The Tight Squeeze Issue

Harvesting Psychedelic Honey in the Mountains of Nepal

In this month's Artifact, VICE's Chloe Campion remembers hiking through the Himalayas to film a documentary about a mystical, hallucinogenic honey.

by Chloe Campion
13 March 2017, 1:55pm

This story appears in the March issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.

I had been hiking through Nepal's Annapurna Massif, part of the Himalayas, for three days to reach the remote Gurung village of Talo Chipla. We were there to film the spring harvest of a mystical, hallucinogenic honey known to few people but the locals.

We climbed the steepest incline on the last day of our trek, and my crew wasn't too happy about it. We reluctantly marched higher and higher in hot silence, making our way toward a tiny dot on the horizon, where we were told Talo Chipla lay.

Eventually, clapping sounded in the distance. It turned out that all of the village women had come to greet us, dressed in bright-red silks and long beaded necklaces. They hurried down the cliff to paint our sweaty faces with red powder, shower us with petals, and wrap ceremonial scarves around our necks before taking us to the town hall to eat, dance, and drink too much mountain wine.

The Gurung have lived nestled in those mountains for centuries. While there are signs of technological change coming, unpaved roads still connect their villages, and you can hear the sound of nature everywhere you go.

This scarf, given to me by one of the mothers of the village, is called a "khata" and signifies good will. —CHLOE CAMPION, PRODUCER, VICE.COM