Camping 101

Celestial Fire by Beckah

Greetings!

Thank you for considering our Midsummer Gather. We intend to have fun this Midsummer’s Week; please be sure to bring your sense of adventure, a sense of humor and be prepared to let your “inner child” show its playful side.  This information is intended to get you to the campground reasonably prepared for your stay. 

 

Our Location: Eagle Cave Campground is approximately 65 miles SE of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in the rolling hills just north of the Wisconsin River. Since it’s NOT winter, there could well be roadwork someplace along your route. Please take advantage of the links on the main gather page for road information nearest the campground. If you’re coming from further out (Hooray! Glad to have ya!), we recommend you check each state through which you will be traveling.

Arrival/Departure: The gates will open at Noon on our first Sunday. At the gate you will receive your ID pouch (a collector’s item!) and take care of all the pertinent paperwork. As soon as possible after you stake out your campsite, please stop by the Volunteer Center (look for the sign) to sign up for your volunteer duty. While our volunteer duties are typically light compared to other festivals, they are nonetheless the "grease" which allows the wheels of the festival to turn smoothly. Your efforts will benefit our entire community.

Water: All the primary sites are fully plumbed with drinkable water. The bathhouse is fully equipped with flush toilets, basins, private showers, and hot water 24/7. And yes, "hot" actually means hot, not "hot if you get there at the right time!"

Sanitation: The bathhouse is near the lodge end of the camp. There is also an "outhouse" near the other end of camp. The bathrooms are typically well-stocked, but it’s always wise to bring an extra roll or package — just in case. 

Electricity: Except for a few primitive sites around the edge of the campground, all the campsites are wired for full service electricity (30 amps) with RV and grounded utility outlets. There is no additional fee for electricity! If you have need for electricity, please bring your own grounded extension cord.

Footwear. You will be camping directly over a cave, and the ground is rather stony. Also, the camp road, the primary pathway, is gravel-paved.  

Ice for sale on-site. Eagle Cave Resort makes at least one ice run per day bringing the ice through camp. If you need it at another point, you may walk up to the office and tote it yourself. Ice has been ~$1.75 per bag.  

Garbage is collected from your campsite each day. Please bring trash bags sufficient for your stay.

Meals/Cooking: Knowing how setting up can make that first meal rather "iffy," our Staff has decided to provide a Welcoming meal of Assemble-Yourself Tacos on Sunday evening. If you choose to contribute, that’s fine; if you’ve been working your tail off and can’t do more than drag yourself over for a bite or two, that’s fine, too.

There are also two "pot luck" style community feasts on the schedule – please bring something that will serve about a dozen folks. Other than the meals above, you’re on your own for meals, their preparation and cleanup. In the past, many folks have clustered together for meals. Some meals may also be available for purchase through the lodge, but are subject to their staffing and scheduling needs. Ultimately, how and what you eat is your own responsibility.

Campfires/Firewood. The cost of firewood is included in your camping fee, but please be considerate and use it responsibly. Weather permitting, there will always be a community fire near the center of camp, and your presence will always be welcome there.

Bugs: We are on a densely wooded ridge surrounded by farmland. There WILL be mosquitoes and there WILL be ticks in the wooded areas. Please bring insect repellent.

Sun: Bring and use sunscreen. While we are in an area with mature trees, there is also plenty of sun, and it’s very easy to underestimate your sun exposure. We’re also camping at Midsummer – when the sun is most directly overhead.

Alcohol: Although we have a brewing contest, the sale of alcohol is prohibited. If you wish to consume, you will need to bring your own. However, we expect you to remain respectful of others’ needs and sensitivities, and we will take whatever action we feel necessary to maintain that respect. Underage drinking is prohibited.

Drugs: Do not bring or use illegal drugs. You will leave immediately.

Noise: The camp has historically clustered into the Morning People and Night People areas. Morning folks tend to be closer to the bathhouse; Night folks tend to be closer to the community fire. Please examine your group’s tendencies and consider locating your camp accordingly.

Personal Music and Games: Your musical instruments and personal music system is welcome as long as your neighbors do not complain. Around the community fire, we specifically encourage drumming and other acoustical music. Feel free to bring outdoor game equipment such as Frisbees, etc. Parents, please consider bringing something to amuse your youngsters. We ask only that you respond to others’ requests for quiet, and pick up after yourself.

Personal Electronics: This is a chance to get away. Please leave as much of mundania at home as possible. Unless otherwise specified, electronics are NOT welcome in ritual.

Emergencies – Weather & otherwise: In the case of severe weather, we shelter in the Lodge, or in the Cave itself. There are hospitals available in both Boscobel and Richland Center in case of something major, and we have experience folks who will pitch-in on minor incidents. A list of your medications, medical conditions and/or allergies is particularly critical in an emergency. Please have an emergency contact number easily available.  

Groceries, supplies, services: Muscoda (~8.5 miles), Boscobel (~15 miles), and Richland Center (~17 miles) are the easiest sources of shopping and provide some fast-food options. Each of them has laundromats.

Community Service: We will need people for heralding, to build, light and tend fires, to work with (i.e. have fun with) the kids, and to watch the gate, perhaps a few other small tasks. Fortunately, our volunteer needs are minimal compared to most other similar events. Please sign up for your community service time at the Volunteer Center when you arrive.

Photography: There are a few folks who prefer not to be photographed. With those exceptions, photographs are usually welcome except in Ritual unless expressly permitted by the Ritualist. HOWEVER, if your photos include other people, please ask, and respect their wishes. Also we would love to post approved photos on the website!

Community Meetings: Most mornings we will have a short village meeting. This is where we’ll announce any last minute schedule changes, and here is where we can discuss any concerns you may have. While our initial meeting runs a few minutes longer, most mornings we can wrap things up in 15 to 20 minutes’ time. 

Time to Let Loose: In the wheel of the year, this is perhaps the only time where we can stop and set aside our work for a while. The crops have been sown, but we’re still a ways away from the first harvest. The sun is warm as are our spirits. The days are long and lazy, perfect for daydreams. The nights are warm and inviting, perfect for sweet summer dreams.

Bring your dreams to our Gather this Midsummer
and let’s all help them to grow!

What to bring: Recommended Items

For your Campsite:

  • Tent/tarps and sleeping bag/air mattress/bedding/pillow, or camping vehicle
  • Cloth strips, colored tape, or glow sticks to mark tent ropes for safety. (Yes, you WILL need ropes!)
  • Camp table and for food preparation and dining, easily portable chairs
  • Flashlight and/or lantern, plus extra batteries
  • Drinking water jug or other water container(s).
  • Towels/washcloth, biodegradable shampoo & soap (septic system), toiletries, toilet paper (just in case)
  • Food and beverages (Groceries at Muscoda, Boscobel & Richland Center)
  • Food preparation supplies, such as bowls, plates, utensils, cooler, propane cook stove, hot pads, cutting board, napkins, paper towels, food storage containers, etc.
  • Plates, cups, and utensils to dine with.
  • Bucket or dishpan for cleanup
  • Trash bags; recycling bags/containers for your campsite
  • Camp lighting (patio torches, lanterns, etc)
  • Banners and other decorations for your campsite if desired
Personal Comfort/Health/Safety:

  • Insect repellent
  • Hat, sunscreen, and other sun protection for your body
  • Cushion, mat, or lawn chair to sit on during workshops
  • Allergy and/or prescription medicine, if applicable      
  • Sturdy walking shoes or sandals (we’re camping over the cave – ground is rocky)
  • Warm clothing for cool evenings (may get down into the 50s F)
  • Cool clothing for warm and hot days (usually in the 70s-90s F)
  • Rain gear (poncho, boots, umbrella, etc.)  It’s June in Wisconsin – we can almost guarantee that it will rain at some point!
Other:

  • Earphones to silence external speakers for radios, etc.
  • Festive and sacred dress/magical tools for other rituals & processional
  • Money for ice, mid-week grocery runs, merchant purchases
Optional Fun Items To Bring

  • Fare to share (about a dozen people) for the Feasts. 
  • Frisbees, other outdoor game equipment.
  • Any supplies you may need for the activities you’re interested in (watch the website for info)
  • Acoustical Music (instruments) of any sort – drums, bells, guitars, flutes, whistles, voices…
  • Candles in a jar or other container for carrying in processions, to the privy, etc.
  • Item(s) for Silent Auction– proceeds to Earth House Project and the Sacred Paths Center.

Keith’s Camping 101
Tips for the Neophyte Urban Pagan

(Keith was a Boy Scout and Leader for … ohhhh, too many years. Trust him!)

Tents
If you are purchasing a tent for this event, set it up in your yard, or a friend’s yard if you don’t have one, BEFORE you plan on using it. This does three things:

  1. You get to make sure all of the parts are there,
  2. You get practice setting it up,
  3. You must seam seal the tent.

Of all of the above items, number 3 is the most important. If not done, the seams will leak. Some new tents might already have this done. Don’t worry, if your new tent needs to have its seams sealed, it will come with seam sealant. Please note: Seam sealant wears off over time. If you haven’t sealed the seams in the past two years, I suggest doing it again. It isn’t required, but it doesn’t hurt. Sealant is usually available at your local sporting goods supplier.

When you seal the seams on the tent, make sure it is outside on a warm day. It has to have good ventilation. Trust me, it stinks!

For everyone’s safety, NO FLAMES IN YOUR TENT!
This means no candles, no incense, no heaters, no gas lanterns, no stoves, etc.

Ground cloths
You should bring two ground cloths. “Ground cloth” is a fancy way of saying tarps or sheets of plastic. One should be one inch smaller on all sides than the bottom of your tent. The second should be one foot wider on all sides than your tent.

The smaller one goes inside the tent. The larger one goes outside, under the tent. You take the extra room and fold it underneath the tent so no plastic is showing. This will ensure that water flows UNDER the tent.

Resealable Plastic Bags
If you want to ensure your stuff stays dry, pack it in individual resealable plastic bags. The bags can then be used to put your dirty or wet clothes in so they don’t soil your clean ones. Also the bags can be reused for future camping trips.

We hope to see you all there!

Earth House Project is a tax-exempt, non-profit, all-volunteer community effort to build a resource center in the Twin Cities area for people of all nature-reverent spiritual paths.

Only with your help can we bring this dream to life