Citation: B. "In the Everglades: An Experience with LSD (exp89144)". Erowid.org. Nov 1, 2018. erowid.org/exp/89144
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I had done acid maybe 4 or 5 times prior to this trip, as well as dabbled in a few other psychedelics (psilocybin mushrooms, salvia, DXM, etc), so I had an idea of what to expect, though I'm certainly no expert.
I had 3 hits of paper sitting in my closet for a good long while, being saved for a time when I felt I could put them to the best use. One such occasion presented itself, and I went to the Florida Everglades (massive nature preserve, for those who are unfamiliar) with a friend of mine, on a particularly hot day in August. In preparation, I packed a backpack with 1 gallon of drinking water, a couple dry towels, clean socks, and a large can of insect repellent. I definitely should have packed more water because we finished all of it about 2 hours after we got there. We never used the spare socks, shirts, or towels (just precautionary supplies), but the bug spray proved invaluable.
We decided to split the strip of 3 hits down the middle, and each take 1.5. As such I was expecting a fairly mild trip, but the hits were much stronger than I anticipated and the experience ended up being intensely vivid.
We each took our hits at about 1:30 pm (sublingually), about 10 minutes before we arrived at the park. We began by venturing down one of the paths into the dense thicket of trees. I first noticed feeling a bit nervous and jittery (I hadn't tripped in a while) when we arrived at a fork in the path. We arbitrarily chose one and continued down it. Effects were more pronounced now (about 2:30 pm), I could clearly hear the water jostling around in my backpack with each step I took, which made me uneasy. The repetitive noise annoyed me, but I quickly forgot about it once I started to see trails behind the flying mosquitoes. We persisted, not really taking notice of how far we were really walking. The trees and bushes were starting to come alive, as if there was wind blowing through the leaves, despite the fact that I knew there was no breeze. As I looked at the ground, lizards and grasshoppers started showing their faces, running rampantly out of the way as the giant intruders clumsily marched through. My poor balance was worsened by the rough terrain, but after hiking for 30 minutes or so I adjusted. I stopped to examine a giant, orange grasshopper and stared closely for at least 10 minutes. It was glowing this shade of neon orange that seemed completely novel to me. We turned back after reaching a dead end. We emerged from the thicket covered in mosquito bites and completely drenched in sweat, which must have made us look even more bizarre than we felt. The drain of losing blood, marching in the hot sun, probably breathing in fumes from the bug spray on my arms, and the onset of the acid made us crave for a break.
We walked over to a shaded bench to rest, feeling relieved to cool off and sit for a while. Now I could really feel the acid kicking in (about 3:30 pm). The ground was crawling and writhing, and my entire body felt like it was vibrating with electricity. Birds walking around looked much larger than I thought they should be, and I felt a curious confusion.
After a brief rest, we headed towards the boardwalks overlooking the swamps. There were quite a few other visitors bopping around, and they all looked and sounded so foreign to me, which at first I attributed to the drug's effects. After trying desperately to analyze someone's speech, I realized he was speaking French, and so was everybody else around us. This threw us into an intense state of hilarious confusion, and we could not stop laughing (loudly), making a mild spectacle of ourselves. Later I reasoned that a lot of tourists from French Canada probably come to the Everglades during the summer, but it made for an amusing twist at the time. We regained our composure and began hearing really foreign sounding animal noises as we approached the swamp. The only way I could describe it is to say that it sounded like a swamp ape, or some such mythical beast. The mention of the swamp ape sent us into another fit of hysterical laughter, which recurred every time it bellowed its primal grunts. The harder we tried to stifle our own laughter, the more uncontrollable it became. Acid has never made me giggly in the past, but I wasn't complaining, it was quite euphoric.
Once we got close to the swamp, we spotted a group of alligators, and I stared deeply into the eyes of one of these alien-looking reptiles until it swam away. The water was so clear, and although gators typically strike me as unpleasant looking, they appeared so beautiful at the time. Any irrational fear that I would normally have of being that close to one vanished, and all I could do was stare in amazement into its big black eyes. The gators seemed to pick up on it, and gravitated towards us during most of the trip. I should mention that we were safely separated from the swamp below, being suspended on the railed boardwalk about a foot above the gators.
By about 4:00 pm, we found a scenic spot to stare at the vastness of the swamp and delve introspectively into our individual experiences. The reflection of the sky glistening on the surface of the water looked like millions of sparkling blue diamonds, so bright that I had to squint to look at it. More positivity as I stood calmly existing, allowing myself to appreciate the beauty of the natural landscape. I took a second to look around me, I noticed about 10 other park visitors near us, trying to find what we were looking at. I guess my friend and I were both staring at the water for a long time, because they mistook us for keen observers of nature, when in fact we were staring at things they couldn't see (and likely never would). I nudged my friend to point out what was going on, and once again uncontrollable bursts of laughter flowed from us. The French tourists must have thought we were awfully strange; thankfully none of them felt alarmed, just shrugged us off as crazy Americans.
In another area, we see a gator jump into the water and swim towards us at high speed. It seemed alarming at first, but once it got close we saw something wrong with its leg. Once it was close enough we saw that its leg was in fact missing, and a bone was jutting out where the leg should have been. It was a little shocking initially, but the gator seemed just fine, swimming gracefully. It made me think of how a gator can sustain such a massive injury and continue living its life. No complaining, no self-pity, no medical treatment or moral support, just straight instinct and survival. I couldn't escape this thought, and I noticed that I was silently arguing with myself about the pros and cons of living in a structured civilization, as most humans do.
Starting to lose my grasp on reality now (about 5:00 pm), I see tourists in the distance imitating apes. I begin to lose my ability to tell the difference between the animals we observe and the humans observing them, as they seemed like such spectacles themselves. Overwhelmed and stuck in a loop with this uncomfortable feeling, I sat and concentrated on my visual experience nearby, watching the planks of wood unfold into vivid medieval battle scenes. I'm not really sure what prompted that type of visual, but I was grateful for the distraction it offered.
At around 6:00 pm, we decided it was a good time to smoke the joint we had brought, and the weed added a pleasant lift to the otherwise dreary mood I was feeling.
After a couple hours of continued exploration, we started to come down. The sun was setting at about 8:30 pm, and we headed out just as the mosquitoes came out in full force and devoured what was left of our flesh. It felt oddly refreshing. We got in the car, cranked up the air conditioning, put on some electronic-ish music, and drove out in our vessel of modern technology. The stark contrast was amusing, and was emphasized when I (accidentally) drove through a spider web on the way out. I jokingly said 'Fuck you, nature,' and we laughed once again.
We arrived back at my friend's house and sat on the porch discussing everything that happened. It was the most complete trip I've ever had. Despite being fatigued and covered in bites (not to mention smelling like shit) I felt refreshed from using my mind and body for 8 hours or so, drawing in so much experience and putting out so much energy. Also, I don't think I've ever laughed that hard and that frequently in any 8-hour period, which added to the pleasant afterglow.
As I said, I've tripped a few times before. My previous experiences allowed me to (barely) keep myself composed despite being so overstimulated. Point is, tripping in public, especially in the afternoon, is tricky and potentially dangerous, so I'm glad I waited to do it until I had a fair amount of prior experience.
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