Citation: J. "Life to Death in an Afternoon: An Experience with Mushrooms (ID 56593)". Erowid.org. Dec 1, 2006. erowid.org/exp/56593
The weather was changing, and fall was on its way. This particular morning, two friends and I decided to go on a hike, and eat some mushrooms. The colors of the leaves were breathtaking, and it would be the perfect end to summer. Turns out that this “great idea” was more of an unexpected and unwanted revelation.
We packed up our bags with water and granola bars just incase we didn’t feel like coming back. After loading up the car, we stopped by my friend A’s house that was on the to the state forest. After sitting around and talking, the three of us made some peanut butter and honey… and mushroom sandwiches. In a matter of minutes, the deed was done. We had all three eaten exactly 2.5 grams divided up equally. We grabbed our backpacks, hopped in the car, and took off to the forest. The drive was beautiful, and we were all eagerly anticipating the start of our journey. We turned on some Phish and cruised for about 20 miles until we reached the gate to the forest. After a short journey through some unmarked gravel roads, we parked the car and jumped out in excitement. I remembered that everyone kept saying, “I’m so excited! This was such a good idea!” It was time to begin.
We got out of the car and immediately felt different. D and I both agreed that our legs felt a bit like jello. We smiled at the realization, and set off on the trail. After deciding to take the trail marked toward a lake, we all started hiking. I felt a little nauseous and out of breath, so I told the guys that I needed to slow down. We stopped for a short break, and realized that the mushrooms were really kicking in. The feeling got pretty overwhelming, so we hiked closer to the lake as soon as we could. After another fast stretch of hiking, I found a log that looked comfortable enough to sit up against. I sat down, and really began to feel nauseous again. This is when the trip really started to set in.
I couldn’t even think about looking further than a few feet, let alone move. It was all too much to take in. I was trying to calm myself down by breathing deeply, and talking to my friends. The mushrooms were really starting to hit them hard at this point, too. S and I kept looking at each other and nodding our heads. We knew that we had gotten into something pretty powerful. I kept telling him that it felt like there was some kind of poison in me, and that it felt as if it was scraping the walls of my insides, trying to get out. We all sat around for a while and just described to each other how weird we felt.
Our other friend, D, decided to wander down to the lake to check out the view. He was down by the water for a good amount of time, so S decided to check out what he was doing. I heard laughter echoing through the forest. I started to get extremely anxious after S left, so I tried to calm myself down by taking some deep breaths. At the same moment, a cool breeze blew through the trees, directly at me. All the leaves started to float toward me, and everything started to shift and move. I kept taking deep breaths, hoping to calm myself down, and it ended up working for a few minutes. With each breath I took, the forest would lift up what looked like wings. With each breath I released, the wings would float back down to me. It felt as if the forest and the trees were playing the part of my lungs. I understood now that I was deep into this trip.
After an all too real hallucination, and lying in this nook of dirt against the tree, I tried to stand up. I felt pretty horrible, but somehow managed to get down to the lake. They were dipping their feet in the water, and just talking about how great they felt. I was really feeding off of their positive moods, and it made me feel much better. As D aimlessly wandered around by the edge of the lake, entertaining himself, S and I talked about life and how beautiful everything around us looked. I started to feel extremely positive for a few brief periods, but then realized again that this drug had completely skewed everything I was thinking, and had taken over my mind. Here it came again, the nausea. I stood up and got back to my nook as fast as I could. I was somewhat secure again.
D and S followed me up the hill, and we all sat around in the same spots where we had been before. I kept telling S not to leave me, and that I knew that something bad was happening. I was scared to be alone. D was having an amazing time, and wanted to go discover. S told me that he would stay by my side and we could just chill in the same spot until this ride was over. After what seemed like hours (actually minutes) of trying to figure out every answer to life, the nausea hit again. I felt too uncomfortable for words. I needed to get back to the car as quickly as possible. In my mind, if I had some kind of base, then I would surely calm down.
I had to get out of what was quickly turning into hell on earth. I reached for my cell phone with hardly any reception, and called my friends back home. I explained to them that I was freaking out, and they needed to come down to the forest and find me. I bribed them with everything I could think of to drive down and get me. A group of them agreed to come find me. I thought to myself, “this is ridiculous, I’m out in the middle of nowhere, there’s no way anyone could possibly find me.” I told S that I was sorry, but I had to call them. I really just needed for this horrible experience to stop. If it couldn’t stop, then I would much rather ride it out in a place like a bed or a couch.
While I was awaiting my “saviors,” I picked up the phone to make a phone call to one of my friends who was pretty experienced with hallucinogenics. I told him that I was freaking out, and he tried to calm me down. He told me to play a Grateful Dead ring tone on my phone, which made me laugh. He boosted up my confidence, and gave me so much courage. He explained to me that I’m more powerful than the mushrooms. He started to speak very sternly to me. “Get on top of it dude. This drug is in YOUR body. YOU picked up the mushrooms and ate them, they didn’t eat you. YOU control them. Don’t let them control you.”
I began to think of how long it had been since I last saw E. Out of nowhere, tears started streaming down my face, and I felt a breakthrough of emotion that erupted in the blink of an eye. I told E that I loved him, missed him, and that I would somehow see him soon. After this, I started to chill out a bit. S and I started to worry about D at this point. He had been gone for quite some time, and we had no clue where he was. Right as we finished the thought of D being gone, we hear a voice from not to far away, it was D. He came running toward us with the biggest smile on his face I could have ever imagined. He told S and I that we had to “come quick!!!” He had found some amazing discovery.
I was not feeling up to going, so S left me alone and told me he would be right back. I felt alone again. I was sick and tired of this trip, and wanted nothing more than to be back in my bed. I remembered what E had said to me earlier, and decided to act on my feelings. Despite the nausea and hallucinations, I bit my lip and threw my backpack over my shoulder. It was time to get out of here.
I didn’t care about anything at this point. Not finding my friends, not the morphing forest. All I wanted to do was make it out of this place alive. As I started my hike out of hell, my mood suddenly changed. I felt some sense of happiness and even pride. I smiled and laughed, thinking that this whole thing was just a big game, and I had finally found the answers to everything. My mind weaved back and forth from “this was horrible. No, this was amazing. I’ve found all the answers to life. Wait, I still need to discover so much more.”
I looked at my phone to see if the time had changed. Again, what had seemed like a lifetime was only five minutes. I felt like I needed to talk to someone, as my mood changed yet again. I called E. He asked me how everything was going, and I told him what was up. “I’m hiking out of here,” I said. I told him again, that I missed him, and that I would talk to him shortly. Before putting my phone back in my pocket, I saw that my girlfriend had called and left me a voice mail. I decided that the trip was over, and I could finally cope with my normal life again. I listened to the message, and smiled bigger than I ever have before.
Again, I felt that overwhelming feeling. Except, this time, it wasn’t a feeling of pain. I felt all the joy in my life shine through at that very moment. I thought to myself how lucky I am to have this person in my life. She is everything I have ever wanted or dreamed of. I felt so lucky that out of anyone in the world, this breathtaking girl chose me. For the minute, my life made sense again. I was so full of warmth and comfort. I put the phone back in my pocket and trekked on.
Suddenly, things started to look familiar again. I remembered this path from before, and my hopes were high. People started to appear. I had finally found civilization again. I thought that I was right on track when I realized that my journey back to the car seemed way too long to be correct. I ended up coming out of a trail on the other side of the lake. There were people everywhere. Men tying canoes to the tops of trucks, people setting up tents, and a woman sitting on top of a truck leading a youth group. I walked through the group of people, feeling totally confused. I sat down a picnic table for a few minutes to regroup. My friend, AB, that had come to pick me up called me. He said that he was here and was right next to my car. I smiled and got up from the table.
Back into the woods I went. I backtracked until things became familiar again. After another voyage, I saw my car. As I peered further off of the trail, I saw my two of my friend’s cars, and the group of them waiting for me. I was overjoyed. I told all of them that I was too confused to let them know what was going on, and thanked them for coming. They decided that they wanted to go on a hike, so I showed them the way. At this point, I thought that the trip was totally over. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They all started hiking up this big trail, when I told one of my friends, J, that I couldn’t stay with them any longer. I thanked them for coming, and told them I needed to be on my own again. I felt like I had betrayed S and D, so I ran as fast as I could through the forest to find them.
My legs couldn’t keep up with my body. I was so excited to share what had happened since I left them. I was overjoyed again. Everything for the moment made so much sense. As I ran faster and faster, I decided to take a break. After sitting on a tree stump about 20 feet away from where I thought they could be, I turned back. I have no clue why I did this. I was so close to the place we had been before, but for some reason, my mind told me to turn around. I didn’t even bother to see if they were there or not.
As I ran back to the car, again, my legs were moving at too rapid of a pace for the rest of my body to keep up with. I felt out of breath, so I stopped again. I gazed up at a tree that seemed to be the most amazing thing in the world. I felt at peace. I then decided to walk the rest of the trail. As I walked, the sun was starting to set through the trees. I peered up at the sky, and had a conversation with God. I told him that I knew there was something special in this world. I didn’t quite know what it was, but I knew there was something to it. There was a reason for life, and there was a reason for what had happened. I told him that I didn’t understand exactly why the world works the way it does, but I was going to go along with it.
After another voyage through the forest, I came out by my car again. My friends were just taking off. They told me to have a good rest of my day, and they wished me the best of luck for finding S and D. Once again, I thanked them for coming, and told them that I would see them later. I sat down in my car, and decided to wait for the other guys. As I looked in the review mirror to see my friends leaving, I got scared again. I realized that this trip was far from over. Again I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, alone, and scared. My phone didn’t get any reception by the car, so I decided to back in to the forest again for what seemed like the hundredth time. I called and called, but nobody picked up. After a frantic run through of the forest one last time, I gave up. Thinking I was close to the end, I got in my car, and took off. This is when things really started to get weird… [Erowid Note:
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
I accelerated as fast as I could through every turn of the gravel road. My car was spinning out of control as I raced up and down through the wooded hills. When I finally got to the highway, I took off even faster. I kept calling my friends back in town, but nobody was picking up. The frustration was too much to handle. Between jumbling the phone back and forth from ear to ear, and trying to focus on driving eighty miles per hour on this tiny country road, something bad was bound to happen. I caught myself run off the road at least a dozen times. I am so lucky that I am even alive after that rush back to town.
I finally got a hold of one of my friends who had been at the forest earlier, AB. I told him what had happened, and he sounded very disappointed in me. I shouted into the phone “AB! I don’t know what to do. I know I messed up, but I need you to help me. I’m freaking out! Please, I’m begging you! I need someone to go back there with me.” He yelled back at me. “God damnit, J. You have to go back there! What are you thinking?” I told him that I was way too scared to go back there by myself, and that I needed help.
On top of my friends yelling at me and telling me that I shouldn’t have left, I had all the guilt riding on my shoulders that something bad was going to happen to S and D. He finally told me to meet him at a gas station nearby. I agreed and hung up the phone. As I neared town, I drove as fast as I could, swearing and screaming that I couldn’t believe the situation I had gotten myself into.
I totally disregarded the promise to meet him at the gas station, as I pulled up on my friend A’s apartment complex. The tires squealed as I pulled up to his building. I busted through his door as fast as I could only to be greeted by his enormous dog, which scared me quite a bit. She jumped at me, and I screamed for A. I took a step back, and realized that the room of this one bedroom apartment I had been in so many times before looked completely different. It was gigantic. A poked his head out of the kitchen in the back. He had an odd grin on his face, and told me to come back there.
I walked back to the kitchen only to find that he and my other friend were experimenting with drugs of other sorts. As I stood in astonishment, watching two of my best friends snort this white powder, I thought about S and D. There were two friends trying to calm me down (as they were on drugs themselves), while I was worrying that I had basically killed S and D.
For some reason, I stripped off all of my clothes and cornered myself on A’s couch in my boxers. I told them that I didn’t know what to do. I was freaking out, and they were trying to calm me down. The rest of the crew filed into A’s apartment, and reassured me that nothing was wrong. There were so many things going on at once, and I couldn’t fathom what was going on. I kept calling D and S, and nobody was picking up. I started pacing around the room frantically, on the verge of insanity.
At the very moment I thought I was going to explode with emotion, the table vibrated. I prayed to everything in my life that it was D or S. As I cornered the table and peered at the phone with disbelieve, it was D!!!!!! I picked up the phone and shouted “thank God!” “Where the hell are you guys?” He told me that they had hiked out, and that they were waiting at the entrance of the forest for me. I put on my clothes, and jetted out the door.
I jumped in my car, and took off back to the forest. This was the happiest I had been all day. The nightmare was over, and I was going to pick up my friends. I blasted the music playing in my car, and sang it at the top of my lungs. I approached the woods to see my friends waiting for my on the side of the highway. I parked the car, and ran toward them. We all hugged each other, and got in the car. They asked me how I was doing, and I said that I was fine now. Everyone got in the car, and we were on our way back to town.
I turned on the music lightly, and nobody in the car spoke a word. There was no need for words at this point. We all had experienced a lifetime in a span of hours. We were all connected, and we all knew what the other was thinking without any need for explanation. As for me, I was and still am pretty shaken up from this whole experience. With each new day, I feel better and better. I have found myself trying to make sense of it all, but it has only lead me in circles. “Why did I do what I did?” “How could it have been better?” I don’t think any of these questions need answers. Life is full us surprises and unexpected adventures. This is the story of one of mine.
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