Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Corbin Cabin in Nicholson Hollow-What a Day!

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.


  1. I know nothing about mushrooms but love all the different colors and shapes they come in. Nice trail!

  2. Love the different mushrooms and fungi. We find them really interesting too but have no idea what their names are. You are already doing way better than I ever could! Looks like a beautiful hike.


  3. I used to marvel at all the mushrooms I saw on my daily walks on the mountain in back of my house in NC. I remember one huge orange one that looked like a big pumpkin. By the time I returned the next morning with my camera, it was gone! Some of them are so beautiful and velvety.

  4. Talk about mycologist's dream. Yet I know little of the eastern shrooms. I do like my Audubon book the best for IDing. Best to go picking with a local who knows.

  5. Beautiful trail and sooooo many mushrooms and fungi!!! They are so interesting and come in such unique colors and shapes. I especially enjoy the ones we find clinging to trees...kind of like jewelry;o))

  6. i too have been in awe with all the mushrooms we have seen in KY and TN and even now that we are in VA... and also I wished I could safely ID them for consumption...

  7. There are lots of great mushrooms on our trails as well. Fun stuff.

  8. It is amazing all the mushrooms and fungi there are, even within a square mile. I have the coolest fungi that was growing on a tree. It's been in my family for decades, my father's godmother (I think) etched a scene of a deer on it. Cool!

  9. This time of year, seeing a bear's a good thing- as is the fact that people give it plenty of space and it scampers off. They've got plenty of food this time of year. One doesn't want to run into one in April when they've just woken up and are hungry!

  10. Wonderful fungi! I can't even imagine such a variety on one trail. I bought a field guide to western trees and thought it would be so fun to start identifying the ones in the campground. I'm so frustrated at the number of specimens that look so much alike! The range information helps to eliminate but it is definitely going to take me awhile to figure them out!! Your comparison of the chestnuts was much easier to follow :-) That bear was definitely focused!

  11. I was an avid mushroom hunter as a kid in Denmark (during the summers), but I just don't feel comfortable enough with the varietals over here in the U.S. I would love to take a class on it one day since I do so enjoy wild mushrooms.

  12. Only your special eye would see the amazing beauty of fungi that so many people (me included) would pass by without a look. Now I have been educated by you (again) and realize I have to slow down because I'm missing so much. :c)

  13. That is an amazing array of fungi! I wonder if anyone offers classes in identifying the local fungi? Those trails are so beautifully lush.

  14. I, also, know nothing about mushrooms and fungi but I sure love finding them with all their different colors and shapes. Yes, those did look like red potatoes and a white potato. It must take you forever to hike even a mile with all the photos:) But we enjoy them...thanks:)

  15. Quite a variety of mushrooms. I'd post a picture of one in our front yard that's about 12 inches across but can't do that here as far as I can tell.

  16. Wow! So many varieties of mushrooms and fungi-I had no idea there were so many. I can imagine that trail being gorgeous in Spring, but then would you have noticed all the mushrooms??

  17. Wow! I can just imagine your excitement when you saw all these colorful mushrooms/fungi! Like you I also bought a pamphlet for their identification, but it is just too darn challenging. Im sure you did this trail repeatedly! Lucky you.


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