October 25, 2009

Developing Eagle-Eye in BC's Wilds

The day of the hunt. Specifically, our annual wild mushroom hunt: the day we crawl through wet rain forest looking for chanterelles. There's a place we re-visit each year where, so far without fail, we always manage to find an adequate bounty. And, despite the odd caterpillar and twigs and brambles in the hair, it's a great way to spend a morning. Surrounded by trees and silence it's easy to imagine what it was like here, hundreds of years ago, when the first trappers and hunters came out exploring.

I read somewhere that what sets Canadians apart from other western nations is the unavoidable awareness of how close we still are to the wilds. Certainly here, in BC, you could set off on a hike through a provincial park and, heading north, end up in absolute and dense wilderness. An hour's drive out of the city you can turn your back on civilization and, standing at the doorstep to Alaska, be faced with the possibility of never seeing another human being ever again. It's hard not to feel a sense of awe, standing in the middle of such a forest then. And it's hard not to feel a bit humbled by it.

Anyway, back to our little adventure. Here's R and the dog, setting out. I took the camera and planned to look not only for chanterelles but also for interesting scenery for future prints.

When it comes to wild mushrooms, it's always the non-edible ones that are easy to spot. True to the rule, tree fungi everywhere...

And Rusellas...

Unfortunately, or probably fortunately, finding the edibles takes way more work. They hide: camouflaged under fallen leaves, buried under scaffolds of twigs, nesting in mounds of moss.

This, by the way, isn't a photo from today. I'm cheating and using an old picture I have on file because the camera died after I took my the first three pictures. Batteries! Bummer!

Still, as always, we found what we came for: I'm guessing close to 2 lbs (?), nicely washed and waiting to be turned into crostini for dinner tonight and who knows what else after that:

But I guess I must have chanterelles on the brain; the block I printed from today looks like it could be a patch of them in the forest:

Here's what it looks like when printed:

Inching my way forward.

1 comment:

Annie B said...

Nice post. I love that your block looks like chanterelles! Even the color.