MUSHROOMS IN PARADISE: HAWAIIAN STYLE
John W. Allen
1 APril 1999 (Trip occurred circa 1987-1988)
I guess you might say it was just another hot, sunny summer day. I was out relaxing and taking it easy basking in the heat of the scorching noon day sun, while beads of sweat streaked across my brow. Exotic palm trees swayed gently to and fro in the breeze, and I looked forward to the white foamy surf as it washed ashore upon my bare feet. I was glad I had decided to move to paradise, and that I came to the sandy shores of Kamaouli l beach a resort area situated in Kihei, along the west coast of Maui.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life, then Kihei is just the place to go. Honolulu and Waikiki are big tourist attractions, and on Maui, Lahaina is just as populated in its own way. It is always warm and sunny here and the beaches are all sandy. Makena Beach has black sand, and the water is always warm. Rainfall in Kihei is very scarce with an average of 5 to 10 days a year.
Besides taking in the sun at the beach, I immensely enjoyed the luxuary of watching the many beautiful native women who graced the beach in their scantily clad island styled bikinis. Out in the water, I could see a small fleet of trimarans (large catamarans) and two-masted sailboats tossing gently in the water. These boats were awaiting the many tourists who would venture forth on them to the volcanic cap of Molikini or Olowalu; two great snorkling locations, where exotic fish and coral could be viewed au natural.
Besides snorkling, other popular water sports for Hawaii's many visitors include: swimming, surfing, wind surfing, water skiing and jet skiing.
For island eating, nothing could be more popular than Jessie's Luau's, which are as common as pupus, lau lau's, and huli huli chicken. Most roads on Maui offer the weary traveler a chance to stop and purchase fresh fruit, right from the fields where they grow. Many roadside fruit stands offer fresh pineapples, coconuts and coconut milk, mangos, papayas, bananas, star fruit, and puunene cactus. If your thirsty, fruit juice smoothies and shave ice are very refreshing and quite popular, but if you want a real treat, Hawaii's famous Macademia nuts are always available.
For dinner, I would recommend the Island Fish House in Kihei or the one in Kahului. The Fish House offers some of the finest culinary delights in exotic fish to be found on the island of Maui. Other great eating establishments are: The Manakai at the Ocean Terrace, the Seven Seas Restaurant at the Rainbow Mall, and the Maui Outrigger; all of which are situated in Kihei, and Mama's Fish House in Paia.
While traveling from the airport in Kahalui, I observed several street vendors along the highway offering their wares to the traveling tourist. Roadside stands were adorned with such items as Hawaiian T-shirts, sea shells (conch), macrame planters made from sea shells and hand-crafted bowls and hats made from the leaves of exotic palms. Flower peddlers offerred fragrant lei's made from Plumeria, Ginger, or Gardenia.
Anyway, it was here by the Royal Mauiian, while laying in the hot sand at Kamaouli I Beach, that I first learned the magical island of Maui was definately much more than just the land of
rainbows, friendly natives and the hula.
I had turned away from gazing at the boats in the water and looked upwards towards the west slopes of Haleakala (House of the Sun), a dormant volcano which dominates at least one half of the island. Haleakala offers to tourists one of the most spectacular views found on Maui, and boasts the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the entire world. At 10,000 feet you can almost see forever.
As the sun continued to soak me in, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation which was taking place not more than five feet from where I lay. Looking over to my right, I noticed a small group of locals who were downing their beers and passing pakalolo (marijuana) among themselves. I managed to pick up little bits and pieces of their conversation.
One of the locals, a haole, was discussing a possible trip to Hana for the purpose of obtaining some "Hawaiian Magic Mushrooms." He referred to the mushrooms as "Cone Heads" and "Gold Caps", both local epithets given to Hawaiian mushrooms by heads who lived in the islands. Folknames are very common among heads on the mainland who live in the Pacific Northwest and the Gulf Coast regions, and from the conversation I was now evesdropping on, I guessed this was also true for Maui.
Stimulated and excited beyond my wildest imagination by the topic of their discussion, I decided to take the opportunity to introduce myself to this small group of locals as an amature expert
in the field identification of entheogenic mushrooms. During the next few hours, I learned from these strangers that Maui "magic mushrooms" were very common after heavy rainfalls and most definately constituted a part of the drug subculture which existed here in Hawaii.
After a while, I asked this small group of new found friends where I too might be able to obtain some of these interesting "Gold Cap" mushrooms, and inquired if anyone within my new found circle of friends would be interested in taking me on a field trip in search for them. I explained that I would be more than willing to pay expenses such as gas and lunch if someone would be willing to show me where they grew and what they looked like. Unfortunately no one in our small group was interested in leaving the warmth and peacefulness of the hot, sunny beach for the wet, swampy pasture lands I so graciously sought.
One of the locals named Marc was a cook at the Island Fish House. He told me that I should go up Haleakala along the Kula highway until I came upon the Ching store. Just beyond the store I would find several open fields where cows grazed on each side of the highway. My friend Marc said all I would have to do is search for a cow pie and I would find more mushrooms than I could ever imagine. Marc also told me that if I were to continue along Kula road past the Ching store, I would eventually come across Ulupala Kua ranch, an area covering some 30,000 acres which lay host to thousands of scattered dung-heaps, many of which were undoubtedly home to the "magic mushrooms" I was so interested in obtaining.
Soon a local biker named Chet joined our small group and he suggested that I should travel to "Heavenly Hana" which was situated on the other side of the island. Hana is one of the rainy areas on Maui and is well known amongst both locals and tourists from Australia as an ideal location for picking "magic mushrooms." Chet confided to me that there were numerous pastures and paddocks between Hana and the seven "sacred" pools. Chet said he had picked there before and on one ocassion had collected over eight pounds of mushrooms in a single day. Chet told me that "magic mushrooms" could be picked all year long if the weather conditions were right.
Chet said his favorite picking area was in a spot off of the Hana Highway at the top of "Lyons Hill." Marc agreed with Chet and said that I would have no trouble in locating this hill because the top of it was graced with a giant stone cross. Access to "Lyons Hill" is public and both sides of the short winding road leading up to the top, are excellant fields for picking "magic mushrooms."
After a little while, a doobie was rolled and passed around and I joined in. I thanked Marc and Chet and the rest of my new found friends for making my day, and I decided I was definitely going to travel to Hana in the morning and see if I could find these elusive basidiomes which had captivated my first day in Maui.
The following day, I awoke to the sound of roosters crowing and the sweet fragrance of Plumeria drifting through the air. With much enthusiasm I proceeded to ready myself for my pilgrimage to Hana by packing my back pack with the necessary equipment needed for gathering magic mushrooms; a pair of scissors, paper bags, my camera with some extra rolls of film, and my sleeping bag, since I thought I might camp out in Hana for the night. I then set on down the road towards my destination, making one stop at the Paradise Fruit Stand in Kihei for a "Mango Smoothie", 2 fresh ripe mangos, and a papaya for the road.
Hitchhiking in Maui is very illegal and as soon as I put my thumb out for a ride, an officer of the law suddenly appeared out of nowhere and pulled over along the road to inform me that it was illegal to hitchhike. He warned me that if he caught me with my thumb out I co_uld be fined S400.00 for hitch hiking. The officer, who smiled all the time as he talked to me, was very friendly. and told me if I were to just stand along the road with my arms crossed that someone would come along and offer me a ride. As the officer left, I cussed under my breath "shit! yeah! I'm sure! I could be here all fuckin' day long 'fore I get a ride", however, within five minutes of the time the officer had driven away, a car pull over and asked me where I was going.
Amazed, I immediately hopped in and an elderly Hawaiian fisherman told me he would drop me off on the other side of Puunene, near the Hana highway. Twenty minutes later, I was dropped off next to a sugar cane field along the Hana highway. I could here the sound of the wind as it whistled through the sugar cane, which was flowing quite freely through the wind. The cane appeared to be over 10 feet tall and you couldn't see the top of the mountains because the sugar cane interferred with the view.
As I stood along the highway I once again folded my arms and awaited another ride. Before too long, a car pulled over and a real cute girl girl leaned out of the window and told me to hop in. This time my hosts were a young married couple named Jay and Lori. They explained that they were only going about four miles down the road to a club called Charlie's which is in Paia, but I would have no trouble hitching a ride from there to Hana.
I hadn't been in their car for more than half a minute when Lori turned to me and asked me if I would like to smoke some "Maui Wowie." Lori said that some of their friends had grown the herb in Huelo, down by the sea. Before I could answer, she handed me a lit pipe which she apparently had been cuffing in her hands while checking me out. I took the pipe and then proceeded to smoke from it.
As I passed the pipe back to Lori in the front seat, I began to gasp and choke from the big pig toke that I had taken. Both Jay and Lori burst out laughing at me for being a pig. Jay glanced at me through his rear view mirror and I could see him laughing. "Some potent shit, huh!" he exclaimed and I nodded my head in agreement while I still choked and gagged from the smoke.
Since I realized my ride was cool, I decided to tell Jay and Lori of my pilgrimage to Hana and asked them if they knew of any spots where I might find some magic mushrooms. Jay and Lori both reassured me that my friends in Kihei had not steered me wrong and that Hana was definately the place to go if I wanted to find some magic mushrooms.
Jay told Lori to draw me a little map of the Hana area and while Lori complied, Jay proceeded to give me an idea of what lay ahead for me as I traveled down the Hana highway. Jay said that after Paia, the road to Hana, which he also referred to as the
"Heavenly Highway", would be straight until I reached the twenty mile marker. There, at Twin Falls, the road would began to twist and bend crazily along the cliffs. Lori added that from Huelo going eastward toward Hana, I would be able to smell the dense fragrance of flowers and foilage emulating from the lush tropical forests along the highway.
Jay said there were many pastures and plenty of green-ferned fertile valleys along the route, with one laned bridges (over fifty) that crossed deep ravines and gushing stream beds. The left side of the highway is a drop-away coastline supported by jagged lava-rocks, and a very beautiful pounding surf. On my right, I was told, at several of the bridges, I would not only see cascading waterfalls, but thickets of bamboo, Guava and Rose Apple trees with ripe fruit ready for picking and eating. I was also told there were a lot of Eucalyptus trees and, if I were to walk along the road for a while, I would probably find some ripe, little red chilies.
Lori said I should check out the Seven "Sacred" Pools of Kipahulu on the other side of Hana. Most of them are filled by beautiful waterfalls and, although the rocks at the pools are slippery, the (chilly based) pools are an ideal place for swimming as well as tripping. Lori said this would be a splendid place to spend the day high on mushrooms.
It took us about 10 minutes to reach Paia, and by then I was really buzzed by the four tokes of "Maui Wowie" that my ride had shared with me. As Jay drove into the small seaside community of Paia, I couldn't help but notice the many brightly painted storefront shops which graced the right side of my window view. They were very reminiscent of the bright colorful storefront shops of the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
"Well, this is as far as I go" Jay exclaimed as he pulled into the parking lot of Charlies Tavern, a popular local club which featured live music and dancing. It was at that moment that I noticed a ten foot high fence layered with beautiful vines of yellow flowers with palm, sized heart shaped leaves. They extended the length of the whole parking lot. I asked Lori if she knew what kind of flowers they were.
Once again Lori laughed and said "you're not going to believe this but those are `Baby Hawaiian Woodrose'" (Argyreia nervosa). Lori explained that one of the waitresses at Charlies was
cultivating them and exporting them to head shops on the mainland. Jay told me the seeds from these vines were similar in effect to LSD but they were not illegal to possess. "If someone were to rip off your crop of Woodrose, you could call the police and they would attempt to find out who ripped you off." "Of course" Jay continued, "you can't call the cops if someone were to rip off your field of smoke."
As I got out of their car, I thanked Jay and Lori for the ride, the smoke, and all the information they had impounded into my circuits. As I watched Jay and Lori slowly disappear into Charlies, I walked to the highway and once again proceeded to cross my arms wondering what new and exciting adventures lay before me.
I guess it must have been at least fifteen minutes before I got tired of standing in the hot sun, so I started to hike down the road, turning around every now and then, watching as a long steady flow of cars kept passing me by. I wondered why I was having such a hard time getting a ride, but it didn't bother me, so I just kept walking. After about ten minutes had passed, I noticed an unusual graveyard on the left side of the road. Each tombstone in the graveyard was adorned with colorful flowers and Japanese lanterns. The first tombstone, which I noticed was rather large, had the name Toyoto on it. I kind of laughed to myself and wondered if an automobile had been buried there.
Continuing down the road was past the graveyard, I could barely make out a figure ahead of me. The figure appeared to be another hitch-hiker, and it looked as if he was carrying a surf board on his shoulder. After about another ten minutes of walking I caught up with this surfer, who turned out to be a young, local Hawaiian boy named Kimo. He was very friendly and asked me my name and where I was from. I told him I had moved to Maui from Oregon, and I was now living in Kihei. When he asked me where I was going, I decided to tell him I was on my way to Hana to pick some mushrooms.
It was at that moment that Kimo surprised me by saying that I didn't have to go all the way to Hana for mushrooms. He proceeded to describe to me an open field about two miles down the highway where he and some friends had picked some mushrooms just the other day. The field is located just above Hookipa State Park, a popular surfing and wind surfing area frequented by surfers from all over the world.
Kimo told me that sometimes people flew giant kites above the pasture overlooking Hookipa State Park and I would have no trouble in finding the pasture. He described to me a single wooden shack which stood erect in the middle of the field and told me it was situated not more than ten feet from a cliff overlooking the ocean. Kimo told me that from this cliff, you could watch the many multi-colored sails from the windsurfers as their sail boards caught the winds causing them to glide to and fro in the water below.
As we both walked down the highway, I realized that it had been about 40 minutes since Jay and Lori had dropped me off and I still had not gotten a ride. Kimo said not to worry, people were friendly on Maui and I would get a ride sooner or later. He soon turned into a driveway informing me that this is where he lived. As we parted company, I thanked him for turning me on to his mushroom patch and continued on down the road.
After about fifteen minutes more of hiking, I began to notice
that the residential area on the left side of the highway slowly began to thin out and to my right, fields of suger cane seemed to continue for miles along the roadway. I came to a turn in the road and as I followed it around the bend, I spied Mama's Fish House where I decided to stop and see if I could fill my canteen with some fresh water.
Just past Mama's, the ocean came into view and after walking for about another twenty minutes, I began to notice the wind surfers sails out in the ocean. In the distance I could clearly make out the shape of the shack which Kimo had told me about.
As I slowly crept closer to my destination, the shack grew larger as I neared it. I then noticed that it wasn't a wooden shack as Kimo had described to me, but one that was constructed of large concrete blocks. It appeared to be about ten feet by ten feet and had a wooden roof over it.
Upon reaching the field, I went through the gate and began to aimlessly wander through the pasture, searching for cow pies. At first I thought that the field had probably been picked out by other shroomers and I felt a hapless tinge of disappointment creep over me because I hadn't as yet found any mushrooms.
The grass in the pasture was about eight inches high and as I walked through the field, I would kick the grass aside with my feet to see what was hiding in it. I then noticed an off-white glint in the green grass so I bent over and moved the grass away from the speck of white. This was the moment I had been waiting for! There in the middle of a cow pie, I noticed three rather small mushrooms
protruding up through the grass. I pulled some of the grass away so I could get a better look at the mushrooms. They were very thin and I noticed a few splotches of blue in the cap on one of them. The top center of the cap appeared to be golden brown. It was at this moment that I knew that I had finally found some specimens of what I later would learn were Copelandia cyanescens. With careful ease, I proceeded to slowly pull the "shrooms" from out of the cow pie. As I was kneeling in the grass, I started to look to the left and right, scanning the view around me, while my eyes slowly adjusted to the bright gleam of the sun in the grass. Within a matter of minutes I began to noticed several more cow pies with mushrooms growing on both sides of me. Somewhat startled by my discovery, I retreived a bag from my back pack and started to pick.
One cow pie had more than 50 mushrooms growing out of it and they ranged in size from a quarter of an inch up to one and a half inches in diameter. Since the mushrooms had been drying in the sun for several days, many of them had caps which appeared to be cracked and wrinkled and some of them had tinges of blue-green running along the edges of the caps. The stems of the mushrooms were very thin and ranged in size from about 1 to 5 inches in height. Within five minutes I noticed the stems were turning extremely blue, thus verifying their psychoactivity to me.
As I slowly stood up, I realized I had picked over 80 mushrooms from just five cow pies. Excited as I was, I thought I should check out the rest of the field and see just how far their growth spread throughout the pasture. At the other end of the field, there was a drop, and the field led down into a small valley which extended down to the ocean. Everywhere I walked there were multitudes of cow pies, all with mushrooms growing from them.
It was about 10:30 AM and I knew how my day was going to turn out. I decided I would spend the rest of the day picking, and then spend the night in the shack which overlooked the ocean and trip out on some of the fresh mushrooms I had just picked. I took out my canteen, had a drink of water and continued to pick all the mushrooms I could find, spending most of the day on my hands and knees; always avoiding the curious cows who wondered what I was doing in their field.
As the day wore on, I began to take notice that the heat was becoming more and more unbearable. The sun was extremely hot and I was beginning to show signs of sunburn on my arms and face. I decided to call it quits at about 5:00 PM. I had already filled 4 medium sized grocery bags with the mushrooms I had picked.
As I slowly made my way back towards the shack, I could still see numerous colonies of the mushrooms in the ground looking up at me as I walked past them. I was sore from bending and kneeling all day and I wanted to relax for a while and see if the shack would be a comfortable place for me to bed down for the night.
The view from in front of the shack was spectacular. There were still many wind surfers out in the water zipping back and
forth and the coast line on both sides of me was really fantastic. I walked down the side of the cliff and sat upon the slated lava-rock bed by the ocean's edge, watching the crabs scurry in and out of the many crevices and nooks in the rocks. At one point along the cliff wall, the high tide waves would cascade up onto the side of the cliff, splashing and spraying humongous mists of water towards me and the splash extended upwards to over 40 feet in height.
After a while I walked back up to the shack and looked inside to see if it was livable. There was a 2 x 4 across the front of
the door which was probably placed there to keep the cattle out and inside it smelled kind of musty. I took some incense sticks from out of my back pack, lit them and placed them in a crevice inside the concrete blocked shack. I then proceeded to remove some big blocks which were in the center of the floor, when all of a sudden, something from behind the blocks moved very suddenly and I jumped about two feet backwards.
Two toads were huddled in the crevice of the blocks and I kind of booted them out the door with my shoes. I certainly did not need any uninviting guests during my over night visit. Later on, I learned that these toads are called Bufo (cane) toads or Bufo marinus, and that they secret a poison from their glands which can be toxic to humans and animals. I also learned that the warts, glands, and skin of some varieties of Bufo toads contain some entheogenic compounds; primarily 5-MEO-DMT.
In Hawaii, the sun usually sets at about 7 PM in the evening. At about 6:30 I began to clean up some of the mushrooms which I had picked, for I intended to eat some that very night. After cleaning the manure from about 20 mushrooms of various sizes, I layed my sleeping bag out, opened my back pack, and proceeded to set up my radio, along with my canteen, flashlight and a few other items necessary for me to feel comfortable throughout the coming evening.
I decided to eat the mushrooms one at a time until they were all gone. As I consumed the last mushrooms, it had gotten completely dark inside and outside of the shack. The only light I
had was a misty haze which eminated from the front door of the shack, The door looked directly towards the stary sky and the light from the stars reflected brightly on the ocean below me. The moon was behind the shack and was crescent shaped, not providing any light whatsoever.
The stars were glistening brightly, appearing very intense and thick in the sky. As I slowly felt the crest of ripples beginning to surge within me from the mushrooms I had just consumed, I knew that I had to lie down on my sleeping bag before I took off. The effect of being alone in this room, completely surrounded by darkness, with just my radio and maybe a few Bufo toads hopping around somewhere was most exotic. I could slowly feel the effects of light deprivation within the confines of the shack. I tuned my radio to KAOI FM which is owned by Don Henley, formerly of the Eagles, and began to enjoy the euphoria which by now was coming on to me in waves.
Within 20 minutes my visuals had become so intense that I tried to close my eyes hoping to make them slow down, but there they were, inside of me as well as outside of me. Every time I closed my eyes, my eye lids felt as if they were being sprayed by a fine mist, a mist of intricate dotted minute particles of soft colors, colors that were geodesically enveloping my whole vision. The colors kept exploding endlessly in front of me and they were so explicit and clear, yet sharp and piercing, that it caused me to open my eyes within a few seconds after each moment from the time time I closed them. The colors were like lasers dancing to the rhythm of the music which was eminating from my radio and they seemed to contract and expand as I breathed each molecule of sound that I experienced.
I could invision the orgasmic creation of nebulas and clusters of stars formating in my mind. When I gazed out the door of the shack, I noticed that the the water from the oceans edge slowly
ebbed itself towards the bottom of my door, where I was laying, as if it were going to roll in and touch the tips of my feet. What was really strange is that I knew that the water outside my door was more than a hundred feet out in front of me and more then 40 feet down below me, but the effects from being isolated and surrounded by total darkness added to my hallucination and visuals.
When I realized the water couldn't touch me, I slowly attempted to raise my eyes towards the center of the door, which looked at the star filled night. As I did so, I began to note the visual effect of total darkness with only a door filled with stars from the sky above me. I knew that if I were to suddenly get up, something which I knew I couldn't do at the time, go to the door and take one step beyond (a pun), I would have forever fallen into the void of heaven. I wondered if I were to come back on another night and didn't eat any mushrooms, would the room and the stars feel the way I did that night.
For the next 20 minutes or so, or maybe it was 2 hours or even 2 days, I just sat and listened to my music and gazed at my friends, the stars. As far as I was concerned, while I looked out my window of heaven, nothing else in life existed in or out of that room, except me, my music, and my stars.
I was really doing ok until about 10:30 when the batteries in my radio expired. At that time I had been laying down enjoying my euphoria which was still very overwhelming. I sat up and turned my flash light on and dug around in my back pack for some new batteries which I had brought along with me. Upon fixing the radio, I turned the flash light off and thought that I would look out my door again and see if the effects were still the same as they were earlier.
This time my open doorway into the universe had a wonderful surprise for me. There in the window of my door frame stood the big dipper. I immediately began to laugh quite hysterically at the site of it, for it appeared to be dipping into the ocean. As I gazed upon it I wondered if it was getting a refill, and if tomorrow it would dump it's fill on Lahaina or Hana. I laughed again and again and eventually I began to hurt from my excessive laughing so much at nothing.
After a little more time had passed and most of my hallucinations began to slow down, I could see that many of the stars in my doorway began to disappear as dark clouds began to invade their view of the island. Pretty soon I could smell the approaching rain in the sky, and I could hear thunder and see lightning off in the distance. As the lightning grew closer and closer I started to think about it. I realized that it was pretty powerful and I began to wonder if I was in any danger. I thought of Dorothy and Toto being blown away from Kansas and back and wondered if the concrete shack in which I was holed up in could survive the coming storm.
With the thought of an impending storm approaching my world, I looked out at the bright flashes of intense lightning and said out loud, "I hope it doesn't hit me." Then I started thinking about what I had said and before too long I burst into an uncontrollable surge of laughter and hysteria at the thought of being stuck by lightening. "Well" I thought, "if it does, I hope I don't feel it." At that though I went off the deep end into hysterics. I couldn't believe that I had said that, let alone have thought of something that stupid.
By one o'clock I was ready to go to sleep. I had come to the conclusion that I had had a most unique and beautiful experience and I couldn't wait to get back to Kihei and tell my new found friends of my excursion into the twilight zone. I slept like a prince that night and the following morning when I awoke, I cleaned up my mess and picked up all of my litter, collected my four bags of shrooms, and walked out of my magic door across the pasture with the intent of heading home. As I slowly made my way to the gate, I made a mental note to come back the next day, because I noticed a lot of mushrooms had sprang up during the night from the rain, and they were transmitting a message to me saying "don't forget us, come back again when you can."