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A Picking Adventure


A close up of a lovely Psilocybe semilanceata Image Courtesy of Peter Bergson

Many years ago a shrooming incident happened that was to go down in the annals of shroom folklore forever. It is a story we are now delighted to tell. We pick our tale up on a misty, rainy October morning.

The beaten, but trusty red Astra turned, finally off the the winding moorland road, into the tarmacked parking area. It had been a long drive to get to this innocuous and quietly deserted spot. The morning fog, famous in this region at this time of year, clung thickly around them, but they knew they were in the right place, from years of practice. They had been here before many times. Dave gave John a weary smile for such a well done job, getting them there.

"Can I have a spliff now" John said, slightly incredulous – it had been hard to endure Dave's toking all the way down, and not being able to even have a puff – John was good like that – definitely no toking, / drinking whilst driving. Dave had no such qualms as a passenger, happily smoking the entire journey down.

"Got one right here for you mate", Dave said with a twinkling eye, protruding up a large, and perfectly rolled joint for John's appreciation. "Rock N' Roll" said John taking it and lighting it from the car's cigarette lighter, and inhaling it deeply in with a relieved satisfaction. They sat there, heads nodding to the cool, chilled tunes emanating from the CD player, occasionally passing the joint between them.

"It looks fuck'n A out there at the moment" Dave mentioned, nodding his head towards the side window. All John could see was thick fog, and the gentle patter of raindrops on the windscreen. It was gloomy as the morning sun had only just begun to rise. It didn't look fuck'n A to him. But he knew Dave was right – conditions did look perfect for the thing that had brought them here. But one thing was for sure though - they were definitely going to get wet.

Minutes later John finished off the spliff, and crunched it in the ashtray. "Ready" Dave said – it wasn't a question. John nodded, wearily. Dave opened the door and got out. The elements immediately embraced him, and the chill in the morning air was immediately invigorating. He felt a tingle down his spine, partially from the cold, but partially from the excitement they had arrived. He was like a Labrador, after months of waiting was finally let off the leash. He could sense that their quarry was here. His eyes couldn't resist darting about the roadside verge of the car park, hoping he might see the thing they were seeking.

Ten minutes later, both of them were dressed more appropriately for the environment. It was the same gear they always wore this time of year. John had his bright red and black weatherproof jacket on plus full waterproof trousers. Dave too had full rain clothes and thick Caterpillar boots. Both of them had their hoods up to keep the heavy drizzle out of their eyes. John locked the car, put his rucksack on and they set off upon their way. At last. They were in pursuit. It was thrilling to Dave.

The fog was thick this year John thought – he'd never been out in it when it was this bad, but he wasn't worried, as Dave had done this many times before – they'd be all right. They moved quickly now – they had a lot of ground to cover and the terrain was hard and rough underfoot – gorse and bracken bushes abounded around them, and it was hard with the low visibility to pick a good path, that would lead them toward the place they were trying so hard to reach. They moved uphill following the slope of the hill to its crest, where the land flattened out, and they could move easier. The fog was unrelenting, thick and disorientating around them, and for a while they weren't even sure they were going the right way.

"If we don't get any today, I'll be absolutely amazed" Dave puckered. Nothing dented his enthusiasm for what they were doing. To Dave shroom season was a special, magical time. Nothing could beat the thrill he got from hunting in these lands for their cherished prize - the Psilocybe semilanceata – or as it was better known, the Liberty Cap, perhaps the greatest and fairest magic mushroom of them all.

"I can see it now" Dave said. So could John – like sorcery, their enchanted land, the place they had driven so hard through the night to get to, had materialised, as if by magic from the veiled white cloak that surrounded them. There was the tree - an ancient, old tree that marked the beginning of their hunting grounds – it seemed to somehow symbolise the enchanted nature of this place, old and mysterious.

The story continues... click here. Or jump to page.

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