So, going backward in time, I thought I'd share a little treasure hunting I did a few weeks back. My friend and I went Morel hunting! Morels are mushrooms. And hunting morels is a HUGE thing around these parts. Now, last year, my friend and I paid for a "class" through a sporting goods store to help us find morels. They were supposed to give us tips and hints as to when to begin looking for them and how to go about spotting them. Oh, and we got a T-shirt. Well, we paid for the class, we drove two hours to get to the location they told us to meet up at and at the time of sign up we ordered the size shirt we wanted. We also brought a picnic lunch so after we were done hunting we would all sit down and talk about our adventure. Having said all that... We got there and it was drizzling and cold, not a good sign for hunting morels. We walked around for a couple of hours with a bunch of people, all of us with sticks and bags with holes in them (to help spread the spores of the mushrooms we picked). We walked, we stooped down, we walked some more. We pushed our sticks around in the leaves. But my friend and I found nothing! In our group, there was a woman who had a mass of children. Okay, so maybe it was only about 4 or 5 kids, but they were so rowdy and LOUD that it sounded like a huge mass of loud hyenas! Anyhow... that lady was the only one that found any morels. The kids were actually the ones that kept finding them. The "teacher" said it was because they kids were so low to the ground. Hmph! What ever! All in all, that trip was a bust. It was too early in the season to find decent sized morels. (the ones found that day were about the size of a pinkie tip) And on top of all that, the T-shirts that we got were not the size we ordered!
My friend and I vowed that this year was our year! We have been talking to everyone! Seriously, EVERYONE about when, how and where to find them. So, the information on ~when~ was rather easy to procure and the ~how~ also was relatively easy. Most morel hunters will share that kind of information. But the WHERE! THAT people is the most valuable secret! NO ONE will share that information. Honestly, I know some of the nicest, kindest people in this town. But they won't share the where of Morels! They smile and they say, "oh, you should be able to find them nearly anywhere". Or "I'm sure if you just look around you'll see them around..." Which to my friend and I sounds like "blah, blah, blah". Because we looked around, we poked around, we searched near and far and found NOTHING!
Until, this year! We finally, put all the little bits of information that we've garnered over the last 14 months (about the time since our last attempt) and we headed out to the wooded, wet area's around town. Some of the places that you would think would be PRIME for morels. But found none. Then we began to notice that there were cars just sitting around on the side of the old roads. So one day, we stopped our car and began walking around near an area of the Mopac Trail about 5 miles south of where I normally run. And there we found our very first Morel!
I saw it on the ground because the sun was shining down a ray of light directly on that golden bit of loveliness! And then we plucked that little morsel and stood up and we slowly turned around in a circle and there were 5 more around us! We were so excited that we were (very carefully, for fear of accidentally jumping and perhaps crushing some potentially unseen ones directly under foot) jumping up and down with pure joy! And these, mind you, were not the tiny little things that were found by small children last year. No! They were a good size! And there were 6 of them. The picture you see before you is the smallest of the ones we found!
So, now we knew that it could be done. Outsiders who had no familial ties to this area could really find Morels without the help of long time family held secret of the locations of past Morel sightings! Halleluiah!
That was a joyous occasion! We walked around for another couple of hours but found no more. We did find some stems where someone else had gotten to one before us. But the 6 we found were all that were found on that day. We soaked them in a bowl of water with some salt added to it, then rinsed them and then we sauteed them. And they were simply Marvelous!
The next weekend we decided to try it again. We went to a different place. A private property belonging to someone my friend knew. And it was purported to have morels in that area. And we did find 4 more but they were older ones and had a bit of frost damage due to the light frost we had experienced a couple days prior to our hunt.
After that. We hadn't gone back out looking. The weather had gotten cold again and things just didn't look good for hunting. And now the season is supposedly over. But we are continuing to talk to everyone we meet in the hopes that one day before the next season someone will take pity on us and give us a location where we'll be able to have more than a little tantalizing taste of the delectable Morel.....