Fall has got to be my favourite season… Don’t get me wrong summer is awesome, especially this past summer with lots of long hot days, perfect for full day adventures in the mountains and refreshing jumps into the lake. Winter’s not bad either, with white fluffy snow comes a whole new set of adventures. But fall is special, there’s something about the crisp fresh air, and there’s nothing nicer than a crisp sunny fall day outside. The leaves change colours, spectacular golden yellows and reds, even the dying fireweed turns a dark burgundy covering the hillsides in blankets of deep reds. But there’s a lot more to fall than just these gorgeous colours. Fall is a great time for foraging! After having spent a few years out here in the South Chilcotin Mountains, wandering through the woods seeing all sorts of weird looking flora & fungi, I decided to start learning more about what it all was.
Luckily for me, local resident & Tyax Adventures guide, Geoff Playfair was around to answer many of my questions and impart some of his vast knowledge to me. I’ve picked Geoff’s brain about so many things these days he probably runs and hides every time he sees me. Some of his wisdom I’ve picked up on is that there are tons of different types of fungi around, many of them edible, and some not as much. When foraging for mushrooms bring a guide book, take notes & photos, and if you’re unsure bring your notes & photos to someone who’s got more experience than you. The first mushroom I identified was in my front yard, a Shaggy Mane, according to Geoff’s identification of my photo, edible too if you get it while it’s young and before it turns to a black inky blob… hmmm. Geoff’s been out hunting for field mushrooms at his wife’s request. To help correctly identify these Geoff recommended taking a ‘spore print’, which I promptly googled and learned that it makes a really nice piece of art as well!
Another coveted mushroom, the morel, grew in abundance in the hills surrounding Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa and other parts of the South Chilcotin that were affected by the forest fires in 2009. The year following a forest fire the disturbance usually causes morel mushrooms to sprout up, the summer of 2010 & 2011 the South Chilcotin saw morel mushrooms sprouting up everywhere, a chef’s dream!
Along with plenty of other mushrooms to search for a common sight along the trails and roadsides right now are Rosehips. These are bright red & orange bulbs that grow after the petals of the rose have fallen off usually in September & October. A great source of Vitamin C rosehips can help ward off the pesky fall cold by providing you with a huge boost of this essential nutrient. Great for tea or making jelly & jam.
A real fall treat is the Harvest moon, this year we weren’t able to see it as clear due to some cloudy skies, but just seeing the brightness peak out behind the clouds was a gorgeous sight. Marking the true start to fall, the Harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, this year falling on September 22nd. Get ready for a fantastic fall seasons and don’t let shorter days or a little rain keep you from enjoying a fantastic fall!
*Be careful what you pick & eat, always use the guidance of someone knowledgeable & trusted. We don’t recommend foraging without expert assistance*