The woodlands of Oakland County are a sensory delight after a rainy September day. The forest floor takes on a richer scent, flowers smell sweeter, fungi flourishes and a very fortune few have chance to sniff chanterelles. The cherished funnel-shaped fungus has a slight apricot-like aroma and is one of the most sought after and delectable mushrooms in these waning days of summer. Searching for chanterelles almost makes me forget about morels, that is until next spring. It was a public program last Sunday morning titled “Fall Mushrooms of Michigan” that lured me back to Lost Lake Nature Park, a 56-acre park administered by Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission. I wanted to find a chanterelle. Continue reading
THE WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
Turkey Tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) are fantastic forest fungi that are easily located in the dead of winter and in the sultry heat of summer. As forest foliage thickens during the early days of summer, these extremely common mushrooms may be eclipsed momentarily by the shadows created by dappled sunlight. If you want to photograph them, simply bring along a nature-inquisitive child on a trailside turkey tail hunting foray. It won’t take long until the excited cry of, “I see one!” is followed by an outpouring of enthusiasm to explore nature’s way at the dawn of summer.
WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
Bald Mountain State Recreation Area is a 4,637-acre multi-use wildland managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR describes the landscape accurately with their frequently used sentence of, “The Park contains some of the steepest hills and most rugged terrain in southeast Michigan and features fifteen miles of marked hiking trails.” I knew that. I thought I knew all of the Bald Mountain State Recreation Area trails very well. I did not. Somehow, in all my many adventures at Bald Mountain, I missed four miles of forested trail that circles West Graham Lake, East Graham Lake, and hidden vernal ponds. As John Muir wrote, and I have shared before, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Once again his words were accurate, and they will be for you as well, if you walk slowly, stop often, look and listen. Continue reading