Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mushroom Hunt part #3, Remembering Mt Saint Helen 31 years later...

Another miserable day of rain and colder than normal conditions, that have plagued this part of the world, yesterday in Ohio.  So bad that a front is spinning all the way off the Atlantic Ocean, and bringing rain bands from east to west, something you seldom see, at least not to the extent that it is happening this week.  I have not seen the sun since last Thursday when we left for upper Michigan....and with the exception of Friday and the daylight hours on Saturday, the rain is predicted to continue unabated through the end of the month of May....."Un-Freaking Believable".  This may be worse than that long, cold, wet, Spring of 1981...it is however predicted to warm up into the 70s by Friday.   Needless to say the fields are not planted, the flowers are slow in coming up, the lawns are not getting mowed, and baseball tournament time, and the completion of the regular league season, are getting canceled or, at least in the tournament case, set back.  Miserable is not an overused word in this case.

Michigan Mushroom Hunt...epilogue___

After our encounter with the Eastern Hog Nosed snake, we all thought was a Timber Rattler, we headed out on our quest for the Morel Mushooms...more like Mushroom in this case...I think the gang found maybe 3 on this trip out of camp...I got shutout...again.  In fact I found my entire stash near Cousin Moe's place around Alanson, earlier that afternoon.

After getting back to camp, we threw a few logs on the fire, and began to cook the nightly meal, drink some beer, and fire up a few hand-rolled cigars.   As we sat around the campfire and grill, we noticed a Jeep Wrangler, much like mine, pull up near where we found the snake....Rick and Clint went over to greet the lone occupant of the Jeep, to warn him about our "Rattlesnake", and offer him a bite to eat and a beer.  This guy, named Jimmy, in turn offered us a "Cocktail" of Vodka and Club Soda...all but Clint declined, preferring to stick with the barley brew.  Talking with Jimmy, we discovered that in addition to the two bags filled with Morels he had, it seems he was a 40 year old law student from Jackson, Michigan(via Seattle), that usually spent the entire month of May in Northern Michigan, hunting and selling the various eatable Mushrooms.  Jimmy sat around telling us how he went about his month long adventure.  The guy kept logs, pay books, and charts...he was into it.

Drowning My Camera___

About that time, I decided to grab a couple of beers from their resting place in our adjacent stream...at 38 degrees in the water, we figured it was a great place to keep the beer cold.  So we placed those in a large Grapefruit sack, which we also used to collect our Morels.  As I bent over the stream, plucked out a couple of cans, I slipped a bit, dropping one can in the shallow stream, as I reached for that, my Fuji Camera came out of it's carrying case, which was hooked to my belt(Note photo with me and Moe at top, you can see the case with camera on my belt line)...the camera plunked into the frigid water...it took me two grabs to pull it out, by that time it was submerged and pretty much done for the duration of the trip, if not forever.  Jimmy rescued the 75 cent beer, but my $100 Fuji was soaked to the core.  I took the SD Chip out and dried if off...the camera and batteries were not working.  It's been 2 days since I pulled it out of the dry rice to absorb the moister...I manage to take one grainy photo with it on Monday, but nothing that I will be able to use...I have had it back in the rice for the past 48 hours...I will pluck it out this afternoon, if it doesn't work like I think it should, I will make plans on buying a new one.  At least the chip, with the snake other other photos was waterproof, and I saved those photos.

At 12.2 Mega Pixels and easy to use(plus usually great photos) I hate to lose the Fuji, but I see that there are some 14 MPs out there in the same price range...so that might be my next option.  I am not going back to my old Sony 1MPs from a dozen or more years ago...I remember those suckers cost upwards of a thousand buck, and although convenient, don't have the quality of today's smaller digital.  Time has certainly been kind to the folks that like digital cameras.  On a related note, my XM Radio has also gone south...I have a spare that fits into the car...not sure whether I will activate that, or dump the entire system.  At $15 a month, it's not bad, and I have had if for about 4 years....but not sure if I use it as much as I should for the money...something to mull over in the next two weeks, before they post June's payment.

Finishing Up the Trip____

Lite but persistent rains came to the campsite, as we retired for the night.....it was still with us, along with colder temperatures, when we climbed out of the tents on Saturday morning....

We packed up and headed south for Mesick, the old stomping grounds of years past....the rains picked up, and Rick's boys, Clay and Guy, headed south for Indiana.  Clay had a Purdue graduation to attend, and Guy had to work on Sunday.  Clint, Rick, and I, took the Quad Cab Ford 150 and headed for the woods...as we drove the muddy back service roads, the rains increased.....we found a spot that Jimmy had told us about, and donning our rain gear we headed out.  A hour later, soaked to the bone, with no new Morel finds, we decided to end the trip right then and there.   5 hours later we were sitting in Rick's garage, smoking cigars, drinking a few final beers, discussing what had went wrong with the hunt.

As it turned out, Rick and wife Toni, had found more Morels on their 17 acres in one hour than we collected in Michigan in 48 hours, and hundreds miles driven and hundreds of dollars spent.  Don't get me wrong, the main point of our annual Mushroom Hunting is to get away from it all....but we would like to come back with a thousand Mushrooms, or even 500 one of these years.....as they say in Cubs Baseball..."Wait Until Next Year"!!

May 18, 1980...Where were you when Mt Saint Helen's blew her top?

One half my life ago...I'm now 62, when I was 31 back in the spring of 1980, I was spending my final few months in Dodge City, Kansas, as radio News Director for stations KGNO and KDCK...Dodge City Broadcasting.

The news that May had been awash with stories of a possible large explosion at a thought dormant volcano in the great northwest.  That morning while preparing for the next newscast...I heard the bells ringing on my AP Wire machine....Mount St. Helens had indeed exploded:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/mount_st_helens_30_years_ago.html 

The above link is from last year, the 30th Anniversary of the event....I still remember as the ash plume backed up towards the vast prairie that houses Dodge City and the Kansas Plains...more than a thousand miles to the east of explosion, the skies darkened for several days...that is what I was doing on this day in 1980....are you old enough to remember that?

back later>>>> 

Photos-top...Mt Saint Helens several hours after the eruption...My Fuji Camera, not in working order anymore...The lack of finding hundreds of Morels did dampen, but did not ruin our annual Michigan trip...Mt Saint Helens at the moment it erpupted on May 18, 1981, leaving the side and surrounding area destroyed, and at least 57 people dead.

Below:  Final photos of our trip and campsite around Boyne Falls, Michigan, this past weekend:  Double Click for larger views....


1 comment:

Donald Douglas said...

Trippy litte 'shrooms. Looks like you're doing well, Pat!!