My car kicks up a thick trail of dust as I drive down the old dirt logging road while listening to NPR breakdown what they are calling the wettest May ever recored in the United States. Not in the Adirondacks. Nope, it seems the rain has opted to let this great mountain range stay parched while the rest of the country struggles to soak in the excess of water. The morel season has suffered due to the lack of moisture. None the less, I continue driving along franticly glancing into the surrounding woods in search of a fungal bounty.
Fast forward three weeks. The climate in the Northeast abruptly one-eightied, resulting in an onslaught of heavy rain starting on the first of June. While the farmers struggle to work their crops into the saturated soils, and the hikers impatiently wait out the weather indoors, I've trudged around the muck in bliss. The quick turnaround from bone-dry to sopping wet has concentrated the usually spread out debuts of the summer mushrooms to a window of just a few weeks. With the storms gone, and the forecast calling for sunny days, the fungal flushes are exploding. This is making for a very exciting final week of June, and July has the potential to be epic.
Chanterelle buttons have already started poking up out of the leaf duff, the medicinal reishi fungus seems to be growing out of every dead hemlock in the region, and the highly sought after porcini (Boletus edulis) has made some early appearances. I've kept busy foraging for the strikingly beautiful and seemingly out of place crown-tipped coral fungi, but am now ready to spend my days hauling baskets of apricot scented chanterelles and meaty chicken of the woods to local restaurants.
During the off-season one almost forgets about all that life hiding under the soil, just waiting to explode upwards. Just seeing the new fungal diversity coerced out of the ground by the rains has gotten me excited for what is to come. The waiting period is most definitely over. Now here's to a week of clear skies (and then some more storms to ensure July is really special).