This past weekend DH took the kids for an outing and ended up at a bookstore where DD fell in love with the Audobon Society’s Pocket Reference Guide to Mushrooms of North America. Today, with a totally open slate and a gorgeous fall day, we headed off to Pacific Spirit Park, an amazing 1000 hectares of forested trails, to hunt for Mushrooms. Like all true ecologists-at-heart we had no intention of picking them (even before we saw the signs prohibiting mushroom picking), but instead came armed with our book and a notebook and pen for recording what we found. I’m still kicking myself for not recharging the camera battery last night – I could have posted some lovely photos (but we will do this again and will bring the camera next time). The picture at left is one I found on the Web. It was taken in the same park, and in the same area of forest that we were in (being such a large park, there are several forest types), just on a different trail. We found a huge variety of mushrooms on our relatively short walk. We didn’t go too far because I had a 2 year old on foot and a 4 year old with a hacking cough (she desperately wanted to go, has no fever, and had boundless energy this morning, so I’m not a horrid mother, thankyouverymuch, lol). I’d say almost half of them we were unable to identify. The book is not exhaustive; next time we’ll take photos and then look them up on the Web. But we were “pretty darned sure” that we found the following: the Jack O’ Lantern, the Gem-Studded Puffball, the Pigskin Poison Puffball, the Chicken Mushroom, and some Sulfur Tufts. We had a lovely time, and decided that next time we go, we’ll use our photos to put together a little book about the kinds of mushrooms we can find in our part of the world. I find great peace and a lifting of my spirit when walking through the forest. I’m so happy to be sharing it with my own children now, and plan to make this a regular activity.