After the recent heavy rains, the ground in Carmel Valley has been well saturated. This, plus the cool temperatures has given rise to wild mushrooms or different varieties. We live within what one might call an Oak Tree forest. This mushroom was growing, alone, on the hillside behind our house. It caught my attention because it was lone and because its coloring both contrasted and blended with the ground below the Oak trees.
I will state, up front, that I am not an expert on wild mushrooms. And, if anyone reading this is such an expert, please feel free to comment below on what type of mushroom you think this is. I spent some time researching and comparing this mushroom to images on Google and studied its morphology, and came to the conclusion that this might be a Death Cap Mushroom (Amanita phalloides). The Death Cap Mushroom is responsible for the most fatal poisonings from mushrooms in the world.
What disturbed me about discovering this possibility is that the photos posted on the internet of the Death Cap Mushroom show it in various stages during which their appearance is quite different (making identification more difficult). They also have an appearance similar to edible Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria melee) which tend to grow at the base of trees and on tree stumps. These mushrooms usually grow in clumps or large groups. They are pathogenic (parasitic) to living trees and can damage or kill the trees.