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discouraged newbie, searching tirelessly in san bernardino mtns

13043 Views 23 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  pacificcoasthiking
and have found NOTHING AT ALL. im searching the silverwood lake rec. area, it starts at about 3200 and i went up to about 3600 (above s.wood) and found a number of common mushrooms. i followed everything to a T. waited for right temps, went a week or so after rain, searched around all the right trees(or mostly the right ones), right landscape, right weather conditions after rain(it was a very noticeable leap into spring here), everything...but to no avail. the excitement i built while reading and watching fading. :cry:

and the worst part of it is, i dont have a single person to refer to for anything at all. everything i learned was on my own. now i just need to see a small patch in real life and i'll be set, i have a photographic memory so that plays to my advantage (and in teams, benefits everyone - ive been in similar situations to find something, im almost always first to find it if i know what im seeing) for stuff like this. when i see something and take a mental picture, i can put that image into my head and compare it to what im currently seeing in life.

so basically, i'd be able to almost JOG(ok a brisk walk, faster than everyone ive seen in vids or read) through the forest and find most - if not, all - patches i'd run by. when i compare the image in my head to what im currently seeing in real life, my eyes will be able to pick out only that particular shape/image and they can ignore everything else very easily. that seems like itd be a useful ability with this.

any help, any advice, any direction, ANYTHING would be much appreciated. even if someone were to take me, show me whats up and everything, even if its a low yield spot, i'd gladly give half of what IIIIII find ON TOP OF telling that person to keep everything they found(unless they didnt care and told me to keep everything i found haha)
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I don't know much about southern California, but up here in Northern Cali. I'd focus on fresh burn areas above 3000 ft. shady spots work best for me.
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I have never picked south of sacramento, but, I would be willing to bet the socal flush is long over. With the lack of rain we are struggling here in nor cal. Some of my most reliable patches are not producing. Try to look for high elivation fires from last year on Birddog
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You can also go to your local US Forest Service public information office and inquire about last year's prescription burns (Rx treatments). I've found fire morels and naturals in these areas, not only around the burn piles, but also in the ruts made by the logging equipment (skidder tracks, etc.) and around cut stumps (morels are saprophytic, they feed off dead and dying wood including roots of trees). Make sure to look a few days after a good rain, the soil needs to have at least a bit of moisture, and temps should be in the 60s for the daytime high, 40s for the daytime low for a good stretch of time. Also, its wise to inquire about a personal use permit while you're at the ranger station. Most national forests require one to pick mushrooms, even for personal use.
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thankyou so much birddog and jiffymac, those two posts are seriously more information about morels in socal than most of the websites

we did just have a storm pass through last night that left some snow in the mtns so maybe that will help a little bit

plus we do have peaks that go up beyond 8000 feet and i found one group that goes out to about 6k feet (but of course on the OTHER side of the mountains so i'd have to drive through the mountains to even get there) on mothers day weekend because, as quoted from them, "it seems to be the best time for morels in the san bernardino mountains"...but again thats up at 6k feet...silverwood is 3k to 3200.

i found a mushroom in april/may years ago in s.wood that looked like a morel but i didnt know what it was at the time so i broke it up to spread the spores(it wasobviously past fruiting) and that was at about 3200 feet. and ive also found discarded mesh and burlap sacks on the ground floor there so i'd assume people have searched there before.

by silverwood lake, they have probably some of the best forests for morels i'd assume from what ive read and i havent found any! they have a shit ton of black oak, white fir, incense cedar and some aspens and other coniferous and deciduous trees(but WAY more of the ones i listed). in certain areas, its ONLY NOTHING BUT white fir, black oak and incense cedar. and im talking biiig swaths of land that stretch over ridges and valleys with nothing but these trees that morels apparently love(with a few ponderosa pines mixed in sparingly)

i have found false morels there though! quite a shit ton of them actually. black ellfin saddle.

ive also found a huuuge destroying angel, bigger than my fist, almost as big as my hand sprawled out. ive also found orange peel fungi, i think crumble caps(looked like them and crumbled when i barely touched the cap) some other toxic one that looks like a destroying angel but a deep silver on top(idr the name) and of course other common ones. BUT DAMMIT NO MORELS! its kinda annoying to find a shit ton of different ones but not one single morel.

ive also seen some HUUUGE giant puffballs there but i didnt know what it was at the time (and it was waaay past due). and when i whacked it with my stick, its spores spread everywhere so i may need to revisit that spot ^_^.

but of course, i found the more desired ones when i had no clue what they were...
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Puff balls are great eating. If you catch them early enough. Idealy they need to be about the size of a tennis ball and very firm. if you cut them in half and they are solid white all the way through with no bugs. You should be good to go. You can also sell them for around 2 or 3 dollas a pound. I have seen 30 lb flushes running down old logging roads but, I have nver caught them in time to sell them. My buyer says he will buy all I can find.. My buyer also says he will pay up to $26.00 a lb for orange peel. But, I can never find them in the poundage I would need to make a profit . Birddog
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Wow. 26 a pound is pretty nice. I found a number of places with them growing in nice sized patches. I don't know what it weighed all together. I'm keeping s sharper eye out for those now.
i feel bad for you. When I lived down there (upland), I went looking for a few weekends around silverwood lake also and found a few other shrooms but no morels. When returning to No. Cal, everything changed. Maybe you should consider a long road trip north. It is a LONG road trip but sure is pretty up here and people are nicer for the most part. I wish you only the best of luck in your search. I almost feel like mailing you some......good luck.
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im going up again today. no much confidence though. im going to go up higher in elevation, probably another 1k feet. ugh i hope i find SOMETHING.

ive read of people from LAMS finding some in the SBD mountains, but they were clear on the other side of the mountain range, id hafta drive thru the mtns to even get there. im thinking of hitting up oak glen above yucaipa next trip.

if you find enough and are willing to, i'd gladly take some, jthomas =P.

ive been up north a few times. i love it up there. i absolutely DESPISE southern california for a few reasons.

1. where i live, its windy almost every damn day and i HAAAATE the wind with an extreme passion...probably because ive had to live in it all my life. theres literally only about 30 - 60 days all year where theres no wind all day.

2. nothing but ignorant fkn idiots down here. even my friends are becoming stupider and stupider each year. everyone is so stupid and brainwashed by tv that they cant even understand how they contradict themselves from literally their prior sentence. theyre so stupid that they use sitcoms as "proof" to what they say(they repeat what they hear on tv shows and think thats a valid/correct/intelligent answer to w/e you ask). when you try to explain it to them, they literally cant comprehend and process it, i can see their brains frying just trying to grasp the concept of a contradiction...which of course helps in their extreme hypocrisy. im so sick of a good 90% of the people here so brainless that tying a shoe is a challenge for them.

3. way too over populated, especially with how dry it is here...and the dumbfks who move here from other places dont understand that this is a desert and do stupid shit like leave their water running on full blast while they do something else and the water doesnt even need to be on...& over water everything.

4. the politics down here are obviously made to ruin these towns. for e.g., the L.A. effect brings gang members from the city up to suburban and rural areas so now the formerly decent places are turning into trash. they are doing all of this shit on purpose, its not an accident that everything is conveniently following the same exact path of ruin that other cities took which lead to damn near destruction(like detroit)

adn on the flip side...all of this sucks so much because the landscape is beautiful here. you have everything from wet mountains(except for these recent extreme droughts) down to dry deserts with everything in between. any kind of land you want, its here except tropical rain forests. cities to rural towns. mountains to flat lands. beaches to deserts. etc etc.
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oh, and counting last time i went up to almost 30 hours of searching with nothing but common/undesired mushrooms. except for the orange peel.

and of course, it was a surprisingly low fire season last year and the yaer before.
Lilskruff did you have any luck this year I'm in SoCal as we'll and would to go hunting next year I think I have some good spots in san bern mountains
Hey Lilskruff, Anything going on lately with your searching? I am thinking about a journey up to the hills. Oh, and as to your earlier post, yes, identity issues are at an all time high in this culture...very sad. Please contact me
Hello from Ohio, I always come to the California forums as you guys are usually the first in the US to post morel finds. Here it is late January 13 degrees outside snow all over and I'm thinking about morels already. And guys the identity issues are here as well just an FYI, our culture has certainly changed what hasn't changed is me and how I treat others as I want them to treat me. Hang in there lilskruff them morels appear like magic sometimes, I've walked for 2 hrs never seen a thing, stop to get a drink of water and there they are!
Old post, I know, but...I've had incredible years in the San Bernardino Mts. And I've also have had years were I was skunked.
If I can provide you with pointers it would be what has worked for me. I only hunt above the 6000 foot level, I look for active areas like camp grounds and I tend to avoid "wild" areas as I don't find near as many in non-disturbed ground. Pick a spot, park your car and do a 20-30 minute sweep, better with at least one other person spread out a bit to cover more ground. Stop every now and then and just look around slowly and carefully...Its funny how they can just start to "materialize" right in front of your eyes. If you don't find anything, get in your car and move on. Other than disturbed areas, its hard to define where they will be. I've found them baking in the sun, I've found them along creeks, I've found them in wet, shady areas. Growing from under rocks...under dead trees....under pine needles....just plain dirt...Near patches of snow. Just no real pattern. Look for pink torch like plants emerging from the ground, don't know what they are but the timing is usually right when you see these beginning to emerge. And even though a spot may look great, it may have nothing....this week....try again in two weeks. I've had trips up there where it was just little baby nubs coming up...I gave it a coupe of weeks and they got nice and fat! Don't pick the baby ones, they don't feed you much...let them grow big and dump spores.
Now that I've moved to the Santa Clarita area, my focus this year will be heading north to find new ground starting around Frazier park and heading up to the Sequoias creeping my way along to the Yosemite area. Nothing is guaranteed but an adventure. And there's no better feeling than when you put in the leg work and find "your" patch! Keep at it.
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im thinking of making a trip to the mtns to see whats going on. we've had more rain this season but its still a low amount.

kikaida, if youre not gonna be in socal searching anymore, i'd be willing to go search the spots youve found them in before ;D

gersey, i havent been up yet, im looking to head up soon. its just been so hard to determine when to go this year, last year we were having long warm spells, then a quick cold snap that froze and killed everything so ive been waiting to see if theres another one coming, apparently not. i live in the high desert in hesperia if you know where that is. if you want to try foraging in the mountains and are able to, im down to go searching with you.

and synch, i havent yet, im making my first trip up this week some time.

im just hoping im not too late, the weather here has been horrible. everything is confused as fk by the weather, trees are budding and blooming a full month early. we are constantly 10-20 degrees higher than usual....and its not just a hot spell its been warm all winter. we only hit freezing temps for like two weeks and it was barely freezing. we usually get our coldest temps down around 15-20f degrees in jan/feb but its been floating around 40 for the low.

...and to top everything off, NASA just got done telling us that california only has a year left for water supply with no plans to increase it. our best plan is "hoping and praying for rain"....which is straight up fcking bullsht, our own govt has admitted for decades that we can control weather - kill, steer, enhance and/or create hurricanes even.

its not a coincidence that meteorologists predict 3 days of rain coming in 10 days then suddenly right before the storm hits land, all the water either drops in the ocean or it breaks up and ALL of our storms. the few that we have had, those were supposed to be huge storms(as predicted aweek or two prior) that all so conveniently broke up and weakened to a storm that lasted a few hours.
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Hahaha, Sounds like you are on the leeward side there eh? I used to call the dirty d (he'll get it) home myself. Now I'm closer to riverside.
This is my first time on here, if you want to give it another go I'll lend another pair of eyes.
Poor eyes, but eyes nonetheless.
I see the post is older now but I was curious of your luck? I live in Big Bear now and I just started foraging. Would love a buddy to go out with!
I found a bunch today at about 6K. Small and not easy to spot. I had my wife right on top of them and she missed them. Not like morel hunting back east. Once you find them take your time and look around. Burn areas are good but SoCal morels love company meaning structures.


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Cool to see the finds. I was wondering if the Big Bear area would produce, since going to NoCal is out of the question this year.
I found only one today in a burn from last July. It was a bit dry, I hope it's an early one and I didn't miss the flush


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