Once we settled into our campground at Platt River in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, we started to talk about what we wanted to do and see around the area. Hiking, taking the scenic drive,heading up to Glen Haven, checking out the Cherry Republic and getting to know the area better.
I started Googling things to do and see around the area and stumbled upon Leelanau Adventures. It turned out to be one of my best Google finds ever . It's a small adventure/tour company run by the incomparable Eric Lapaugh. When I got to his website I discovered he was offering 3 hour morel hunting classes out in the woods. Wow-what better way to learn about the area then to hike the woods and search for a local woodland jewel-the morel . So, after getting Jim to go along with my idea we signed up for the course. The best money we have ever spent.
Eric met us in Glen Haven and took us to one of his favorite off the road spots. We carefully followed his instructions for how to slowly walk through the woods, eyes down on the ground, scanning left and right and behind you for the morels. Stoop and look low so you don't miss the tips just barely peeking through the leaves , Eric advised.
After about 40 minutes of scanning and stooping, no morels. But I wasn't disappointed. After knowing Eric for only an hour I felt confident that we were going to find morels. He is one of the good guys-a gentle spirit walking the earth. He has a respect for the earth and an enthusiasm that is contagious. Even if we wouldn't have found the morels it would have been a pleasure just spending the afternoon with him roaming the woods.
But, aha, we did find morels, plenty of them. We felt like little kids again-so excited with our discoveries. We wanted to comb the entire woods-just the earthy sweet smell of them and the thought of how they would taste kept us going.
Eric taught us well,take only what you need and leave some for the woods.
The best surprise of the day, Eric had brought some grey morels that he had gathered the day before -so they were ready to cook. He showed us how to prepare them in butter,garlic and onions with a little salt and pepper. Oh the heavenly taste-nothing better than eating something that you know came directly from the earth; and eating it in it's own environment-priceless.
We cooked up our treasures that night for dinner-and that's all we ate. We savored every single bite and talked constantly about Eric and what a cool guy he is, thinking how great the world would be if everyone thought and acted like him. So if you are in Michigan during the morel season-early Spring-contact Eric at Leelanau Adventures and take one of his classes-trust me on this one-absolutely fantastic !