What's a Puget Sound morel fiend to do? While the rest of the country is awash in the big yellow morels, Morchella esculenta—which, let's face it, are the handsomest of all morel species—those of us in the upper lefthand corner of the Lower Forty-Eight are still waiting for snowmelt.
West of the Rockies the yellows tend to be riparian fruiters, favoring dead cottonwoods and other bottomland hardwoods. But once you get north of the Columbia River tribs, you hear very little about yellows. Here in Puget Sound we get the landscaping morels and east of the Cascades the blacks. What happens to the yellows? I saw a report of yellows being found near the Nisqually River; if accurate, that would be proof of M. esculenta north of the Columbia Basin. I've also heard reports of yellows up in B.C. I've speculated in the past that the yellows might prefer the volcanic soils one finds south of the Columbia, while the glacial till left behind by the Vashon Glacier, which apparently would have covered the Space Needle five times over at more than 3,000 feet, is not to their liking.
This weekend I got a call from my friend Rene who was on the flanks of Mt. Shasta, at about 3,500 feet. He'd just hit a patch of 20 morels. That elevation in my neighborhood is under a few feet of snow. I scouted a site two weekends ago and found snowmobilers, not mushroom pickers.
Speaking of yellow fever, Chickenofthewoods, a bona-fide mushroom guru (that's his morel porn above), is continuing a successful film directing career. Check out the yellow score he makes in a suburban Oregon patch...
And meanwhile String Leech is also getting into them down in OR. Here's a beautiful shot from his site of yellows basking in the spring warmth.
For morel updates from all over the country, check out Chris Matherly's site, Morel Mushroom Hunting Club.