Wild Mushroom Series: #4 Hen of the Woods  LbNA # 25612

Placed DateSep 16 2006
LocationNew Franklin, MO
Found By JEK
Last Found Jun 8 2013
Hike Distance?

Wild Mushroom Series: #4 Hen of the Woods

(NOTE: this box was recently moved but is it now back in place and ready to find - 10/9/2010.)

This is part of a series of letterboxes dedicated to hunting wild edible mushrooms in Missouri and the Midwest.

The fourth box in the series highlights the hen of the woods mushroom (Grifola frondosa). More commonly known by its Japanese name, Maitake, the hen of the woods is a wonderful edible mushroom that is commonly found across Missouri once the nights start to cool down at the end of summer and through the fall. t is small delicate mushroom but packs incredible flavor and is a favorite in French cuisine. They can be used in a variety of dishes. Maitake mushrooms provide wonderful flavor in almost any dish and are best, in my humble opinion, grilled. A good basic way to eat them is with SCRAMBLED EGGS.

The hen of the woods is an easily recognized mushroom by its tannish-grey, wavy caps, organized in large clusters or rosettes arising from a single, branched stem. It is usually found in clumps near the bases living and dead hardwood trees, especially oak. Once you find one remember the location for next season because once established they will continue to grow year after year. These sturdy mushrooms keep refrigerated for a long time and have been known to cause allergies in some. So when trying them for the first time please be sure to eat only a few bites and then see if you have any allergic reaction.

This mushroom is sought out in Japan for its medicinal properties and studies have shown it to contain substances that are effective in treating numerous diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Please tread lightly as you move through the forest and always be looking to the forest floor for other types of mushrooms and wild flowers.

Bring your own ink: Tan and grey recommended. I am around 6 foot tall and 1 pace = 2 of my steps so figure accordingly.

On to the hunt:

From Columbia drive west on I-70 to the 40 highway exit. Head west on 40 toward Fayette. Stay on 40 highway crossing into Howard County. Continue down until you cross a bridge which takes you over the YKAT IRALT. Take the first right and park at a nondescript parking lot for the LDEAASDVI ORETNISACVNO RAEA.

Cross the wooden bridge and continue north across the YAKT RALIT. On your left you will see a sign naming this the DAEW GEALE trail. Continue north heading up and over a levee and cross another old rickety wooden bridge. Follow trail uphill past open space used for camping on the right. After passing a wooden bench on the right the trail will split. Take the right fork and head down to a leaning wooden bridge. Cross the bridge and following the narrow winding path until it straightens out and the sides of the trail rise up above you. Continue up through this small valley until it bends to the left and heads down. You will see an old pile of cut logs neatly stacked to the right side of the trail. At the logs turn right and head up the side valley 8 paces until the valley fans out and you have many choices. Take the left side ravine up to the top. Stop a few paces from the top on level ground and head up the drainage at a rough bearing of 30°. Follow where the water would flow down and it will lead you into another small valley. Continue up this until a set of small logs crossed in front of you. The second log has a smaller log barely crossing it. From where they cross go ten paces up the valley until you see a small deer trail going up and over the left bank. Take this trail. From the top, head 15 paces down the deer trail at roughly 10°. Eight paces to the right is a giant fallen guardian, its stump reaching fingerlike into the sky. On the other side of the stump is a buried log with a curious knothole Sticking up in the air. Before this log disintegrated this used to be the perfect hiding spot for the Hen, but I had to move it though not far. Standing in front of the finger on the uphill side, go 10 paces at 200 degrees to a large gray guardian with a hole on one side. Reach inside and move away the rock and debris for this forest fowl.

Please rehide well with leaves so that none of the box is showing. Also be sure to place the rock on top of the box, so no critters will be able to drag it out and run away with it. Always be discreet in your LBing though I doubt you will see anyone in this out of the way spot. If the box is missing or damaged please contact me at ahistory (at) centurytel (dot) net or through LbNA or AQ.