What kind of compass do I need?

If you’re heading off to the forest without a guide, you need a good compass—your life may depend on it. Walking through the forest is not the same as walking down the street in a city. There are no signposts and often no trails. If it is cloudy or raining, direction becomes difficult to impossible to figure out. Your only means of direction is using your compass. Wear your compass on a lanyard around your neck so it is easy to find and use. Lanyards are easy to find at an outdoor store.

Compass—What to look for:
Compass—What you do not need:

Do I need a map?

Steve will be providing the map on all Tours with Steve mushroom hunts, but if you’re ever headed out to the forest on your own it is essential to have a map. You can purchase maps at the US Forest Service offices or outdoor stores such as REI or Cabela’s. On Tours with Steve, we will always be staying together in a group and Steve will be guiding you. But if you are ever heading out on your own, a map and a good compass are essential.

What kind of whistle do I need?

Good question! If you’re heading out to the forest, you must have a whistle. Traditionally, the most common whistle is the pea whistle; you know the one with the little pea inside the whistle. However, you want the loudest whistle available, and one that is heard over a long distance. I have two recommendations; both can be purchased from REI either in their store or on their website at rei.com.

  1. Rescue Howler by SOL—110 dB audible over 1 mile.
  2. Tri-Power Whistle by REI—produces three different pitches and is very loud.

I carry both of these whistles with me whenever I am in the forest. If you are separated from the group or you get into trouble, use your whistle to call for help.

Are there poisonous mushrooms where we hunt?

Yes. There is a steadfast rule in mushrooming: If in doubt, throw it out. (that’s why it’s very important to learn from an expert, like Steve.) If you are mushroom hunting on your own and are not positively, absolutely sure what it is you are going to eat—THROW IT AWAY.

If I pick up a poisonous mushroom will I get sick?

No. The only way you can get sick is by ingesting (eating) a mushroom. It is advisable to wash your hands if you put your fingers in your mouth frequently.

Is there a difference between a mushroom and a toadstool?

Nope. Same critter—just a different name to different people.

Useful weather websites: