CU-Boulder student's rescue after mushroom-fueled strip during hike goes national
A note to potential employers of Taylor Powers, 21. When you Google her name, you will come across posts like this one -- as well as clips from the New York Daily News and The Smoking Gun -- about her being charged following her mushroom-fueled strip and subsequent rescue during a hike at Chautauqua Park on Sunday. But this incident in no way should define what appears to be a very articulate, together person -- at least judging by her cooking blog, Get in My Belly. And while a couple of the recipes include mushrooms, they're not that kind of mushrooms....
Around 5:24 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, a 911 call reported a female hiker near the third flatiron in the park "who was high on mushrooms and in distress."
Powers on the Flatirons in a photo from her Facebook page.
At that point, approximately 35 rescue personnel from the BCSO, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, Boulder Fire Rescue and the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group responded to the scene, along with an ambulance from American Medical Response.
Within about twenty minutes or so, rescuers found Powers, who had reportedly removed all her clothing and was being physically restrained by two companions: Brian Mulligan and William Collins, both 21. The BCSO release notes that she had to be handcuffed for her own safety, with a number of personnel required to secure her to a litter for the trip down the hill.
Another photo of Powers outdoors from her Facebook page.
Afterward, Powers was issued a summons for unlawful consumption of a controlled substance, with the possibility of charges against Mulligan and Collins. That doesn't mean authorities think she was given the mushrooms without her knowledge or consent, though.
"It's still an open investigation," emphasizes BCSO spokesman Rick Brough. "We're looking at where the mushrooms came from and how she got them. If we find out someone gave them to her, we can always look at distribution charges, and if others took them, too, they can be charged with what she was charged with -- unlawful consumption. We haven't made any further arrests yet, but we're still looking into it."
Continue for more about the rescue, including additional photos.
A wintry photo from Powers's Facebook page.
How often do rescuers in the Boulder area have to come after people who may have overindulged in one way or the other?
"I wouldn't say it's unusual, but it's not on a regular basis, either," Brough says. "We do deal with people who've had too much to drink and get up there, or people who hike around and get in a precarious place and maybe smoke some marijuana and then need help. It happens more than we'd like, but it's not all that frequent."
This shot serves as the profile pic for Powers's recipe blog.
His advice for people enjoying nature in the area?
"Anytime you get into the backcountry, or even in the foothills, you can easily get yourself in a difficult situation with the terrain, loose rocks, steep inclines, animals like bears and mountain lions and even people -- we've had sexual assaults up there. So anytime you isolate yourself in that kind of environment, I think it's important that you be in the right frame of mind and alert and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol -- because you can get yourself in a bad situation fast."
That appears to be what happened to Powers, who should clearly stick to the type of mushrooms she includes in her "Farmer's Market Dinner" and "Pesto Dal Cuore," featuring wild mushroom ravioli. Both sound absolutely delicious -- and more indicative of her true character than a misstep on the mountains that wound up making national news.
More from our Photos archive: "Photos: Bear plucked from tree by firefighters in precarious rescue."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.