Cacti - T. peruvianus, Kratom & Cannabis
Citation: Xorkoth. "Magical Healing Journey: An Experience with Cacti - T. peruvianus, Kratom & Cannabis (exp66311)". Erowid.org. Oct 18, 2007. erowid.org/exp/66311
Let me preface this report by laying down the groundwork upon which the trip was built. It was Sunday. On Friday night I had taken two hits of potent LSD on my own, at night, in my apartment. I had just come through an entire week of not having any kratom, which is an addiction I have been playing with for 4 years now. I did this with the help of phenibut daily, and I was actually feeling very positive about it and physical addiction-free. I took the LSD with the intention of working through some feelings I was having about separation from kratom. I took it at about midnight - the blotters had no flavor whatsoever. It came up within 45 minutes, and was fully up by 2-3 hours. The visuals were very much like DOC's visuals. In fact, it was extraordinarily similar to DOC, except with a less positive push. In fact, as the night went on, I found myself not really getting much usefulness from it. I wallowed in some anxieties for a little while, the LSD stripped away any mental bullshit and just faced me with the truth, which is that I am entirely too dependent on drugs in my life. It was rather depressing, really. It was a nice experience but lacked much in the way of magic and insight.
I added 60mg of DMT from The Machine which I just made earlier that night at about 4:30am, which got me close to a breakthrough. I laid back and took four big tokes, although I think my technique was a little off. Nevertheless, by the end of the last one, the whites/yellows in the room had grown so saturated with color that they appeared orange and the physical world was pixellating. So I laid back and closed my eyes after I put down the smoking device. The body rush began as normal, but quickly escalated to stronger than ever. My body felt like it was crystallizing into perfect geometric crystals, ever smaller and smaller and more complex. I began to see a latticework of diamond-shaped purple 'power lines' over a yellow/gold background, sort of like a wall.
Things were moving across these lines, almost as if trying to take me through, but every time I 'touched' one, my mind would shoot off into all these doubts and fears, mostly about death, and I would 'bounce off'. I tried to regulate my breathing with deep breaths, but every time I exhaled it felt all awkward and choppy and would kick me out of my attempts to get through this wall. The times at which I seemed to make progress were when I was inhaling slowly. I came to a point at which I realized I had to continually inhale and leave my lungs filled up without exhaling. I felt as if this was symbolic of giving in to the experience and not fighting it. But I was afraid I'd actually die or sustain damage from lack of oxygen, so I couldn't do it. The experience began to fade rather quickly then, and I couldn't get any progress done anymore.
I laid there with my eyes closed a while longer, watching the fading visualizations on my eyelids and enjoying the euphoric buzz. Once I came back down, the LSD was still there but softened and opened a bit. Still, I felt like my range of emotions was cut off. The DMT joy did not come this time. I could obviously tell that I had some fears and doubts during the experience. I seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough but I was holding myself back. Ah well, next time perhaps. At least now I have a plan of action for the next experience.
By the time morning, I had gotten only a little bit of sleep and I felt scattered and relatively emotionless, a bit let down from the experience but still with a pleasant afterglow. I felt a bit awkward around my fiance, which hasn't happened in a long time, and couldn't think of much to say. So I decided to take a low dose of 2C-B to try to swing things a little more positive, which worked. I spent Saturday just lounging about with my fiance, L, and painting. I ended up finishing a painting. I'm pretty proud of about the condensing of particles from stars into heavier elements and eventually forms, and all of its various analogies. Overall, a pretty uneventful day. I had fun, and the healing began. But still, at this point in my planned psychedelic weekend, I hadn't done a lot of healing, but instead had some slight disappointments and may have damaged myself further. This is a reminder to myself to save the remaining hits of LSD for an outdoors day. In fact, I should try to only trip outdoors as much as possible. Some substances can be useful to me when taken alone and inside in privacy, but LSD is evidently not one of them. It seems to shine as a social drug with a friend or two. So then, I went to bed that night and made sure to get eight hours of sleep. And this brings us to Sunday, the day on which I took mescaline and went to a new nature area in the countryside of North Carolina, and had a magical, epic adventure.
9:00am - I take 1 gram of phenibut orally along with 1 gram of piracetam, 100mg of centrophenoxine, and ~5mg of hydergine as pure ergoloid mesylates powder. The nootropics are because I'm currently on a run with them, and the phenibut are because it's helping me to avoid kratom until it's transitioned out of my life.
10:00am - 2:00pm - We then headed for church. After that, we went to a fabric store to look at stuff for our wedding coming up in under a year. I was worried about the time, as our friend J was going to call us to depart for the park for the day. I said so, and my fiance became very angry. She has some serious anger issues, as for her there is no scale of anger, she's either not angry, or angry, and when she's angry it all bubbles up as explosive, hateful rage where she gets a weird look in her eye and just flips out. This time was no different. She told me all about how she has to do everything for the wedding and I can't even help with one little thing without whining, which is not fair because I help her with more things for the wedding, and want to, than any other guy I've ever known. She said that she feels alone and like I'm not even there or working on the relationship and that everything sucks and she doesn't even know if she wants to be with me because she feels like I'm in la-la land all the time, and she even said that she hates me this time, which has rarely happened.
Whenever she gets angry like this, she blocks out anything positive about any situation and amplifies the negative to the point where she makes herself believe that everything about the situation is bad and everything sucks and there's no hope. When in fact this is not true - we normally communicate very well and I am very present and we spend the entire day talking in-depth and having fun together. I did my best to apologize, as I did rain on her parade by speaking without really thinking, and I was truly sorry for it, but in her anger she dismissed anything I tried to say as making an excuse for myself. A common occurrence as not making excuses for myself has been one of the big things I've had to do in growing up, and we've been together since we were 18. But I have come a long way there and no one is perfect.
Eventually I was able to ask her questions about her behavior and how she thought it was appropriate and she calmed down and, in a familiar cycle, felt horrible about herself and cried and told me that I didn't deserve it and so forth. True, yes, but I told her not to feel bad about herself, but just to keep working on it. So basically, it was a bad situation and a black spot on the day. It doesn't help matters that she is at a difficult point in her life with regards to her career and schooling and it makes everything more difficult. But anyway, we went into the store, got some stuff, and went home.
2:00pm - As soon as we got home, J called and was about 5 minutes away. So I quickly went in my fridge and got out the little baggie of 28 grams of finely ground peruvian torch cactus chips. I had actually ground them months and months ago and not used them as I had expected to, and so they'd been sitting in the fridge and sometimes on top of the fridge for quite some time. But I figured mescaline is quite stable and didn't worry. It turned out to be quite strong enough indeed. I didn't have time to stuff it in 50+ gel caps, nor to make cactus tea, so with a bit of trepidation I dumped half the powder into a shot glass and poured water over it. I stirred it as best as possible and gulped it down, immediately washing my mouth out with water and some cereal for the flavor. It was bad, but much, much easier than I expected it to be. I waited 10 minutes and took the other half as well in the same manner. Then J knocked on the door and I let him in.
It had been a while since I'd seen him, so we caught up while L (my fiance) was changing upstairs into hiking clothes. I packed up a bowl and a vaporizer for the pre-trip, and I had made kratom for all 3 of us, my last doses, perhaps ever. J was feeling pretty hung over from the night before, so he expressed concern at first, but I told him that it would make him feel right as rain, guaranteed. He had had the vile liquid once before, and loved it then, but we had had a second dose and it became too much for him later on. But with resolve to only have one dose today - though indeed, we couldn't
have more than one, we all three imbibed of the bitter brew, myself knowing it would be the last. I drank mine slowly, because the mescaline was just now starting to come on.
I first recognized it by the difference in the way words were forming in my thoughts and resulting speech, in a comical, witty and satirically perceptive way. I enjoyed the way my mind twisted my language-thoughts very much, it made me feel wise and sharp. As soon as I stopped to think about this, I realized I was starting to trip, and the body buzz began. It was originating as a glow from my solar plexus and a bit from my heart as well. I was a bit antsy, in that I felt compelled to make a lot of random movements with my limbs, which felt satisfyingly humorous to do. But there was also this great inner warmth, a powerful and low-frequency humming (not tryptamine buzzing) coming from my afore-mentioned chakra locations. The humming echoed throughout my body, and it felt very pleasurable and exciting. I was really liking this so far!
3:00 - We get to smoking the vaporizer and bowl, and I decide to roll two joints to bring with to Yadkin River Islands state park, the lower part of the Pilot Mountain area. Pilot Mountain (which is coincidentally Mount Pilot from the Andy Griffith show) has been a favorite of ours to go to, as it is a very powerful and ancient place, but we had only ever gone to the actual mountain, which is amazing. But we decided this day to brave the unknown and really go on an adventure. I rolled two joints, one larger than the other and, if I do say so myself, quite perfect and tight and large, and all with very nice quality white widow and Skunk #1 buds. Mmmm... flavorful - full of flavor. This joint is my flavorite kind!
3:30 - We finally finish smoking the vaporizer and bowl. It seems that we are all very high at this point and I feel the vibe start to change. The world about me begins to glow with a sense of excitement and mystery and wondrous beauty. Colors are standing out so awesomely and robustly, and I can differentiate very clearly between each individual shade, making everything appear multicolored, a bit like stained glass except still perfectly in proportion, not distorted or crystallized. My companions begin to become slightly shaken, as they have only smoked marijuana and feel much higher than anticipated. I have decided that today will be a little experiment. I'm on a social psychedelic out on an adventure with two very imaginative and adventurous people. I don't have any more cactus, and if I tell them, they'll undoubtedly treat me differently in some way, even though meaning well, and I would prefer to have my trip in a natural setting in every sense of the word and not have to make unnatural allowances for differing expectations.
So they began to get a contact high from me, as always happens, and are really enjoying it! L, always the worrier, spends a good ten minutes pacing back and forth looking for Something
, what it was, we're not sure, and after several minutes of laughing hysterically, J and I managed to get her oriented and out the door. The sun was already starting to go down (just barely however), fall has taken us by surprise, and with it the shortened daylight period. J decides to drive because he likes to and, well, I certainly shouldn't be. He gets in the car, turns the key, and switches into reverse. Greatly anticipating an awesome day in nature, I'm just sitting there, lost in my head for a moment. J switches into drive, and hits the gas. Whoa! Shit, this guy drives like a madman!
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
As we drive, L becomes quite nervous, as, for that matter, do I. But she has a very large fear about cars. Or really, about safety in general. It's classic, her dad walked out on the family when she was four - and actually put it in her four-year-old responsibility to explain to her mom and little sister what happened. Then throughout her younger life, three people in her family and almost a dozen people she knew in total died in car accidents. As a result, she's really scared in the car and is quite the backseat driver. I began to get a feeling of worry in my stomach, because although she would never say anything to someone that wasn't me, she has difficulty in keeping her feelings from emitting as strong vibes, especially negative ones. And J is very sensitive to vibes as am I, so that would have made an uncomfortable situation.
We drive on and decide to find a back-road way to the Pilot Mountain area, so we can drive through the hills. As we continue to drive, it becomes evident that J really is
a crazy driver. The whole thing was actually quite comical... it could have made a well-written scene in a movie full of irony and self-satirical humor. J is driving as if he really needs
to get somewhere, going 10 over at least at all times. Every single car he comes up behind, he comes up on very
quickly and slams on the brakes seemingly right before he hits them, and then rides their ass so closely that you can't even see their tail lights. And meanwhile he continually coasts to a slightly slower speed until he's maybe one car length behind, and then actually presses down the gas to accelerate quickly back to practically touching their bumper. All the while telling us various stories such as how his wheel is wobbling now because last night he hit a curb at high speed and skidded out and almost hit a telephone pole. Great! This is almost too much to believe, but in my mescalinated state, I am able to confront my mortality in a humorous way, and realize the sheer absurdity of the situation. I laugh in part-nervousness, part unadulterated mirth. How hilarious of a story would that make to tell, the three friends who died in a car accident while that situation was occurring! To my surprise, L is not doing too bad, just watching like a hawk. I certainly can't blame her.
So we continued driving, in an area that I generally knew but in a part of it I'd never been to. We were just starting to wonder where we were and if we were taking the correct path. We were generally trying to route 52 to get up to route 66. Just then, we rounded a corner and BAM - there's 52, and Pilot Mountain, clear as can be in the unusually dry air, is standing out boldly in the center of our vision, wispy clouds seeming to emanate in waves from the knobby peak. All three of us remarked immediately that it was a sign that we were on the correct path for the day. Throughout the trip (in both senses of the word), the concept of what was meant to be continually came up, as did seemingly-obvious signs that we were along this path, the path that would tell this chapter of the story of our lives.
4:00 - Anyway, we got on 52 and drove north, towards Pilot. When we got to where we thought we should exit, we did so. You must understand, at this point there was a bit of difficulty in determining from the map where we were supposed to go. We exited and made a split decision while in traffic to go east on the road we exited on to, as it looked like it start to curve north. Once we turned, BAM - there was Pilot again, closer and more clear, perfectly positioned on the horizon, with the clouds still emanating in waves from the stony crown. It was obviously another sign from the universe, and we exclaimed so with glee. During all of this, a seriously ecstatic and sparkly shared vibe was growing and growing, and we were all being extremely giggly and silly. I definitely felt as if I had two also-tripping companions with me and several exclamations were made at how high we all were.
We continued to drive on this road, and it appeared to curve north where we needed to go. But then after a few minutes, it went south and we saw that we were probably supposed to go the other
way. Despite the sign, we turned around and studied the map more. Then J noticed that the sun was lower than it had been, and he made the executive decision to get back on 52 and get off at the actual exit for the park. So we did. But before we got back on the highway, we went to an old, tiny country town gas station to get bottles of water and some trail mix. Upon walking in, I definitely noticed that I was tripping pretty hard. The fluorescent lighting and white tile were giving me that sterile, bathroom-esque vibe, and the old man at the counter was making me feel uncomfortable by making me feel like we were making him feel uncomfortable. So awkwardly we all went around picking our stuff, except J, who is never afraid to be himself, he picked his stuff, but felt uninhibited and spoke as if we were alone.
I grabbed a kiwi-strawberry Propel fitness water, and a little package of trail mix. J found some antique coke bottles, unopened, from 1981, for sale (as antiques), so he bought one, and some water. He said he wanted to drink it and was quite excited about this idea, but asked me and the old man at the counter if it would be a good idea. The old man, finally being addressed, broke down the wall and smiled and told him he was crazy! Then we all had a good laugh and a nice, heart-warming and friendly exchange with the old man, who appeared as a part of the store. The place was so old-country, kind of run down but only because it's fifty or sixty years old and privately owned by some small-town guy who has made the place almost like a home. It was a place with history and dignity and humbleness. I loved that place. I told the old man to have a great day and beamed at him, and he seemed genuinely touched and couldn't stop smiling. He looked like he was used to travelers passing through and barely even acknowledging him. A little common human-to-human interaction is so healthy and positive. We aren't machines. Yet.
So we get back on the road and finish driving to the exit for Pinnacle, the little town near Pilot Mountain. The mountain at this point is a silently foreboding yet peaceful monument in the sky, dominating most the the northerly line of sight. We head down a small, decrepit road that it appears the sign for the park is pointing at, although we can't be sure, as no less than six little twisty mountain country roads intersect at bizarre angles right at this spot. But since we have to do something, we unanimously choose one. We went down it, and it turned out to be a very small and windy mountain foothills road. J turns on some bluegrass, some real down-home Carolina/Kentucky/Tennesee bluegrass. It fit the scene perfectly, as did all the music we had on at various times. Indeed, the entire sequence of events of the entire day would prove to be perfect. As we drove down this road, I became more and more aware of a feeling of connection between our minds. We all always knew what each other was trying to communicate, even though we were for the most part quite bad at it verbally, our minds working too quickly to fully deliver thoughts because they kept evolving. This came alongside a growing feeling that we were locked into a trip of destiny, as if we were supposed to be here, as if a story were unfolding.
J drives along, slowing down to barely slow enough on every turn (and they were constant) and slamming on the gas in between on every miniscule straightaway. I was getting the effect of flying down the road and briefly touching down at the beginning of every curve, but not during the curves! A bit disconcerting, but also undeniably exhilarating. Beginning with J's driving, but extended to every part of the trip as well, I began to be forced to view my mortality in a distanced sort of way, caring, defensive of it, but also not taking it personally and making light of it, because I felt that doing so would jeopardize the experience of my life. Even if my life is cut shorter than some, I will have wanted to live it to the fullest and experience as much as I can. I could tell that this was becoming an issue for L as well, as she is as a rule extremely cautious when it comes to potential for danger. She refuses to go anywhere near the edge of cliffs or anything. If I walk near the edge she freaks out and thinks I have a very good chance of slipping and falling to my death. While I suppose this is true, I am quite reasonably cautious and I contend that she is the one with an unreasonable amount of fear and anxiety and paranoia about almost every little thing in life.
We were beginning to think we had chosen the wrong way because we had been driving for ten minutes with no other signs and going out into increasingly obscure countryside. Though all the while, Pilot would peek its peak out from behind a hill at us, letting us know we must be doing something right. The problem is that every country road here ends up going all directions because they have to veer around hills and mountains so much. It's impossible to rely on the stated direction of any road because you just have to know where you're going. And then, look - suddenly, a big brown state park sign tells us to take a soft right, and we're there! Which brings us to the following point in space-time...
4:30, Yadkin River Islands park area. We enter the park, at last. We drive up to the first place where the road dips down and crosses a creek that runs to the river. A sports car is parked on the side of the road before it, and we ponder its significance. It's empty, and its drivers are nowhere in sight. As we creep up towards the edge of the creek, it looks as if we can drive right through and continue down the road, as it is quite some way to the actual river from this point. J is confident we can get through, and begins to go, but before the wheels enter the water I get a feeling he's wrong, and I look closely out the window and see that I may be correct. He says we should just do it, come on, we're on an adventure. I don't mind getting stuck in the water. In response I mention to him that his car might mind, however. So I get out and look. Sure enough, the creek is two to three feet deep in the middle, and his little car would have just drifted away and died, leaving us stranded at the park, miles and miles out of town. So this time I
make an executive decision, to have us get back in the car and have J park it on the side of the road. So we do this, and turn the car off, and get out. It was like emerging from a cave and into the light for the first time. We were home.
I took this moment to assess my mental situation. What I discovered was pleasing, indeed. Birds flitted between trees, chirping their delicate songs. Small animals were running about, stopping to stare at us curiously as we looked about with wide-open eyes. Everything was so breaktakingly beautiful. The early Fall sunlight, so unfiltered and yet indirect, cast all the greens into a million different shades. The world about me was an ever-shifting celebration of color and life and beauty. The world was alive with motion, aided by the naturally-substituted phenethylamine known as mescaline and the lesser alkaloids of the Trichocereus peruvianus species of cactus. The most striking visual effect was the immense explosion of color. Every shade of every color stood out distinctly against the others like a bold color on a contrasting background, except the colors were far from contrasting. In fact, every color was the perfect complement to every other color. The whole world around me appeared as a beautiful and poignant painting, the sky a million shades of blue slowly approaching greens and yellows at the horizon, hinting at the sun's downward trajectory. The clouds appeared as dramatic brush strokes, tinged with a multitude of faint colors from the sun's reflection against the planet's atmosphere.
More than a cursory glance at any location revealed a hidden world of tiny creatures churning away, along to the unheard - but felt - heartbeat of the world. The cycle of life played out in every place I looked. My heart opened and my thoughts skipped along tangential lines of free association, yet they still remained very grounded, quiet, at ease. I could feel every section of my body, focus my consciousness on it. I rolled my shoulders, stretched out my limbs. It felt so good
to be alive! My energy felt boundless but collected. I felt like a beautiful organic machine. I could feel my arms and legs and hands and feet in such a unique way that I cannot describe it. I felt my pupils stretching open to let in all available sunlight, and there was a lot of it. I felt like I needed to take it all in, but that could never be done. I flexed my arms, relishing in the feeling of strength they now had. Throughout my life I have never exercised my upper body much and it has always been skinny and weak, but in the past couple of months I have been lifting weights very regularly, and they're finally getting some muscle on them.
So we decide to begin our journey at this point. Giddy, we bound off towards the creek and look for a place to cross. We do so, hopping across the rocks. After that, we begin to walk up a long hill. My fiance L begins to lag behind, as walking up the hill makes her tired. It's a long hill, and she's been pretty overworked and underslept lately due to school. But we encourage her on, while joking that no, the hill isn't almost over, we'll be walking uphill the whole way. Uphill both
ways, in fact, in the snow, sharing one pair of shoes. She found it wryly amusing and found some entertainment in her own struggle, and before long we made it to the top. We crossed the creek a few more times, and finally, we came upon the marked path, called 'The river trail' - .6 miles to the river. So off we went into the thick forest, following a small path that was pretty easy to lose if you stopped paying attention.
We each walked in relative silence. After a few minutes, I let my companions go ahead and walked off the path a bit to find a tree to make my acquaintance with as I let my bladder empty. I stop short of peeing on the tree, though, as I feel it would be disrespectful, and instead aim for the ground on a spot that nothing is growing on. I look up at the tree I am standing beside. It stretches gracefully upward, reaching to the sky far above, a living, breathing thing. I put my hand on its trunk and feel the rough bark, and get the distinct impression that the tree is regarding me curiously in return. I then look down, at an old, rotted stump of a fallen tree. I think about how, some number of years ago, this tree was also stretching proudly up. But it was smaller. Perhaps the tree wondering about me now was the cause of its death, as the winning competitor for life. I felt a passing sadness for the dead tree, but also a joy in knowing that it was just a part of everything, its dead body was slowly feeding the forest.
I pondered these things for a moment and then bounded off. My companions seem to have gotten pretty far ahead, and I'm not even quite sure I'm on the right path, as it is really a very subtle path, partially grown over with forest shrubs. I am running, and I feel a great sense of weightlessness and boundless energy. Running has never felt so natural. So effortless. I feel as if I could run forever. Consequently, before long, I have caught up with my companions, and I notice that we have come to a break in the forest, where a thin railroad track puts a cleft in the trees. At this particular spot, the track looks pretty run-down, with rotted boards and overgrown cross-boards. But the track is shiny and worn smooth and the railroad is definitely still in use to some extent. After a moment of looking around, we cross the tracks and continue on the path.
At this point, the ground begins to get spongy, and we can tell we're close to the river's edge. And then we get there. The Yadkin River is bigger than I had thought it was, and pretty crystal-clear for a river. It's flowing quickly but gently, and somewhere in the distance I can hear water rushing around rocks. There are large trees sticking nearly horizontally out of the edge of the steep bank down to the river shore, and they bring to mind country folk laying out on hammocks over the babbling water. I feel at peace here. So we set out along the trail that runs right at the edge of the roughly six-foot-tall steep embankment down to the river. The trail is very narrow, so we are all forced to walk single-file.
I notice at this time that my fiance L is generally very anxious. You see, she is a person who is plagued by anxiety, she's just, for lack of a better term, a big worrier. Actually in my opinion it is to the point of debilitating paranoia much of the time. Especially socially, she will invent all kinds of vibes she is feeling. She tends to feel that people don't like her and think she's weird. This is undoubtedly the result of her childhood, as she never had any truly close friends who she felt comfortable with, and a lot of them betrayed her over time and mainly people would think she was weird and then treat her as such, you know, in the disturbingly cruel way that children do. She has been focused on piano performance since she was a small child, and has always had a lot more self-awareness than most people her age. She's really a very special person, but also can be quite abrasive due to social anxiety.
She was the type that did very poorly at primary education because they homogenize it and her brain does not work like most other people's. To make matters worse, she was brought up in an extremely careful and reserved family, so although she did not bring forward the extreme reservedness (read: repression) when she's with people she loves, she is almost unimaginably cautious about any physical activity. Part of this makes sense, as she has tendonitis in her wrists/hands and her entire career is piano performance, and any little thing to hurt her hands further could be the end of her dreams. That I totally understand. But just in general she feels very scared to do anything remotely dangerous. She's a horrendous backseat driver even when things are under control. She refuses to go anywhere near the edge of heights and gets upset with me when I do because she's afraid I'll die.
Once I was climbing on a large rock about 30 feet by 30 feet, the edge of which was a tall cliff. Now, I was not going up to the edge. I was just walking around on it, quickly at times, but being careful and not jumping around towards the edge or anything. She was so wound up during that, and later she dug into me about how stupid I was being and how no one should ever climb on rocks and how the fact that I did so in Boy Scouts when I was younger was irresponsible of the whole organization. Yes, she is that paranoid about physical stuff, she just does not trust herself at all to be able to reliably not mess up in such situations and can't see how others could.
So anyway, she was doing this now, not so badly, but definitely. She was lagging behind, eyeing the 6-foot drop with clenched anxiety every time the trail got too close. Our friend J started climbing out on a tree going over the water, and she almost couldn't stop herself from telling him to get down, although she did stop herself, fortunately. At least for me, the atmosphere of the trip became one of clenched anxiety, of not being able to let go and have fun. She started to make comments to me like 'How far are we going to go? Should we turn back?'. I wasn't going to leave her behind of course, so I had to stay back. J started to get farther and farther ahead, and I knew that he was starting to feel annoyed because of the lack of really exploring at all. I could tell his intention was to stay out as long as possible and just not worry about it, which was mine as well. But he drove, and he's a nice guy, and I think he was worried the trip would be cut short, as was I. I thought about this a lot and felt bad mostly for L, who is constantly possessed with this worry such that it's difficult for her to let go and really have fun in many activities.
After a little while of mostly being lost in these thoughts, J called from ahead 'Hey guys, want to get high? I found some people who offered us a spot in their circle!'. Immediately L clenched up because she worries that anybody we don't know is going to be the police and arrest us, or mug and rape us/her. We got up and she gave me looks for a minute, obviously wanting me to refuse for her, but I let her know that if she wanted to refuse, she had to say it because I simply did not feel that way. So she said 'Maybe later, I'm still really high from before' (which was true). J was obviously let down by that, and he said 'Maybe on the way back guys, thanks anyway', and we went on. I know he was starting to get annoyed, because he said 'Gosh, you're so picky!', in a half-joking way but with a definite air of exasperation. L obviously felt bad about this but not enough to let go of her built-up anxieties.
After a few more minutes of walking, we find a tree on the trail that looks like a giant, gnarled hand outstretched from the ground. So J and I go climb on it and sit on the branches and talk, while L stays down as she's not really able to climb trees, her tendonitis will get aggravated - that one was totally understandable. She had to change her entire way of life to not have to quit piano because of it. We sit around for a good ten minutes, relaxing and talking about the past. I told him about some Boy Scout adventures I had when I was younger, and he told me about some stories from his past. It was good to feel a connection because I had been feeling estranged because of the recent unspoken tension. I also let him know that she does not mean to be a party-pooper, she just can't let go of her control of anything (or illusion of control) because of anxiety. He, being an awesome guy, understands. So we set off once more.
After a few more minutes, we get to a spot that has another cross-trail which goes back across the train tracks, and this particular spot is very close to the track. Some people walk by on the track going back the way we came and tell us to watch out, because at the next cross-trail a few minutes down the trail, there are 6-8 large snakes just laying out right by the trail. L takes this to mean that we immediately have to turn back, but J, ever the adventurous one, exclaims 'Awesome! Let's go see them! It'll be great!' L tells him flat out though that we shouldn't go fuck with snakes. I want to go, but she refuses. She tells me I should go and she'll wait here, but I'm not going to leave her by herself in the middle of a sparsely-inhabited forest. So J sets off, looking back a few times, and we decide to go up to the train tracks.
I am intending to sit down and have a discussion with her about what's been going on and about how she needs to let go, when we hear voices from down the path, the way we had come. It was the group of hikers who had asked us if we wanted to join them! I can tell L wants to get away so they wouldn't see us, but it was too late. They say hello, and how are we, and so forth. I immediately get a very friendly and nice vibe from these folks. The one who was obviously the leader of the group looked and acted like a cross between my best friend and his father, in appearance and mannerisms. He looked to be about 40 years old or so. The others were younger, obviously a group of friends, more like college-aged. The guy (we never exchanged names) asked us if we'd like a smoke, and lit up a large joint. Before L could say anything, I said 'Yeah, that would be great, thanks. Here, I've got one too, we'll get two going around'. She gave me a look, but didn't want to appear anxious and evasive, so she was like 'Well, hey, alright. Let's do it while we wait for J'. I felt bad about J because he was too far ahead at this point to call back, and he had wanted to smoke with these people in the first place. But I knew he'd understand, so we started.
We got a few good hits, and the joint was still not even halfway burned down - it was quite large! And then, lo and behold, J appears, walking back this way on the tracks. I run up and excitedly tell him about how we met the people and he was just in time. So he comes down with us and we're back together as a group, at last. The tension just melts away, and we all 7 (the 3 of us and 4 of them) start just shooting the shit, talking about all sorts of things, even L. J, as always, is quite the life of the group, telling all manner of wild and amusing stories about his life. The older guy does as well. I really feel comfortable around him, I get a really good vibe. I feel compelled to speak, gripped with mescalinergic euphoria, a beautiful rush of empathy and sheer beauty washing over my mind. It was at this point that the mescaline experience reached the final level of strength, the peak so to speak, only it was not overwhelming at all. Just glorious. After the first two joints, the guy offers to roll up another one, so I say sure, but that I only had one with me and we already burned it. He doesn't mind, so we smoke another, continuing in conversation.
After the last one was finally done, we were all very high and euphoric. We say our goodbyes to the people whose names we never discovered, and fortunately, J said that we probably had to head back because it would be dark in an hour and a half and we had a long walk ahead of us. So we head back along the tracks, for a different path back rather than retracing our steps. This is the point at which the trip, up until this point fun but shaky, really started to come together beautifully.
We begin by walking down the tracks in a cluster. It's as if the flood gates have opened up and we begin talking and talking, non-stop. Deep, philosophical conversations, cohesive, filled with a sparkly and ironic sense of humor. J begins to tell us some pretty personal stuff, about how he thinks he's a sex addict and he has attachment issues from a romantic standpoint. The three of us begin to assume positions in a friendship that we felt had been there as a result of a lifetime of companionship, but which had just suddenly developed in a single afternoon. We were all discussing how we felt like we were supposed to be friends and how we felt that we had known each other for a long time. I can't recall all of the conversation we had, but I can easily recall the easy rapport that we had, the intimate and deep conversations, and how our minds seemed linked, like it was never necessary to explain something well because we all just understood.
After a bit, my fiance L starts looking back nervously, thinking she hears voices. She has a pretty serious case of social anxiety sometimes, and now is one of those times. At some point, we actually see people back on the tracks, and she thinks they might be the people we smoked with, and she feels awkward about running into them again for some reason. So she walks much faster and starts whispering frantically at us to 'hurry up, it's the people, come on!' J and I find this hilarious, and begin joking about The People. 'They're coming for us, run, it's The People!' we laughed. The capitalization of the letters is obvious in our speech, and we begin excitedly talking on about the archetype of The People/The Man/The Others. L finds it amusing but also, I can tell, mildly offputting. But J communicates to me without words that he wants to help her relax, to let go of her mind some and just let things happen, to give up control to gain control of herself. I let him know that I appreciate it and so will she with my eyes, and we continue laughing and having a great and mirthful walk.
At some point I'm looking down at my feet as I walk, stepping on every other cross-piece of wood, and it begins to create an illusion with the help of the mescaline where it feels like I am floating along with my legs crossed in meditation position. I mention this to J, who thinks it's interesting and tries it. I begin to discuss with him how one of my problems in life has generally been that I am so in my head that I do not pay attention to my surroundings very much and consequently I do not remember details of things a lot of the time. Conversely, my fiance L does
pay attention to all the details and her mind is always on, focused on how to avoid danger and recall everything about everything. This makes us fit together very well, but it also causes us some friction sometimes.
As I am thinking about this, L notices a trail off to the left of the tracks that I would have totally and utterly missed, it was very faint and almost just looked like a deer trail or something. She isn't sure if it's the right one, though. But as it happens, I had been paying particular attention to my surroundings when we had emerged onto the tracks a couple of hours back. I remember in my mind like a snapshot the scene that is before us now, particularly the decrepit-looking tracks, a curve out of sight just beyond where we are standing. Even down to the individual array of rocks nearby. I say that I remember this with a sense of synchronicity. As little as it is, the very problem I had just been discussing had been overcome in that one fleeting moment, only to become important to our safely getting back to our vehicle later on. I said so to the delight of J, who agrees that it seems as if everything is clicking into place. It is starting to get towards dark, and we only have a good 45 minutes of light left, and half of that will be low light. If L hadn't noticed the trail and I hadn't realized it was the right one, we'd have ended up walking to who-knows-where and gotten lost in a huge park in the dark.
6:45 - So we enter the trail, and immediately it becomes darker because the forest around us is blocking the sinking sunlight. Nevertheless, it is beautiful, the darkened colors of the forest dancing around us like spirits, mixed with fading pools of sunlight interspersed throughout. We walk for a few minutes, when suddenly we come across a large tree that, for some reason, has 3 large-sized pieces of relatively smooth quartz laid out at its base as if placed there for someone, seemingly hewn into wide-edged weapon shapes. The cuts are smooth and each rock is shaped like a wide dagger with a very wide hilt, but that could still be grabbed with a single hand. Each is roughly identical, and weighs a good 5 pounds, coming to a sharp point at the tip. We exclaim in surprise, and all of us being playful grown children, we pick up one each to carry around as a weapon. We joke that the weapons must be to defend ourselves from The People, and we continue on.
Before we get far, L starts pausing every few moments and shushing us because she hears rustling. We smile and assume it's her imagination, and joke with her a bit about it. But then J hears something too, and stops. Then I hear it as well. It's a loud rustling in the brush about 40 feet away, from the dense forest. At first we wonder if it's people watching us, but soon it becomes evident that it's a large animal of some sort. We grip our rock-weapons tightly, as nervousness enters our minds. The rustling is following a pattern, it stops, and we hear low, large animal noises, and then it will spring forward, making a lot of noise and snapping down small dead trees and other brush. We watch the brush snap, and we realize with a sinking feeling that the animal is obviously large and powerful, and it's obviously following alongside us, staying about 20-30 feet off the trail, taking care not to be directly seen. At one point we catch sight of a bit of large, furry body, but can't tell what it is.
As we continue to walk, the mood changes to one of tension and excitement. Adrenaline starts to fill my body and mind, mixing with the mescaline to form a very aware and on-point state, calm because instinct was taking over but very wary, ready to fight (which won over flight this time). Thoughts begin to fill my head - what the hell were
these rock weapons doing there, so out of place and unlike the rest of the rock here? Were we meant to find these? All of the separate snapshots of small seemingly-synchronistic events of the afternoon and evening all add up suddenly, and I feel like we are in an important situation in our lives. We realize that we might be attacked. J begins making noise, just talking to us and lightening the situation, because L was giving off distinct waves of fear, and we all know that fear leads a predator to attack because it knows it can.
The part that makes me the most nervous is that this animal is continually tracking us, not ever coming too close but following along the trail the whole time. I begin to understand that I might have to fight for my life. I keep thinking that I hope it's not a mountain lion or other large cat, as we would probably not stand much of a chance. It could be a bear, or maybe a wild boar. I am hoping it's a bear, as they're peaceful creatures for the most part, even if they're the largest. But we can do nothing except walk along, acting like we're not afraid. So that's what we do. I get behind L and J takes the lead, and I hold my body at the ready, acutely aware of every muscle and everything around me. Although frightening, it feels very good to be so in tune with my instincts. For the moment I am removed totally from the 'civilized' world we normally live in, and immersed in nature which I am always a part of, but am rarely so in tune with.
We continue to walk, and fortunately, eventually the animal doesn't seem to be there any longer. But none of us feels any less creeped out, as if at any moment it could come charging out. J makes some jokes about our mortality, and L chuckles in frightened bemusement. At this point we are out of the thick of the woods, and heading back to the car. We're walking along, talking amongst ourselves, the fear beginning to release, when all of a sudden I hear a strange, spooky noise in the distance, from deep within the forest. A sort of far-off wailing, like maybe a human voice but it could be some sort of animal as well. I am evidently not the only one to hear it, as my companions perk their ears up. We all look at each other with crinkled brows, and continue walking.
Intermittently, we hear these strange wailing noises, and every time it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It's getting to be twilight, or early twilight at least. The sunset it beginning to really color the sky. The trees towering around us block whatever sunlight is left, giving the impression that it's darker out than it really is. I begin to feel that we're being watched. I'm still holding the sharp rock, as I realize that we're not out of danger yet. The thought still nagged in my mind that these rocks were placed there for a reason, and judging from a glance at my companions' grips on their rocks, they're thinking something similar.
7:15 - We seem to be nearing the car, so we relax a bit. J makes a comment, with mischief in his eye, that we were probably going to get there and the car would be gone. The People have returned! We giggle a bit, but the thought seems not so far-fetched at this point. The night has really taken on a creepy tone. We round a corner, and there we see a spot that looks just
like the spot we left the car parked. It has the same features and everything, even the same sort of mini-ditch by the side of the road and a road that went through 2+ feet of running water. But the car is not there. We panic for a moment, before we realize that the spot is probably farther up. Although we're all a bit weirded out, because we don't remember having passed an identical-looking spot.
Right as we're passing by the spot where we thought the car had been, I hear what sounds to be a child's voice, in a loud whisper, that sounded to be coming from directly next to my ear, from the direction of the forest (which was close to the trail at this point, like a few feet away). My companions heard it too, and described it as 'disturbing'. I am surprised that I don't feel more frightened by this. I mean, it was loud and distinct, and the others heard it just as well as I did. it sounded to each of us like it had been coming from right next to our right ears. I begin to feel the sensation of being watched even more. We all hurry on ahead, hoping we find the car soon. Fortunately, it's around the next
bend, right where we had left it. Whew! But before we go, I have to pee, so, surprisingly unafraid, but still feeling the 'watched' feeling, I walk off to the edge of the woods next to the creek and do my business. I feel vulnerable while doing so, and keep a firm grip on my rock. As I'm done, I turn to walk away and feel the presence of something behind me, and I can't help but run back, feeling a bit pacnicked to be honest - at this point, spirits are the least of my worries, as I still have the fear that there's some large cat possibly hunting us, or a bear.
7:30 - It's full-on sunset now, and we finally head out, J driving crazily as usual. He puts Tom Waits on his car CD player, who I have not really heard before. The album's name is not known by me, but I am told that it was the one he released in 1999. What I do know is that it's amazing. So full of emotion and barely restrained insanity, and incredibly bluesy and gritty. His voice fills out the music so well, and yet it's sparse at the same time. The fourth track comes on, and it's a tremendously beautiful slow, sad song, a wistful sort of sadness, not a bleak one. We crest a hill, and suddenly Pilot Mountain comes into full view, and the breath catches in our throats. The dark peak stands out against a sky of myriad colors, with long bands of clouds looking like they're radiating out from the stony peak of the mountain. The clouds are colored in brilliant magentas, fuscias, oranges, yellows, purples, and as many shades of each as I can imagine and more. It's difficult to describe how beautiful the sight is.
The music reaches a climax of beauty and wistfulness and peace, and it's such an organic song, so full of emotion from a battered soul. The factors all come together to make this moment one of the most beautiful and magical I have ever experienced. The sky is on fire with the beauty and majesty of the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my twenty-four years of life. We stay there for a few minutes, totally rendered speechless, the car pulled over. We notice that two other cars on the way out of the park are doing the same. A tear trickles down my cheek, eventually dripping off the corner of my chin. We are pulled over in front of a person's little house, and I think about how lucky these people are to have such a glorious view. Words cannot describe the perfection of this moment, so I will stop trying.
After this, we continue on, and decide, as we had planned, to take the back roads home instead of the highway, and smoke a nice fat joint rolled with dank cannabis buds while doing so. So we do this. The joint burns slowly and nicely, and it lasts so long that we end up not quite finishing it. During this ride home, all three of us spend a lot of time reflecting over how awesome the day was, and get into various philosophical meanderings the likes of which I can't particularly recall now. J and I discuss our views on spirituality and the nature of consciousness, which always feels great to talk about. I discover that he has reached basically the same conclusions as I have, as has my fiance (with a few differences, although I already knew that of course). We listen to the album of Tom Waits' that was his first 'breakout' into insanity during the height of his more mainstream career, perhaps in 1981. It's bombastic and disturbing, but glorious. After that, he puts on a recording by a professor he knows at Yale, a guitar recording of Bach (can't remember which piece). It, too, is really beautiful, and very dark.
J takes us on an interesting route home, that ends up going through a bunch of parts of town we've never been through although we've lived here for almost two and a half years. One includes the ghetto, and I do mean ghetto
... and of course J decides that he needs to roll down all the windows on a street corner with two shady-looking groups of people seemingly buying/selling drugs, blasting the classical music at full volume. That freaked L out a good bit, as ghettos scare her quite a bit. The rest of the car trip, while lots of fun, is pretty uneventful, and J drops us off at home at around 9:00. Once there, L and I just hang around naked (as we do at home) and chill, smoke the vaporizer a bit, and I begin working on some art while the TV is turned on and mindless social programming begins caressing our ears.
But I am beyond allowing it to affect me, and I instead analyze it, as I tend to do. After a little while I find the show 'Survivorman' and we watch that, several episodes in a row. This show is excellent, it's a guy who goes out into remote and extreme areas such as Northern Alaska and the Amazon, with no food and a bunch of cameras and random pieces of gear (the idea is to simulate an actual reason to be there, if disaster struck and you were left alone). He has to get shelter and gather food and film himself for seven days, and usually then has to find his way to civilization somehow. It's a great show, he's totally alone the whole time, and it's interesting to see the effect that such total isolation has on him. But he's so personable on camera that it makes you feel like you're there with him, and you two are hanging out.
12:00 - L has fallen asleep, but I am still feeling a light mescaline stimulation and euphoria. So I stay up and begin writing notes on the experience and browsing online for a while, posting in that humorous manner I find that mescaline produces. At about 4am, I finally become tired and fall asleep.
I woke up the following morning and felt fantastic, rested (even though I woke up at 7:30am), and euphoric. The mescaline feel was mostly gone, but it felt as if the state of mind had merged in the middle with my sober mind and was just an integrated part of me now. I felt so spiritually and socially and physically rejuvenated, just wonderful, positive and brimming with inspiration and joy. The cactus which gave its body for me had truly proven to be a Medicine of the highest quality.
This tale is mostly about the events of the day. This is because mescaline is a very high-quality psychedelic, and its presence is very strong, but in such a way that it molds together with my state of mind to the extent that it just enhances whatever is being experienced. The state of inner peace and bubbly zest for life that it creates in me is absolutely beautiful, and so natural-feeling. It lends an air of magic and mystique to the day, and makes everything look absolutely beautiful. Colors are seen as if I had just gained sight for the first time. Everything is experienced fresh, anew, but with a pervading and benevolent wisdom helping to guide my actions and thoughts. The cactus is a wise teacher, but very playful as well, or at least Triochocereus peruvianus is. I very much look forward to my next journey with this spirit, and hope to have a slightly higher dose.
But really, I wouldn't do anything different at all if I could go back, not even the dose. I had a beautiful, inspiring, and memorable day in the mountain countryside, with two people whom I am very close with, and the memory of it shines on in my soul.
And I still have that quartz rock... just in case!
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