We've spent a bit of time climbing at the north rim of Mill Creek and even hiked up to the falls before but we've never been past that. Saturday we set out to rectify that.
The high cliffs and lack of trees from the 2000 Blodgett Fire make Mill Creek one of the most scenic-from-the start hikes in the Bitterroots. The giant sized helping of fall colors we've got this year thanks to a cold-but-dry October only accentuate this.
As with neighboring Blodgett Canyon the trail enters the forest again after 4 or 5 miles. We kept chugging for a bit and then spotted a surprisingly fresh Chanterelle Mushroom. Chanterelles were one of our favorite mushrooms in the Cascades but this was the first time we've found any in the Rockies.
I had wondered if Chanterelles even grew in the Bitterroots but now I think that we just have more to learn about the seasons here. I had assumed that it had gotten too cold for Chanterelles but the ones we found were in good condition. Perhaps with more time and more exploring we'll even learn to find our other favorite fall mushroom, Matsutakes, again.
I highly recommend this as a simple and quick recipe perfect for post hike. Make sure you "Dry Saute" the mushrooms as described in All That the Rain Promises and More. Tear the mushrooms into long shreds and then start cooking the mushrooms in a hot cast iron pan with a bit of salt but no oil. All of the water from the moist forest and any washing you do will boil out of them and you can pour it off and then add butter.