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info at wilds.mb.ca

Copyright © 2014
WILDS of Manitoba



2024 07 02

On WWW since
2015 02 25


Photos are
from 2023 trip.

2015 trip photos
to be added.


Amanita virosa in moss
Amanita virosa
Destroying angel
in moss
note ring, volva



Donna Kurt
Donna Kurt
Specialty Leader



Ron Greening
Ron Greening



Little captain.



Portage Sign
Big Whiteshell L
to Ritchey L
Portage 2km



Canoe Sherpa Diane
Canoe Sherpa Diane



Two Lake Whale Rock
Whale Rock
Two Lake



Water sherpa Louise
Water sherpa Louise



Sauna Door Handles
Sauna door



Baby Redcap
Happy Joe
Last canoe carry!



Canoes at Sunset Hill
Sunset Hill



Canoes at Sunset Hill
Sunset Hill
canoes waiting



Bee with Goldenrod
Bee with Goldenrod



Bee with Goldenrod
Bees on Goldenrod






Baby Redcap
Baby Redcap



Bracket Mushrooms
Bracket Mushrooms



Two Lake Whale Rock
Sunset Hill
two trees






Lycoperdon gemmatum
Lycoperdon gemmatum



Puffball Denise
Puffball Denise



Lobster Mushroom
Hypomyces lactiflourum
Lobster mushroom



Mushrooms Cap
Mushrooms cap






Mushroom ID
Mushroom ID
























Mushroom decaying
Mushroom decaying



Red cap mushroom



Sunset John
John at
Sunset Hill


Mycelium Canoeing - Mushrooms and Plants
Mantario Specialty Week Trip Reports

2023 Mantario Mushrooms
2023 August 14 to 18
as well as

2015 Mantario Mycelium Canoeing
2015 August 24 to 28

Various species identified in Mantario area.

Learn more about the 2024 Mushrooms & Plants Specialty week.


We acknowledge that our journey to and within Whiteshell Provincial Park is in Treaty No. 1 and Treaty No. 3 Territories, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland. We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories.


This trip respects and is safe for
BIPOC and 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons.



Mantario Mushrooms 2023 August 14 to 18

  • Photos on this page are courtesy of trip participants Joe, Denise, John S, Marlaine, Louise, Ron, Donna. More photos from this trip can be viewed at the 2024 Mushrooms & Plants trip information page.
    2023 Mantario Mushrooms Group at Big Whiteshell Put-in, Whiteshell Provincial Park, MB
    Mantario Mushrooms Participants at Big Whiteshell Lake Put-in 2023 August 14

  • Ten participants enjoyed the Mantario Mushrooms program week from August 14 to 18, 2023, Francine and Jett, the "little captain" dog, Diane, Joe, John K, Marlaine, Louise, Laura, Brenda, Denise, and John S, all coordinated and lead by Donna Kurt, Specialty Leader, and Ron Greening, Co-leader. We had 4 ultralight canoes and Ron brought his Brigden and Evergreen canoes. An eleventh participant was going to come on the trip but had to drop out of the trip last minute due to an injury.
    Five canoes ready to launch on Mantario
    Canoes ready to launch on Mantario Lake, the last lake to paddle to the cabin.

  • Donna had assessed and instructed 9 of the participants prior to the trip (as she always does) to ensure they had canoeing and portaging skills to get to the cabin safely and confidently. Two of the paddlers had achieved certification the previous summer a few weeks after the planned 2022 Mushroom trip which was cancelled due to the passing of Donna's mother the week before that trip. 7 of the participants had little formal paddling experience or instruction prior to registering for the trip. Ron gave some canoeing instruction to John K and Joe during the stay at the cabin. After the trip, Donna granted 5 of the 7 participants Paddle Canada Basic Lake Canoe certification and 2 followed up with Donna to achieve Intro Lake Canoe certification, at no additional cost. BRAVO! It was SO INSPIRING to see everyone hit the water paddling competently and hustle over the portages with no coaching.
  • Donna consulted all participants to ensure they had no issues with Francine bringing her service dog Jett on the trip; Donna determined that the dog behaved while in a canoe and on land prior to the trip.
    Denise learning to stern Denise carrying paddles
    Denise learns to stern with Donna; Marlaine watches Denise carrying paddles

  • The trip to Mantario cabin started at Big Whiteshell Lake, we all shared carrying the packs and canoes over all the portages and rotated paddling positions to practice bow and stern skills. It was hot, about 30 degrees Celsius, and we ran out of drinking water a couple times, requiring Donna to set up her water filter to refill water bottles. The sauna and supper were fired up as soon as we arrived. Folks enjoyed pasta and salad dinner, then a sauna and refreshing dip in the lake, regenerating us for a good sleep and day 2.
    Up N Over Rest Break at Lake 3
    Rest break at Lake 3 after portaging the Up-N-Over portage from Lake 2.

  • The meals were prepared by a core group of chef and sou-chefs, and were enjoyed by all. Hearty breakfasts with smoked ham, eggs, hasbrowns, pasta and salads with chicken, chicken stir fry with rice, elaborate pizzas, wraps, soup, desserts were prepared by a core group of chefs, Louise, Diane, Laura and Donna with oversight by Denise, a trained chef. Donna selected a range of food to appease a three special diets as well as the everyone else who had no food restrictions. Francine prepared some breaded mushrooms that some sampled. There was very little food left over.
    Mantario breakfast platePizzas
    Mantario Breakfast Plate; Pizza chefs

  • Participants reviewed the Discovering Mushrooms workshop presentation prior to the trip, some had previously attended the workshop during the Nature Manitoba Workshop series. Donna donated a copy of the book "Mushrooms Demysitified" by David Arora to the cabin to augment the existing copy of the book "Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada" by George Barron.
    John K with chanterelle
    John K with chanterelle

  • Despite there not being very much rain most of the summer or prior to the trip we still foraged and found over 50 mushroom species during the week. The blueberries were bountiful and delicious and became a focus on a couple forays up on the ridges around Mantario Lake; participants enjoyed sampling and learning about checker berry and bear berry. We found mushrooms on the trail from the lake up to Mantario Trail, on the cabin island and on the Spyder Lake portage which is always a humid environment given its proximity to the small creek that runs from Spyder Lake into Mantario Lake. Chanterelle and Gypsy mushrooms were found by Francine and Joe found a Cordyceps species, among many LBMs and bracket fungus including some turkey tail. Denise became the puffball lady, she adored them so much, and found a few handfuls of Lycoperdon gemmatum. A solitary lobster mushroom was found although there are usually more to be found on the portage to Spyder Lake. Donna introduced folks to sweet gale Myrica gale and its aromatic wonders, especially of its catkins and discussed how it changes its gender from year to year. Sweet flag Acorus americanus was identified by the beaver dam on the hike up to the ridge to south of the cabin island, as well as Jewel weed and its uses for treating poison ivy.
    Hedgehog and ChanterelleHedgehog and Chanterelle tops
    Hedgehog and chanterelle mushrooms, bottom and top views.

  • Animalia species observed: Beaver at island, Spruce grouse on deck, bald eagles, loons, pelicans, ringbill gulls, sandhill cranes, kingfishers, blue jays, veerio sp, white tailed deer, blue wing teal, snapping turtle, painted turtles, garter snakes, ticks, red squirrels, blueberry bear poop, furry blueberry wolf scat, jackfish, mice, wolf spider at Windy Loo outhouse, bat, wooly aphids, otter scat, clams, ravens, snails, other paddlers, frogs, magpie, northern flicker, hairy woodpecker, kestrel, night hawks, bees, wasps.

  • Plantae species observed: lowbush blueberry, highbush blueberry, bear berry, checker berry, bunch berry, sweet flag, sweet gale, water hemlock, choke cherry, labrador tea, common sarsaparilla, hairy sarsaparilla, canada goldenrod, common juniper, jewel weed. It was unexpected to find such a proliferative, abundant amount of blueberries (handful in one grab) this late in August especially with the dry hot summer; perhaps it is because while foraging for mushrooms up on the ridge we found the blueberry plants in granite pools of moss and likely a lot of mycelium that hold moisture and share it with plants.
    Beary Donna
    Bear-y Donna eating blueberries right off the bush, the FRESHEST flavour!
    Experience life as other organisms do!

  • Sunset Hill was enjoyed Thursday evening with a wonderful sky color-enhanced by smoke from remote forest fires. The trick to enjoying a nice sunset is getting back down the steep slope safely in the waning light of dusk.
    Laura jumping on Sunset HillMarlaine enjoying Sunset Hill
    Laura jumping for joy on Sunset Hill and Marlaine just enjoying it.

    Sunset Hill
    Sunset Hill group photo

  • The trip out from Mantario cabin on Friday had us working hard at steering with South/South East tail winds and waves quartering the canoes on the right stern, but it made the journey northward relatively quick. Crossing Big Whiteshell Lake with a brisk South wind required some strategy but we managed to cross without any mishap, keeping close to the southern shore of Big Whiteshell and tacking across the South West bay to reach our cars safely.
    Lunch break at Up-N-Over canoe rest
    Lunch break at Up-N-Over canoe rest

  • The artists and story tellers shared a few gems of knowledge and art in the cabin logbook. Inspired by night paddles around the island with Ron, Joe drew and wrote "Am I Dust?" Above the island the big dipper stars and shooting stars are sketched.
    Island sketchAm I dust?

  • Am I dust?Francine drew and wrote "Chaga (poshcan)" n the log book.

    "Chaga (poshcan) Northern Cree.

    Wisakecak is a mythological character that threw a SCAB, mistaken for dried meat that he could not eat, against a birch tree."

  • Marlaine drew and wrote in the log book:
    Trees sketch

    "We all shine
    we all have a moment
    when we shine BRIGHTEST
    without taking away light from
    each other.
    Great group. Great lake. Great lodge. Onward."

  • Ron, Marlaine, Joe, Denise, Donna, Laura, Francine (and Jett), John S, Louise, Brenda, John K and Diane all enjoyed the trip.
    End of trip group photo
    End of trip group photo, some wearing new, fresh Mantario T-shirts.

    End of trip group photo
    Still silly, and still friends!

    Three monkeys
    Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil!
    AKA What goes down at Mantario, stays at Mantario.

  • Thank you everyone, it was a pleasure to have met, lived and paddled with you!



Mycelium Canoeing 2015 August 24 to 28

  • Four participants enjoyed the Mycelium Canoeing program week from August 24 to 28, 2015. The very first night we sampled fresh wild chanterelles found on the first portage trail. On several forays we found over 120 species and brought over 60 species back to the cabin for further identification. Nightly we practiced qigong on the sauna dock under shoosting stars and most amazing displays of Aurora Borealis. Three of the participants also achieved a Paddle Canada canoeing certificate and were pleased with their improved paddling and portaging skills.

  • The first word in the title for this program is "Mycelium". This is the name of the primary fungi organism that grows in the ground beneath our feet, in our lawns, crop fields, gardens, and in trees. When conditions are right (adequate nutrients and water) the mycelium generate the "fruiting bodies", that we call mushrooms, in order to disperse spores to other habitats.
  • Most fungi species are integral to the existence of most plant and animal organisms, the relationships are often of mutual benefit between plants and fungi, but some fungi are parasitic; fungi are essential for nutrient cycling in forests and other ecologies; if fungi did not exist, life as we know it would not exist.
  • The varied habitat in the Mantario area provided many opportunities to find many dozens of mushroom species and to learn more about fungal relationships with ourselves and other organisms.
  • Participants reviewed the Discovering Mushrooms workshop presentation prior to the trip, many of the photos of mushrooms in this presentation were taken in the Mantario area.

  • The second word in the title is "Canoeing" because Donna enjoys sharing knowledge of canoeing skills, having instructed hundreds of paddlers over the years. There were many opportunities to practice and improve paddling skills on the journey to and from the cabin and while at the cabin and venturing out on forays.
  • "Mycelium Canoeing" is also a play on "Mycelium Running", an excellent reference book on mushrooms and fungi authored by Paul Stamets.

  • There were opportunities to learn and practice 18 posture qigong. One evening this was extremely energetic at the end of the sauna dock while watching magnificent Aurora Borealis and many shooting stars from the Perseid meteor showers.
  • The trip to Mantario cabin started at Big Whiteshell Lake and included paddling via Ritchey Lake, One Lake, Two Lake, Three Lake and then Mantario Lake with a portage between each of these lakes over which the canoes and personal and shared gear were carried. The sauna helped us all relax at the end of the trip in. We had to defer the trip on the Monday because winds were very high with significant gusts so we stayed overnight at the Mantario Guide, Nick, family's cabin in the Whiteshell. The layover day gave us time to explore the north Whiteshell area, forage for mushrooms, visit petroglyph sites and hike. On Tuesday we had great weather during our trip to the cabin.
  • The trip was enjoyed by Diana, Lorne, Judith, Dominique, Norm, Guide Nick and Specialty Leader Donna.



Mantario Mushroom Species

Mushroom Spore Prints
Mushrooms Arranged to Collect Spore Prints 2023 August 16

Following is a partial list of Kingdom Fungi species Donna and company have foraged, photographed and/or identified in the Mantario area, updated with some of the species found on this trip:

  • Amanita muscaria, Fly agaric
  • Amanita pantherina, The panther
  • Amanita virosa, Destroying angel
  • Armillaria mellea, Honey mushroom, Pidpenky or Piedpenky (Ukranian, Polish)
  • Auricularia auricula, Wood ear
  • Boletus spp, Leccinum spp, Boletus species various
  • Cantharellus cibarius, Chanterelle, Girole, Sisu shamu (Himalayan)
  • Chlorociboria aeruginascens, Green stain
  • Clavariadelphus truncatus, Flat-topped coral
  • Clavulina amethystina, Violet-branched coral
  • Clitocybe gibba, Funnel clitocybe
  • Collybia tuberosa, Tuberous collybia
  • Coprinopsis atramentarius, Inky cap
  • Coprinus comatus, Shaggy Mane, Lawyer's wig
  • Cordyceps sp, Cordyceps (C. variabilis?)
  • Cortinarius caperata, Gypsy
  • Craterellus tubaeformis, Funnel chanterelle
  • Crepidotus mollis, Jelly crep
  • Fomes fomentarius, Horse's hoof
  • Fomitopsis betulina, Birch conk, birch polypore
  • Fomitopsis pinicola, Red banded polypore
  • Ganoderma apllanatum, Artist's conk
  • Geastrum fimbriatum, Fringed earthstar, sessile earthstar
  • Geoglossum difforme, Common earth tongue
  • Gyromitra esculenta, Brain mushroom
  • Gyromitra infula, Saddle-shaped false morel
  • Helvella elastica, Smooth-stalked helvella
  • Heterobasidion annosum, Annosus root
  • Hydnellum caeruleum, Blue spine
  • Hydnellum aurantiacum, Orange spine
  • Hydnellum repandum, Hedgehog
  • Hypomyces lactifluorum, Lobster
  • Inonotus obliquus, Birch fungus, Chaga
  • Ischnoderma resinosum, Resinous polypore
  • Lecinnum spp, Red cap, Khorzi (Ukranian)
  • Lycoperdon gemmatum or L. perlatum, Gemstudded puffball
  • Lycoperdon pyriforme, Wood puffball
  • Lycoperdon imbrinatum, Ochre puffball
  • Lycoperdon marginatum, Peeling puffball
  • Meripilus giganteus, Black-staining polypore
  • Macrotyphula juncea, Fairy hair
  • Morchella punctipes, Half-free morel, (morels are Smorzhi in Ukranian)
  • Omphalotus illudens or O. olearius, Jack-O-lantern
  • Phellinus tremulae, Willow bracket
  • Pholiota aurivella, Golden pholiota
  • Pholiota squarrosoides, Scaly pholiota
  • Pleurotus ostreatus, Oyster mushroom
  • Rhizopogon roseolus, False truffle
  • Royoporus badius, Black footed polypore
  • Russula emetica, The sickener
  • Schizophyllum commune, Split-gill
  • Trametes versicolor, Turkey tail
  • Trichaptum biforme, Violet toothed polypores
  • Trichglossum hirsutism, Hairy earth tongue
  • Xylaria hypoxylon, Carbon antlers



Following is a list of links to trip reports and videos about some of the trips Donna has lead to Mantario: