Friday July 17, 2015 Previous Post:
Big Meadows Campground David Stays in Town While I Hike Around
Shenandoah National Park
This morning we see two examples of unusual method campsite moves. Just like a snail or a turtle, they pick up their houses and move down the road carrying them.
After we have a good laugh, we get packed up for a hike to the Corbin Hollow Cabin trusting that by the time we get there the dense fog will be lifted.. Or that it won’t be down in the hollow into which we are hiking. We’ve learned that things clear up when you get down off the mountain even if it’s just hiking down which is the thing you do here on most trails other than summit hikes.
As we drive the clouds lift and descend, the fog clears and covers the road repeatedly. Luckily it is clear enough to get a sighting of all but the head of this rooting black bear. I guess he is after grubs but he never lifts his head up and finally people pass us and he darts up the hill.
The headless bear.
We arrive at the trailhead. We’re taking the Corbin Cabin Trail down to the Cabin and the then the Nicholson Hollow Trail back out for about a 5 mile loop. From “You are Here” we’ll go down on the yellow trail. The cabin is at the bottom. We’ll come back out the other longer yellow trail which has less of a grade. To complete the loop, we cross the road and pick up…..you guessed it…..the AT, which here is in red. We take it North back to the parking area.
The beginning of the trail has lovely wildflowers to greet us. I suppose for those allergic, goldenrod is considered a weed not a wildflower.
A short way down the trail I find more young chestnuts and very near by the leaves of a young chestnut oak. You can see how they are different in this picture. The true American Chestnut, on the left, has leaves that are longer compared to its width and sharper teeth on the edges of the leaves. The chestnut oak, on the right, is a broader leave with rounded points.
We are flanked on both sides by lush Mountain Laurel. It is clear by the bonanza of berries how many flowers were here in the early spring. What an even more stunning hike this would be then. I make a note of that in case I am ever here in late May/Early June again. Sure wish I’d done this hike at that time. It would have been spectacular.
This trail the mountain people created is really beautiful. It’s a soft forest floor for walking even as it becomes a relatively steep down hill climb. I marvel at what good shape they must have been in if they climbed this often. Perhaps it was mainly a horse trail then.
You know, now that I look at them, I think these might be rhododendron. Even more spectacular since the line the trail for most of its length.
Along with the abundant mountain laurel/rhododendron, this trail turns out to have the most mushrooms and fungi of any trail we’ve been on. Those of you who have been reading all our posts from Shenandoah National Park have seen a lot of mushrooms but nothing can top this trail for the variety and number of specimens. Seriously you almost can’t walk a foot without another mushroom.
We spy one of the potential eaters of mushrooms. Sure wish I knew which ones I could have for my dinner.
When I look down I think I am seeing red potatoes. Are they some sort of puffball?
I’ve hunted through all the mushroom books I have, a total of 2, and am able to identify some of them but others just have me stumped. I’ve tried the internet without much luck since identification has to be forest specific. But I enjoy them during the entire hike without knowing their names and am just repeatedly amazed at the number and variety. What a fecund place these people lived in.
I am already so far behind on this blog that I can’t hold posting it any longer while I check identifications. I will keep returning to this post and update it to identify more of them as I am able. So if you are a sh’room fan, book mark this page and return every once in a while to see how I am doing. When I repost it, I’ll put UPDATE at the top of the text and the date of the update.
Imagine this in a blaze of bloom. Breath taking. I’m already planning repeated hikes on this trail and I’m not even to the Cabin yet.
More potatoes at my feet?
These first ones look like potatoes but I think they are False Truffles or are they a type of puff ball?
Watching the ground for mushrooms also yields other treasures.
The forms and varieties of fungi are just amazing. But few of them seem to be in the books I am using or the internet sites I can find. Sure hope someone can recommend some better sources for identification for me.
This is some sort of jelly fungus in two different shades.
No idea about this one.
Moths are much easier to identify but they don’t hold quite as still for photographs as mushrooms do. I get lucky here.
I’m guessing this one below is a variety of Witches Hat or perhaps the common inkcap mushroom.
We are now dropping deep into the hollow but this post is already too long so come back for part 2 and see the real reason we took this hike before we knew it was going to turn into an unbelievable mushroom bonanza..
If you have any idea of the identification of any of these mushrooms or know that I’ve made a mistake, please let me know so I can amend this post. Or even suggestions for books or websites with pictures to help identify Eastern Woodland mushrooms. I am just dumbfounded at their numbers and variety. I need a good mycologist.