Sunday, August 14, 2016

mushroom class Denali National Park

 eventually i will catch up on pictures from the summer.  it's so busy in the summers.  it is winding down now though.  only a few little adventures left to go. went with 2 friends to Denali National Park for a course on mushrooms.  i've always been interested in the fungi and lichen so it was fun to see this offered.  we got temp tattoo's to start the trip off...
 can't really say that i am proficient in mushrooms at all.  my brain kept getting scrambled by all the scientific names.  i for sure learned some general information and it was pretty interesting stuff.
 fun to explore this world that is pretty critical to our existence....the under appreciated world of fungi and lichens.
 this beautiful torquoise mushroom was found in a pile of rotting wood. when you see old wood with blue staining it is a sure bet that a fungi was responsible.  the green cup like structures are lichen.
 a few of these mushrooms are from bog walks and such...figured all the mushrooms belong here.
 we learned about the ways the spores are released.  Jen demonstrates the distribution of spores in the puff ball mushrooms.  we had loads of fun with slo motion video.
 didn't actually see any of these poisonous ones out there...there were however, tons of mushrooms in Denali seen on our visit
 we had a pleasant drive up and back.  we stopped for late lunch and to shop in area north of the park.  of course, when i see any letters, i feel the urge to write walrus.  spread the love.  the cameras go down today and the rangers leave the island for the summer...that is if the weather cooperates.
 the rangers did say the cliff cam will remain up all winter.  this sounds to me to be a great sign for a return of the cams next summer though i haven't heard official. why would they leave a cam out there unless they plan to return.  :-)  so i'm very hopeful.  we shall see how long that camera remains functional in the weather associated with an Alaskan winter on Round Island.  will be interesting.
 our 50 reusable bags have arrived....spread the word and let me know if you would like to purchase one.
 we hit the construction perfect and seemed to be the final car arriving before they let the cars move forward so perfect.  we had equal luck on the return trip. we were able to jump out of car for 10-15 min coming back and Jen went in the bush looking successfully for blueberries.  we also were able to snack on these in Denali several times.
 our ventures in the park took us past Polychrome for some nice mushroom walks.  the biggest cache of shrooms was actually at our camp site, which was near the Teklanika campground. a bear had been seen there and there had actually been a bit of an attack the night before.  we heard later that bear was actually put down.  a few charges i think, one where the folks threw their pack at bear with food.  a third encounter a person lay down and got scratched and bit. the bear had been hit by a rock during this encounter on the nose...looked to have a broken nose i think and a wound on a foot...perhaps the foot wound had been what had made it a bit desperate.  regardless, from the rumors we heard the bear is no longer an issue.
 we would all collect what we could find and we did find some unique stuff out there.  below is a fake morel.
 the tasty morels tend to pop out in spring, more often they will be found after a fire has burned an area.  we hunted a bit for truffles as well under the boggy bits near spruce...i guess it's a bit early for those though.
 from the gills of this mushroom underneath the spores will drop out
 and these bolit's have a different look below the cap. we all ended up purchasing hand lenses to see the details in these specimens.  it's a whole new world.  silly me forgot my macro lens.  i may try to rest a bit this morning again and then head out with the macro and see what exciting mushrooms i can locate in my usual haunts locally.
 this little cabins were where we stayed at the camp out there. it did get pretty chilly a few nights...for sure fall is upon us.  we could see many leaves beginning to change.  fall is spectacular but super fast.  there was a bite in the air and that first night felt pretty chilly...of course, my sleeping bag zipper had some issues that night. i was able to fix that in the morning and had no further issues.
 next two pics are of the second shot the puffballs are young, solid and edible. when they turn brown is when you can pop them and see all the spores fly out

 liked the orange on this guys gills..bright, salmon colored.
 a table of shrooms
 the pups survived without me.  i missed them and they were crazy when i got home. not many can manage walking 3 dogs so i don't expect they were drained of energy that much while i was it looked like it had rained and i think my pet sitter was feeling a bit under the weather this week.  always just happy the pups are alive and well.  i did take them in the bog after i got the bits of chewed up paper picked up, vacuumed, started a load of laundry...the usual post trip stuff.
 i have the bathroom gated off and again let the pups sleep at or on the bed last damage done.  there was a box of glass dangles for wine glasses that got chewed up. not sure how they found those and i'm still missing one of them...hoping it's not in some ones tummy. all bowel signs appear normal.  those where in the yard when i got home as well.  i looked around again this morning for that last one.  i really don't think they would eat them...the glass was solid and smooth.  my only concern is the little metal loop.  will hopefully locate these and then i need not worry any at all.
 Tusker will have to hold off eating after 10pm tonight as he gets his surgery in the morning.  don't want puppies from these two.
 strange to not have Pogi around anymore when i returned.  did have a lovely personal note from the Vet.  makes me happy i've been switching vets.  after Rio died i got a card from the last place, general with a pre-signature from the vet...i got the card in the mail before the vet was even back in town from her holiday, so it was kind of strange to have it signed by her since she wasn't even aware my dog has passed away.
 edible chantarrels.  i spell all of these wrong, but i did learn quite a bit.  these became pretty easy to spot out there. i actually don't like eating mushrooms.
 these witches brooms you see in trees..i had always thought they were nests made by birds.  actually a rust fungi causes these to be created.  in this area of the park you could see that the squirrels made use of these as nests and later as caches for food. the squirrels were spotted eating and moving mushrooms around.  who knew they liked them
 we could see mushrooms just sitting in branches all over around our camp.  they were placed there by the squirrels.
 not loads of wildlife.  we did spot a lynx on the road as we drove in to camp...doubt i even got a pic of a piece of it.  the think darted off in to the brush.  it was funny as we were just chatting about lynx sightings when it appeared. we also saw moose, a caribou and grouse and ptarmigan.

 i called this one below the Rush Limbaugh since the name was similar...not that i am a fan of his.
 fun for me to just take mushroom pictures
 slime mold...we saw several types of these.

 our instructor, Gary Laursen, has taught and written books on the subject.  we had some "high profile" students i heard.  a few are very well known quilters. if you have been to the Eilson stop on the bus route in Denali National Park you would have seen an amazing was done by the lady in the back with the headband, Ree.  the lady in the red coat,Charlotte was there with Ree learning about mushrooms for a quilt they are creating together.
 we also had a few school teachers and a woman who has worked in Denali National Park for at least 10 years and sounds like she was an artist in residence as well at some point.
 it was a nice bunch of folks.  the one couple was actually from San Diego but did live in Alaska for years, taught up here and also sounds like they were pretty involved in Alaska Geographic Society.
 i should be sleeping since the puppies are napping.  hate to waste that opportunity.  my tummy didn't feel very good so figured i'd write a blog note.

 hope you enjoy the mushrooms, i will try and catch up over the next several weeks...but i may also be adding more adventures.  i still have the cabin at Byers, so hopefully the pups and i will make a trek across the Denali Highway together and then do a repeat of last year by staying at the cabin.

 lots of tiny mushrooms
 Jen harvests some Chantarrels.
Grateful for:  A.  another successful and safe Alaskan adventure B.  the existence of these beautiful mushrooms, lichens and slime molds that help other plants, humans and aid so greatly in the decay process.  C.  that the animals were safe and sound when i returned home.

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