So yesterday my actor friend Randy Blekitas and I set off on our long awaited trip to the Mojave desert with at least half an ounce of quality psilocybin mushrooms. Wikipedia considers 2.5-5 grams a "strong dose" so since we'd be taking 7-8 grams each of a fairly potent strain, we knew we were in for quite a trip.
We set out from my Santa Monica apartment at about 9 am and were well into the Mojave by noon. Since we had no particular destination in mind, Randy picked an attractive mountain range to the north so we pulled off Interstate 15 onto a small desert road that would lead us to what turned out to be the Calico Mountains. Apparently Calico is a ghost town where The Doors' Jim Morrison used to come trip, so it appears Randy chose a rather fitting spot.
After parking as close to the mountains as my old Honda Odyssey would allow, we stepped out, got our things together, and began to eat the shrooms. We hadn't eaten beforehand and Randy has a very quick metabolism so he started to trip while still eating the bag, with me following suit several minutes later. This was highly unusual since it usually takes 30-60 minutes for shrooms to kick in. While eating we heard the first of many gun shots, which was a little unnerving but we supposed a shooting range was nearby. Hopefully not too near.
Our plan of using our iPhones' GPS to mark the location of the van didn't pan out, since we had no reception in the desert mountains, but we were already somewhat high and tripping by the time we realized that, and there was nothing we could do about it, so I threw my old sailor's compass around my neck and took note of which direction we were heading (a mental note I forgot almost immediately upon beginning our walk).
Some of the mountains were quite colorful, almost rainbow-like, but I'm not sure whether that was natural or just an exaggerated effect of the shrooms. I began to see faces everywhere, kind of like Mount Rushmore, but they were the faces of Native Americans, which is either a result of lingering Native spirits, or my subconscious knowledge of their history there.
Several minutes into the hike, having already wandered a distance from the van and falling ever deeper into hallucination, we sought out a shady spot to escape the relentless sun. We sat there appreciating the beauty and isolation of our surroundings, listening to an eclectic playlist featuring The Doors, Beach Boys, Wolfmother, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, etc. while I slipped into a deep trance that may best be described as Nirvana.
Nirvana, to the best of my knowledge, is a state of peaceful euphoria in which you are neither really alive or dead, but perhaps both. I felt as if I were becoming the mountain, that I would be there forever, and I accepted it. I was snugly nestled against the rock, protected by shade and covered in mountain dust, so my skin felt like the mountain and was even starting to look like it. In my mind, Randy and I were like two monks that had found ultimate wisdom and comfort and we would sit here forever observing those mountains. However a part of me realized if we stayed here too long we'd die of thirst. I had a vision of us one day being discovered, two skeletons nestled against the rock, and I was somewhat saddened by this but I believed it was inevitable. I was generally happy (an inevitable effect of my increased serotonin levels) but there were still feelings of unease, I suppose part of me still wanted to live and be young, to escape those mountains.
For some reason I thought there was an ocean just over the crest, perhaps I thought I was back in Santa Monica, in the mountains by the beach. Randy says I kept repeating the word "Ocean" which may have represented home to me (or it could've been in reference to our playlist song Ocean by John Butler Trio). At some point I stood up and tried to crawl up the side of the mountain, toward the "ocean," but apparently I suddenly lost consciousness and and my limp body tumbled down the mountain towards jagged rocks, to Randy's horror. Terrified, he yelled at me and I immediately woke up and launched myself over a wide crevice back to my spot against the rock. To Randy's astonishment, I'd suffered no injuries and hardly had a scratch, despite unconsciously sliding shirtless down the ragged side of a mountain. I attribute this to my total limpness while tumbling, since most injuries of that nature occur when your body tenses up. Regardless, Randy was shaken up by the event and was careful not to let me stand up again.
So I returned to monk mode. We sat there drinking our plentiful water, observing the mountains, and listening to music. As was the case in my last mushroom trip, seemingly infinite cycles emerged: a distant gunshot would occassionally ring through the mountains; an annoying fly would periodically return to bother Randy; tiny stones would tumble down from above; music would "come and go" (controlling my iPhone was far beyond my mental ability so its operations were unpredictable and magic to me). Every once in a while Randy would comment on the purple mountains in the distance so I'd marvel at the intricate maze-like patterns that were spiraling across them. Sometimes I would ask Randy to pass the water to me, and then in the next cycle I'd pass it back to him. The same thing seemed to happen with the lighter and cigarettes. He'd ask me to pass him a cigarette or lighter, I'd struggle to find them, he'd get aggravated, I'd eventually find them and once he lit up we'd return to peacefulness. So these infinite cycles continued.
Much of what we talked about turned into paradoxes. For a while there I couldn't fathom a sentence that wouldn't somehow seem to be paradoxical. I came to believe that we had infinite water, because despite repeatedly spilling and drinking it, there always seemed to somehow be more. At one point I tried to convince Randy that we could create weed from thin air. Sometimes he would say he wanted to smoke and I'd sincerely reply "You are smoking," though he clearly wasn't. One time he asked me for the lighter to light our weed pipe, and I told him he could smoke it without lighting it. So he tried to take a drag to prove me wrong, but somehow it worked (probably cause embers were still burning from earlier), so he became confused and started to somewhat believe me when I told him these nonsensical things. After all, I was speaking with such conviction and he was tripping pretty hard himself. At one point I insisted he was Leonardo DiCaprio, and though he thought I was speaking literally I think I meant it figuratively.
It's hard to chronologically organize all the events of the day, partly because shrooms distort time perception and partly because for much of the day I was literally insane. Sometimes Randy would talk or move very quickly, like a spasm, like a fly, or Johnny Depp's character in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Occasionally I would try to lie down to sleep, possibly forever, and Randy would awaken me. As I said earlier, for much of the day I thought I would die on that mountain. I suppose in a way I stopped seeing the difference between life and death, or perhaps I didn't care. This is one of the dangers of Nirvana, the prospect of simply not caring about anything. Consequently there were some filthy moments. We ended up leaving a sweater behind because it was soaked in urine. This may be an unpleasant detail but it's a reality of what happens when you simply do not care. Real adventures are not all sunshine and rainbows.
There is a certain vision I had of the mountains, with patterns flowing over it, that somehow reminds me of John Lennon. I feel like he must've seen it. At one point of the trip we discussed the importance of such drug experiences, how it's essential for certain artistic reasons, how many songs literally couldn't have been written without them, simply because a drug virgin wouldn't write songs like that, and therefore couldn't, because it's impossible to intentionally do something you have not chosen.
There was another period during that trip that I can't recall properly, and certainly can't put into words, but it was during the infinite cycles, when I thought I'd sit there forever and language didn't make sense, and I felt happy but also lost to the world, and I had a strong sense of companionship with Randy, who I'd thought I was to spend eternity with. I think it was after the ordeal of falling down the mountain, and Randy pat me on the back and we did a lot of high fives. That's pretty much all I can remember of it.
Hours passed and eventually I began to regain myself. I realized I'd been sitting in the same spot for hours, that I was missing a shoe, and that all my belongings were strewn across the floor. I gathered them: my shirt, my shoe, my hat, sunglasses, phone, headphones, and as I put them on I felt I was returning to society from the wild. As the trip came to a close and we recounted the days' events I discovered a side of Randy I hadn't fully noticed before.
One of the reasons he'd wanted to do the trip was to rediscover himself, to return to his real self, and it was then, while he was standing there atop the mountain that I discovered this essence I think he had come to find. There is some raw energy in him, some wild youthful rebellion that can only really be described as "rock star."" Now that I have found it, I may be able to help him unleash it in front of the camera, and our audience will see it for themselves, and they will love him for it.
Around six o'clock we started to head back. I had no idea where the van was but Randy said he did, though I wasn't as confident in his sense of direction as he was. We took a roundabout route, but eventually it turned out to be exactly where he'd said, which was a relief because the sun was going down and we'd stumbled across what looked like the shit of a mountain lion. We also got to see some incredible views of the surrounding mountains, so it was worth it.
A few hours later we got back to L.A. dirty as hell and exhausted, so we took showers, went to Denny's for a midnight dinner, and then naturally came back to the apartment to start drinking.
If you liked this, maybe also check out:
A collection of short stories I wrote about my various adventures (read more...)