The drive from Durango to our campsite was a beautiful one. Ashley, Sam, Garth and myself just sat back and enjoyed the scenery without a care in the world. Before we started our ascent up highway 550 we all agreed that we should stop for some supplies. We stopped at this quaint little store along the highway and bought toilet paper, beer, jugs of water, hot dogs, hot chocolate, and all the makings for smores. I couldn’t wait to get to the site and ingest the massive amount of magic mushrooms we had brought from California. It was going to be an enchanted evening. Just like Prom but without the dresses, limo, dinner, king and queen, corsage, and hotel. But other than that, it was very similar in a non-similar way.
We pulled into the Molasses Lake campground in late afternoon. As responsible campers we promptly forgot about making a campfire or pitching our tents. First order of business was ingesting the perfect amount of mushrooms to reach ideal peaking power. And we did. As our mushroom induced brains started taking on the hallucinogens, the colors of Molasses Lake grew increasingly vivid. The grass around the lake wasn’t just green. It was grrrreeeeeeennnn. The wild flowers on the hills weren’t just beautiful, they were freaking mesmerizing. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I was perfectly at peace. We walked away from our tiny campsite and into the meadows encircling the lake. The dynamic wildflowers were all around us. Eventually we were as far as the meadow could go and found ourselves facing pine trees and the forest within. Now we may have been on mushrooms, but we weren’t idiots. Going beyond the tree line while shrooming would pretty much guarantee us getting lost in the vast San Juan National Forest. I could just hear Dee’s emergency call now.
“911. This is Angela speaking. What’s your emergency?”
“My son and his idiot friends took a ton of mushrooms and got themselves lost in the woods.”
“Sir, are the people we are looking for mentally handicapped?”
“Not all of them.”
“We’ll do what we can sir. In the meantime I suggest you play techno music very loud and put on a light show. This should attract them to you like fresh meat to the bears currently running around in the woods along with your loved ones. We’ll have the helicopters up and running once the incoming storm passes.”
“STORM?” Dee would exclaim.
That’s right. There was a storm a coming.
The four of us sat in the meadow for as long as Mother Nature would allow us, soaking up what was to be the last of the sun we would see until the next day. Where we were was fairly cold. But the 13,000 foot peaks jetting off to the left of us were really cold. Like snowing in July cold. And it was about to get even colder.
When the rain came, it fell hard. We did what we could to get back to the campsite as quickly as possible but we still got wet. Luckily we got the tent pitched quickly so we had a nice dry place to hide out from the elements. But the storm wasn’t done with us yet. When the rain eventually stopped, the temperature dropped to meat-locker conditions.
“It is so cold,” I said watching my breath leave my mouth.
“I’m freezing, “ Amanda added.
“We need to start a fire,” I told my companions.
“How? There’s no dry wood,” Garth pointed out. He was right. Everything on the forest floor was wet from the rain. This is so not good. We’re going to freeze our asses off, I thought to myself as I began combing the area.
“Stacy, what are you doing?” I heard Garth call as I disappeared out the tent and into the darkness.
“Finding wood,” I told him, still shrooming. I moved about the trees like a snake. Swerving and twisting, somehow managing to pull out dry pieces of wood that the rain hadn’t found. I didn’t have much but it was a start. I made my way back to the campsite with the dry wood I had. My fellow shroomers just stared at me like I had gone completely mad. Then I proceeded to dig out the fire pit that our campsite had and replaced the burnt up wet wood with dry wood.
“I need paper,” I barked like I was a Sergeant giving orders to his platoon.
“We don’t have any paper,” Garth said meekly from the inside of the tent. This was not the answer I was looking for. Okay…
“Where’s the toilet paper?” I asked.
“It’s in the car,” Sam answered.
“Then toilet paper it is.” I don’t know how I did it. Maybe it was the mushrooms, or maybe it was my inner Grizzly Adams bubbling to the surface. But after about an hour of me continuing to search for wood and using the toilet paper to set the fire, I had succeeded. I made fire. And a damn good one if I do say so myself. My companions eventually joined me and congratulated me on my success. We were all cold, tired and hungry. But now that we had fire, things were looking up. We all tracked down sticks to roast hot dogs and proceeded to eat to our hearts’ delight.
“Do you know what would be perfect right now?” Ashley added. “Hot chocolate.”
“Ohhhhh, hot chocolate. Yummy,” I moaned in anticipation. Garth proceeded to break out the little gas stove he had borrowed from his dad and that was pretty much it.
“Great,” I said. “Now, break out the cups! I’ve got a cocoa jones going!”
“I… I didn’t bring any cups,” he told us.
Awesome. No paper. No cups. We had trusted Garth to gather supplies at his father’s house earlier that day, and so far his idea of supplies was drastically different from my own.
“Without cups how are we going to make the hot chocolate?” Ashley asked.
“We can cut the top off the beer cans and use the cans as cups,” I suggested. “Garth, hand me the knife?” See? Man vs. Wild ain’t got nothing on me. But then again, Man vs. Wild isn’t saddled with an idiot boyfriend.
Garth’s shoulders slumped. “I didn’t bring a knife,” he informed us.
That my friends, was the last straw.
“Who the hell goes camping without a knife?!” I was exasperated. I began digging into the camping supplies like a woman in the throes of passion looks for her diaphragm. And that’s when I found the wine opener. It was small but it was going to have to do. I threw everyone a beer and told them to drink up.
“I’m too cold to drink cold beer right now, “ Sam said.
“DRINK IT!” I exclaimed with eyes possessed by demons. I suppose they could have just poured the beers out, but I think they were too scared to disobey me at that point. Once everyone had drained their beers, I took the cans and slowly, patiently, used the tiny serrated knife on the end of the bottle opener to saw each can open. I grabbed the jug of water, washed out each can, and proceeded to make hot chocolate in our new cups. Remind me to never go camping with these people ever again.
Exhausted and getting even colder we all decided to climb into the tent and try to get some sleep. The tent was pretty big, but with the four of us lying side to side it was a tight squeeze. The night was long and eventually really, really hot. And not in a sexy time way. The body heat was overbearing. So was the snoring. I abandoned the tent in the wee hours of the morning for the quiet, cold Jeep. And I slept.
I woke up a couple of hours later to Sam making his way out of the tent. And he didn’t look good. He didn’t look good at all.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
“I don’t think so.”
I helped him to the Jeep and then proceeded to wake up the other two.
“You guys, Sam is really sick. I think we need to go.” Garth walked out of the tent and took one look at Sam. “He has altitude sickness. We have to get him off this mountain. Fast!”
To be continued…..