My nature-nut niece Kira made me a pair of earrings out of Turkey Tail Mushrooms. Having no knowledge of this particular species of fungus (Trametes versicolor), my imagination went wild. First, I assumed that she was making a comment on my personality. She says she made herself some too, but seriously. She's something of a turkey herself. (My favorite sort, of course!)
Then it occurred to me that she might have discovered my secret spy identity, and was providing me with an emergency suicide pill that I could wear in plain sight. But, as it turns out, these are medicinal mushrooms, not poisonous ones. They're packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting unpronounceables!
I have no personal photos of Turkey Tail Mushrooms in the wild, so I grabbed these from freephotos.com. I can't swear they're all Turkey Tails, and, personally, I wouldn't eat them without an expert guide's approval—like Kira, maybe. She's training at the Wilderness Awareness School, where they know their mushrooms, among other things.
To finish with a little LOCAL color, above on the left is a gorgeous Prescott rock painted over with splotches of lichen. Don't ask me what kind. There are more than 15,000 species of lichen, and they're each actually two creatures—a symbiotic association of some sort of fungus plus either an alga or a cyanobacterium, depending on the species.
On the right, some bright green moss has sidled up next to the lichen in a shady spot along the trail. As dry as it is here, I was surprised to find moss, but it seems quite happy when it finds a cool, damp place to grow.