ONP – Stormy Ruby Beach

Once out on the pacific coast of the Olympic Peninsula I was a bit disappointed that both Rialto Beach and Hoh Rainforest areas were closed due to storm damage weeks before my visit. I was going to find some cool rocks on the beach, and the Hoh is the reported best of the rainforests on the peninsula. Instead I headed to Ruby Beach, which was quite beautiful on its own.

Click on the pic for a large panorama from the bluff above the beach

I loved that teeny tiny rock in the distance

Here is the outlet of Cedar Creek

You can see how it deposits logs onto the banks and beach from the deep forest

Piled up like a thousand dead bodies (sorry, too much game of thrones for me)

Another view from the bluff

A lonely lighthouse on a small, flat island

And a remnant of a past coast, with scraggly trees clinging to the rock

A bit closer

Lots of down wood strewn across the beach like Poseidon’s toothpicks

This trunk was old-growth and very large, they were a hassle to walk through though

But somehow I found more mushrooms!

These beauties were glistening on a log in these clusters

I’m not sure how they survive the seawater

But it was a very dreary, stormy day

With a churned up ocean and regular drizzle

Looking south towards home

A real highlight of the trip, a bleeding mycena! These fun little brown mushrooms exude a bright rust red liquid when cut

I now can’t resist the urge to cut into little mushrooms I find to see if they do this

Next up will be the Kalaloch Big Cedar and its associated amanitas

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ONP – Sol Duc River and Ancient Groves

After leaving the campground and Lake Crescent, I had one more stop before heading to the coast. I had seen a spot called ancient groves along the Sol Duc river, downstream from the falls and hot springs. It didn’t really have too large of trees compared to Lake Crescent, but lots of good mushrooms and fungus!

It is a beautiful rushing, wild river without any dams, a rarity in this part of the world



Can you imagine it so high as to deposit these trunks up on the bank here!

The forest was beautiful as well, with a ton of moss befitting its temperate rainforest habitat

Fun trail through the moss

Some trees were quite high, but I’m spoiled here in California with the redwoods and sequoias

Lovely branch with cones on the ground, perhaps fir

This old fallen giant is a nursery for new trees and other plants

Some of these trees might be growing on the remains of thousand year old downed trees

Lots of creepy fens, or watery depressions, dotted the forest

Changing up the light levels made them less forboding

These intermittently flood

As shown by all these plants recently submerged

They had drains in the form of small creeks

And were fed by the near constant drizzle. Do you see the mushrooms lining the banks?

How about these hidden boletes poking out?

This is a dyers polypore, a hard mushroom that can be used to dye natural fabric many colors

Some more polypores this is a banded polypore, perhaps the red-belted one

I know these but am always at a loss for the name

Little brown mushrooms slowly melting to mush

Another Elfin Saddle (gyromitra infula), probably the best of the trip

I’m not sure on this one, but the buff grey was so satisfying

They look like amanitas but were not, it was weird since they had the form but lacked key features like a veil over the gills

A cute pink russula

A vividly spectacular cortinarius (corts for short)

Here is a younger one, notice the pitted stem and remains of the cortina, or webby partial veil over the gills

An the most spectacular mushroom of the walk goes to this mesmerizing gelatinous alien

I think it might also be a cort, maybe collinitus

And this was the best fungi of the day, a very off branched coral fungus

Ooh, and there was a remarkable lichen, which is a combination of fungus and algae

The roads over on the coastal side were more familiar to me, driving in norcal forests is often like this, with the clear cuts hidden behind the roads with long straightaways lined with trees

Next up, Ruby Beach since a bunch of stuff was closed from the storms weeks earlier.

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ONP – Lake Crescent and Fairholm Mushrooms

On my first day out from the lodge at Olympic National park I went over to hunt mushrooms along a nature trail adjacent to a campground (which was closed in late summer so I walked in from the road).

The road was pretty, and scary next to a large cliff and lake on each side, but the campground was a mess

There were trees down all over from a big storm that came through a few weeks prior

I can’t imagine the work every year to clean up the leaves and other debris to open up

But the serene forest had a few residents, like this deer in the dark

The nature trail.

I managed to hike up and over and around tons of downed wood and other plant material and found this giant cedar

And a similarly massive douglas fir

More fresh snapped wood, the smell is intoxicating to me

Even with all the damage, the mushrooms were everywhere

I will try to provide names where able, but in interests of getting this out, I’m not looking everything up

The nipple on this one is too cute

I doubt these big guys are in any way edible, but they look meaty

This is a viscid, or slimy, cap

Similar on these washed-out russulas, the color on the cap is much brighter when fresh and helps to identify them

It’s like a half mushroom

More slimy caps

Another russula

An old, rotting mushroom, fun

So pretty in the moss

The space needle of mushrooms

This is an aging witches cap, it is bright red and yellow when fresh

Boletus satanus, satan’s bolete, is a rare poisonous bolete that turns blue when you cut into it

This is a toothed jelly fungus, likely Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

Here from below you can really see the tooth structures that it releases spores from

Ta Da! This is one of the highlights of the trip and my second on the list I wanted to find. It is a lobster mushroom, a parasitic fungus that attacks russula mushrooms mostly and envelops them in this hard, bright red shell and makes the inside smell of seafood (hence the name!)

This puffball mushroom is old and emits a cloud of spores when disturbed through that hole in the middle

This slime mold is quite vibrant


Bad shot of a unique cauliflower mushroom, Sparassis

Could it be a white chanterelle?

Yes! A Cantharellus subalbidus

Very photogenic ghostly fungi

Back to the winter tubular chanterelle, Craterellus tubaeformis

And another on the list, the true chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius, although apparently the genetics on this are changing and this is likely formosus)

Spectacular, no?

Well then how about this to finish things off

Next up – Ancient Groves along the Sol Duc river

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ONP – Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls

Hey, hoping to pick up the pace a bit for this trip series. My first full day in Olympic National Park started at the Lake Crescent Lodge and the nearby trail to a large waterfall where I found a ton of mushrooms and fungus!

The lodge is very old, but quite well maintained. I loved staying there and feeling the history from the early 1900’s

I particularly enjoy the art from the first nations of the pacific northwest and western canada

Accidental Wes Anderson (there is a subreddit, definitely take a look)

The lake was pretty obscured by the angles, best view was right out the large windows of the hotel

The mists rising from the forest across the lake were quite captivating

It was truly a spectacular setting

And inside they had a wonderful large fireplace

Easy trail with amazing scenery

At the start was this gigantic maple, a native tree hundreds of years old

It must have reached up 100 feet

And had moss hanging from every limb

A nearby tree provided the first mushrooms of the day

Super cute

The forest itself was lush and just what you would expect from a temperate rain forest

With a few large, old-growth trees

Including douglas fir

And western red cedar

Some of these trees can get over 1,000 years in age


Fun to see one from top to bottom, keep scrolling

The mosses were doing something, flowering?

The fungus was fruiting indeed, such as this stag’s horn (Zyleria)

And this cousin coral fungus, I think it might be a ramaria but maybe a clavaria

A lactarius is a mushroom with this shape that exudes a milky substance when its gills are cut or otherwise disturbed

Here is a different one from the top

I love the striated edges on this one

And the shaggy cap and stalk on this one

These old mushrooms were disintegrating in the rain

Prize of the Day! Yelowfoot/winter chanterelles

These are choice edible mushrooms at $30/lb, and hard to confuse with other varieties if you know a few key characteristics (head out with your local mycological association to lear from local experts, find them via namyco.org)

This witches butter (tremella) is also edible, but less than choice

I think this may be a different species

These mushrooms are mostly ascomycetes, or fungus that shed their spores not from gills, but other surfaces (although this simplifies things a bit), I think below is a helvella, but not sure

Loved the tree roots on this boulder near the falls

Holding on for dear life

This trail goes straight up a 2,000 foot mountain, I don’t how people do those hikes

But I didn’t need to go there to see the waterfall, this is the first falls at the top, they have stairs and railings

And below the falls were very beautiful and supported a nice fern garden behind it, refreshing

Next time, more from the Lake Crescent area

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