I woke early on Labor Day, ate my Greek yogurt with blueberries, and downed my orange juice. I parked my car at "Picnic Area 14" in Forest Park, read the "Welcome to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest" sign, and headed up the gravel path.The remnants of Tropical Depression Isaac had dumped lots of rain. It was a cloudy, cool morning.
I was in search of mushrooms, those elusive fungi of kitchen and folklore.Because of the prior drought, many leaves already carpeted the forest floor. The key to good hunting is to scan the sides of the path looking for patches of white. The first two sightings were "false alarms": from a distance the stark white Styrofoam cups looked like mushrooms. Mushrooms play an important role in breaking down biomass. This is why they are seen on dead branches and trees. The largest living thing is the "honey mushroom" in Oregon, www.extremescience.com/biggest-living-thing.
While none of the mushrooms that I saw and photographed were this big, there were several different varieties (refer to pictures).When I returned to the car an hour later, I was "parked in" by the hordes of people visiting the St Louis Zoo for their holiday. My hike had given me an appetite for mushroom soup.