By Tom Nauman
There are all kinds of hunting resorts and lodges that cater to wild game hunters. Some members of my family recently returned from elk hunting in Colorado. In prior years it was bear hunting in Canada. Here's a different idea - mushroom hunting. We know of two places that cater to mushroomers via an organized weekend or mid-week mushroom excursions.
The first is at Springbrook Hills Resort near Walloon Lake, MI. For those who can only relate to the Lower Penninsula of Michigan as a mitten with the thumb being on the right side, Walloon Lake is at the tip of the ring finger. It's also where author Ernest Hemingway spent his boyhood summer vacations and is the setting for some of his novels.
Your host, Joe Biederstein, will greet you at check-in where you'll be assigned to one of the vacation homes. The remainder of Friday evening is spent with the guides watching videos, reviewing books, and in open discussion on mushrooms. Then on Saturday you go on a guided hunt and return to the lodge at noon for lunch, more discussion, mushroom identification, and a strategy session to plan the afternoon activities. After hunting again in the afternoon the guests are treated to some of Joe's favorite mushroom dishes using the day's catch. There is also another discussion about mushroom cooking and recipes. It may surprize you to know that the guided hunts in the spring take place on horseback!
The Springbrook Hills events happen in April and May for morels and in September and October for fall mushrooms. The cost is $149.00 which includes two nights lodging. For more info write: Mushroom Outings, P.O. Box 219 Walloon Lake, MI 49796, or phone 616-535-2227.
The other site is at the Trail of Tears Lodge and Sports Resort near Jonesboro, Illinois. Jonesboro is in the southern tip of Illinois and is in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. The resort is operated by Ron & Debbie Charles and family. In addition to hosting the Mid-America Morel Mushroom Festival, they've teamed up with morel expert, Larry Lonik, to host several Morel Heaven weekends and mid week mushroom hunts.
The price of $149.00 includes all meals and lodging, discussions, guided mushroom hunts, the Saturday evening mushroom feast, and an autographed book by Mr. Lonik. For more info write: Trail of Tears Lodge & Sports Resort, Route 1 - Old Cape Road, Jonesboro, IL 62952, phone or fax 618-833-8697.