"The doughty men and women of Keswick mountain rescue are well used to helping walkers who have lost their way on the Lake District fells. But at the weekend they had to assist a group who had also lost their minds."
Dang. That's a great lede. It's from the Guardian's Helen Pidd, writing about a misadventure in the UK's Lake District earlier this month.
Seems a handful of hikers set out for a lovely day in the hills, enhanced, let's say, with mushrooms. But boy did they muck that up. Rookie mistake, sounds like.
They couldn't have been out all that long as their rescue happened only a little after noon and they weren't suffering from exposure. But they were freaked out enough to alarm passersby who called Search and Rescue. When the SAR team arrived they found the hikers who were in need of a little talking down.
"The casualties were walked down and given advice by the team medic regarding the timing of their onward travel.” Onward travel, indeed.
Being in nature on mind-altering substances is as old as humanity itself, pretty much. The draw is powerful and the experience can be profound. Or it can be terrifying. So much so that fellow hikers see you and your crew wigging out so bad they call the cops.
People do die out there because they wander off cliffs, or fall into waterfalls while too stoned to understand what they're doing, so it pays to have some sense of what to expect out there.
The website Psychedelic Spotlight has 5 handy tips for hiking while on mushrooms, let's see what they are.
1. Pack the essentials. Well, duh.
2. Have a "babysitter" in the group. This is a non-stoned person who can still properly interface with reality. So when someone decides to sit in a stream to see if they can see the water molecules pass through their body's molecules, there's a person there to suggest an alternative activity.
3. Know your dose and your settings. Crucial! This seems to be the main problem with the Lake District squad. It's not a great idea to wing it unless you know going in your mind likes being detached from your body, and even this universe altogether.
4. Bring everything you need to be comfortable. Hmm, this I also basically #1, so what we call "padding" in the internet writing game to get to a list of 5 things.
5. Don't get lost! Totally. Perhaps the babysitter can have everyone on a leash, like a dog walker in Central Park.
If only the reduced crew had done the bare minimum of Googling -- that article is the first one that pops up when searching for how to hike while on mushrooms.
Anyway, have a great trip out there, folks.
Words by Justin Housman. Art by Dreamstudio.ai