Tree mushrooms bewitch innocent hiker

Have you ever noticed something, then you can’t stop seeing it — everywhere?

Let me give an example. Say you purchase an electric blue car. You think the color is fairly rare. But as you’re driving it around town, you start seeing electric blue vehicles everywhere.

Now do you get what I’m saying?

Another example that comes to mind… I dislike Uggs. A lot of people wear them, so please don’t take offense to my personal taste. But to me, Uggs look like astronaut shoes, they’re expensive and in the Maine winter, they seem a bit impractical. I’m pretty sure the standard Uggs aren’t waterproof. Actually, they look like they might be able to sponge up enough water to weigh at least 10 pounds each. OK — I’ll stop. The point is, I see Uggs everywhere. On my boss, my best friend, my grandmother.

How is this post about mushrooms, you ask? Well — the same thing happens to me in the wilderness. Once I notice something, I keep noticing it throughout the trail. For example, tree mushrooms.

While exploring the Northern Headwaters Trail on Whitten Hill in Montville recently, I saw one tree mushroom, which led me to another, and another. I dutifully took photos, and here they are. I attempted to identify some of them using the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms” and “The Complete Mushroom Hunter” by Gary Lincoff, both amazing gifts by a Maine mushroom expert. However, I’m no expert. And there is one important thing about mushrooming: mushrooms are difficult for amateurs (like me) to positively identify and many of them are dangerous (toxic). So don’t even touch a mushroom if you can’t positively identify it as nontoxic, let alone take a nibble. That said, photographing mushrooms and trying to identify them (and learning about them) can be a lot of fun.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at