The Forest for the Mushrooms: A Visit to Halle Ravine
On our hike through Halle Ravine Preserve, a 38-acre gem managed by Pound Ridge Land Conservancy, about ten minutes in, our guide spotted a group of morel mushrooms. I happened to be standing close by, so she handed me the one she picked. The rest of the people on our tour swarmed, and one woman picked about six morels, and another person may have gotten one morel. I only became aware recently about the value of morels when a viral video came to my attention on Facebook, of a couple who boasted on FB that they'd discovered awesome mushrooms and were eating them, and police showed up at their door ready to make an arrest, somehow learning of the couple's video and mistaking their activities for illegal consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms. So, I was happy to have lassoed one morel, and jealous that the other hiker got six.
We were told to fry them up with butter, and how would I feed a family of four with just one mushroom?
Even our 4-year-old couldn't sweet-talk our compatriot into giving us one more from her basket so we could all get an ample taste. She said she'd been mushroom hunting for 8 years and had never had this big a bounty in one fell swoop.
The rest of the hike, we became obsessed with hunting for morels. We went off trail when we might not have otherwise, not caring about ticks or thorns or poison ivy. We vied to be ahead of the crowd so we'd be the first to find another group of morels. I did take in the scenery of the spectacular ravine and old hickory, hemlock, and tulip trees, and enjoyed the multi-sensory tour of the forest that included a taste of black birch twig, but I think the laser focus on morels was a distraction and maybe I missed seeing the forest for the trees (or mushrooms) by continuously scanning the forest floor for morels. There was a great variety of other mushrooms to be found in this preserve. We'll go back with friends, and I'll try not to be on the hunt for one thing, and instead enjoy everything.
Ironically, I didn't get a single snapshot of the morel mushrooms. I now realize how lucky we were to fry up and enjoy one bite for each family member!