This describes the first in a series of organized trips to outstanding natural places around California and the Western US: The Kelso Sand Dunes, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Death Valley, the Lost Coast, Evolution Valley in the Sierras, Zion Canyon Utah.
This describes the first in a series of organized trips to
outstanding natural places around California and the Western US: The Kelso
Sand Dunes, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Death Valley, the Lost Coast,
Evolution Valley in the Sierras, Zion Canyon Utah... Large groups of
people, all with common feelings about psychadelics. Imagine being a Wild
Human, tripping with your tribe in the wilderness a thousand years ago...
co-evolving with the mushrooms... It is an amazing experience, something
definately to be repeated.
Fifteen of us drove frantically out to the Kelso Sand Dunes on a
Friday afternoon, from LA on I-40 through the most unpopulated chunk of
highway land I've ever seen. The Kelso Dunes are 500-600 feet tall piles
of sand, surrounded by empty desert. We wanted to catch the sunset from
the top of the dunes, and begin our trip right then, but, despite driving
at 90-100 miles per hour (ticket free, thanks to an observant truck
driver) we had to wait at the base of the dunes for all the other cars
(duh) including a Geo Metro (which was obviously not up to the task :)
When finally the other cars did show up, we headed out, our little
troupe. Two people weren't there, we weren't even sure they were going to
come, so we didn't wait... By the time we were half way up the sand, it
had become dark. I broke out a blue glow stick. It was like a gleaming
crystal. Then we found a little rattlesnake. A sidewinder. I'm glad it
didn't decide we were dangerous. One person got a little closer than I
would have liked... This was before we started shrooming thank goodness.
And the top of the dunes, where there is only sand, harbored no dangerous
life (other than we humans)
The last part of the climb was very steep, especially while
carrying drums and water digereedoos. As soon as we got to the top
though, it was worth it. This infinite sandscape stretching off to jagged
desert mountains, outlined by the last light of the vanished sun. Then
everyone wanted light sticks and string. It became very chaotic. People
started complaining that there was nowhere to camp (other than the
steeply sloping sand). I walked to the West and found a bowl in the
ridge, big enough for all of our stuff at the bottom, and sheltered from
the wind, and we lugged all our shit there, and made an inglorious heap in
the bottom. And then we divided up the shrooms. It was all caps, no
stalks. As the trip had kind of balooned from the original plan, we
didn't have enough to go around, so everyone ended up with about 1/12 of
an oz. Which, I must say, ended up being PLENTY. These were very strong,
fresh from Oregon.
Within a few minutes things were not as they had been. I tried to
put up my tent. I should have done it before I altered myself. A credit
to the sheer number of times I've put that thing up (I lived in it for 6
months), I was still able to do it. And then I put all my things inside.
I don't think I lost anything somehow. The tent was so confusing.
The first half of the night was moonless, with slightly more than
a half moon rising some time late (boy did time cease to matter) Once the
twighlight glow faded, we had the dome of stars lighting our path, all
those suns. We thought we could see depth in the stars, which ones were
far away, and which were near. They all seemed to swim around, and I
could see how people would have come up with some of the more improbable
constellations... if they were in the state we were...
Before long, the glowing warmth of the sand and the stillness of
the air induced some of us to become naked. We ran in the sand, hard
packed, leaving perfect human prints in it. I ran so much that the
bottoms of my feet felt raw, the skin worn away by the sand. I've never
felt so much surreality as that night.
The sand is so hard packed on the windward side of the dunes, that
you can beat on it like a drum. When we ran it sounded like we were
running on a head of a tight tight little bongo. You could beat on it
with the long glowsticks. It was odd to hear this drumming, and then look
over, to see this naked monkey of a human, wearing glasses, and drumming
at the sand with a pair of glowing white rods. One person, a marathon
runner, took a pair of lightsticks (there were about 50 of them total) and
ran around the bowl, a streak of living light, around and around he would
go, trying to catch the trail of his own light.
I can't imagine ever tripping any other way. It was like being on
another planet. When the moon rose it was like the dawn of a surreal
day. Suddenly we had *shadows*, and you could see the dunes below you
illuminated in relief. It was amazing to think of your shadow. This hole
in the light, where the sun's rays, these photos, had gone all the way to
the moon, and then bounced to the earth, only to not be where your shadow
In the dark part of the night, the milky way was this insane
river of light across the heavens. Like a cloud, but a cloud of STARS,
each one like our sun. We tied lightsticks onto strings, and you could
swing them around, dance with them, 2 at a time, multiple people, and
throw them into the sky. They would reach their apex and stop for a
split second, and then come raining back to earth like shooting stars.
If you looked at the dunes, it was like looking at frozen waves of
sand, as if you were walking on an ocean, with time at a standstill.
Sometimes the the sand felt like liquid. It would dissolve under
your feet on the leeward side of the dunes, avalanches of humming
sand beneath your body, engulfing you in its warmth. Every once in a while
I would turn over and see the sky, and just be awash in its hugeness.
Over the ridge, a group of people started playing the drums, and
the digereedoos. One person started eating sand. He thought that the
sand was the source of the trip. And that he had managed to gather
together all of the sand. And how intelligent of him to have done that.
At some point early in the trip, the two people we weren't sure
were coming appeared over the side of the dunes. They had begun their
trip at the bottom, and walked for 2 hours to get up the dunes, in an
altered state. I can't imagine that would have been easy. But finally
they were with us and part of the tribe. There were zero sober people.
It was amazing. No intrusions on our surreality. No jerking back to the
There were these black stripes in the sand, tiny flakes of iron.
And while shrooming, it looked like they were raised, like the shadows
behind ridges, but then you would touch them and the sand was completely
flat. It was very disorienting.
Indescribable pleasure and unearthly beauty characterized the
night. Lost from reality in a sea of my own thoughts. Wandering like a
child at the beach between islands of lucidity and my friends. How can
this be illegal? We could be as loud as we wanted. As naked as we wanted.
If you felt like running, you ran.
Eventually the eastern horizon began to glow, and as the
Providence Mountains became backlit, black monoliths reaching for the sky,
and the stars winked out one by one, we came to be calm again, and napped
in the predawn light. When the heat became too much, we solemnly walked
back to our cars, through the already burning sand, and slowly became part
of the modern world again...
This is, in my opinion, the only way to trip. Monumental
tripping. Bordering on religous. Try it!