This #hallucinogenic #honey is so prized that #hunters scale #cliffs and confront swarms of bees to get it
The journey to harvest hallucinogenic honey produced by Himalayan giant honey bees is far from easy. In eastern #Nepal, select #members of the #Kulung people scale bamboo rope ladders up 300-foot cliffs to get it. They ward off swarms of the bees with smoke from burning grass, which is attached to a pole, while trying to gather the precious #liquid.
The stories of the people who make that journey are documented in "The Last Honey Hunter," a film that's currently appearing at festivals and will be released in 2018.
It looks stunning, as you can see in this behind-the-scenes video, posted by The North Face on YouTube.
The filmmaking team included accomplished climbers like filmmaker and photographer #RenanOzturk. They got far enough up the cliffs themselves to shoot the hunt, though the crew was tied into safety harnesses. The honey #hunters simply made their way up tall, skinny ladders. "Anytime when you felt a little overwhelmed you just looked at [honey hunter and Kulung elder] Mauli without the bee suit on the bamboo ladder with no harness," one member of the team said in the video.
Depending on the season, these bees make different types of honey, according to Mark Synnott, who was part of the filmmaking team and wrote about the honey hunters for National Geographic. In the spring, #toxins in the flowers they eat create #psychotropic "mad" or red honey. "I ate two teaspoons, the amount recommended by the honey hunters, and after about 15 minutes, I started to feel a high similar to weed. I felt like my body was cooling down, starting from the back of my head and down through my torso. A deep, icy hot feeling settled in my stomach and lasted for several hours," wrote #DavidCaprara for Vice in 2016 after traveling to Nepal to #witness a different honey hunt. He says a larger dose can be even #more #intense.