Thursday, September 12, 2013

In Appreciation of the Fungus Among Us

There are miles of trails and scenic beauty to be accessed from the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway which cuts through Three Sisters Wilderness. On our first foray down this road, we drove about 30 miles West of Bend to the Mirror Lakes Trail Head.

Our objective was a loop hike consisting of: Mirror Lakes Trail to a short stretch on the Pacific Crest Trail, then onto Wickiup Plains Trail, then Elk/Devils Trail, and back to Mirror Lakes Trail. This was an approximately seven mile loop. Unfortunately I cannot find a link to the map we used, it's best to inquire at the Bend visitor center for hiking details.

We never made it to Mirror Lake itself (our map was not detailed enough to guide us there), but we enjoyed walking through pretty forest intersected by lava flows, a couple of tiny lakes and a myriad of fungi! We realized after a while that the entire forested hike was over lava, but thousands of years of forest cycles had made the majority of the land fertile and able to support the forest. About 75% of the hike was shaded, very welcome on an 85 degree day.

Fungus was the highlight of this hike...hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

We hiked through beautiful forest, but occasionally lava flows popped up!
Purple mushrooms nestled in a bed of stars.

Manta Ray gliding over the forest floor.

Monstrous amoeba-like shrooms!

A wall of lava edges the trail and the forest.

Looks like a banana slug on steroids!

Of the two tiny lakes we saw, this was the prettiest.

That's Hans' size nine foot!
I like purple!

Clusters of shrooms!

Big mushroom, big bite marks!

Baby clusters!

We got a peek of South Sister.

Many of the trees sported a cloak of moss.

Little mushroom, little bite marks!
Pretty moss covered rocks in a little stream.

On our way back to Bend we stopped to admire a couple of the big mountains that make up the Cascade Range in these parts.

Broken Top.

A full view of South Sister.


  1. What a perfect day! The purple shroom is a stunner.

  2. Looks like a schroom hunters paradise assuming some are edible and you know which ones.

  3. Gorgeous photos of this stunning landscape. My son gathers lots of chanterelles from Oregon this time of year. I didn't see any in your photos, but I know they are the major forest harvest this time of year.

    Happy Bend days.

  4. Wow, those are good looking fungus! We can compare pics on our fungus/mushrooms back here in the east. Some look similar and some are quite different.

    1. I did not realize I signed as unknown above, but it is me ML! Great photos of those fungi.

  5. That hike was worth it just to see all the fungi. The purple fungi are so pretty. You certainly hit the jackpot with different types. The brownish one looked like a natural sponge that someone dropped.

    The mountains are beautiful against that deep blue sky.

    Stay cool!

  6. Amazing the strange things that can grow in just the right climate. That purple mushroom doesn't look real....looks painted. What a pretty and unique area!

  7. Love the fungus! I need to learn how to tell the edible from non edible. Seems like we could have some great salad experiences if we knew!

  8. Wow, what beautiful fungi! Some were probably edible and delicious, if only you knew which!