Steven's Pass/Deception Creek Trail

The passes have their own fungal flora, slightly different from either Eastern or Western Washington. The Deception Falls trail leads past the beautiful and unusual Deception Falls themselves, and then down into several miles of old growth forest, dominated by Douglas Fir. It always amazes me to walk among the giants and think that the entire Western half of Washington used to look like this.

mushroom photo

This is a member of the genus Amanita, but I'm not sure which species. At the far left of the photo, out of focus, you can just make out the defining feature of the genus – a volva, the remnants of a universal veil which once encompassed the entire mushroom like the shell of an egg. The lighter gray patches on the cap are also remnants of this veil.

mushroom photo

This is the stalk of the same mushroom. I really like the delicate pattern in the fragile skin of this stalk. You can even see one of our fingerprints in the fine dusting of spores that's coating it. This mushroom was found near the trailhead of the Deception Creek trail on 9-1-04.

mushroom photo

Probably Amanita franchetii, because of the bright yellow color of the warts (reminants of the universal veil) on the cap. The genus Amanita contains the most deadly mushrooms known, so I am always a little cautious about pronouncing species in this genus with a voice of authority. This guy was also found along the Deception Creek trail on 9-1-04. Must have been a good day for Amanitas.

Compare these to the pictures of Amanita muscaria at Denny Creek or at Icicle

mushroom photo

This is an example of a polypore, or conk, or whatever you care to call them. They are as hard as wood, entirely inedible, and to my mind rather interesting. They cause a problem in trees poetically known as heart rot. You can get a sense of the size of this fungus by noting Kendrick's hand in the picture. The surface is more slippery than velvety, but you can see that it has a white bloom which has been removed by Kendrick's fingers. This was also along the Deception Creek trail on 9-1-04.

Another polypore at Rattlesnake Ridge

mushroom photo

Okay, I admit it, we didn't actually get more than a couple of miles down the trail, because we kept stopping to look at fungi great and small. I believe these guys are also Mycenas (as in, YAM or Yet Another Mycena) but their positive identification has eluded me. This picture does a fairly good job of capturing the most striking characteristic of these mushrooms – their bright orange gills. The fir needles in the picture give you a sense of scale.

mushroom photo

The other striking thing about these mushrooms, which was sadly not captured as well in photo as I would like, is that most of them had pinkish-purple caps. They were really quite a pretty shade of lavender, but it shows as only a pinkish tinge in the photo. You can see the exception, though, which is that the young ones seemed to be mostly greenish-yellow. I don't know if this represents two varieties, two species, or just different stages of development. Anyway, we spent a while looking at them on 9-1-04 on the Deception Creek Trail.

Mycenas in Bellevue

Mycenas at Denny Creek

Mycenas near Teanaway

Mycenas on the Twin Falls and Second Beach trails

mushroom photo

Pholiotas quickly become an easy genus to recognize. They are typically yellow to golden brown, grow in large numbers out of fallen trees, have fibrils or scales on their stalks and caps, and have a thick, visicd coating of slime that deters much physical interaction with them.

mushroom photo

These guys started out on the wrong side of the log so to speak, and are trying to reorient themselves to gravity for proper spore dispersal. They were found near Deception Falls on 10-8-03.

A Pholiota at Doe Bay

Pholiotas at Denny Creek

mushroom photo

This is not, technically, a mushroom. In fact, it may not be technically a fungus. In fact, there's some talk of giving it its own kingdom. This is the fruiting body of a slime mold. The slime mold itself is nearly transparent in this stage, and is visible only as a thin, shiny membrane over the wood fibers. It is hard to get a sense of scale in this picture, but the little fuzzball is only about an inch in diameter.

mushroom photo

This is a side view, after cutting off a chunk of the fuzzball to bring home (at that time I had no idea what it was, only that it was possibly fungal) On close inspection you can clearly see the fairly standard spore distribution scheme – a bare stalk with a clump of spores on the top. If this is a fungus, then those clumps are ascii (in this case, pronounces ass-eye not askee) and slime molds are ascomycetes. However, I wouldn't bring this up with a mycologist over beers, if I were you, unless you've got a few hours with nothing better to do. This one was also noted by my and Kendrick's fungally obsessive eyes on 9-1-04.

Slime mold in its vegetative state at Icicle

mushroom photo

I think this is a spiky little puffball of some kind. I'm really not at all certain, though. It is yet another find from 9-1-04.

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