Thursday July 9th 7am to Sunday July 12th @ 6pm
Together, we come together to celebrate summer, friendship, the natural world, and each other by doing what our ancestors have done for countless generations – embarking on a sacred adventure to discover the truth!
Expect class 3 rapids, fireworks, open fire grilling, camping under the stars, rope swinging, cliff jumping, a sweat lodge, and plenty of opportunities to speak your truth and play grab ass with other grown men.
Here’s how it works.
We meet up Thursday morning in Chelsea, fast, organize gear and load the van, drive upstate to do a sweat lodge ceremony (more on that below). We brake fast at a nice restaurant, drive up to Vermont, and then camp out for the night. On Friday we eat breakfast, go to the outfitter, get our canoes/paddles/life preservers, and head up river.
The outfitter drops us off and we load our canoes and then start our 2.5 day river adventure: the river becomes our road, home, playground, sanctuary, community center, and teacher. We camp out on the river Friday night and Saturday night, traveling down her winding beauty by day.
We work hard, play smart, and take breaks – all as a team – to ensure that we get to the campsites on time to set up camp and make a nice dinner while the sun is still out.
Notes About Camping and Passive Consumption
In my humble opinion, camping is about connecting to Mother Nature on her terms and not about trying vainly to control her nor impress our simple minded compulsions upon her beautiful face. So…
That means that we adapt to her! What a novel idea. This ain’t glamping, yo.
So if the White River is running too high, we’ll run the Connecticut, and if a camp site isn’t safe, we’ll look for another one, and if the cliff jump looks sketchy, we shant jump. She requires our reverence, awareness, and respect so that we may pass through her safely. It is guaranteed we’ll be tested – that is a huge part of the value of this experience – and also why we call it an adventure!
Similarly, we’ve all been trained to be passive consumers but this will be a “peak experience” only if we all work together and co-create it! We all cook, we all clean, we all load gear, we all speak our truth, we all collect wood and chop logs, we all take turns leading and following, and we all do weird fire dances because we’re all in this together!
Everyone that’s been invited already gets this, but it’s worth emphasizing just to be super clear.
Pre-Adventure Hangout – “Whiskey and Wings” – Thursday July 2nd 7pm @ 259 W. 21st #3
If you’re on the fence, it’s most likely because you’re a new friend, haven’t been on one of these trips before, and/or aren’t sure what other kinds of weirdos will be on this trip! So come meet us and get your questions answered, stop by anytime between 7pm and 8:30pm. We’ll be having BBQ wings and doing a blind whiskey taste test to decide which whiskey we’ll bring on the trip. I assure you…
We’re totally normal.
But Seriously, Whose Coming on this Trip?
The only people I invite on this trip are men who satisfy all three of these criteria:
- Men I already have a personal relationship with.
- Men who I strongly suspect will have a blast on this trip.
- Men who I’m excited to spend 4 intimate days with.
Is this you? I think so!
Why tentative? Because it’s nature and shit happens. We’ll adapt to her, but the following is highly likely.
- Wednesday 6pm – 10pm – optional – food prep at Jonathan’s apt in Chelsea.
- Thursday 7am – Opening Ceremony at Jonathan’s apt.
- Thursday 7:30am – 9:30am – Load van and disembark for sweat lodge.
- Thursday 9:30am – 12pm – Team work to prepare lodge.*
- Thursday 12pm – 3pm – Sweat lodge purification ceremony.
- Thursday 3pm – 4:30pm – Brake fast.
- Thursday 4:30 pm – 7pm – Continue heading north, arrive in Vermont.
- Friday – Breakfast, maybe some cliff jumping, then loading into the river.
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday – The river becomes our universe.
- Sunday – Drive back to NYC
- Sunday 6pm – Closing Circle Ritual at Jonathan’s apartment in Chelsea.
If there is time (or if people really want to go we’ll make the time) to go to Devils Gorge for some A+ river gorge cliff jumping.
About the Lodge
The sweat lodge is an ancient purification ceremony practiced by many indigenous First Nation peoples. It is a “sacred ordeal”, in other words, it is designed to be uncomfortable. And fun. And powerful. And beautiful. And emotional. Our good friend Peter aka “Owl Flies True” will be pouring water for us.
It is a rite of passage that many, many men have gone on – to test themselves, clarify their vision, awaken their courage, and strengthen their commitment to living life fully.
You will want to fast Thursday morning. It’s okay, don’t freak. You can go without breakfast for one day, the human body was designed to be able to fast for three weeks! Not only will this help with the purification aspects of the lodge, but it will also ensure that you don’t throw up which is very common in people who do not fast before they sweat!
It is ideal that you come to the lodge with an “intention” or question. If you sign up for the adventure, you’ll be asked to create an intention and share it with the rest of our circle.
Together, we’ll build a fire, chop wood, and cover the lodge (a small structure made of wood), and be led in prayer, singing, and ceremony. Inside the lodge, hot rocks from the fire will be put in a hole in the ground, water will be poured over the rocks, and our guide Peter will lead us on an inner journey. Together, we’ll dive deeper into our current reality and life story, to gain clarity on who we are, where we are headed, and what we need to do (or stop doing) in order to get there.
You will be encouraged to honor your boundaries/limitations and to take a break from the lodge if at any point you feel too hot. Additionally, you don’t even have to be inside the lodge to be a part of the ceremony – you will gain a lot just by being present for other people and helping prepare the lodge.
I have taken teaching and been in lodge with Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona (Black Elk Lakota lodge), Grandfather Harry Charger (Lakota), Donna Coyote Rain (Sun Bear Chippewa), and Calvin Pompana (Canadian Dakota). Mostly my lodge protocol was learned from David Happyface, who led a multi-cultural “Rainbow” lodge based on the Medicine Wheel and the four directions. David was a student of Scout Cloud Lee, a Seminole woman who I also met and sweated with.
General Adventure Guidelines
Guidelines, not rules, because we’re grown ass men. In my experience, observing these guidelines will lead to the most powerful experience for everyone.
- Funcomfortable- yup. Things might get a little weird (in the best kind of way) and secrets may even be shared, but it will be fun, even when it’s a little anxiety provoking. (Props to the RawBrahs for creating this new word.)
- Co-creation- together we collaborate and as a group create an amazing experience together. We’ll work as a team to build the campsite, collect firewood, and cook over the camp fire. No prior camping experience needed, but you must keep a life preserver on at all times on the river!
- Play and Spontaneity- we’ll play different games that get you out of your head and into your body, and it will feel so good to connect with other humans in such an innocent and natural way. The best games are ones where everyone laughs.
- Cellphone Detox- We’ll be literally floating down a river through a stretch of Vermont that doesn’t get great cell service, so….
Here’s a Video From A Past River Adventure
This one involved a lot of jumping off of stuff. Jumping off stuff is optional, the rapids are not optional.
And Here’s A Video From My Most Recent Retreat
How Much Does this Adventure Cost?
This trip will cost $550 if you sign up before July 3rd. After that, it will be $650 if there are any spots left. (I’d much rather you sign up early than pay the extra money, logistically it’s a lot of extra work for me to re-organize everything last minute.)
This will include everything except the three meals we eat at restaurants, your personal gear, and an offering to “Owl Flies True”. Ideally this offering should be “from your heart”, so something you made or a special item or object: music cd, t-shirt, artwork, or anything an owl might like 🙂
Yes, gear is an essential aspect of this trip. Here is a list of the gear you are responsible for getting. If you don’t have the essentials, you will either need to rent, buy, or co-ordinate with other men on the trip. I’ll help facilitate the sharing of gear once you RSVP. For instance, I have a 6 person tent and 1 or 2 extra dry bags and an extra sleeping pad and bag. If you really want in, don’t let the gear hold you back, we’ll find a way to get you covered together.
Communal gear (like the grill, coolers, tarp, soap, rope, etc) I will provide. I have my own and can borrow stuff from my cousin as well, although I may need help picking gear up. (Let me know if you can help with that.)
Ready to Commit? Next Steps…
Here’s a link to make payment: Men’s Circle River Adventure – Bombs Away!
Once you make payment you’ll be re-directed to this intake form which will help us co-ordinate gear and clarify your intentions.
All of these photos are from trips I’ve led!