Trip report – Mogollon Rim & Greer – Aug 3, 2013

The 2013 season is under way and started with a bang! My wife and I took a trip to the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains on Saturday, August 3rd. A walk in the dripping-wet woods by Bear Canyon Lake yielded half a basket of oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, from a large dead Douglas fir.

We then drove on to the White Mountains between Pinetop and Greer. An hour’s walk north of Sunrise ski area happily offered up a half dozen king boletes, a.k.a. porcini or Boletus edulis, in good condition. There were another dozen that were even bigger, but thoroughly bug-infested and rotten and waterlogged. A pity. But any day you find B. edulis in edible quantities and condition is a beautiful day indeed!


We also saw various other mushrooms of less culinary appeal, including Gomphus (false chanterelle), Suillus (the slippery jack), Amanita muscaria (the red and white toadstool familiar to everyone), a yellow coral fungus, and a Cortinarius with its intact cortina still sticky. All of these were either bug-infested, inedible, unknown, or toxic. Therefore, they were left in the field.


About Christopher May

Chris is a radiologist in private practice in Scottsdale. He is married to Barbara May, with two grown children, Megan and Nick.
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4 Responses to Trip report – Mogollon Rim & Greer – Aug 3, 2013

  1. Dan says:

    Planning on going up to the pinetop Greer area to do some edible mushroom foraging…. Where do you recommend the best place to go? Around sunrise ski area? Farther east? Alpine? Are there any particular roads you recommend taking into the forest? Any advice would be appreciated. Also , is there any boletes in the Prescott national forest??

  2. ccmaymd says:


    You want high, wet, and flat. Pretty much any stand of mixed conifers above 8500 feet in the month of August will be good, if the rains have come. The country to the north and east of Sunrise ski area off Road 260 certainly qualifies. State routes 261 and 273, and Forest Roads 87, 112, and 117 are good places to start. The Arizona Mushroom Club has had many forays in the vicinity and I suggest you go on one to get the lay of the land. Should be coming along very soon now, in the next two or three weekends.

    The Apache Indian reservation south and west of Sunrise ski area is good mushroom habitat too, but you’ll need to check with the tribe as to regulations, and get one of their recreation permits, which I think cost $10 per vehicle per day. I saw large numbers of Caesar’s amanitas popping along the side of Highway 260 between McNary and Hawley Lake last weekend.

    There is plenty of high country from 8500 to 10000 feet down towards Nutrioso and Alpine, but a lot of it got badly burned out in the Wallow fire. It’s generally a lot more rugged terrain, as well as being farther away for most folks. I’ve never gone that far afield myself.

    The Mogollon Rim is the sweet spot for a lot of people, in part due to its proximity to Phoenix and its vast, relatively flat stands of ponderosa and mixed conifers. It also tends to get pounded with rain in the monsoon season, because of the way the humid air is lifted and cooled rapidly when the winds are coming from the west and south. From the edge of the Rim, along forest road 300, to about five miles north of the rim, you’ll find the wettest place in the state except for a few of the highest reaches of the White Mountains. The Knoll Lake forest service fire tower has had 12 inches of rain as of yesterday, and a good bit more today. Further west along road 300 near Highway 87 things are drier, but with more rain on its way it may be a good place to look in another week or two.

    The stretch of Ponderosa forest from the Mogollon Rim to Mormon Lake to Flagstaff and Williams is enormous. You’ll surely find some fungi anywhere you go, if the rains have hit. On the San Francisco Peaks, Bill Williams Mtn, and Kendrick Peak, you get to elevations around 9000 feet or higher and can expect similar conditions to the White Mountains, but steeper and generally drier. However, this year Williams and Flagstaff have had a ton of rain.

    On the North Rim, the Kaibab National Forest from Jacob Lake down to the Grand Canyon National Park boundary is another place to consider. It’s a long drive, but it’s especially known for large fruitings of Boletus barrowsii in wet years. No collecting is allowed in the park itself.

    Prescott National Forest will have a few Barrow’s boletes in association with ponderosa pine, especially at the very highest reaches like Mt. Union where altitude approaches 8000′. I doubt you would ever find a true king bolete there, but there are some Douglas firs in the highest parts of the forest, so who knows? Maybe in a wet year. Most of what you’ll find is slippery jacks, russulas, puffballs, and the occasional Agaricus. The Prescott forest is also not very flat, and you would expend a lot of effort compared to the flatter places found along the Mogollon Rim, in the White Mountains, and Flagstaff. The area around Crown King is reasonably flat and got a lot of rain this year, so it might be OK for a very quick trip.

  3. Terri Clements says:

    What a great site! So glad we found it. We are new members of AMC, having joined last year, and haven’t gone on any club forays as yet . Our problem (not really) is that we spend June through September in Maine and spend the balance (and mostly dry part) of the year in AZ. We have foraged for chanterelles and King Boletes for some years in Maine but just got interested mushrooms in general last September when we went on our first foray. It was with the MMA which we also belong to. That’s when we caught the “mushroom bug” and we have been very engaged, fanantical even, ever since. On our way back to Az last October we found Laetiporus sulphureus in Tennesee and Coprinus comatus in Oklahoma. After arriving home in late October we found Pleurotus ostreatus In Cottonwood. Then nothing until early April when we found Agaricus bitorquis and Coprinus comatus.

    Last December we headed to NAMA in Scotts Valley, California. It was mind blowing! We just returned from NEMF in Rimouski, Quebec–a great experience as well.

    The mushrooming in Maine is awesome but when I see what’s around the rim in August I am envious–wish I could be in two places at once.

    We’ve had a tremendous amount of rain this summer in Maine so we are finding fruitings of Hypomyces lactifluorum, Suillus granulatus, Suillus spraguei, Boletus edulis, Harrya chromapes, Craterellus tubaeformis, Hydnam umbilicatum, and Lactarius thyinos–all of which we had on pizza last night. Tonight we had Lactarius camphoratus in fish curry. This is so much fun!

    We head back to Az in early October. En-route we plan to forage at the Buffalo River Natural Refuge area in northern Arkansas and anywhere else that looks promising along the way.

    Hopefully we’ll get some precipitation in Az this fall or next spring so we can forage with the AMC. Does the club have any get togethers over the winter months? I noticed a potluck last December but I think we joined too late. Educational get togethers would be great as well as we are enjoying learning.

    • Christopher May says:

      Thank you for your nice words, Terri. You sound like a knowledgeable fungophile and we would love to have you come out on a foray with the AMC. There is likely to be another outing in the next two or three weeks, as well as the December potluck, and a spring morel hunt if the snow-gods cooperate.

      We are just getting going with this blog, so if there is anything you would like to see here, errors that you may have noticed, or contributions you would like to make, by all means drop us a line.

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