Recently, I was lucky enough to walk through a forest near the Kohler Andrae Park. This park is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Sheboygan, WI. The park is filled with natural dunes and a lovely beach. Each September my mom and I take our annual trip to Sheboygan to visit this park and have a picnic. After that, we always stop in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center to see what's new. It's a fun tradition I always look forward to.
This summer has been very hot for Wisconsin, and the day we went to the park was no exception. We ended up having our picnic on some uncomfortably hot sand. It was nice to be able to escape into the woods, because it was actually comfortable in there! As you guys know, I love taking photos, and I took a lot of photos in the woods. My favorite photos were of the wild mushrooms growing on and beneath the trees.
I had a somewhat challenging time taking these photos. This first one for instance, involved standing on a rickety old log and keeping my balance while trying to get near the ground.
It was worth it, because I ended up with a shot I really liked. The mushroom looks like a fortune cookie to me!
This mushroom and the one above it were both growing out of dried up logs that were lying on the ground.
I didn't know what the above photo would look like while I was taking it. This was another precarious shot where I was trying to get near the ground without touching any suspicious plants. I put my camera under the mushroom and just snapped away.
I want to stick some googly eyes on this one, because it looks like it's grinning with a mouthful of sharp teeth.
I have no idea what this fungus is.
Here's another one. They're just growing directly from the tree bark.
I was so happy with how the light was hitting this little mushroom. It looked like a fairy's umbrella to me.
This is the shell of a Beech Nut. It looks like it should be saying "Feed me Seymour!" These were scattered around the ground, as were the Beech Nuts themselves. I guess the little forest animals like to eat those.
I'm not sure if it's just me, but this old rotting piece of wood looked like a skull. That's what I saw right away when I spotted it. You have to imagine a skull that's lying on its side.
On exiting the forest, we came to a tree that was freshly cut and leaking sap. I could smell it and it smelled lightly piney. I know those look like drips of clear water, but they're actually drips of sap!
It probably looks like the drips are in the process of dripping, but they were just suspended there. There wasn't any sap movement that I could see.
If there are any mushroom experts out there who know what kind of mushrooms I photographed, please let me know! This was the first time I'd seen a few of these.
I ran into an interesting page full of old mushroom stories and superstitions: Mushroom Magic and Folklore
There's a little there about "Fairy Rings" - those circles of mushrooms you find growing in nature. I saw one of those once and it was a pretty cool experience.
There are more mushroom videos that you can imagine on YouTube, but this is such a classic! The forest magic and dancing mushrooms of Fantasia: