Mushrooms in Telluride: Hunting the wily King Bolete

Mushrooms in Telluride: Hunting the wily King Bolete

IMGP1420Friday afternoon in Telluride, Tim Erdman called: Did we want to go mushroom hunting with him Saturday morning? Robert Allen and Susie Coit would be joining us as well. We had never hunted with Tim but enjoy his company, so why not. Turns out he is as addicted to the hunt as we are, so even when we all agreed it was well past time for lunch, we couldn't resist adding more mushrooms to an already impressive stash.

The Telluride Mushroom Festival takes place next weekend, so we got a bit of a jump on the event. When the word goes out in Telluride that boletes are everywhere, it's time to be in the hills.

IMGP1417 IMGP1418 The first clue that we were in for a bountiful hunt was the fields of amanita muscaria that Susan refers to as "Disney mushrooms" for their role in Walt Disney's Fantasia (that was another era for those of you younger than I), and the first sightings of boletus edulis followed shortly.

In less than an hour and a half we all had as many boletes as we could carry. Was everyone happy, satisfied? Of course not: anything worth doing is worth doing to excess. And besides, we hadn't found any chanterelles yet. And that's why we were late for lunch: when Susan and I ran into a patch of chanterelles, we couldn't stop. Susie and Robert had given up on us by that time, so the three of us decided to just "take a few." Yeah, right. Another hour later, and a few bags of the golden prize, as well as a "few" more boletes that we "couldn't just leave," we finally made our way back to Tim's car, loaded down with our catch, hungry, but happy we'd persevered.

Now for the long chore of preserving our harvest, at least that large portion we don't use in the next day or two. I can taste those Sunday morning scrambled eggs with chanterelles already.

(photos of amanita muscaria and boletus edulis by Clint Viebrock)

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