With fall in the air and whispers of snow in the northwest, our thoughts turn to the woods and the moments of respite they offer against the busyness that, too, comes with this crisp season. It’s a season of magic, of taking time out to reimagine our lives through a more thankful lens, and one, too, of surprises and gifts.
One golden gift the woods offer in a botanical game of hide and seek is the chanterelle, a meaty, trumpeting mushroom that disguises itself amongst the trees and ferns, blossoming in the deep, moist darkness of the forest floor.
Through a long series of stretches through the Northern Cascades, I was a passenger on a chanterelle hunting expedition along with two pups with a nose for the finer fungi. Just after a light misting of cool rain, my guide drove me out with a pocket knife and a few empty cloth bags to one of his many secret spots. With a few misfires between analog mapping and mis-remembrances that I suspect were more to throw me off the trail and prevent my solo return, we landed on a dirt road, parked for almost no apparent reason at a precise spot, and waded through the green carpet below and a maze of towering trees.