GOLDEN HOURSApril 7-13, 2013
Location: Gila Wilderness, New Mexico
Description: The Gila Wilderness was the first federally designated wilderness area, protecting it from any development or extractive industry. This trip will focus on the ecosystem and incredible species diversity. We will visit with local naturalists and advocates for the area. Our route will travel to some of the Gila’s famous hot springs and dwellings and include a day of self-directed exploration and retreat.
Located in southwestern New Mexico, the Gila is a diverse forested ecosystem that falls in a transition zone between the Chihuahuan Desert to the south and the Rocky Mountain region to the north. Filled with Ponderosa pine, Quaking aspen, pinyon-juniper woodland, the lowlands host desert communities and deep slot canyons. Since reintroduction in 1988, several packs of the endangered Mexican Wolf roam the forest, as well as Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, elk and the largest population of Mexican Spotted Owls.
Difficulty: Moderately challenging- shorter, on-trail hiking with backpacks, some unpredictable temperatures. Appropriate for anyone in good health regardless of previous outdoor experience.
August 10-17, 2013
Location: Mt. Hood, Oregon
Description: Alpenglow combines the adventure of Signal Fire’s backpacking expeditions with the relaxing model of our renowned Outpost Residency. For the first four days our group will trek through Oregon’s Mount Hood Wilderness, a dramatic subalpine wonderland. Signal Fire guides will cover the basics of safe and responsible backcountry travel and facilitate a series of readings, discussions, and short projects designed to invite awareness of the natural world and inspire a creative response.
Building on last year’s successful Overture trip, Alpenglow will focus on the possibilities of using writing as a tool to support other creative practices. Applicants from any discipline are encouraged to apply, but they should have an interest in using short writing projects to generate creative momentum throughout the trip.
After our initial four days on the move, we’ll make a base camp for four days of relative luxury camping with dinners prepared by Signal Fire staff, workshops with a visiting writer, and ample time to generate self-directed work. Our week of short writing exercises will culminate in a more sustained piece, with the possibility of its inclusion in Signal Fire’s annual journal, Leaf Litter.
Difficulty: Moderately challenging- up to six miles per day of on-trail hiking with packs on. Appropriate for anyone in good health regardless of previous outdoor experience.
AFLOAT THE BREAKS
September 7-15, 2013
Location: Upper Missouri River, Montana
Description: Signal Fire’s second annual canoe expedition will float the Upper Missouri. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, aka ‘The Breaks,’ is a region of rich history and dramatic terrain. By turns stark and spectacular, the cliffs that frame the Upper Missouri rise to badlands and rolling plains, a place that has for centuries been a crossroads for Plains Indian tribes. Lewis and Clark passed through in 1805, and the Nez Perce, fleeing the US Cavalry, crossed the Upper Missouri in 1877. More recently, it’s been a battleground between ranchers and environmental advocates, who would like to see the remote prairie protected as wilderness instead of being leased for subsidized grazing.
Our group of twelve artists will use the waterway as both a means of travel and a nexus for interpreting a complex and dramatic landscape. Signal Fire will plan and provide food that we’ll prepare as a group, as well as a series of readings meant to invite a deeper understanding of the landscape and the forces influencing it. We’ll make time for individual art projects, discussions, and relaxation.
The trip will take place in a remote setting, with wilderness camping and several hours of paddling each day. Applicants should be in good physical health, but the hikes on this trip are optional, so it’s a good fit for those who may not be able to participate in our backpacking trips.
Difficulty: Less challenging- optional day hiking, 10-20 miles each day of paddling in mostly calm water. Appropriate for anyone in good health regardless of previous outdoor experience.