So, the sun finally came out it was 9F (about -12C) but no wind. So I took a hike. I have been cooped up too long. The snow is at about 2 feet with drifts up to 4. It was closer to 20” in the woods. So hiking is a hard core workout and too difficult to be fun, but when it is this cold there is a trick. Animal paths build up ice. So once you find a good one you can more or less walk on snow without snow shoes. Set off and you are back up to your knees. Even a single animal path builds up a little ice and can make it easier going, and ruts work ok, but the good paths stick out because the snow blows off the top and drifts a little on the sides. The one I took was about a mile before it came to a gorge. Best part of following a trail is that if your hiking in the snow seeing the animal paths and tunnels is usually the most interesting thing. So tracking makes it both easier and more interesting. BTW do not go on a hike when it is this cold unless you are used to it and dressed for it (I wear neoprene chest waders). Tracking in winter is neat but not worth freezing to death over.
Birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)
This is a good maybe even one of the best medical mushroom to know. Especially if you you enjoy long hikes.
It is used for all sorts of things. I use it for cuts during hikes. It is kind of like a natural bandaid, but were It shines is in dealing with foot damage, blisters, cuts, cracks and scrapes. It’s rubbery and spongy consistency allows it to work as padding and it is a antiseptic/anti-inflammatory. It cools and gets rid of redness better then anything else I have tried. It is fairly common here, and it is easy to use just cut a sliver (plaster) take off your boots and socks and slid it in. I get moisture crakes all the time and using neosporin on toes just gives me squishy toes, and hurts more then helps. A couple slivers under my toes fixes me right up and feels good too. It seem to speed up healing, and I have been told it stops scarring, but have not used it for that. As far as I am concerned what it does for my feet is more then enough to make it a important mushroom, but it is also used in tea as a tonic, cleanser and immune booster etc.. The Ice man had it on him, and people speculate on what he used it for.