Trip in Golden Gate Park: Hunting for Magical Mushrooms

You’d think that all the psychedelic mushrooms in Golden Gate Park would have been meticulously identified and documented by now since it’s the home of the Summer of Love and all. But alas, hippies with a predilection for psychedelics are not necessarily the most well-versed in Latin taxonomy or DNA sequencing. Alan Rockefeller, a mycologist who has spent the last ten years collecting and identifying mushrooms, has recently discovered a new type of hallucinogenic mushroom right here in San Francisco.

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This mushroom, the psilocybe alenii, is apparently one of the strongest mushrooms ever known. Denizens in the park have been consuming them for ages, but it hasn’t been properly classified or submitted for peer review in a scientific journal until now. When we got wind of his discovery, we just had to see it for ourselves and went mushroom hunting with the Psychedelic Society of San Francisco. It started off with a brief talk where he showed about 20 different types of mushrooms and taught us everything from how to read a spore print to what the laws are around picking and consumption of wild mushrooms.

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From gelatinous brain-like mushrooms to ones that looked like starfish to ones that have hallucinogenic properties, there are so many different types of mushrooms thriving in this cool, damp, and foggy fungal paradise that is Golden Gate Park. Every time we found a different kind of mushroom, we took it to Alan to identify. He looked at them and could tell immediately what type of mushroom it was, or with the help of some scratching (to inspect the layers) and tasting (much to our dismay).

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Whether you’re looking for something that has mind expanding powers or just some delicious wild mushrooms for your upcoming dinner party, Alan knows the best ways to prepare them and, more importantly, which ones not to consume. Eating the wrong type of mushroom can be deadly, so it’s best to go with an expert who knows what he’s talking about!

Alan is now offering private mushroom hunting sessions for small groups and large through Vayable. If you’re interested in learning about mushrooms, be sure to book his experience to see for yourself. Tis the season because these mushrooms are most plentiful between October and January.

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