Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Wish I’d Had a Mycologist

Saturday August 6, 2022                                             Most Recent Posts:
Bear Den Campground                                         Local Towns and Trails
MP 324.5 Blue Ridge Parkway                Bear Den on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Spruce Pine, North Carolina

It’s Saturday, the campground is full.   When hiking earlier in the week I passed a trail not taken on my way to another one.  I kept thinking about that one I’d passed and decided to head out and see where it went even though it is not named or marked.  How lost could I get in 400 acres?

This is the main trail that led to my first waterfall hike.  I went down to the bottom and took a right thinking I’ll go as far as I can, see what I see, and turn around and come back the same way.


What I saw was a simply amazing number of different mushrooms in this dripping rainforest.  How I wish Tom and Maggie Barham had come with me from Riverbend.  I need a mycologist.  Mushrooms are impossible.  Look at all the little white ones growing along my narrow path.

Bear in mind that all identifications are “I think” versions.   So I “think” this is a white coral.  IF so, aptly named.


Dripping rainforest is right.


I “think” this is a yellow capped amanita mushroom and if so poisonous but really pretty I think.


The path went from as narrow as seen above to wide with giant brown mushrooms,




I “think” this is either a parasol or an algarve  mushroom.  Parasol seems like a good name.


If this is not a leopard mushroom, it should be.


My wide path turned into a tunnel.


The only way I’ve ever seen these black mushrooms with white edges are as bracket mushrooms on trees but here they are in the path as stand alones.


Interesting white edges and buttons in the middle of the large one.  Anyone know what this is??


The tunnel opened up for a while and then seemed to dead end.


These next two mushrooms were very interesting and I don’t have a clue.  Can’t find them in any reference  but clearly related.


As I said before, sure wish Tom the mushroom man was here.


Looks like I’ve run out of path.   But I walk up closer and try to see beyond.


By carefully stepping over, under and around I come shortly to a forest road where I find this hairy mushroom below.

Probably time to turn back but I go a little further just to see where the road might go.  I’m careful to mark where I stepped out of the thick woods so I can return to the path and back track.  It’s hard to turn around when I want to see what’s up ahead.


I walk quite a ways down the road and just before I decide this isn’t going anywhere I recognize and I might as well turn around and retrace my steps, I see a trail sign for the Bear Den Trail. 

So on I go following it and I end up at my favorite falls.   Very fine!!  And how lucky!   I wasn’t much interested in back tracking.


If you want to see the movement of the water and hear the falls, use this link.

There is a short cut that goes up a steep trail from the waterfall to the campground entrance road, past the office and by the pond on its steep climb back to Winnona.  It’s all road so not so much fun as hiking in the woods.

Kids are enjoying the pond today.



And I’ve enjoyed my made up mushroom hike.   Tomorrow I’ll go out of the campground to nearby Linville Falls even if it is a Sunday.


  1. You always get the best mushroom photos. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Flowergirl. It's wonderful to see you in the comments again.

  2. I love your "I think" designations. Even though I use the nature app "Seek", I've learned that a lot of times, it's off by a sub species or two. Lovely hikes. Lovely area. Hope we get to stay there sometimes.

    1. I really should put Seek on my phone. Thanks for suggesting it. This is a wonderful area for the summer but difficult to get to and pretty expensive actually even by the month.

  3. The number of mushroom species just in Western North Carolina is astounding. The diversity in the Mid-Atlantic on the east coast is incredible between the flowers the trees the mushrooms. So many varieties of each.

  4. Hippee mushroom? With all that long hair? That's what I think it should be called, but then what do I know. Cool to look at though. Never took a botany class so that should explain everything. ;c)

    1. I like it. The hippie mushroom. I don't remember botony covering mushrooms. It's a very confusing field.

  5. We found an enormous lion's mane mushroom in our campground in Michigan yesterday. We grilled part of it for lunch yesterday and it was delicious! But it's one of only four mushrooms that I know well enough to harvest. Not worth it to take a chance on any others! You found some that I've never seen. I agree that spotted one should be named a leopard mushroom. :-)

    1. Thanks for identifying the lion's mane for me Laurel. Wish I'd known it was edible. The areas I have been in this summer have just been amazing with mushrooms.

  6. Fascinating to see all those different types of mushrooms. Unusual for me, when I usually want to identify every little plant tree or bird, I have no need to identify mushrooms. I know our local morels, and the rest just look pretty to me. I did photograph a few back when we were in Maine last week but didn't bother to identify them. Good for you. You are darn close to a mycologist yourself I think

    1. Oh my what a compliment Sue. I'm no where near knowing even some of the fungi I see. There is such diversity in these mountains, I can't even identify all the various species of oak trees here.

  7. Wow! Neat pictures and such variety! I think Colin would've loved to have followed that trail to see if he could find all the different kinds! Nature is amazing!

    1. In a few years I hope you will all come and visit me in the wonderful places I visit and enjoy the magnificence of the natural world with me.

  8. Wow, lots of shrooms I mostly don't know but I think you did good. Just requires practice. I've seen many in Michigan forest I don't know. Shaggy Mane is delicious. Once again, lovely hike.

  9. Lots of mushrooms. I'm always dubious about eating then because so many are poisonous. Nice that you found your own way back. Better than backtracking. And still got to see the waterfall.


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