Text by Trina
Photos by Trina and Greg
We were grinding uphill at 10,000 feet of elevation on a rutted dirt road scattered with loose rubbly rock. We had just passed a sign warning,
ROAD ENDS 1 MILE
AT PRIVATE LAND.
I had just posed -- perhaps even squawked -- what might seem like a Zen koan, but wasn't: "Why are we riding up this steep, loose hill to turn around at a private gate?" when a roadside scattering of not rocks, but pale orange lumps caught my eye.
My squawk changed quickly from one of complaint to glee when I confirmed that I was indeed seeing what I thought I was seeing: chanterelles!
Greg seized on the opportunity. "That is why we ride to the end of roads that go nowhere: You never know what you'll find." Touché! And a significant delay of ride as I peeled off my bike every time another orange spot peeked out from the pine needles and lichen. The death climb redeemed, we gathered enough to enjoy fresh, wild chanterelles for dinner and again the next morning for breakfast.
Next evening we found ourselves settling once again in a meadow edged by fir trees with the promising lichen and moss. When a foray for the night's firewood turned up another handful of chanterelles, I knew I had no choice but to forego the long, steep, hard, all-day ride Greg had planned for the next day -- imagine my disappointment! -- and hunt instead.
After sending Greg off on his own the next morning, I gathered up my highly trained truffle hounds and ambled into the deep, dark forest in search of more gold. At day's end, chanterelles were on the menu for two more meals, and when we reached the point where we just couldn't tolerate another fresh, delicate, apricot-y, slightly nutty mushroom, we laid the remainder of them out on the dashboard to dry while we headed off for the next adventure du jour.