Week in the Woods (21 X 19)

We finally got a bit of rain, the weather was cool, and skies were blue overhead. The mushrooms were out again and the leaves showed some real Fall color at last.

Richly colored leaves fallen by the trail, spotted on a hike through Raccoon Creek State Park near Pittsburgh.

My daughter & I got out into the woods as often as we could, eager to take advantage of the last weeks of long days.

The forest was damp & cool, perfect for mushrooms.

Oddlly shaped mushrooms growing from a log.More of the same strange white globes growing on the base of a tree.

These guys were growing well…

A log covered in mushrooms!

Really well!

An entire dead tree covered in chicken of the woods.Chicken of the woods mushrooms.

Cassie & I found a whole log of chicken of the woods.

Edible mushrooms, including hen of the woods and chicken of the woods.

We didn’t take any, since the refrigerator was already home to some fungal food. These are some chickens & a hen we harvested.

When I say there were mushrooms, I mean it! They were everywhere, weird and awesome and wildly diverse.

The color on these little beauties and their dandy little ruffled stalks were just too cute. I’d never seen this kind before.

And these guys just knocked me out. Again, I’d never found anything like that before. They look like they might work well as a subject for a drawing.

I love the way these cascaded like water down the hillside.

~

It was wonderful to find such beautiful, insistent life all over the forest floor. Better still to share it with my daughter.

On a seven or so mile hike yesterday, Cassie sang me the ABCs dozens of times. She doesn’t know the words, but she’s working out the tune. She also excitedly pointed out a pair of whitetails she spotted before Dada. We invented a new flying game where she banks into turns and makes engine noises.

It is such a joy not only to indulge my own love of Nature, but to do so as a parent. It is a thing we do: we’re hikers & explorers (just as we were strollers over the Summer). When she sees me lacing up my boots she knows what lies ahead. It’s more than togetherness, it’s shared experience and wonder. To be in the woods with my little girl is the best part of my day.

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