Looking Back at my First Cain

The Cain Foray is coming up, and I am so excited! I first attended the Cain last year as a new member, and I had an absolute blast. If you are thinking of going to the Cain this year, I cannot recommend this weekend enough for fellow mushroom enthusiasts and naturists (no, wait, nature lovers – yes, that’s it).

The Lumina Resort is a lovely site, with a large main lodge, and little cabins and cottages to sleep in. Since I travelled solo, I got to meet two incredibly sweet and interesting ladies who would be my cabin mates: D- and J-. D- speaks softly, but the joy in her eyes betrays her loving and compassionate spirit. J- is vivacious and usually never without a jaunty scarf, the most fitting one is the scarf that she printed herself with large mushroom caps. These two ladies were veteran mushroom hunters and foray attendees, and they extremely welcoming and supportive for my first big foray. The wisdom and camaraderie of D- and J- were just one of the many reasons why my first Cain Foray was memorable.

Everyone that I met had a very gregarious attitude. There was a large cross-section of demographics represented, so anyone can feel right at home. Older folks, young adults, families with children – no matter who you are, if you love mushrooms, you belong at the Cain.

The forays during the weekend were loads of fun, and suitable for a variety of activity levels. Amid the stunning scenery, we saw a variety of inedible and edible species. Many of the forays took place at Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve, which I recognized as the namesake of a special edition farmhouse ale from Sawdust City Brewery. I am an amateur photographer, and I captured many great photos over the weekend.

The food at the Cain Foray was fantastic and all meals were included. I am a bit of a foodie, though I do appreciate rustic fare, and this delightfully fell somewhere in between. Even a year later, I still recall the cute little meringue shaped like mushrooms that we had for dessert one night. They were truly a labour of love, and the chef got the colour just right.

The weather was hot for September, which made the cool lake back at the resort a welcome treat after a few hours of hiking. The clean, clear water made for excellent swimming; others indulged in renting canoes and kayaks to explore the rugged shorelines of Haystack Bay. At night, we had an glorious view of the thousands of stars that are normally obscured by the city lights. The beds were super comfortable to collapse in after a long day of being outside. Every day seemed to generate great memories as the hours flew by. There was an air of relaxation despite the amount of activity buzzing through the trails and back at the resort. It was, for me, a perfect weekend.

Registration is open for this year's Cain.

#WorthIt for the Sort

This year at the Cain we'll be having special table tours to help orient and excite new and old MST members alike!

Harry Potter had the sorting hat… but mycologists of the Mycological Society of Toronto are all about the sorting table! If you get excited about the sorting table at one of our regular weekend forays you will be blown away by the tables at the Cain! It's #WorthIt for the sort.

200+ mushroom species in a weekend requires supersizing the sorting area - from a single folding table to an entire room!

The task of classifying fungi at the Cain is made easier by the green and white coloured signs that are placed on the tables denoting Class and Genus… You'll receive a list "Sorting Groups for Mushroom Species" in your orientation package… this will help you identify fungi from Amanita to Xylaria!

Registration is open for this year's Cain.

Cain Foray mushroom sorting tables

Taylor Lockwood at the Cain Foray

Taylor Lockwood comes to the Cain Foray on his final tour with a show covering highlights of his 34 year mushroom adventure career, many new photos since the last tour in 2014, and new animations of beautiful and bioluminescent mushrooms.

He is the author of two books and several video programs including two popular educational mushroom DVDs, The Mushroom Identification Trilogy, and The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly.

Praise for his work and vision to promote the beauty of mushrooms has gained him acclaim with mycologists, mushroom enthusiasts, photography critics, and nature lovers around the world.

His work has appeared in the National Geographic Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Wildlife Federation Magazine, Scholastic, Scientific American and many other publications. Like many other amateur and professional mycologists, Taylor is a pioneer in the discovery and appreciation of mushrooms and other fungi.

Registration is open for this year's Cain Foray.

Taylor Lockwood

Taylor Lockwood

Fungi Magazine covers

Bioluminescent fungus postage stamp

#Facts about the Cain Foray

  1. Fantastic fungi finds are the goal of the weekend. In 2017, we collected 242 species and added 18 new species to the list!
  2. Picking your favourite fungi of the weekend tends to be difficult!
  3. Frivolous fungi fans, fanatics and friends (from as far away as Finland) have been coming together at the Cain Foray for 40 years!
  4. Lumina Resort will be the host site for this year’s Cain. We’ve said goodbye and Tally-ho to the Tally-ho Inn which was the home of the Cain from 2002 — 2016.

Cain signup has already begun. Register now and spend your summer anticipating forays, forays, and more forays!

Cain Foray mushroom sorting tables