Smoking weed in nature
All photos courtesy of @WhereYouSmoke
@WhereYouSmoke sprouted in a moment shared between a spliff and the great outdoors. Run by an anonymous artist who grew up in LA, the Instagram account and online platform celebrates cannabis lovers who like to light up alongside Mother Nature. Each week, we’ve asked @WhereYouSmoke to share a few favorite Instagram uploads with MERRY JANE, and so far he’s blown our minds with the picturesque snaps he’s sent us. Before we dive into this week’s photo-friendly smokers, @WhereYouSmoke wanted to share a collaborator’s story about smoking weed for the first time, which happened to involve the natural world:
I’ll never forget the first time I smoked — who doesn’t remember? Growing up in LA, I was a rather late bloomer, blazing for the first time on the eve of my 15th birthday. I was at a friend’s house with about five other homies, and after some minimal convincing, I was ready to take my first toke. We went inside to pack a pipe, but realized that we had somehow lost the glass. After searching for papers, and continuing to scour the house for the pipe, we had no other choice but to go the old-fashioned route. My friend went to the kitchen and returned with a knife and a big Red Delicious apple. We carved out a little hole at the top, a hole through the side, and voila — my very first sesh was all thanks to Mother Nature. Under the stars, we laughed at my inaugural smoking experience and our homemade contraption. It was hilarious, but it worked just fine!
All interviews have been edited for length and clarity
Photo taken in Grand Tetons, Wyoming in Summer 2016
@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken? Tell me about this location — how you got there, what the day was like, etc.
@rachelsteren: This photo was originally taken by my then-boyfriend while he was working at the Grand Teton National Park. We were living in Wyoming, and everywhere was a beautiful place to smoke. A short drive in any direction will lead you to the glorious mountains.
What are some of your favorite activities to do while smoking?
As a lover of art, one of my favorite things on this Earth is smoking and painting in a beautiful location. The two go together so well. Smoking helps get my creative ideas flowing while a beautiful environment always inspires me to paint landscapes. Add in some groovy tunes and good friends, and I can’t think of a more ideal day.
What about smoking in nature do you enjoy most? What does it enhance for you?
Smoking in nature is my absolute favorite place to smoke because it feels so pure. Smoking a joint in nature is one of the most authentic feelings for me. Weed + nature = happiness, a simple equation.
Do you have any tips for people who like to smoke during their travels?
As someone who has done a lot of smoking on the go, my best advice would be to smoke blunts/joints! They’re the easiest to carry around and the easiest to get rid of. You don’t need to worry about any glass breaking or any of that jazz. Also, smoking a joint in nature will make you feel super badass.
Photo taken at Artkhmo Gorge, Georgia in April, 2017
@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken? Tell me about this location, how you got there, what the day was like?
@nickycarne: This photo was taken at Artkhmo Gorge in the northern Caucasus Mountains in Georgia, about an hour south of the Russian border. My friend and I had been backpacking in Georgia for a couple weeks and had just befriended a super eccentric guy from New Delhi. We all hitchhiked about an hour south of the town we were staying in, hoping to find some more off-the-beaten-track adventures. We ended up in a tiny village in the mountains and hiked for a few hours through a nearby gorge. Eventually, we smoked our spliff at the highest peak we could scramble up, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and abandoned shepherd huts. We shared one sad apple (literally the only food we brought) while our friend bumped his favorite Indian pop music.
Do you prefer smoking indoors or outdoors?
Smoking is always better in the great outdoors! Every time I get high in nature, I love the overwhelming feeling you get where you realize the whole world is full of so much shit going on, right in front of your eyes. And you get the sensation that there is so much more out there to see and experience than I can even comprehend. One of my favorite memories is smoking a spliff with my sister and a local guy in Nicaragua on his boat. This monkey jumped on to ride around with us. I remember being so stoned and mumbling something like, “wtf we are on a volcanic lake and now look at this monkey. Are you kidding me? Is this real?”
What’s your favorite high memory of 2017?
Favorite high memory of 2017 is definitely from 420. It was our last day in Georgia and we spent hours summiting Mount Koruldi. The snow was waist deep, so by the time we reached the top our clothes were soaking wet. We took all our clothes off to dry and smoked the rest of our Georgian weed while sunbathing (basically pretending we were getting the full Spring Break experience).
What’s your favorite sesh spot in the world? Why?
Favorite sesh spot in the world is my roof in Brooklyn. It’s a dope view and I lit my little sister up for the first time there years ago, marking our transition from siblings to best friends/cyph partners. For that, it’ll always be my favorite.
What’s your preferred mode of getting lifted?
Spliffs are my favorite, 100%. I’m a college student so I basically exist in an exclusively spliff-based culture. I love to roll, and spliffs save weed, taste better, add a head rush, and help me to relax and focus. Plus, I can smoke a bunch of them before being belligerently high — always a plus.
Photo Taken in Zurich, Switzerland in September, 2016
@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken? Tell me about this location, how you got there, what the day was like?
@brainsubstance: The photo was taken last summer/early fall in a small village called “Meilen,” which is in Zürich. It was a sunny day, so I decided to take a walk and search for a nice spot to smoke. After about an hour of waking, I came across the beautiful place detailed in the photo above.
What was your first time getting high like? Tell me about it!
My first time getting high was a very intense experience. I was with a friend of mine, and I rolled a one-gram joint for each of us. I don’t need to tell you that was way too much for the first time! After ten minutes, I got very high. I couldn’t stop laughing… it was great!
What’s your favorite thing about smoking outdoors?
I feel more connected to nature. I will always love watching a sunrise or looking at the stars at night while smoking a joint.
The simple (but accurate) equation comes from one of this week's outdoor smokers, who snapped a gorgeous pic from the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
Cannabis in the great outdoors: Tips, tricks, and advice for hiking, backpacking, and more
The seasons are changing, which means more people are dusting off their hiking boots and setting off for adventures in nature. Cannabis is a natural companion for explorers of the great outdoors – there’s something about imbibing between breaths of fresh air that makes us feel more connected to these organic landscapes. Before shoving off on your journey, make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to be both safe and considerate with your cannabis use. We surveyed a large group of hikers with an affinity for cannabis to determine what tips to keep top-of-mind while outside, so let this be your map to positive experiences in nature.
Safety and etiquette for outdoor cannabis consumption
Safety is paramount to having a good experience, and etiquette is paramount to others having a good experience, so be sure to practice both when you hit the trail.
- Be respectful of other hikers. This piece of etiquette was offered by nearly every hiker interviewed – not because cannabis is something that should be kept secret, but because, as one hiker put it, “Just like cigarettes, not everyone likes it, and everyone should be able to enjoy the trail.” This is especially important around crowds and children.
- Leave no trace. This is the golden rule for all hikers – no one is an exception. When it comes to enjoying cannabis on the trail, it may seem like no big deal to toss an extinguished roach. (“It’s okay, the crutch is hemp paper!”) No. No one wants to see cannabis or cigarette butts on the trailside, and even if it seems too small to make any big impact, get in the habit of packing out all trash no matter how small.
- Be conscientious of your use of heat and fire. This is particularly true in dry areas and seasons. Tossing a roach you thought was out could have devastating effects on a dry ecosystem and ruin areas that were once near and dear to many other hikers. And, as always, be smart with your use of campfires (in other words, don’t be a stoned idiot), and adhere to the conditional fire laws in your area.
- Bring extra water. You should always bring more water than you think you’ll need in the event of an emergency, but this is especially true for those of us who like to pair our adventures with cannabis. As you may have noticed with the dry mouth phenomenon, cannabis dehydrates you, so be sure to pack and drink a lot of water. I always bring a water filtration pump with me, because unexpected things can happen.
- Know your route. Some trails are obvious and easy to locate. Other are not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed a switchback or had to retrace steps looking for familiar signs – it can happen to anyone, and being high while trying to navigate can make it even more challenging if you’re not an accustomed user. It may sound dorky, but bring a topography map or a GPS system, pay close attention to natural landmarks, and track your mileage.
Best cannabis pieces to bring hiking and camping
What’s your favorite piece to bring while hiking? We asked our local hikers what they preferred, and here’s what we learned.
- Joints. My personal favorite method for the great outdoors is the classic joint. Roll several before hitting the trail, and you’re good to go. I also like to throw the occasional spliff in the mix for that little kick of energy.
The upsides to joints: they stay lit even in windy weather, they’re easy to share with friends, they’re lightweight, and they pack a big punch. The downsides: they can be hard to light in the wind, you have to pack out roaches (bring an extra baggie, otherwise they make your backpack smell bad), they require a lot of bud, and a strong breeze makes them burn faster.
- Portable vaporizers. A lot of hikers are loving their portable vaporizers and oil pens for use on the trail. Some allow you to fill them with your favorite flower, and many oil pens offer strain-specific cartridges so you can bring your favorite variety of cannabis with you on the trail.
The upsides to vaporizers: no lighter is required, they are discreet with minimal odor, and they allow you to take as few puffs as you’d like at a time. The downsides: oil cartridges provide a fairly different high from flower that some do not prefer, and their batteries can run out and leave you cannabis-less.
- Pipes. The tried and true method of consumption favored by many hikers. As one Washington hiker said, “On busier trails I prefer to use a pipe. They’re easier to put out when other people are passing by.” Almost all hikers surveyed cited pipes and one-hitters as their go-to pieces, so there’s something to be said about this classic companion.
The upsides: pipes are lightweight, they’re easy to put out, and they’re easy to share. The downsides: they’re breakable, they can be difficult to light with a breeze, and it’s hard to hit them while walking.
- Travel water pipes. For the hiker dedicated to cumbersome apparatuses that use water, bongs and bubblers are still a possibility. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to pack your most extravagant glass piece to enjoy the luxury of a water pipe. Small bubblers are easy enough to bring, and lightweight bongs are also available (like this silicone bong that folds up).
The upsides: water pipes provide extra cooling and filtration of smoke, and bongs can provide heavier effects than a pipe. The downsides: they can be heavy, they take up a lot of space, and they are not always discreet.
- Edibles and tinctures. Although considered too heavy for many hikers, edibles can be an excellent smoke-free way to enjoy your time outdoors. Small doses are your best bet for a long-lasting mellow, gentle high that still allows you to be active. Tinctures have a faster onset and tend to be less intense than edibles due to the way they’re metabolized.
The upsides: edibles last longer than inhaled methods, they provide a good body high for relaxing muscles, and they’re small and lightweight. Sublingual tinctures are easier to dose than edibles and tend to offer more mild effects. The downsides: edibles can cause an overly intense high with sedating effects. Dose responsibly!
Legal considerations of enjoying cannabis outdoors
There are differences in marijuana policy and tolerances depending on which area of wilderness you’re visiting. Federal land like national parks can cite you for using marijuana, and technically you can still be fined for public consumption outside national parks even in legal states. State fines tend to be significantly lower than federal ones, but it’s still something to consider. Fees vary from state to state, so be sure to research your relevant laws if this is a concern.
We all see hikers cracking a well-deserved beer at a mountain peak despite consumption laws, so of course you’d expect to see others lighting up an equally well-deserved joint. So to wrap this point up, be educated about the laws and be respectful of those around you.
If a cigarette can be enjoyed out in nature, why on earth can’t cannabis – especially if it enables those with pain, chronic nausea, and other ailments enjoy a happy and active lifestyle? One hiker I spoke to mentioned that cannabis allowed him to hike without his heavy painkiller prescription, enabling him to stay pain-free and active as opposed to sedated and lethargic. Another hiker noted, “Cannabis helps quiet my mind so I can really enjoy the nature and its serenity.” A third said it allowed her to focus on the persistence in climbing, turning off the “I can’t do this” thinking.
Cannabis, in my experience, is one of the best available conduits between the mind and nature. It allows connection, appreciation, and access to peace during intense physical and mental exertion. We hope that lawmakers will soon see the ways that cannabis can encourage wanderers to protect the ground they walk on, as well as the benefits it extends medical patients who might otherwise be unable to be active and enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer. So speak up, citizens, and let your state representatives know why these laws should be changed.
How best to enjoy cannabis while hiking, camping, backpacking and more? We surveyed a large group of outdoorsy cannabis lovers to learn how they consume on the trail.