Fungi Seen on Wisconsin Hikes: The Common and the Weird
We hiked a segment of the Timm’s Hill Trail yesterday. It was mid-day, and still very comfortable out. Donning jeans and t-shirts with an adequate dose of bug spray, on our hats and clothes, we set off just after 2 pm. Our yellow lab, Molly, was with us too. She loves the trail for her walk and is anxious to go on it every day (we usually don’t do this daily, although she gets plenty of other walks).
After going into the woods, not too far, I saw a strange orange-colored object on the ground before us. At first, I thought it was a piece of plastic. But, on closer inspection, I noted that it was actually some kind of fungus. There was no stalk or gills, which are present in a lot of fungi you encounter in the woods. Of course, I stopped to take a photo. This act, the one of photographing, and being able to visually recall the object in question helps me to learn the names of fungi, flora, or fauna encountered in our Wisconsin woods. As I’m more accustomed to prairie biomes, I find myself with a lot of new species to learn. This makes me happy, as I love to learn new things about our natural world.
We trekked onward and soon there were other fungi to photograph. There was another orange “blob” and then some more traditional mushrooms with stems and gills. One was smack in the middle of the trail but we didn’t see it until we had turned around to head back. My husband spied that one.
We hiked 1.5 miles on the trail, all of it through conifers and hardwoods with a number of ferns, sedges, needles, and cones littering the forest floor. Parts of the trail were muddy but not excessively so, especially considering the amount of rain we had over the past weekend (3.5 inches).
Four different types of fungi were gathered together on the side of the trail, all small specimens and easily missed for the most average of hikers. I was on the lookout for more fungi after the orange blob and I think that’s why I saw them.