[caption id="attachment_16931" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2017\/07\/Mushrooms-1.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="450" class="size-full wp-image-16931" \/> Pipestem State Park naturalist Julie McQuade leads the mushroom walk at Yew Mountain Center last weekend. Visitors were treated to a variety of mushrooms found in the wilderness of Pocahontas County. Photo courtesy of Erica Marks[\/caption]\r\n\r\nErica Marks\r\nContributing Writer\r\n\r\nThe hunters fanned out through the forest, scanning the ground and trees for colorful inhabitants. Yellows, reds, purples, pure whites, blacks, and every variety of browns were plucked by fungus enthusiasts at the Pocahontas Mushroom Foray. \r\n\r\nAs part of the Cal Price Enrichment Series, the Pocahontas Nature Club hosted the Foray July 22 with events at Watoga State Park and the Yew Mountain Center. Some participants carried special baskets designed to hold their fungal finds. Others swung mesh fruit bags through the woods to bring back their quarry. \r\n\r\nLocal mushroom enthusiast Ken Springer gave a talk titled \u201cEdible Mushrooms of Appalachia.\u201d Following the talk, Julie McQuade, former naturalist at Watoga and now naturalist at Pipestem State Park, returned to familiar trails and led a mushroom walk through the Watoga forest.\u00a0 \r\n\r\nEveryone who looked found mushrooms. They were seemingly everywhere once one opened his or her eyes to them. The creepy Dead Man\u2019s Fingers, the tiny and delicious Appalachian Chanterelle, the charismatic Old Man of the Woods, the deadly poisonous Destroying Angel and many others were sorted, identified and examined at the end of the foray. \r\n\r\nRichard Jacob, a mushroom hobbyist from Pittsburgh, estimated that he encountered about 70 species of fungus on the walk at the Yew Mountain Center. His 12 year-old son, Tallis, was clearly an experienced mushroom hunter \u2013 rattling off scientific names for people\u2019s finds and putting each specimen in a separate paper bag which he carried in his basket. Maureen Farrell, of Beverly, led the foray at the center.\u00a0 She and her husband lead mushroom walks and cultivate mushrooms at their farm.\u00a0 \r\n\r\n\u201cWe found an excellent variety of mushroom species and had a lot of fun identifying them.\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nThat evening a mushroom dinner was served at the Yew Mountain Center.\u00a0 Locally foraged wild mushrooms, chanterelles and chicken of the woods, were on the menu as well as some cultivated varieties of oyster mushrooms and shitakes.\u00a0 Eva Gutierrez and Corey Bonasso prepared the meal and incorporated other wild ingredients such as milkweed blossoms. \r\n\r\n\u201cI must say, this was one of the finest dinners I\u2019ve had of late,\u201d said Mac Gray, of Seebert.\u00a0 \r\n\u00a0\r\nThe band, \u201cPickin\u2019 Molly Moochers,\u201d consisting of Trevor Hammons, Benjamin Davis and Joanna Burt-Kinderman finished the event with some good old-time music. Molly Moochers is another name for morels, a mushroom delicacy in the spring woods.\r\n\r\n\u201cMushroom foragers saw our nature community work together to provide knowledge and fun\u00a0on a\u00a0foray,\u201d Pocahontas Nature Club officer Mary Dawson said. \u201cWatoga, Yew Mountain and the Pocahontas Nature Club combined their best efforts\u00a0to provide a variety of events for visitors and residents. It is an event that can keep growing.\u201d \r\n\r\nLike mushrooms in the rain, perhaps.