By Bud Utecht
When people stay at Buckhorn Camps they come for many reasons; relax, explore nature, fish, hunt, and North Maine Woods adventure. One such adventurous guest requested a father/son kayak trip around Jo Mary Island and that’s just what we set out to do. Right away we saw four otters playing in the mouth of Cooper Brook, what a great start. During the early part of the trip I suggested a detour to Mud Pond and explained this would be a challenging journey. The father and son jumped at the opportunity to trek up Mud Brook dragging the Old Town Vapor kayaks over half the way.
At many points, I thought we would have to turn back, but there was never a complaint. We pushed on. Once at Mud Pond, we paddled the entire length seeing many ducks and geese but unfortunately no moose. We stopped to check some games cameras, which were loaded with moose images. This place is incredible as it feels as though you are the only people in the region for miles upon miles. From here the goal was to drag the kayaks a half mile to Lower Jo Mary and kayak the four miles back to Buckhorn. Upon reaching Lower Jo Mary, we would break out the fishing gear.
We started dragging the kayaks down a well worn moose path that I have travelled many times before. As we dragged the kayaks there became a bit of separation and stopping for breaks and catch up became a necessity. During one of these breaks the father notices a mushroom, not just an ordinary mushroom, nonetheless a beautiful blue one. I walked over to see it and became amazed at the vibrant color. Many photos were captured so we could identify later. Little did we realize what we had stumbled upon.
On the way back we fished as planned and caught many smallmouth bass to top off a great journey. However, this trip would not end without the mushroom being identified.
I briefly looked for a match with no luck at all, so I sent it to my daughter. Tara searched the usual places with no luck and even went to Facebook where insults for not knowing the identity were freely dished out. Though the mushroom got lots of attention it was not identified. Through insults and accusations (that we even placed it in the middle of the woods) we pressed on with assistance of some real pros on social media. Finally, I stumbled onto a picture of the mushroom. Once sent to the experts, the buzz became a fury with the fungi followers and research methods were expanding.
I started to read about Entoloma Indigoferum and quickly found out why such interest. This is one of the Twenty rarest mushrooms in the country and never been found in Maine. This mushroom was discovered in the 1870’s and not recorded again until 2013 where it was located mostly in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. All my time in the Maine woods searching for wildlife and a mushroom is one of the biggest discoveries, who would of thunk! With cautious consideration, the mushroom was removed and sent to the University of Maine in Orono where it resides in their herbarium. When I went to retrieve the sample, another was discovered and remained untouched in the North Maine Woods herbarium.
I want to thank Alex and his son Adrianne for a great adventure and discovering the mushroom. Another thanks to my daughter Tara for all the leg work and coordination in getting this mushroom identified. And of course, Katy, for her understanding the importance of transporting a mushroom to the University of Maine during the height of our summer season. I encourage you all to venture off the beaten path and find out what’s in your woods.
Bud Utecht is a Register Maine Guide, owner of Buckhorn Camps, Browning trail camera dealer, and consultant. His trail cameras are strategically placed throughout the Maine Woods. Feel free to email Bud for trail camera tips or to discuss what’s in your woods. [email protected]
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