There is a state park on the North Shore of Lake Ponchatrain outside of New Orleans where I've been "hiking" (no mountains) a lot lately. Living in the city has made me really homesick for mountains and the outdoors. Chanterelle mushrooms grow just about everywhere on the North Shore, and so I decided to take a look while I was hiking around.
I only found a few Chanterelles on my last 2 trips (not like the giant haul I made with my coworkers near Slidell), which are always planned a day or two after a heavy rain.
Unfortunately, visiting Fountainebleau in July/August is similar to battling the Great Spiders of Mirkwood, as Golden-Orb Spinners ("Banana Spiders") are literally everywhere. I cannot take 10 steps without being confronted by one or several giant webs in every direction. I had to take great care just walking down the designated nature trail because they make their giant webs anywhere and everywhere they please. This, along with the ticks and mosquitos, are the absolute biggest deterrent to mushroom foraging. However, if you want mushrooms, you've gotta go where the mushrooms grow.
And so, armored with multiple types of both DEET and "natural" bug repellents, and a really big stick, in I went. I brought along a friend who spent a majority of the time screaming in terror about spiders and asking, rhetorically, why did she not believe me when I said the spiders were literally everywhere??
Thankfully, we did find a few sweet golden Chanterelles to make it worth feeling as though spiders were crawling on us for hours even after we left (although her chanterelles got kinda beat up after she threw her bag of shrooms at several different webs in a panic), and we saw a bunch of different kinds of mushrooms, too.
Here is a little collage I made of some of the different types. The purple mushrooms are the first purple mushrooms I have seen. But the real gem is this big boy. I have no idea what it is, but it was growing on this tree. Here is a collage with more pictures of it.
And here is an album with more shots of mushrooms I saw. Sorry if some are fuzzy. Most of the time I was there it was rainy and humid and dark, so my photographs are not as clear as I would have liked.
I've been taking photos of mushrooms for years on my hikes in the various mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest and the Adirondacks in the Northeast, and have always just added them to photo books and photo albums of my trips. I'm glad I can now begin sharing them here instead, with my fellow mycology enthusiasts.
Edit: sorry that album link doesn't link to an album, just a single photo. I'll fix it.