This is a giant mushroom gallery. I don’t mean a gallery of giant mushrooms — that might actually be kind of freaky. I mean a gallery with a lot of photos of regular sized mushrooms. Most of these mushrooms I found recently while running around the Bangor City Forest. They were right beside the forest’s many trails (don’t go tromping off into the woods). And a few of these mushrooms were found during recent hikes up Maine mountains.

I recently wrote a quite lengthy but I like to think exciting and engaging story on Maine mushroom hunting for the BDN Outdoor page. If you haven’t seen it, here it is: Mushroom Story Link! Go ahead and click on it to learn about deadly destroying angels, the consequences of eating psychedelic mushrooms and how to become a mushroom know-it-all.

Now (late summer and through fall) is the time to get out there and go find mushrooms. I prefer to just take photos. If you aren’t knowledgeable about edible mushrooms, don’t even sample anything you find. PLEASE. Just admire them, leave them in the forest and move on. If you touch any wild mushrooms and you don’t know if they are edible, don’t put your fingers in your mouth. Yes, that can harm you if the mushroom happens to be poisonous.

OK, here’s the giant mushroom gallery:

The Mushroom Game

I brought hiking buddy Derek with me while mushroom hunting in the Bangor City Forest on Oct. 1, and while he was very good at finding mushrooms, he doesn’t exactly have the patience for slow walking. His natural stride is akin to a power walk. I could see him getting antsy; so I made up a game. It’s quite simple. One side of the trail was my side. The other side of the trail was his side. And whoever spied the highest number of mushrooms won. Since I was taking photos and shooting video, we lost track and have no idea who won. But for a while, we were both being quite competitive.

So, if you’re walking down a trail this time of year with a companion who likes a little friendly competition — maybe you’re on a date… in the forest — challenge them to The Mushroom Game. And if they decline your offer, that’s a good indication that your companion is a party pooper and maybe you don’t want to spend so much time with him or her. If they decline your offer AND give you a skeptical/I’m-above-mushroom-games look, well, you should just leave him or her in the forest right there. Go home and de-friend that sourpuss on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Then text them “Mushrooms are Gr8” before deleting their number off your phone.

OK, I got carried away. It’s Thursday and I’m excited to go hiking tomorrow.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...