A “Virtual Foray” for fire morels

I’ve just returned from the San Juan burn in the White Mountains, where a large fruiting of fire morels is under way. We collected enormous quantities, but left much larger stashes of small ones behind. I have also received reports that the Slide fire is now flushing much more heavily than on our last trip out there. If you can get out in the field this weekend, you may get the best mushroom foray of your life. It certainly was the best ever for me. A longer report will be written soon.

It would be a perfect time and place for an Arizona Mushroom Club foray, and my companions and I set aside a large, accessible hillside morel patch that would have been especially suitable for the club, and sent them the GPS coordinates. Unfortunately, I received word today that Dr. Chester Leathers was in an automobile accident this week. I don’t know his condition, but hope and pray he and Rose are doing well. There has been no announcement of an foray for the weekend, and as I write this on Friday morning, it seems unlikely that one will be called. And the prospect of dry, freezing conditions means this flush is not likely to last until next weekend.

Therefore, I am instead going to sponsor a “Virtual Morel Foray” for Arizona Mushroom Forum readers. Rather than simply post the places where we found all the morels this week on the open Facebook group or on the front page of this website, I have set up a private “Members Only” page to keep this within the Arizona recreational mushrooming community.

Tonight I will post forest road numbers and topographical features on that page that should help guide you if you’re going out this weekend. With the exceptions below, I will not be posting any GPS coordinates, so you’ll still need to get out and do some legwork. Perhaps you’ll even run across some of your fellow AMF readers out in the woods. Don’t worry, there is enough for everyone!  Regrettably, I will not be able to join you, but I hope you all have fun, stay safe, and find the morel patch of your dreams.

By the way, yesterday I got a detailed report of a massive fruiting of morels on the Slide Fire south of Flagstaff, with over 500 morels collected in 3 hours. I have permission to post some helpful info to guide you to the same area. This will also be forthcoming when I open the private page tonight.

If you’re not already a member of this Web site, you will need to sign up on the “User Registration and Login” page. Don’t use the “Subscribe to blog via email” box, but instead create an actual account on the web site so that you’ll have access to the members-only page. You’ll still get email reports of blog updates automatically. The member’s page will be unveiled after 10:00 pm today. If you are only a member of the Facebook group, or an email-only subscriber to this website, you won’t be selected.

As an enticement, I will be awarding the following prizes to randomly selected lucky winners from among all subscribers who have signed up by this evening.

  • First prize is one pound of fresh morels and the GPS coordinates to a place of waking dreams named “Brigadoon“.
  • Second prize is the GPS coordinates of another slope where I left hundreds of untouched baby morels two days ago.
  • Third prize will be GPS coordinates of a log that grows cauliflower mushrooms, Sparassis americana var. arizonica.

Going forward, we will use this private page for discussions of things that we want to keep confined to non-commercial mushroomers with an Arizona connection, not on the wild and wooly open Internet. Most especially, this includes morel reports from next spring, which should be very good if the winter is wet and cold!

And finally, a plea that I hope you’ll respect. Despite the huge quantities of morels that Kevin Widner and Dave Holland and I collected this week, we did not touch 80% or more of the mushrooms we found. If you click on the eighth picture in the gallery above for a closer inspection, you will see four stumps where we harvested large morels, and some 35 other smaller sporocarps that we left behind. With any luck, they are still there as I write this, only larger.

Won’t you please do likewise?  After you have collected enough morels of any size to ensure yourself one or two good meals, “buttons” or “thimbles” that are smaller than your thumb should be left in place to grow larger. Pick some big ones that will soon be past their prime. It’s all right to go back for more a few days later when they have matured, assuming no one else has found them in the meantime, but please be considerate and apply the Golden Rule to your behavior in the woods. Give someone else a chance to have the same pleasure you got.

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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6 Responses to A “Virtual Foray” for fire morels

  1. Taoest says:

    I’m in and going this weekend. I signed up and really want to participate. I will email from a desktop tomorrow a.m.to ensure I’m a party off this raffle

    • Christopher May says:

      We did it last weekend, sorry! But there are still some morels coming out of the San Juan burn.

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  3. Jenny Matlock says:

    Hi. Just sent my membership check in. Moved to Payson some months ago and are really excited about the prospect of finding morels. When will you start hunting for the spring? Someone told us when the lilacs start blooming?

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