Saturday, June 13, 2020
I returned to the forested Cascade Mountains where my friend, Dave, recently introduced me to the art of mushrooming. Returning alone, I was experimenting with being alone in vast wilderness. Well, this pilgrimage wasn’t exactly lonely, with my dogs along.
I drove high on a main road passing turnoff opportunities and arbitrarily selected one. I then navigating my Jeep along an unexpectedly narrow, conifer-smothered dirt track, finally spotting an off-road space large enough to park. I exited, released the excited dogs, and stood several moments breathing incredibly fresh air. As Dave had taught, I held a mesh bag for harvested mushrooms (allowing, while being carried, continuing spore-scatterings).
Another lesson from the initial outing was that walking in a wilderness can disorient one. That and the limited vision from many trees can lose a parked vehicle. This time, I carried helpful electronics. One was a “go back” that can estimate distance and direction of a car’s location. As a precaution, I had my Spot personal locator, which can signal for a needed rescue. Remember, this adventure was my first-ever time alone in a vast public area. I’m unable to navigate by compass (but will learn).
The dogs and I wandered, my eyes moving constantly and searching for mushrooms. Before long, I began to comprehend that my earlier experience had been more broad than simply mushrooming. Many other factors that surround an art of mushrooming had compelled my desire to re-experience the great outdoors.
The Pacific Northwest, all about outdoors, is an incredibly inviting area for hiking, fishing, biking, wild-animal hunting, and horseback riding. Most of my years in this area and outdoors were on horseback. I loved it but feared being alone and on foot in a large forested area.
But this day, my every step slowly turned into adventure. This arose from a sudden awareness with each step of differing sensitivities of ground. And, too, from unique plant sightings.
I paid attention to the intricate patterns of tree barks, and focused on the area’s possible history while struggling across much naturally-occurred wood debris. There were many fascinating rock formations.
Throughout, the dogs stayed with me. I moved carefully in directions and tried to avoid losing my vehicle. This failed, for upon deciding to go to another road, and walking toward where the Jeep was parked, I finally resorted to the back-tracking device. No surprise, my parking spot was a couple hundred yards away and in quite another direction.
It was another great day. Tired dogs, wild mushrooms, and somehow, pleasantly, more of myself.
Dear Readers: Planning with Dave a re-trip to practice the spotting of morels. Diana