It seems that weather gods are conspiring against the lab’s ambition of snowshoeing. For the past three years, dry winters made a snowshoe trip impossible. This year, each attempt to schedule a weekend for the snowshoe trip was foiled by mountain storms. But we took advantage of the rainy winter and went to see its effects on Table Mountain, a nearby mesa with breathtaking wildflowers. Dinner and lawn games followed at Slide Hill in Davis!
Yet another mushroom hunt, yet another success. Conditions were challenging (i.e. – rain), and mushrooms were surprisingly thin on the ground. But, with due enthusiasm and perseverance, we found enough mushrooms of a few different species to enjoy a nice dinner afterward. The menu featured mushroom minestrone soup, shaggy parasol and honey mushroom risotto, sauteed winter chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms, and candy-cap cookies.
The Kopp lab is rapidly expanding! Not only has this fall seen the arrival of postdoc Ammon Thompson and grad student Yige Luo, but we also have two rotating graduate students from the genetics graduate group — Giovanni Hanna and Logan Blair. To celebrate these new arrivals and the start of fall, the lab escaped for a day hike to the Desolation Wilderness on Saturday. We hiked from Wright’s Lake up to Twin Lakes. (Well, almost all of us hiked but someone had a free backpack ride — see photo below!) The water was freezing, but almost everyone took a plunge!
In an attempt to escape the 90+ degree F heat of Davis, the lab ventured out to Pt Reyes last weekend. We also wanted to show our visiting student Junhao Chen the coastal ecosystem in this park north of San Francisco. A delightful time was had by all!
After a miserable previous season, with not a mushroom in sight, we were relieved to find plenty of mushrooms this time around. Well, maybe not “plenty”, but enough for a very nice dinner. Moby has found a perfect matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare), and Emily found the rare cauliflower mushroom (Sparassis crispa). Beginners luck, I say. We also got a good haul of black trumpets, winter chanterelles, and angel wings, with a few hedgehog mushrooms and candy caps sprinkled in. No leftovers this time!
Our first lab mussel-hunting trip to Point Reyes was a success despite heavy surf. We hit the mussel rocks at low tide and were able to collect enormous amounts of big, happy mussels. Our entire lab and numerous allies spent the whole evening cooking and eating them – and still had a bunch left over for later. Lots of work, but it was a very tasty lab outing.