When I first step into the woods looking for morel mushrooms, probably the most common things newbies with me ask is why I am looking up. Well mushrooms can and do grow anywhere it seems given the right environmental conditions but for heavy concentrations of them where you can fill a bag in minutes, you have to look for a mushroom machine, i.e. a recently dead elm tree where the bark in the uppermost reaches is just starting to loosen and fall off. This tree was a mushroom machine a few years ago but it is too far gone and I didn't a single edible fungi underneath it.
I crossed the natural bridge over a little ditch to the other side:
and not seeing any mushroom machines around, proceeded to look down to find this:
Obviously I wasn't the first person to look there and I suspected the culprits were my parents since they had been there a couple days prior. But during the season which lasts two to three weeks, morels can pop up over night and so I continued on. After a few minutes of poking along, there in the weeds I saw my first one. Can you spot it?