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Set and Setting - Ups and Downs of a Trip
Mushrooms - P. cubensis
by D
Citation:   D. "Set and Setting - Ups and Downs of a Trip: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (exp50286)". Jun 11, 2006.

3.4 g oral Mushrooms - P. cubensis (dried)
Location: a large park with a small creek, a nice mountain view, and the changing colors of fall. The day started out warm, and became chilly towards the late afternoon.

I’m D. I enjoy exploring with the mushroom. I have had a handful of mushroom experiences prior to this trip 7+. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my experience, this trip report contains more of a physical-mental log of what I went through rather than a deconstruction of the theories and ideas that I was shown.

L and I began our adventure at a beautiful fountain in a city park talking about various things. We managed to save a snake from the bike path, and walked around a bit. We drank water, and took our doses. We strolled for at least 15 minutes until the space suit feeling came over us. We sat on a secluded stone stairway along a large stone wall. As the wall began to sway and swell, we got up; I was a little dizzy and queasy, and ready to begin our adventure in the park.

We had some fun conversation while walking, and I was feeling heavy, gummy, and a little sick, but wasn’t at all concerned. I knew that this was the doorway to the other side. I anticipated that the feeling would leave, as it always had in the past, and that I would be left with a playground of clarity and joy. I wasn’t at all concerned. Both of us drank quite a bit of water, and I had fasted from dinner the night before until 1pm when we started our trip. I was in need of a urinal, and we were fortunate enough to find some port-o-lets behind the locked restrooms. After relieving myself, I was feeling very lethargic, almost drunk. All I wanted to do was lay down. I found a nice plot of grass under a tree and sat. L finished up and came over, saying we should move on. I hadn’t noticed the overwhelming stench of the restrooms until passing by the area again, moments later.

Strolling along the path, we found a bizarre rock formation with a plaque at about eight feet up. Both of us found it odd that someone would place a plaque on a ‘monument’ at such a height, since even the two of us strained to read the small metal inscription, even at the six foot level. It was a monument depicting the soils and rock layers underneath our city. It all looked and felt very strange. I had to get somewhere to rest. It was getting difficult for me to walk. I was hot, and wanted nothing more than cool shade, and a place to lay my head. I told L, “Let’s go now”. I didn’t want to be there anymore, and my search for a resting place started to feel desperate.

We found an area to rest, and we lay in the grass for some time. I was feeling extreme exhaustion at this point. L continued to talk and walk around, but I couldn’t be bothered. I decided I’d check out the clouds, since that’s usually been one of my favorite trip activities. While they didn’t appear as fractal as I would have liked, it was still quite pleasant, but I really had to work at not being uncomfortable. I think I wanted peace, but was still not comfortable. I tried sitting up and eating a small bite of a muffin we had brought along. My mouth was so dry that I could hardly swallow the quarter sized ball of muffin in my mouth. I counted to three and took a big gulp, and managed to get it down. I was still feeling sick and dizzy.

At this point, as we walked away from our rest place, I told L, “I’m sick.” Immediately, his eyes caught me, and he was completely serious. “What do you need? How can I help?” It was comforting, but I didn’t know what to do, and I was so uncomfortable I couldn’t talk much. I guess it was at this point that I figured I’d ride out the six hour journey just like this. I recall him saying to me “you are doing great, you are doing great.” I said to myself, “Everything is the way it should be right here, right now.” I still felt sick, and started to become concerned that hey, my fun moment of clarity still had not begun. “When do I get to play around with this trip?” I asked myself. Instead, I felt like I constantly had to concentrate on having a good time – which obviously didn’t make it a very good time. I hadn’t lost it or anything, I just wasn’t having fun.

We moved to some swings, where I thought it would be interesting to try swinging, putting my head back, and just relishing in the moment. It didn’t really do anything for me. It was like I was searching for something fun to do, could find nothing that satisfied me, and I was beginning to stumble and stammer like the town drunk. I said over and over “this is so beautiful,” but it really wasn’t, and I knew it.

L has us walk. As we pass under the yellow leaves of the large cottonwoods, I mention how black the trunks appear. What a stark contrast in colors, the black and yellow. I had never noticed the Edward Goreyean appearance of these trees and their twisted fragile branches. L also appears shocked that he too had never noticed how surreal the contrast was. We continue to walk through the park and I’m feeling really very drunk at this point. I can barely walk. It takes a lot of effort and concentration to do anything. L seems very quizzical. He asks me to teach him something, and what I’m thinking. I can’t put two words together, and it hurts to try to understand what he is saying. We try to talk about the ‘visual cortex’, but I can barely understand what those two words mean at this point. It is simply too difficult to concentrate.

L finds a cubby like overlook with a small stone wall, some colorful scrub oak, and two stone benches all overlooking the path, the creek and the mountains. It was really quite nice. I was relieved to be sitting down. Looking at the ground, the large stones looked like pastels of pink and lime green. Everything was surreal. We removed our sunglasses, and found joy in seeing each other’s eyes for the first time that day. L mentions, “you were in a bad spot back there, how are you doing?” I told him how much I enjoyed this spot. We talked for a bit, but I really couldn’t get a good coherent stream out. It was difficult to hold a conversation, and so I just sat and thought about our overlook. I found myself staring at the little stone wall, about five feet in front of us, a small staircase and sidewalk disappearing into the weeds and trees, and scrub oak. I remember not being interested in turning around to look at the mountains. Perhaps there was too much going on out there: traffic, people, and weather. It was in this not so beautiful area that I found intense beauty and joy.

I looked briefly through some binoculars I had brought, but wasn’t really getting a unique experience from them. I broke out my little bag of pricey chocolate truffles, and shared with L. The taste was multi-orgasmic. I was straining at the pure pleasure of the chocolate running down my throat. I had at least one, maybe two – or perhaps several more. I can’t remember. L had one. A few tears streamed down my face, and I said “Look! They are so good that I’m crying tears of joy!” It was ecstasy.

L kept telling me how much he wanted to follow the stairs up to the sidewalk to see where it went. I don’t think I answered him. I couldn’t. I was in my own little world. I recall him leaving and me sitting there experiencing one of the most intense feelings of joy I’ve ever felt. It felt so good, that my left hand clutched the rock armrest, and my right hand made a fist. My knuckles were almost white, and my head was hurting. I am swaying back and forth, and the only word I can utter just barely above my shaking breath, and tear filled eyes, is “swweeeeeeeeeeet”, over and over again. I wondered how I could ever describe this moment to anyone. I wanted to badly to share this amazing experience. 'It' really was amazing. If only I could tell you what ‘it’ was.

The stone wall in front of me is colorful, yet I know it’s gray. I see a mushroom with spots, about 4 feet tall etched on the wall. I knew it was simply some discoloration on the stones, but I would glance at it from time to time, and chuckle that it looked like a giant mushroom. I thought a lot about what tripping meant. What time meant, and what people, words and gestures meant. They seemed to mean absolutely nothing more than a physical muscular movement controlled by another physical part of the body rather than a particular emotion. These feelings trivialized physical communication. The reasons were so complex however, that it was difficult to grasp at and retain meaning for later study.

L wants to check out where the sidewalk goes, but I want to stay where I am. I wait while he does some exploring. My movements are slow, drunk, and uncoordinated.
I stare at the leather on the backpack, and see it melt and swirl, my hands feel this way too. I am clutching and feeling the rocks with my left hand, unconsciously. When I notice it, I’m reminded of how smooth some surfaces are, and how much texture others contain. I really like it. I never turn around. I feel so satisfied with where I am, and I’m not so tired. I don’t want to be tired, so I don’t want to use any energy. If I turn around there is a river, and a range of mountains, a snow covered peak, yellow, orange, and red leafed trees - yet I don’t think I’ll enjoy it as much, so I stay facing the wall.

There is a path right below us, and people are walking by frequently. I only have snapshots of them. I could only focus on them for an instant. It didn’t bother me that they were there. I was so far gone, that I couldn’t make myself appear normal, and I didn’t attempt to appear normal.

L comes walking back. Things seem pleasant with him. He says, “Wow that was really neat, your head looked like a mountain rising from the ground as I approached, it was really nice”.

I feel good, but the next few moments are a complete and utter blur. So much so, that I can barely distinguish reality from hallucination, and many moments are probably lost. I’m writing this without reading L’s report, but after studying and discussing my own experiences. So while this may be a bit contrived, I’ve tried my best to place it into truthful context.

L grabs me. It feels like he wasn’t walking back from the sidewalk after all, but rather running, running toward me as fast as he could. It now doesn’t make sense that he was walking peacefully telling me that I looked like a mountain. He grabs me and stares at me with wide eyes and says “the police are coming, we have to go now!!!!” I imagined (not hallucinated) blue-capped New York police officers walking towards us down the path. Then, I hear a loud noise and look behind me and see a helicopter (police?) I didn’t know. L says “I’m just joking”. Although I know it’s now a joke, I still don’t know why I’m standing, dizzy, and I don’t like it.

Across the river, on a running path, a strange looking man ran by with a bizarre posture, very upright, with tiny shoulders. He was tall with long thick brown hair, and very small fluorescent yellow shorts. He looked so strange running like that. It then occurred to me that L and I were both staring at him in silence. When he got out of sight we both looked at each other and said, “Whoa that was weird”.

L is getting our stuff together; I still feel it is important that we get out of there. I recall L saying that he “has to move on” and it sounded desperate. I was very dizzy. L asked how much my binoculars cost. I barely remember this. Ten dollars came to mind, but as I was saying that, it was funny, because I had told him only a few hours earlier that my coffee grinder was ten dollars. It seemed that everything in my life was ten dollars, and in my state, it was an easy number to say without thinking. This is exactly what was going though my head. I didn’t actually know how much they cost. Without a word, and only fractions of a second later, L throws the binoculars into the river. It appeared super human. I could see a tiny black dot splash into the river, which seemed miles away, and hundreds of feet deep. There was no way a human could throw that far. It happened so fast, and my thoughts were moving so slowly, all I recall was seeing a tiny black speck, and a silent staring L looking back at me.

I was in disbelief. Why did he do that? It was so irrational that I couldn’t make sense of it. I was feeling many different emotions, along with my confusion. I wondered if others on the path below saw us and wondered what good we could possibly be doing by throwing something in the river. The police are after us one second and it was like “how do you feel when I do this D?” The next second, he was throwing my binoculars into the river like, “how about now?!” L asked how I felt. I was so out of it I could barely make words, but I said something, either “I’m sad”, or “it’s ok”, and forced a frown on my face.

There was a lot of emotion, but I was so far gone from reality that I couldn’t focus on one subject or event. I just remember staring at the base of the wall. I’m sitting again. I recall now that he asked “Would you like me to go get them?” I barely had a flash of memory that was, well I would now relate it to a typically awesome feeling when tripping, of being able to teleport my body to another location just to experience it, have an adventure, and come right back without ever leaving my seat; instead, I could see L down there, shoes off, in the water, people watching – calling the police. I didn’t like it, and wanted to avoid that whole scenario. It was far too scary and uncertain for me. I wanted to know that it never even happened. If we went down there to get them, it would be like acknowledging that it really happened (retrospective thought).

Now I’m standing and L is insisting that we go. It seemed like he really wanted to move on. I feel like I have the backpack on, but then realize that he is carrying mine as well, and I reach out and take it back. I felt like he could sense how disoriented I was, how stumbled my walking was, and thought that it would be best if he carry the pack for me. I felt that it was mine to carry, and I didn’t want to burden him with it. Memory is very splotchy now. I am only recalling flashes of the past. I concentrate as I walk down the steps to the walking path.

The sky is now overcast and grey. My jacket is on, my hat is on. I don’t know when I put on either. I keep looking at my zipper. I’m confused, and can barely walk. The binocular incident couldn’t have happened. It must have been a very real hallucination. L was too ‘with it’ to do something so bizarre. I now keep thinking, wow, this trip is so intense and heavy, I can’t make sense of anything. I try to talk, but I can’t keep to one thought for more than a moment. Everything makes me sick. I see the soccer fields we passed at the very beginning of the day, and try to pick up normal conversation “Ah, here are the soccer fields again,” but it didn’t help. We notice strange small piles of ice on the grass in the field in perfect rows and columns. It was like a checker board of ice and green grass. I remember thinking, “that’s really neat, come on D, it is neat”, but I wanted to just keep moving on. I wanted to enjoy it, but I couldn’t. I glance back and L is looking at a branch grown into the fence with dead leaves on it. How is that possible? It would have lost its leaves eons ago. I saw L pluck a leaf. I wanted to think about this more, but couldn’t “come on L, we have to go now.”

I kept looking at the point where the sky meets the mountains. It looked strange, and the sky was cloudy and gray. A snow storm was forming over the peak, and I knew this only happened in the late afternoons, so I knew our day was coming to an end, yet I was still beyond reality and far beyond normal. L still seemed so together, and with it. I remembered my watch. I tried to pull up my sleeve to see the time. It was *so* hard to pull up my sleeve. My arm felt like a writhing snake. Everything was very heavy. I finally got the sleeve up enough to spot my watch. It was about five o’clock. This is when what I call “the five o clock shadow” came over me.

I wondered, ok, where’s that moment of clarity that I’m so familiar with. When will L’s words make sense? When can I talk to him? When can we go and see what it’s like to do different things? When will I enjoy those things? When will this end? Everything seemed very foreboding and cold. The sky was gray, and everything around me just seemed to be pulsing. We are still walking. I’m having all these thoughts while walking that is, trying to walk, just one foot in front of the other.

I was trying to make sense of my ‘new reality’, and was convinced there was another D, living my normal life, and I had been forced into, or chosen, the tripping plane of existence, where I would never leave, having to live my life like this forever. I started to think about things that I knew were solid, S (my wife), dinner tonight at six-thirty, parts of my house, but I could only get a few thoughts out before things shattered, and I would try again.

It was very difficult to concentrate. Although I knew how supportive L was, I didn’t think he could help me - nor did I believe I could convey what I was going through. The last thing I wanted to see was L panicking to help me. He asked me “what are you thinking?” I remember forcing out the line “norrmmaalll,” meaning, I wanted everything to be normal. My speech seemed slow and slurred. When I thought about anything, it always seemed to echo. “Normal?” he replied. It seemed now that he was concerned again. He could tell I was fighting something, but didn’t say anything. I continued to look at my watch (with the same amount of difficulty), and of course, as I suspected, it was difficult to perceive how slowly time was moving. When it seemed like nearly an hour had passed, it was merely five minutes. I expected this, and had always felt that a safety net was in knowing that no matter what, in six hours I would be done. At 7 pm, I should be ‘normal’. Then something unexpected happened. I began thinking that the end of the day would never come. That today would truly last forever, and the end would never come. Time would continue to divide itself in half, and that six o’clock would simply be impossible to attain. I was living the nuclear half-life.

Over and over in my head: “How am I going to live the rest of my life like this?”

I feel well informed about mushrooms, doses, and tripping, so never once did I think I had taken too much. I was simply waiting for this to be over. I was struggling with the idea that this was normal, and this was going to be my life forever. I had already given in. I continued to stare at my feet as I walked. My shoes were so dusty. Where had we gone? Where had we been? How long had we been walking, I was exhausted, and wanted to sit.

I said I wanted to go to the fountains. I remember being confused about the direction of travel. I felt that the fountains were a peaceful place, and the place where we started, a place where perhaps this would all end. I see the fountains and the stone wall with steep stone benches carved like an amphitheater. At first, it didn’t look like the same fountains. My perception and perspective were all wrong, but I was too tired to care, before realizing this was the place. It was a little chilly, and all I could think about was sleep. I stumbled over to the bench, and felt very sick. Now, I felt that I could actually vomit. The feelings of panic and exhaustion were growing ever more intense. I was fidgeting now more than ever, thinking police, and ambulances, normal, S, sleep, stop. L says “I’m going to call M”. I couldn’t tell if this was an intervention, or the end of the day. Either way, I was still tripping beyond reason. I was so sick, panicked, and confused; I didn’t know what to do. I reached into the bag to get the cell phone and realized that the binoculars weren’t there. It really did happen. I really was living this trip, and this is how I’d have to live my life.

I grabbed the phone and fumbled to turn it on. It was so hard to power on. I failed on the first try. I thought, “D, you’ve got to hold the power button for several seconds to get the phone on!” I concentrated as hard as I could, pressing and holding power for as long as I could – as if it was a difficult task. The power came on, and I tossed the phone to L. Although his number was on speed dial, I had used all my energy turning the phone on and he had to do the rest. I could do no more.

I used my pack as a pillow on the large stones, and lay there curled up like a bum on a bench ready for sleep, thinking that maybe when I wake, I will have clarity. I also thought that I might wake up, open my eyes, and still have the intense tripping sensation at the back of my eyes, and in my head - that heavy sticky sensation of slowed time, and drunkenness. I fell asleep. L wakes me and says, “M is on her way.” I see him and say “L, smile.” I don’t know why I said this. I thought hard about what to say, but I don’t know why. We got our things together, and started walking to the parking lot where we were dropped off earlier that day. “Looks like M drove the van,” L said. A very large white van was in the parking lot. I kept overlooking it, since I knew that L didn’t have a van, and if he did, it most certainly wouldn’t have been that one.

I concentrated very hard and said “L, you don’t have a van.” He chuckled. I knew he was joking, but I was still struggling with the notion that I would no longer be able to enjoy his humor as I once had, but rather in this contorted, twisted state, where I had to concentrate so hard to contrive a reasonable sounding response – all the while the world and space pulsated around me. The atmosphere seemed to throb. We stood there talking, waiting for M. I still wondered if this was the end of the day, or an intervention. I wanted to be in the car so badly. I envisioned my knees touching the dash, and warm air blowing from the vents. As unsure as I was about my condition, I could hardly wait to get in the car.

When I heard L say “there she is,” I spun around to see her approaching. When I got in, I expected her to look back at L and say “is he ok?” (referring to me). Instead, she said “How was it guys!? Did you have fun?” I was still tripping so hard, and I recall looking into my pack and seeing the binocular case. I didn’t seem to remember anything else at that moment so I said “L threw the binoculars in the river.” L seemed upset that I mentioned this, and M voiced her own concern and disapproval of this action “Why?!” “It had to be done,” L said. He still wasn’t sure why he did it. I must mention here that I didn’t care – they were a tiny set of Bushnell’s, but it rattled my reality, and smacked my comfort zone in a bad way. Even without tripping, I would have wondered why anyone would do something so irrational. If I saw someone throw an empty can on the ground, I would feel the same way. I’d look at them and say, “Hey, what was that for?” Littering doesn’t make sense. Littering with something useful doesn’t make any more sense.

I told them both that I was still tripping beyond belief, yet there were flashes of sanity now bursting through the pulsating atmosphere in my head. Since the parking lot, L didn’t appear to be tripping any more at all. The car was warm; I took off my hat, and unzipped my jacket. As we approached the house, I saw my car. I was glad to see it, yet even with something familiar, I didn’t feel like it brought me closer to reality. I knew I couldn’t drive home to see S, someone I had wanted to see for what seemed like an eternity.

When I walked in, I immediately asked for water, and went to the basement to curl up on the floor and sleep. I was exhausted. L sat on the couch, and put on some music. Oddly enough, I was no longer tired and we talked. I finally began to relax. I had the biggest relief of the day during this conversation. I remember the first time I heard myself say “Remember when we were sitting on the rock bench overlook” and “Remember when…” it was then that it hit me: That was *then*, this is *now*. The trip was in the past. Having made the association between the trip and the past was very relieving (the disassociation of myself from the trip). I very much wanted to continue speaking in this context. Everything is going to be ok, and everything is going to be normal. It was like no ‘comedown’ I had ever experienced. I was thrilled, and hungry. We had dinner, talked at length about my troubling trip, what I could learn and take from the experience, and topped it all off with a couple episodes of SpongeBob.
I was still battling a major buzzing sensation in the center of my forehead, and even a full night’s sleep wasn’t enough. I woke up the next day with a bad headache. I was exhausted all day long. I felt as though I had binged on alcohol all Sunday, and now I was paying for it with a terrible hangover. There were still moments during that day that I had to concentrate hard to get work done, and the next night’s sleep was restless. I woke up several times feeling like I was tripping in my sleep, and still tripping each time I rolled over to fall back asleep. I woke up at 7:45, but felt like I could have slept hours more. Instead, I wrote this. I’ve been tired, with a minor headache, but feeling much better today.

This was a learning experience, one that has made me stronger, and more confident with these types of experiences. How many times does a dark room scare a child before he feels safe? I know that I’ll make some changes the next time around. I need love and stability. Reduce my dosage to 2g, although I can’t remember the last time I took that little. Who knows what caused this type of experience? Some think it could have been the 70% cocoa chocolate truffles (tyramine), or an MAOI. Next time I’ll be a little more careful with what I eat. I need to get my sea-legs back, and perhaps that means less is more – for now.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. It should be to skid in sideways, chocolate bar in one hand, a drink in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming “WOO HOO… What a Ride!”
-One of the tens of variations on an old quote

Exp Year: 2004ExpID: 50286
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Jun 11, 2006Views: 13,976
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Mushrooms - P. cubensis (66) : Small Group (2-9) (17), Hangover / Days After (46), Nature / Outdoors (23), Difficult Experiences (5)

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