Recently, after several wet days, we decided to take a drive to one of our favorite central Ohio hiking destinations, Clear Creek Metro Park. It’s a park that many frequent when they’re getting in shape for more exotic destinations like the Appalachian Tail or Rocky Mountain National Park. The tails are that challenging. In our case it was more about seeing mushrooms that we wouldn’t find in parks closer to home, but a beautiful rugged trial lined with ferns that winds its way through old growth Hemlock and oak with a trailhead sign that says something like, “Caution, unimproved trail, proceed at your own risk”, is always a plus. Being located at the southern edge of the last glacier’s advance, on land that has for the most part never been disturbed by farming, logging, or other human activities, has a lot to do with the parks beauty. To optimize our chance of seeing mushrooms we decided to use the Creekside Meadows Trail to access the Fern/Hemlock trail loop. Certainly not the longest hike in the park but given our propensity to stop a look at things it made for a good day’s outing.
Park Trail Map
Just a short note about the cameras used during the hike. We consider ourselves nature lovers who enjoy capturing the beauty of what we see. Often our outings involve a canoe or long hikes over relatively rugged terrain. For this reason hauling a lot of equipment may not be possible or may take away from the experience of “being” in nature. Recently I’ve been experimenting with a Canon 80D Tamron 18-400 mm combo while my wife continues to rely on a Panasonic FZ200 superzoom for many of her insect and fungi shots. Overall I’m happy with the performance of the DSLR combo and it’s potential for more creative control. However, in the sunny day darkness of Clear Creek’s deep woods, with auto ISO limited to 3200, handheld shots were chancy at best and mostly disappointing. A tripod would have resolved the problem but toting it around as well as setting it up for most shots would have changed the flavor of the hike. On the other hand the FZ200 with its fast 2.8 lens, and auto ISO limited to 800, much more consistently provided usable pictures without the use of a tripod. Something that is good to know because while there is no right or wrong when it come to how we pursue photography it is important to ask yourself what it is you are trying to get from an experience before investing in equipment.
Chanterelle or possibly Golden-gilled Gerronema (Gerronema strombodes)?
Another look, (Donna).
Take 3, (Donna).
A different color variation.
Shelf like mushrooms:
Shaggy-stalked Bolete, (Donna)
Shaggy-stalked Bolete another example.
Two-colored Bolete, (Donna).
A small, yet to be identified, wildflower.
Destroying Angel, not a good selection for the dinner table!
The fascinating underside of a free gill mushroom, (Donna).
Yellow Tuning Fork
Very large emerging free gill mushroom
. . . still further.
Unidentified small mushrooms.
An unidentified veiled mushroom.
Appears to be a more mature example of the above mushroom.
Unidentified veiled mushroom.
Very tiny unidentified mushrooms
Pinesap, a parasitic plant classified as a wildflower.
Along the Creekside Meadows Trail near the end of our day a hiking companion spotted this tiny Ring-necked Snake. The first one we’ve ever seen during our outings.
Ring-necked Snake, (Donna).
Another look, (Donna).
Finally, I must admit that we are on the steep part of the learning curve when it comes to mushrooms. Using the guides we have available a frustrating number remain unidentified. Perhaps that is a good thing in the world of mushrooms because if you wrongly identify a mushroom it could be hazardous to your health!