This past summer Signal Fire led Overture, our third annual backpacking retreat, located in the wilderness of southern Mount Hood National Forest. Organizers Daniela Molnar and Ryan Pierce led a group of eight through this old growth wonderland, the site of last year’s popular Love Triangle trip. We hiked through pristine Opal Creek and Bull of the Woods Wilderness areas, visit historic mining site Jawbone Flats, and soak at Bagby Hot Springs.
This week-long adventure was planned for creative people of all disciplines, regardless of previous outdoor experience. Our program is offered at-cost, with Signal Fire organizing shared food, carpool, collaborative activities, and visiting artists. Our retreats are unique from production-based residencies in that most of the emphasis is on the shared experience itself: immersion in a wild landscape, the simple skills and physical accomplishments of backpacking, new friends, and discussion on the capacity of wilderness for creative regeneration.
This year’s trip had a particular emphasis on the intersection of creative writing and visual art. Visiting artists include Hayley Barker, a painter whose recent works draw from the diaries of Opal Whiteley, acclaimed writer Peter Rock, and Laura Gibson, a singer-songwriter whose finely wrought lyrics revel in the complexity of the natural world.
We divided our days between moderate hiking (usually shorter stretches with our packs and optional day hikes), skill-sharing of low-impact camping techniques, short projects and games to open our senses to the landscape, and self-directed time for independent exploration and expression in this amazing place. Participants also received a bound reader with a curated selection of writings on regional natural history and meditations about place. We use the readers to inspire daily discussions and activities.
OVERTURE BACKPACKING TRIP
June 30-July 6
Send questions to email@example.com
Video from Love Triangle participant Willow McCormick
Pictures from this year's Overture Backpacking Trip: