Samara forest and my first trip for mushrooms

Surprisingly, by my thirtieth birthday, I had never picked mushrooms. I don’t know how it happened. I wanted to try, but I couldn’t get my hands on them. Still, you need to know mushroom places, understand how and what to do. In general, I put it off for a long time. Until at one point, sitting in a guest at the acquaintances from the church, I did not hear from them a proposal – do you want to go with us for mushrooms?

At that moment, I was going through some difficulties in my life, losses and a lot of psychological stress. So I grabbed this chance with both hands: I could take my mind off my problems, even for a day! And also to realize my dream! It so happened that a day later, I got up at dawn and drove along the luxurious highway N08 towards Dnepropetrovsk to get to the Samara forest.


As it was

Not oversleeping was the main task. Since working at the factory, I had never been in the habit of getting up so early. That’s why I had a dozen alarm clocks set for 4am. But, as is often the case when traveling, when you have a goal, you wake up quickly and without problems.

After a quick snack, I went outside. It was foggy. No, it wasn’t. It was like the fog of a Stephen King movie of the same name. You couldn’t see a thing.

Literally by feel I got to my friends. They lived in the village and my going to them to open the trunk ended up with my sneakers covered in a ton of mud. It wasn’t deadly in itself, but they started sliding desperately on the pedals in the car. I had to change my shoes, but I left in Lacosta sneakers, while I had my trusty Columbia trekking sneakers in the trunk for the hike.

After loading up my golf, we set off. Once on the embankment, I wanted to speed up to save time, but no such luck. Despite the empty morning road, the poor visibility didn’t inspire confidence. That’s when I realized that high beam in the fog is an evil enemy and only worsens the situation.

At the exit of the city we stopped to meet other participants of our trip, bought a coffee so as not to fall asleep at the wheel and went on.

The road to Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk) flew by very quickly. It was one of the best highways in Ukraine for 2022: 3 lanes in each direction, perfectly smooth, with a dividing strip. They fly here and 300 without any problems.

Then we turned to Kamenskoye. At the checkpoint (due to the war they were put in many places) a local policeman looked into the car and realizing that we were going for mushrooms said that we were going too late: it was already 10 in the morning, and mushroom pickers arrive at 6 – 7. I quietly groaned, imagining what would have happened if I had left at 2am.

After wandering around the settlement some more and buying some candy bars and bananas and water at the ATB supermarket, we headed on.

The road on the left bank of the Dnieper was the complete opposite of the highway we had taken to get here (and the same one I had soon used to drive to Kiev). It was in terrible condition, potholes 10 centimeters deep and more, constant joints and sharp stones under the wheels. I strongly recommend to drive here only on good rubber and best of all – on an off-road vehicle. Although my Golf Varient coped well.

When we drove into the forest itself, having left the road on sandy trails – I was unspeakably glad (as when we went to the Burbuk waterfall in Khmelnitsky region).

All the roadsides were already packed with mushroomers’ cars. There were not just a lot of them. It seemed as if the whole Ukraine had come here to pick mushrooms.

But the family who suggested the place drove ahead and didn’t stop. They led to the place they liked and we obediently followed them. And finally, the finish line! We parked on the grass.

The experienced mushroomers from our company, which, as it turned out, numbered a dozen cars, went straight into the forest. I walked around and asked what to do. I was shown one mushroom that I could remember, which was edible, and then I was handed a package from ATB.

Oh, well. It’s time to be alone with my thoughts, I decided. Quickly changing my leather jacket for a jeans jacket (by this time the weather had improved considerably) and taking with me a knife and gloves from the car repair kit, I set off into the forest.

The main reference point for me was the cobwebs. If it clung to my face, it meant that no one had gone there before me. And that was the main task – to get away from everyone and concentrate on thoughts and sensations.

My impressions

Picking mushrooms without knowing anything about them is a very ambiguous process. I came to the conclusion that I would just throw them away 😎. But friends took them to the common basket to cook the next day. I hope they’re okay 🤷‍♂️

At first I thought I was completely unable to find any mushrooms. I couldn’t see them at all. I walked around for half an hour with no results, not even a fly agaric or bogan mushroom.

And then I realized that the problem was my inattention. I don’t usually pay attention to details. In this case, it was crucial. After that, everything changed dramatically.

Mantis in the Samara forest
Mantis in the Samara forest

Unhurriedly, I advanced into the forest, found whole glades with mushrooms, picked them and enjoyed myself. A special excitement. It is not for nothing that mushroom picking is called “Silent Hunting”.


I genuinely enjoyed spending time picking mushrooms. It allows you to be alone with your thoughts, to be secluded with nature, to listen to birdsong and not to be in a hurry. And at the same time it is better to do it when you need to sort yourself out, to think something over.

In my case, being alone with my thoughts meant going even deeper into depression. And it was good that I got out of this abyss of negativity in time, focusing on nature.

Selfies after mushroom picking in Samara forest
Selfies after mushroom picking in Samara forest

The Samara forest itself is beautiful. It is fabulous! I would love to come back here not only to pick mushrooms, but also to ride a bicycle. In addition, the Samara River flows here, where you can go kayaking.

If it weren’t for the sounds of explosions and sirens coming from far away, reminding me how close the front was – it would have been wonderful.

The place is wonderful, I highly recommend to visit! Approximate coordinates 48.733333, 35.450000

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