Monday, October 31, 2011

Mushroom Peeping

 Sunday my husband and I went to a trail I've been very interested in exploring called Land Bridge Trail. One interesting thing about it is that it goes over I-75 giving hikers and wildlife a safe way to keep on trekking along the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.   It was kind of a trick finding this trail head but extremely worth it! The drive is very beautiful itself, going through horse country and passing many ranches.  My preferred types of trails are those that are designated for "foot traffic" and more than a little rough at times. I want it to look like it has been almost untouched by human presence.  When we hike, we equate it to the reverence one would feel in a church, we speak quietly and treat the forest in a respectful way.

Now my favorite time to go hiking is after we've had a good soaking rain.  One reason is all the animal tracks will be fresher and another reason is because of all the mushrooms that pop up the next day.  The colors are so vibrant after a rain, it looks as though someone has come through with a brush and watercolor painted everything.  I was thrilled to find this beautiful example of color on our hike:
This is Cortinarius Violaceus , one of the few types of completely purple mushrooms.  I've read that it's quite rare but they were very prevalent in the area we were visiting.
Another beautiful mushroom that we spotted was this lovely reddish mushroom that I believe MAY be Russula Pulchra .

An especially interesting variety (at the time I was not 100% sure it was a mushroom) is this one:
I believe this to be a lentaria micheneri , also known as a coral type of mushroom. It looked almost like a little bouquet of flowers.

I really love any type of shelf mushroom, especially the way they cling to fallen tree branches:

I'm not sure which variety this is, but I really love how they look like little oysters.

Another really special thing that we saw, though not a mushroom was this clump of Indian Pipe Orchid  growing:

They were some of the largest I've seen and had the most beautiful tinge of pink.

We also saw some beautiful varieties of lichen. This variety is known as Christmas Lichen:

Sticking to the "Christmas" theme we also saw Reindeer Lichen:
The gorgeous flora really made up for the quiet day wildlife-wise. We did see a Barred Owl and an indigo snake and some coyote tracks, but it was rather quiet, I believe because it was a sort of breezy day which I am sure helped with the mosquitos.  I can't wait until my next sculpting day because I can definitely see some violet mushrooms in the forecast!

I highly recommend this trail for anyone who enjoys a more rustic hike. The paths do require some care.  We aren't afraid of snakes, and honestly most of the snakes we've seen while hiking HAVE been poisonous, including coral snakes, pygmy rattlers, diamondback rattlers, and water moccasins. In every single case when on the path, they move once they realize we are coming, but we spot them and are able to take care.  Anyone hiking along these trails would benefit from a sharp set of eyes and a walking stick, just to be safe, for nudging a snake out of the path (I don't recommend this with a LARGE venomous snake), though usually once they become aware of your presence they have no desire to stick around.  I love this trail BECAUSE it is unpaved and natural.  Another part of the Greenway, the trail head at Baseline Road is very much paved and very good for people who would like a more level walking surface.


  1. love to see your mushrooms as compared to what we get up here in the PNW. those purple ones are beautiful - i recently discovered some purple ones here too: western amethyst laccaria. and i love spotting the coral mushrooms; the ones up here are often bright orange upon first sprouting, although they seem to fade with age.

  2. Happened onto your lovely blog. Looks like you too love nature. So glad to meet you. Took sometime to read your posts and look at your gorgeous pictures. Thought your clay sculptures are beautiful. Thanks for letting me visit.