The day after Thanksgiving is rapidly becoming one of my favorite foodie holidays. Each year we trek down to Monterey to visit our friends and their family, and participate in what proves to be an even more elaborate and decadent feast than the previous day. This year, for the first time, I went down for the whole extravaganza, which includes a nearly all-day mushroom hunt.
Back into the hills...deep into the hills...of Big Sur we went, turning somewhere off of Highway 1 and skidding down a dirt road for at least 5 miles. Once parked, we probably trekked a few miles into the ever-thickening forest. In fact, you would never have known what a glorious day it was for the thick canopy of trees shading us below.
At some point down the path we turned off, and started climbing up a rather steep hill, through heavy brush and downed trees, doing our best to avoid the poison oak (which, I found out later, I didn't actually manage to avoid), all the while looking, searching, straining to see the delicate little fungi we were seeking. Finally, a cry of discovery and excitement (a cry that was quite distinguishable from the anguished cry earlier from my friend Tony who was attacked by yellow jackets, which sent another friend up a tree thinking it was a wild boar on the rampage). We all rushed over and found a patch of perfect, beautiful, delicious chanterelle mushrooms. Our bounty. We took what we could use, left the little ones to grow, and made our way back to prepare our feast.