by Brady Raymond
“Things are looking good” and “Things are good” are two very different statements. As I stepped out of the car this year at the 2017 Ben Woo Memorial Foray my heart was filled with excitement. My brain, on the other hand, was much more suspicious of what awaited us in the forests skirting Mt. Rainier this year.
“What’s the scoop?” I asked Milton who was nearby as I hopped out of the car.
“Not good.” He replied.
My heart sank a bit, surely there had to be something. Once all the attendees arrive we’re bound to find mushrooms. Over a hundred sets of eyes will be searching these woods, zigzagging and crisscrossing each others path. My heart lifted a bit at the thought, but then froze as a few flakes of snow started to fall. It’s just not the year I guess, not like last year, at the Ben Woo All Sound Foray.
After Erin and I got our quarters all set up we headed down to the Longhouse. Once again this year the Longhouse was home base for our workshops and identification. In short work, Erin had the dye display set up as well as all the pots and stoves, mordanted yarn and pH-altering solutions for the dyeing the following day. While she did all this I decided to set out for a quick jaunt around the camp, to see what I could find.
The pickings were slim at best. Last year was insane, not only in species found but also in terms of biomass. Literally, pounds and pounds could be found of various mushrooms species. On my initial trek, all I really spotted this year were a few species of Mycena, one Tapinella, and this gargantuan Ganoderma pictured below.
Things were looking pretty dismal, yet I had faith we’d find more than what was showing itself at first glance. To my surprise as we were signing folks in and getting cars parked people seemed jovial and just happy to be out in the woods even if the pickings were slim and despite the weather. Many of the attendees were present last year and knew that the workshops, speakers, and great atmosphere were enough to make for a fine weekend in and of itself. With a lack of edibles comes an appreciation of other mushroom species, ones that are often time overlooked. My spirits were rising once again, and I decided right then and there as it rained that this was going to be a great weekend. And you know what? It was.
This year’s foray included both half day as well as full-day forays led by expert guides. There was a cultivation workshop, dye workshop, and a photo workshop as well. These were all well attended and attendees went home with oyster kits, mushroom dyed silk scarves and yarn samples colored by a variety of mushroom species. Sight unseen to me, I would assume the photo workshop yielded a number of fine images too.
Presentations this year included Marian Maxwell and Noah Siegel on Friday as well as a showing of “The Last Season.” Saturdays Speakers were Jim Gouin and Gary Lincoff. Each night there was plenty of socializing and fun had by all. I have a feeling the Ben Woo Memorial Foray is going to become one of the premiere forays in all of the Pacific Northwest, I would recommend attending next year’s if you missed out.
It turns out this year wasn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things. Like I said above, as far as I could tell fun was truly had by all. The weather shaped up to be quite nice both Saturday and Sunday. Although a little cold, in the mid 30’s the sun shone through and in total 181 mushroom species were found (list at end of article). Chanterelles were scarce by some season standards but they were found in abundance enough for some lucky folks to feast well. Sparassis were also found and in relative abundance, I’m not sure but I think probably at least seven or eight in total including this monster Molly found pictured below.
I’d like to give a big thanks to all of our presenters, some of whom traveled quite a way to be with us. Your knowledge and enthusiasm to teach is really an incredible thing. Likewise, PSMS is truly grateful to all who volunteer that make events like this as special as they are. None of this wonderful Foray would have been possible without the hard work and diligent planning of James Nowak and Luise Asif. If you attended the Ben Woo Foray and you see either of these two around please make sure to thank them. And once again the Staff at Buck Creek were friendly and more than helpful. This sure makes staying there a pleasant experience no matter how the season pans out.
Of course, we couldn’t do this if no one came. So to all the attendees, Thank you for coming, I hope to see you next year. Good hunting.
Ben Woo Memorial Foray 2017 Species List
|Amanita muscaria “var. alba”|
|Amanita sect. Vaginata, brown cap|
|Asco, tiny grayish disc|
|Asco, tiny stalked cream cup|
|Bondarzewia occidentalis (=B. mesenterica)|
|Cortinarius subgenus Dermocybe, Orange gill|
|Craterellus tubaeformis group|
|Elaphomyces granulatus group|
|Gymnopilus sapineus group|
|Gymnopus sp. Brown|
|Gymnopus sp. Gray-brown|
|Hebeloma mesophaeum group|
|Hebeloma praeolidum group|
|Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca group|
|Hygrophoropsis rufa group|
|Inocybe geophyllum group|
|Inocybe sp. Golden brown|
|Inocybe sp. Gray brown|
|Inocybe sp. Shaggy olive brown|
|Leucoagaricus rubrotinctus group|
|Mycena sp. (Gray, bleach odor)|
|Oligoporus guttulatus group|
|Oligoporus obductus (Osteinia)|
|Porodaedalea pini group|
|Psathyrella longipes group|
|Psathyrella sp. Med orange-brown|
|Psathyrella sp. Med. Gray brown|
|Psathyrella sp. small brown|
|Ramaria conjunctipes var. tsugensis|
|Ramaria cystidiophora var. citronella|
|Ramaria sp. Large orange, small base|
|Ramaria sp. Med. Yellow|
|Rhizopogon parksii group|
|Rhizopogon sp. Med gray-brown, green KOH.|
|Rhizopogon sp. Small gray, rhizomorphs|
|Rhodophana sp? (or Lepista?)|
|Russula aeruginea grp large|
|Russula aeruginea grp small|
|Russula cf. benwooii large|
|Russula fragrantissima group|
|Russula phoenicia (=R. fragilis group)|
|Tricholoma murrillianum (one single rumor, not seen by any ID’ers)|
|Xerocomellus atropurpureus (=X. zelleri group)|
|Xerocomellus diffractus (=X. chrysenteron group)|