Fort Yargo (Part 1: Mushrooms)

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I set out on a hiking adventure. We headed out to Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. With miles of lovely hiking trails, a beautiful lake, beaches, and dozens of picnic areas this park is a happening place to be on a warm late-summer day.

Now, I bet you’re expecting lots of lovely scenic photographs of this wonderful state park; however, I must disappoint you in this for what caught my attention on this particular day was…mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms of different sizes, shapes, and colors dotted the sides of the trails and begged to become my models.

And become my models they did, along with a spider, a couple of butterflies, a few flowers, and a baby lizard (well, I actually found him at home, but he gets to make his appearance here as well). I did my best to identify these fungi, but alas, I am not as adept at describing fungi as I am at describing insects, so my research did not go as well as I would have liked. I did identify a few, however.

The most common mushroom adorning our trail was the Amanita cokeri, or Coker’s Amanita. I managed several lovely photographs of these stately, pimpled, albeit poisonous, fungi.

White Amonita White Amonita White Amonita White Amonita

My favorite photos, however, were of this Mama Amanita sheltering her baby.

White Amonita (with baby) White Amonita

Another favorite of mine was the red-capped Amanita Parcivolvata. It most closely resembles that typical toadstool known for its psychoactive qualities, the Amanita muscaria. This little guy, though, is quite poisonous, so I don’t recommend consuming him in any form. Unlike his toadstool cousin, this guy sports a concave cap with lovely distinctive gills on the underside. Under his quiet canopy of leaves, he made a perfect model.

Amonita Parcivolvata Amonita Parcivolvata

This next fuzzy little guy I almost passed over until my husband pointed him out. I wasn’t sure how interesting other people would think he was, and determining that I couldn’t just go around photographing every mushroom in the forest, I decided to pass him by. My husband, however, changed my mind when he noticed him too, and for that I am grateful. Not only did he make a good model, but he has a really cool name too. He is called The Old Man of the Woods.

.Old Man of the Woods Old Man of the Woods (monochrome)

Now, I’m not quite sure about the identification of this next guy, but from what I could find, he is known as a Tylopilus Felleus. He was first classified as a Boletus Felleus but was later transferred to Tylopilus because of his pink spores (that is if I have gotten his identification correct). He is also porous on the underside, unlike his gilled cousins that we have seen so far. He made quite a striking model.

Boletus felleus

This next monster of a mushroom was quite impressive. She sported a lovely pinkish flat top that was nearly twice the size of my husband’s hand, and probably was at least twice the size of mine. She was also hiding a baby under her porous cap while our brave firefighting minion, Dave, protected their forest home (and had his picture taken with the Monstrous Mommy Mushroom).

Fort Yargo (watermarked)-58 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-59 Dave is ready for some firefighting action Dave fights mushroom fires

This next little flock of fungus I identified as Turkeytail Fungus. It is quite a lovely shelf fungus that feeds on decaying trees on the forest floor.

Turkeytail Fungus Turkeytail Fungus

The rest of my lovely models haven’t been identified as of yet (and if you happen to know, feel free to leave a comment on this post…I’m a little obsessive about identifying my subjects).

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Now, keep in mind as you venture into our Georgia forests that most of our dear mushroom friends are quite poisonous, so it wouldn’t be wise to be adding them to your afternoon salad in the park.

And that, my friends, concludes our mushroom adventure.

But wait! There’s more! And trust me, you won’t want to miss this! (Warning: if you suffer from arachniphobia, you will not want to read tomorrow’s post.)

Dragon Con!

Yes! After years of saying, “I really want to go to Dragon Con and see (insert actor/actress here)”, this geek girl finally got the chance to attend the biggest sci-fi/cosplay event in America. And what’s even better, Mama Bear has trained her padawans well, as they were more than excited to attend the convention. Costume talk went on for several weeks, and in the end, we opted for the cheap, whatever we could put together from our closets, route. As it was our first time, this seemed the best thing to do. However, plans for next year are already underway.

We only attended one day this year (it’s a four-day Labor Day weekend event). We road MARTA into town early, early to get our Saturday ticket and make it to the parade. We found a place right next to the street which was AWESOME! However, it was also close to the end of the parade route, which was not so awesome considering we had to wait forever for the parade to reach us, and it was hot. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but that was possibly the longest parade I have ever attended. My camera, however, was ready for every minute of it, and my vantage point allowed for some great close-up shots.

Now, I am a geek girl at heart, but I am not exactly familiar with all of the games, shows, and fantasy realms of fandom. My darling padawans had to educate me during the parade and later when going through the pictures. I am now considerably more familiar with the new sci-fi/fantasy elements, and I am eagerly awaiting next year’s convention when perhaps I may get a chance to actually peruse the vendor hall. For now, however, I will share with you the treasures of my adventure.

My greatest treasure, to the joy of all of you Star Wars fans, was this awesome shot of a very well-done Darth Mal who stopped and posed for me.

Darth Mal

There were some great Star Wars costumes, and I caught some pretty good shots of a couple of wookies, a storm trooper, and an emperial fighter. My daughter came home with a not-so-great souvenir from this portion of the parade. She learned that it is not a wise idea to fist bump a storm trooper, as trooper gloves are a little rough on soft girl hands.

Chewbacca Emperial Fighter Pilot Storm Trooper

For the Star Wars spoof fans, there was, of course, Spaceballs.

Spaceballs Spaceballs Big Helmet (Desert Costume) Big Helmet (Spaceballs)

And somehow, Jack Sparrow managed to get himself caught up in all this Star Wars business. I’m not quite sure how that happened. Too much rum would be my guess, however.

Jack Sparrow as a Storm Trooper

Of course, being a Whovian, I was waiting for the Doctor Who portion of the parade. I had already caught a glimpse of The Doctor and Rose before the parade…

General Parade Pics-20 General Parade Pics-21

And we were seated behind a cute,red dalek (I thought she was a ladybug at first, until she stood up to take pictures.)

General Parade Pics-11

Eventually, the Whovian portion of the parade came around, and I got a few decent shots.

Dalek K-9 The Blood Family Army Dalek The Doctor

Later in the day we ran into Amy Pond. She had tally marks all over her. We weren’t quite sure why, and then we noticed that we had them too. I wonder what it was all about. Let me find the pic.

A Silent and Amy Pond

Oh…it was because of that guy. I totally forgot him. Why did I forget him?

Sadly, we missed the Time Lord Fest. It took place on Sunday, so we were a day early. However, we did get to see the Premiere of Episode 2 of the current season that evening with 2000 other fans. That was “Fantastic!”

As the parade went on for quite some time, I will refrain from boring you with the details and simply share some of my favorite photos with a little snippet about who they were perhaps. Every fandom I could think of and many that I had never seen before were represented, and it was a blast.

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Mandelorian Mercenaries:

Mandelorian Mercenaries Mandelorian Mercenaries Mandelorian Mercenaries

Halo (I think):

Character Close Ups (watermarked)-53 Character Close Ups (watermarked)-54 Halo Halo

And some Ghostbusters…

Ghostbusters General Parade Pics-283 General Parade Pics-288

And a few ghastly creatures for them to vanquish (though I’m pretty sure Sam and Dean Winchester might be better equipped to handle these guys)…

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Mr. Fredri;ks Ursula

Steam Punk:

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Planet of the Apes:

Planet of the Apes Planet of the Apes

A few super-heros:

Robin Tony Stark White Ranger

A few more I don’t know but got good pictures of:

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And the Star Trek crew had a band:

Character Close Ups (watermarked)-105 The Trouble with Tribbles Scottie

My son and I also got to attend a session on cryptography and a panel with the Ghost Hunters. Our whole family got to see the Warehouse 13 crew, and we ended up the day with a little karaoke at the Hilton. It was an awesome day, and we had tons of fun. Can’t wait till next year!