I’ve talked before about how much my husband and I enjoy hiking. It’s one of the best ways we’ve found of combining our love of nature and our need to get a good work-out. One of our favorite places to hike is Shenandoah National Park which we are lucky enough to literally have in our back yard, but we also enjoy hiking in the George Washington National Forest, along the C&O Canal, and in Cacapon State Park in “Wild and Wonderful” West Virginia.
The past several weekends we’ve been out hiking with a purpose – to find the elusive Morel Mushroom. The Morel is a tasty little fungi with a relatively short growing season that mushroom hunters all over search for in the spring. They’re pretty expensive when ordered in a restaurant because of the difficulty in locating them and the fact they don’t seem to be able to be farmed, so must be found in the wild. Many mushroom hunters sell their finds to restaurants, but we just eat ours…and man, are they good!
We’ve been pretty lucky this year as you see from the picture which is from this past weekend. The mushrooms in this picture are “Black” Morels. Morels come in several colors: black, yellow and gray are the most common here in Virginia. They range in size from about 2 inches up to 5 inches or so.
Mushrooms aren’t the only things we find. We also see deer, bear, eagles, chipmunks, squirrels, and incredibly beautiful trees. I am a real tree lover. I love to stand and stare up at a tree and think about all that’s happened while that tree has lived. They are awesome. We’ve also found some really pretty flowers. A few years ago, we discovered a small patch of wildflowers that has grown into a really nice garden of what we now know is Virginia Bluebells. You can see from the picture how beautiful they are. I’m hoping to gather seeds from them this year and see if they’ll grow in my yard.
When we’re hunting mushrooms, it can sometimes turn into quite a hike. This year I bought a new pair of hiking boots and they are the best hikers I’ve ever owned. I have fat little boat feet, so it’s usually pretty difficult for me to find hiking boots that aren’t tight across the front and top of my foot. These Keens were comfortable from the moment I put them on and haven’t given me a moment of trouble since. They have great tread so I feel stable on inclines and are just the right height to give my ankles extra stability. They’re also waterproof, because there’s nothing more miserable that wet feet in hiking boots. We just bought our daughter a pair before she starts her job as a camp counselor this summer and she loves hers, too. You can find more information on Keens Hiking Boots here.
Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. Hiking doesn’t have to be hard or long, you can hike through the city park if you like. Just get out and enjoy what nature has to offer. Nature will take it from there.