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December 11 is National Mountain Day! This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the mountain ranges and hilltops near you. Mountains are very spiritual places. People head to the outdoors to connect with nature and feel at one with the world. Mountains, in particular, are representative of deep wisdom. Many spiritual legends tell the story of enlightened ones who perch on top of the mountain and offer advice to people below. Here are some expert tips if you ever go mushrooming on the mountaintops!
If you’re heading out to celebrate the mountains today, you might want to keep an eye out for mushrooms. There are a variety of fungi that can be found on the rocky, craggy peaks of mountains. Here are some mushrooms you might discover on your summit adventure.
As you pass by the treeline, you may spot bracket fungus. These mushrooms grow horizontally off the side of dead and dying tree trunks. They look a bit like a soft brown frisbee embedded in the tree. Don’t eat these mushrooms. Just admire their rippling colors and pass on by.
If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon the famed Amanita mushroom. These are bright red with small white dots on the cap. They are also highly poisonous! You might find them under aspen trees or other conifers, growing about five inches high.
For the passionate foragers out there, you should keep a wary eye out for morels while you’re traversing the mountains. These mushrooms have a dark, rippled, honeycomb-like cap that looks a bit like a cone. They especially like to grow beneath cottonwoods and other deciduous trees. Morels are typically found in early spring, so you won’t find any in mid-December.
Either way, get out there and enjoy some fresh air at the top of a mountain today. At least plot your springtime adventures when the weather gets calmer. Remember, mountain-climbing is not only about what you can see in the distance. If you remember to look down at your feet every once in a while, you might just discover a trove of mushrooms waiting for you. Make sure to add mushrooming on the mountaintops to your bucket list!