungi in our time.  Our current location however has proven to be quite the breeding ground for many new (to us) varieties.  Reportedly there are 450 different kinds of mushrooms that can be found in this area.  We haven’t found near that many but we’ve seen quite a few and photographed a few more.

It all started here…

We had heard tale that Morels were a sought after commodity in these parts.  When we said that we didn’t know what they looked like or how to find them one of our Rangers walked somewhere just behind our van and found it so quickly that you’d think it had been a pine needle or blade of grass.  Given that we had walked the same path she did many times without seeing anything similar, it was now “Game On”.

We found a lot of False Morels.  In the case of the ones below, some call them Brain Mushrooms or Gyromitra Esculenta.

They are probably the largest of any of the mushrooms that we’ve seen so far and each one takes on its own character.


                             To us, the ones above don’t really look like Morels.

The one pictured here on the other hand sure can fool ya!
At least we’re pretty sure this is a NO MO.

                                        And, this is a yes.?.?.?.

                     Yes?  No?  Maybe, you shouldn’t take a chance.

To be honest, although we have some ideas, we still have no true comfort with knowing.  Thus, with exception to the one that the Ranger plucked for us, which Darlene sautéed in garlic and butter and ate, we have not picked or eaten any that we’ve found ourselves.  Nicole by the way opted out of the morel experience so that she could retain all of her faculties should Darlene need a ride to the hospital.  Although we won’t be eating the mushrooms regularly, we do enjoy wandering through the forest and looking at all of the varieties.

Here’s a few shots of what we’ve seen.  Prepare yourself for Mushroom / Fungi OVERLOAD!


                                  Hey!  You’re getting your spores all over me!




                                          Popcorn, anyone?

         And so I said, “You mean to tell me that you aren’t a FUN-GI?



You still with us?  Hang in there… there’s more.

                              Shroom Chandelier



                                                           Cowboy UP!

This Ink Cap was probably our coolest find yet.  It was also our luckiest
because half an hour later (after a rain) it looked like this.



2014-05-18 Idaho, Priest Lake - Mushrooms (2)



Take a bathroom break if you need to.  We’ve got more.  Hey, at least we’re taking care of it all in one post instead of prolonging the agony (er, experience).



                                     Marilyn Monroe Mushroom









                                      A little taste of Halloween.



                                               Man DOWN!

Guess what?!  You made it!  Guess what else?  There is no Page 2.  Well, not this week anyway.  There’s no telling what will pop up in the forest in the coming months.

Now, as your reward for making it through the whole post… drum roll please…

                              Yup… another lake scene.  At least it isn’t a mushroom.

                                    This, on the other hand…

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Settling In… Priest Lake, ID

We’ve been at the lake for a little over two weeks now.  It seems like longer although not in a bad way.  It’s just that we were instantly comfortable here with our surroundings, volunteer set up and the people we are working with.


The weather has been comfortable.  Not too cold and not too hot.  We get some rain and some hail but the majority comes in the form of a quick shower that falls from a singular dark, thundering cloud in an otherwise blue and fluffy white sky.

2014-05-04 Idaho, Priest Lake - Hail Greeting                             The majority of the rain includes a fair bit of hail.


In the volunteer realm… We’ll have a few new duties on this go round.  For one, we are Fee Collection Officers for the first time.  And, to fill the ‘Most Unique’ category, we will be in charge of the Scat Machine.  Essentially, we will be putting five gallon buckets that have been used as port-a-pots into a potty washing machine.  When they are clean, we will take them out.


Our first few months here should be fairly calm which is giving us plenty of time to sit out on the dock, get caught up on van stuff and other hobbies.  Speaking of which, Darlene recently succeeded in knitting her very first pair of socks.

They are doing a great job of keeping Nicole’s feet super cozy during the cool evenings.

As we approach the celebration of three years on the road, Nicole has been busy creating a combination map of all of the places we’ve spent the night (yellow pins) and locations we’ve volunteered at (purple).


We had our first big group of kayaking campers the other day.  They were from the Coeur d’Alene Canoe and Kayak Club. 


It was fascinating to watch them prepare the boats and stuff them with all of their camping gear, food, fire wood and other necessities for their big night on the island. 


Each boat was different in some way and we learned quite a bit about them should we ever be inclined to go down that road (or should we say river).


Speaking of boats…

This is the Mary Moody.  We’ve yet to determine if Mary was really moody or if she just had a slightly unfortunate last name.

What we do know is that the Island Ranger uses this boat to head out to Kalispell, Bartoo and Fourmile Islands to check on campers.  We rode over to Kalispell with her the other day to check out some sites and will have to say that the set up is pretty sweet.  You boat or kayak over to the islands and then pitch your tent right on the shore of a sandy beach with some pretty amazing views of the Selkirk Mountain Range.

s can be expected in such a location, we are getting plenty of lake-view photos as well as loads of woodsy and flowering-type stuff.  With months ahead of us at this location we’ll put posting those on our list of things to get done and put a few new shots up each week or so.  Meanwhile, we’ll cut this short and head back to our spot to watch the sunset turn the water pink and orange.

2014-05-12 Idaho, Priest Lake - Working Hard
     A typical day at the office… Nicole (absorbed by the giant chair), getting the job done.