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A Picking Adventure continued


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

They had started the day, picking together, but as they meandered through the field, following the shrooms their courses had taken them away from each other. "John" Dave called out. No reply. "John!" Dave called again, this time standing up and walking forward. Nothing – just the rain. Dave started to feel uneasy. He continued yelling, but after 5 minutes there was still no sign of John.

Dave felt concerned. This place was very remote, and with the fog as thick as it was, very easy to get lost - something that had almost happened to him on a few occasions. You could walk for miles in the wrong direction without any clue where you were. Or worse, what if John had slipped and knocked himself out, or fallen down a hole. He reached for his mobile, and then grimaced as he realised he'd left it in the car. Now he had no way of getting in touch with John. "F*@k" he thought annoyed at this oversight. He was so keen to get into the action, he'd totally forgotten about the most important piece of kit, the phone.

Dave regrouped, and tried to think logically about what to do next. He began to search for John, moving across the field slowly in zig zags to cover a wider area, intermittently yelling out for John. He followed the field along its slope gradually moving down to the flat marshy lowlands beneath.

The magic field was situated on the crest of a large hillside that swept down into a valley basin. The flat of this valley was a place where marshland met well grazed grassland. This Dave had always felt was a contributory factor to why the shrooms were so prevalent here. It was the equivalent of three cherries on a jackpot machine, and was ideal for Liberty Caps.

The vegetation in the lowlands where the grassland ended was different. Tall reeds and spongy like moss and lichens flourished as far as the eye could see before him. As Dave continued forward the solid ground began to squelch underfoot. It had soaked through to his socks. The feeling added to his unease. Dave called off the search. It was hopeless. He needed to get back to the car now. Maybe he'd find John there waiting for him. He began to walk towards the way he thought it was but wasn't actually sure which way that was. Around him the fog hung thick, giving a ghostly feel to the landscape. Dead tree stumps and branches punctuated out of the bog, giving the place a deathly feel. He couldn't see any landmarks. Wherever he looked all he could see was swampy marshland. He moved and suddenly his ankles disappeared into the swamp. A feeling of panic kicked in. He tried to flee away from it, but the water seemed everywhere now. "John" he screamed - "Can anybody hear me!!. HELP, HELP". Dave's voice echoed into the nothingness, quickly drowned out by the wind and rain. No-one could hear him. He was alone.

He began to run, afraid setting in. He splashed through the marsh, trying to find some sort of solid ground. Nothing in his life had ever made him feel like this. The feeling of being lost and vulnerable, exposed to the elements was a new experience. The water was now half way up his legs. Dave stopped. "Keep calm" he told himself. "Think". He peered into the mist. He had to get back onto the hill. As he looked he noticed the white blanket around him was thinning. The wind had picked up, and now he could see at least 100 feet. He could see the slope of the hill, and new where he was. He moved towards it, hoping the swamp wouldn't suddenly suck him in deeper. It didn't, and he was relieved to see it receded. He stepped onto a dense matt of vegetation, and could see solid ground. A few moments later he was there. He took a moment, pulling himself together.

Suitably composed he headed back up the slope. The vastness of the wilderness now stretched before him. He could see down to the car park now, nearly a mile away. The Astra sat there still, though now it had been joined by what looked like a camper van. He couldn't see John. But at least now he could get back. All thoughts of finding shrooms was now gone, replaced by a deep concern of what had happened to his mate.

He walked quietly, lost in his thoughts, negotiating his way back to the car park. The journey was hard underfoot and he was relieved when at last the Red Astra loomed close ahead. He could see that it was empty. John still was no-where to be seen. Dave reached the car, trying the door. It was locked.

The wind had picked up hard now, and Dave was getting battered by it and the pelting rain that it had delivered. This really was a bleak place in times like this. If only he could call John's mobile he thought….. but that would mean getting his own phone out of the locked car. The bag it was in lay tantalising in front of him through the window. He cursed, weighing up his options. Behind him was the large Motorised Caravan, he had seen from the distance. It began to move, turning in a 90 degrees arc so that it was no longer square onto the wind that now tore down upon it, threatening to topple it over. Dave was glad that at least he wasn't alone any more. Maybe the occupants inside could help. Swallowing his pride, Dave went to the caravan, and knocked on the door.

It opened by a cautious looking lady holding a mug of tea. "Sorry to bother you" Dave said, appreciating he must look a site, "but I think I've lost my friend on the moor".

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

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