The Hike

My most memorable hike was in the fall of 1979 to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with a physician friend who I was madly in love with but sadly those feelings were not mutual. This fellow died from AIDS complications in the early nineties but I remain protective of his identity in large part because he was pretty closeted with his large Mormon family. To use his real name here though highly unlikely might result in a family member or old friend Googling his name and getting to this piece, which I will eventually post to my web site most likely. In this piece I will refer to him as Dirk.

We traveled to the Canyon in his sports car at the time with the electronic club music he loved blaring and I tolerated because I was largely thinking with my dick when it came to Dirk in those days. I suspect the high speed and loud music was fueled by a bit of cocaine but he was not in the sharing mode with that on that trip. He had an interesting cocaine connection with an anesthesiologist friend out of state so it was always good stuff cut with nothing else.

What Dirk was quite willing to share on that trip though were his homegrown psilocybin mushrooms. As I think I have written about before he had a very ingenious grow lab set up in a coat closet in his Capital hill apartment. The only mishap with this operation was the time the pressure cooker he was using to sterilize the rye medium blew up and there was hot rye stuck all over his ceiling. The psilocybin spores were sold legally at the time in local head shops. These were then inoculated into the rye and incubated in his closet. This whole operation involved meticulous sterile technique but he was a physician remember.

For the life of me I can’t remember when we ate our shrooms but suspect it was early on in the adventure since we were running on little sleep and had a tight itinerary with a need to return to Denver after a single night at the bottom of the Canyon. Dirk had hiked the Canyon before and wanted to return to a particular waterfall and it was the night of a full moon, which I also thought was choreographed by him into the experience.

We found the waterfall and both bathed in the shower created to a full moon rising. The whole experience was quite wonderful and what better way to maximize a mushroom trip than driving to the Grand Canyon for the full moon. I suppose it could give an all-new meaning to the phrase drama queens. We did pitch a tent but sleep when tripping was not part of the experience, never is really. Neither was sex for a couple reasons. Hallucinogens for whatever reason always provided me with ample entertainment that always superseded sex and he was quite frankly a lousy lay. In fairness to him this was related mostly to inexperience and I always preferred the daddy who knew what he was doing. It does beg the question why I was so
enamored with him, the bad boy aspects maybe. At this point 40 years later I feel no need to explore the dynamics with a therapist, just have to let that one go.

So after a night of no sleep we made it back to the canyon rim and back to Denver without incident. Several weeks later, perhaps in an attempt to recreate some of the Canyon experience I ate more mushrooms and headed to the then Empire Baths. As I have written before that was not a good experience and marked my last use of any psychedelics. Though that was certainly a case of “too much too fast” as the Grateful Dead said in their anthem Shakedown Street I have not imbibed since.

The last 40 years of my life have been essentially drug free with only the occasional vodka martini up until 10 years ago when sadly even the booze went by the wayside. In what I suspect could possibly be immortal words spoken by Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “take good care of your pancreas, honey”.