April 2 - Last year, I found my first morel in my “Early Patch” on March 17. This year I found the first one on April 2, in the same place, exactly two weeks later than last year. Based on ground vegetation and over-story flowering and/or leafing, it seems like Spring may be running two weeks late.
I have been optimistic that this would be a good year because of a cold winter and plenty of rain. This week we had three separate rains totaling about 3 1/2 to 4 inches.
April 3 – Headed up to Big Ridge for the Asheville Mushroom Club annual morel foray. The first scheduled foray was for Friday afternoon, but Rich, Ernie and I planned to scout since it seemed so early. We went to two of our usual spots and found that Spring was late – nothing to be found.
Fri, April 4 – On the basis of our scout we kept the club a little south and a slightly lower elevation than originally hoped. Pickings were slim and the group of about 25 found very little.
Sat April 5 – During our scout we had found seven blacks in a place that looked good, but to which we had never been. We hunted two locations and got maybe 40 total for 35 people. Pretty slim.
Sun April 6 – Seeing as the morels weren’t up much and cousin Ken wanted to dig some ramps, I took him out and we got several pounds of young sweet ones. Before getting home, I went to a gravel road where Rich and I had found them lined up along the shoulder two years ago. There is also a small patch in the woods beside the road. Found 46 all together – drying in the woods patch but fresh and pretty along the road. By far, the most I have found in that spot.
Mon Apr 7 – Might as well work, but I went out the gravel road in the morning and found 7 that I had missed iyesterday and 6 more a little further down the road that afternoon when I had more time.
Tues Apr 8 – Rich came back over from Asheville, and we went back to the club’s Friday spot. Got about 50 out of three patches on the top of the ridge.
Wed Apr 9 – piddled
Thurs April 10 – Took Derek with me, and we went back to the creek where the club had hunted on Saturday. We found our first little grays and 3 small yellows. The yellows were in the exact same location on the creek bank as two years ago. Got about 15 total and headed back to where Rich and I looked on Tuesday. Found about another 15 fresh blacks scattered about. By now it has has been 6 days since the last rain.We also went back to another of our previous scout locations and still absolutely Nada !
Friday Apr 11 – Waiting for more rain and piddling in the woods. By now, I had hiked up enough mountains for awhile. But my friend with the apple orchard called that night and said there were “gobs” of mushrooms, albeit 1/3 smaller than usually. I didn’t get her voice mail until the next morning, which was fortunate, else I would not have gotten any sleep tossing, turning and wondering what a “gob” is.
Sat Apr 12 – Got out to the orchard and saw the “gobs. They had grown during the night and were now (2 p.m.) beginning to dry in the near-eighty degree sunshine. Bottom line is 65 Mocehella deliciosa. Great day !
Sun Apr 13 – It looked like Spring may have come to the mountain, so I went where Rich and I had gone the past Friday in the rain and had found bare. Today was a good hike bushwacking up 600 feet. elevation. Although some large poplars were leafing out, the paw paws were leafed out only 1/2 inch at most. Some were still bare. Hot and dry with leaves puffed. My experience with this place and these conditions is: “I might find a few”. I managed to pick 28 nice fresh blacks by looking all over. Long stemmed because the leaves were thick. Only the caps were above the leaves.
Mon Apr 14 -It has now been 10 days since the last rain, but it is drizzling now and heavy rain is on the way tonight. It’s a cold front and the temps are predicted to drop to around 30 in The Valley Tuesday night. I think that the ground temps are high enough now that it won’t matter and it will be time to look for yellows this weekend. That’s why I’m going ramping with a side trip to a morel patch Thursday,and Friday is, hopefully, yellow morel day.
We shall see. Count for the first half of the season ? About 200.
By the way. Got to work today and found out someone had brought 12 pounds of blacks in Thursday, so . . . . . .