Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Multitude of Mushrooms!

Kenny and I left sunny Oak Ridge to do some hiking at Frozen Head State Park, 25 miles north of here this afternoon. We noticed a band of clouds over the Cumberland Mountains as we were driving there but we didn't think much about them. We hadn't been in the parking lot more than 5 minutes when we heard thunder, the wind picked up and soon it began to rain... hard. We sat in the car and waited awhile to see if it would pass... it didn't. So, we turned around and headed back to Oak Ridge! Since we really wanted to get in some hiking, we went to Haw Ridge. That turned out to be a good choice. Due to the recent rains, there were multitudes of mushrooms of various sizes and colors. Our #1 favorite was definitely the red-capped ones (upper left)! We enjoyed seeing the different puffballs, including this trio of Gem-studded Puffballs (right).

We also saw a pretty peach-colored Coral Fungus (2nd left) and some bright yellow mushrooms growing on the forest floor.

I was glad I had my tripod when I came across the log that had this bright orange slime mold growing on it!

It wasn't all just fungi today, I did see a few wildflowers on the hike too. Groundnut (right) is a fairly common summer wildflower vine that grows on the edges of woodlands. Another flower that grew in the low, wet areas along the trails was Square-stemmed Monkeyflower (left).
So, despite a bad start today, our hike turned out to be very nice after all!

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