One of Gina’s favorite things to do is take long walks in the timber west of her home, in the rural Sciota area. With the early spring weather this year, she thought the morels might be early as well. Howeve, she hadn’t heard the usual reports of mushrooms being found in this area. Gina’s Southern Illinois friends had been finding lots of mushrooms, so the pressure to compete was on. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-05-09-morel-hunting_x.htm
She started her trek in the usual fashion, down the hill to the creek, hoping not to disturb the red fox living in the creek bank, following the creek until she reaches the edge of their forest. She then entered the west portion of the timber, following a deer trail instead of the creek. Soon she would catch up to the winding body of the creek again. As she followed the trail, she stopped at each of the “mushroom trees”, and scoured the ground for the evasive fungus. Not one mushroom was discovered. Not even a little one!
As she continued with her hunt, she stayed along the east side of the creek, instead of crossing it, as she felt she could get better coverage this way. As she walked along, Gina noticed how quickly the woods can change, even overnight. The direction of her walk was affected, as a number of small, dead trees had come down since the night before.
It had been a beautiful morning thus far, but as always happens when Gina is near the creek, her initial focus is lost. She becomes lost in her thoughts in the peacefulness of the timber. She was noticing how many wildflowers had bloomed, just since yesterday. As she strolled along, happy with the flowers, and unhappy with no mushrooms, she began to narrow her gaze to where her footsteps would fall, instead of the wider vision needed for mushrooming. Suddenly, she saw something unusual, something she didn’t recognize, in the grass and sticks along the creek bank in front of her. It was a shed antler! Gina was thrilled. She had only found one other antler, ever. And, that had been years before. She picked up the antler, and as she did so, she screamed with excitement! http://www.prairiestateoutdoors.com/index.php?/pso/article/shed_crazy/
When she left the house that morning, Gina was determined to find a mushroom. But, finding the antler was the best present the woods had given her in a long time.