Monday, March 08, 2010
Spring Rains and the smells they bring
I just stepped outside a moment ago and caught a whiff of something very familiar, the first spring rain. It's still nearly 60 outside and this is what I would call my areas first true warm rain, at least warm in the sense that I think of it. The aroma that teased my nose wasn't that rain smell, no that was there in the air, but somewhere underneath that I swear you could almost smell the earth coming to life. Unlike the deluge we had a few weeks ago, with this rain you can smell that loamy richness that means the mycelium is running once again.
No fungusy smells yet, at least not in my neighborhood, but I know they are soon to follow. Smells can be a hunters friend is you have a keen nose and an ability to follow the scent back through the breezes to their source. Now there are some that claim they can smell the mushrooms. In fact, I would bet that almost every hunter has made this boast at one time or another. Whether it be the true die-hard who claims to have a blood hound like sense to the average Joe Hunter who stops mid-woods and sniffs deeply and then proclaims "I swear I can smell them!" I have made some claims to the later only to find morels within a short distance.
Last year, I made a similar proclamations in front of Jon and Camoshroomer found some right where I was, so I say I have witnesses. They were much more suspect of my ability, but these times have to be more than coincidence. Sure I'm no pig, in the olfactory sense, though I have often been called one after taking on a plate of fried morels. But I swear, that morel smell is so unique in the woods and especially late in the season when they are putting up thousands, even millions of spores, I know you can smell them.
It's tracking the small that is the hard part. I am no blood hound either. But that won't stop me when I catch that all to familiar scent. I instantly stop and scan and sniff, gauging the wind to try and find the source. Sometimes I find something, sure it could be chance, but it seems to work so go with it. The one trick to remember is after you have found a few, every time you think you smell them, make sure you didn't just get downwind from your own bag. it gets me almost every time.
Of course the best smell of all is when you bring them home and start counting and cutting. It brings a smile to everyone's face, young hunters and old alike.