From Camping

dance

IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings Light, Fire and Dance to Joshua Tree

by Andrea Verdin

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The wilderness of the desert brings life to many, especially if they’re looking to improve themselves. There’s just something about the quiet and beauty of the great outdoors. That’s why IgNight Fire Flow Conference is such an amazing experience. Each person attending will develop their abilities in aerial acrobatics classes, archery, astronomy, and yoga.

Of course, you can’t have a conference called IgNight without having elements of flow tools, like lit wicks, flow tools like hoops, poi, fans, staves, torches, wands and swords. The conference features lectures with spiritual teachers from all over the world. The event began today at noon, and will end at 5p.m. Sunday, more than 160 classes will go on during the daytime. A nightly spin jam session allows students to practice and develop their muscle memory.

night-fieldAccording to Michael Engel, lead organizer for IgNight and fire performer with almost 10 years in the flow arts community, the great event truly gets started on Saturday night. Once all of the conferences and classes have finished, the attendees join together into a dance circle and put all that they have learned from the two days into practice. Together, they play music, and dance until sunrise.

In addition to having a great time, the conference goers  take care of the nature they enjoy. IgNight’s leadership works closely alongside The San Bernardino Fire Department to make this, the safest event possible. All participants must attend a mandatory fire safety workshop, which grants them access to the fire spinning area.

In a letter to the IgNight team, San Bernardino County Fire Marshal Curtis Markloff  wrote, “You guys always amaze me on how safe you all are at your event. Thank you for organizing and putting on this event.  I hope that you keep coming back year after year.”

Since IgNight’s inception in 2012, the event has sold out and it is still the only event of its kind and size in southern California. Each time, the rapidly growing contingent of local flow artists transforms it into an epicenter of growth, play and magic.
fire-blow “It’s for everyone to come and learn,” said Engel. “Ultimately, it’s an exercise in community building and community building is always a positive thing.”

IgNight’s location is the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, the oldest and largest center of its kind in the country. The buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, meaning that they are beautiful elements to the backdrop.

The retreat center’s elegant spaces house luxurious amenities: air-conditioned classrooms, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi and shaded meditation nooks to relax and reflect. However, most participants will sleep under the stars in the property’s ample camping space.

The vast, clear desert skies are ideal for stargazing and the Black Rock Observatory will be giving nightly lectures and telescope demonstrations.

With all of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences occurring in one weekend, it’s easy to have a life-changing transformation. These types of arts allow for a better understanding of who you are, and what you are capable of doing.

The IgNight Fire Flow Conference brings an educational celebration of fire, yoga and flow arts to Joshua Tree, CA on May 8-10. Admission is $150.00 and covers all three days of camping, workshops, shenanigans, and music from Friday at noon to Sunday at 5pm. For more information about IgNight, go to http://ignightconference.com, call (310) 497-4775, or check out their Facebook Page.

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Joshua Tree Music Festival attracts people of all ages

Joshua Tree Music Festival paints a perfect picture of music, relaxation and fun for festival goers

As some of us are preparing for the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that kicks off today, many of us are dying of envy as we watch our friends done headdresses, lace, and art gear to enjoy the festivities. However, there is another amazing festival that takes place in awe-inspiring Joshua Tree — the Joshua Tree Music Festival, which is happening May 14-17, 2015.

The Joshua Tree Music Festival is its own experience, and festival planner Barnett English is proud to plan a global music festival that is fun for people of all ages. This is completely different experience from other festivals because your children, friends and family can all come to this event, bond, and truly revel in the experience that can only be had at Joshua Tree.

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If people aren’t familiar with the Joshua Tree Music Festival, it’s important to note that it’s definitely an intimate affair, said English.

“We are not a huge festival – we have at most 4,000 people on site,” he explained. “There are no crushing crowds, and you can get right in front of the stage. It’s super laid back. From my experience, Coachella has about 100,000 people, and the madness can get pretty intense. Ours is not like that. You can see the eyeballs of the guy playing the guitar. It’s a more authentic experience because you are not getting lost in a sea of people.”

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This festival melds the overwhelming spirit of desert freedom with powerful music from around the world to create a lighthearted oasis for music lovers. Magically magnificent art installations, a robust Kidsville schedule, the heavily shaded Music Bowl, a full spectrum of yoga classes from sunrise to sunset, 27 different music playshops and didjeridu classes, late night Astronomy theatre, and a World Market further inspire, intrigue and invite festival goers.

Not to knock bigger, louder, and rowdier festivals like Coachella; it is absolutely a blast when you know how to survive Coachella and all the insanity that comes with it. However, for some, the overwhelming crowds, heat, and overall experience is dampened because you don’t really connect with new friends, or even have the same experience as your own friends. At the Joshua Tree Music Festival, your kids can dance and sway to the music, or you and your significant other can spend time stretching at the yoga class before heading to the main stage together.

Th-19The festival has been held at the same site since its conception, and is held at a privately owned campground with sweeping views of Indian Cove National Park.

“The folks that own the place have given us five acres of 40 acres for us to dream and build stages, shops, and yoga area,” said English. “At the end of the festival, we don’t tear down; we get to leave it here and add onto it every year. It’s not very common that a festival can do that, and we are super grateful to make it funkier.”

The Joshua Tree Music Festival has two main stages, and bands alternate between the two so that no two bands are playing at the same time. This allows for guests to have the same experience, creating a bonding experience.

“All weekend long and afterward, people are affected in a positive way,” said English. “The music has been inspiring and they walk away with more energy. I love to see people have the time of their lives. People come away with meaningful conversations and new friends that they can’t live without.”

If you can’t make it this May, don’t fret. English is proud to say that the festival is so much fun, he and the other planners host it twice a year.

“We are having the 13th annual festival in May, but we also have the 10th annual fall event in October,” he said. “We just couldn’t wait a whole year!”

Full festival line up, schedule, and more information at the following sites:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Zambia jeep safari with Wild Planet Adventures

Experience Extraordinary Zambia Safari Tours with Wild Planet Adventures

by Andrea Verdin

It’s time to plan your summer getaway, so the Wander team has begun to look at ways to get the most out of your vacation. We’ve been looking both at international and domestic travel, small weekend getaways and elaborate international excursions.

If you’re the type who loves diverse travel, looking for a chance to see exotic wildlife and stay in the middle of nature, then see Zambia – Africa’s Hidden Safari Gem – with Wild Planet Adventures.

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The safari season in Zambia is year-round, but the best wildlife viewing is from July through October, so you want to make sure that you plan with this in mind. Because African safari travel is such a popular getaway, it may be hard to choose a travel company to plan a safari with. However, Zambia safari tours are a head and shoulders above all others for several reasons.

Wild Planet Adventures founder Josh Cohen explained that Zambia is one of Africa’s least visited countries, and since his company specializes in intimate encounters with exotic wildlife, this was a perfect option for his guests.

“Guests have the ability to see unusual animals and their behaviors that might not always be seen,” explained Cohen.

The reason Zambia safari tours are markedly different from other African safaris is the lack of tourism and jeep congestion.  With less than 860,000 annual visitors compared to South Africa’s 9.5 million, Zambia ranks among the least visited African countries.

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“Unlike East African countries where it’s common to find up to 50 vehicles chasing a lion, Zambia boasts remote sectors where guests are unlikely to see other vehicles,” said Cohen, who explained that his Zambian tours do not require his guests to be in caged busses. “Safari-goers still enjoy 360 degree views from open jeeps instead of being crowded into nine-passenger mini-vans.”

Without numerous vehicles surrounding the same animals, there is no risk that animals will lose their ‘wild’ instincts.

“Wild Planet Adventures goes to great lengths to preserve the authentic safari experience by combining truly isolated and remote locations with master guides who exemplify tracking as an art form, so travelers see authentic ‘wild’ animal behavior while minimizing adaptation,” Cohen said.

lion at shumba camp

In addition, guests can choose to combine tours, so they can experience walking, jeep, and canoe safaris. This allows for a broader experience of animal exposure.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Cohen. “Once we saw a herd of elephants surround their matriarch while she gave birth. On our canoes, we enter watering holes where herds of elephants and hippos just walk across, right in front of us. When these factors come together, you get a superior experience.”

shumba camp

Of course, just because you are in the middle of the safari doesn’t mean that you have to stay in an uncomfortable tent on a lumpy cot.

“Zambia has the same high end camps that other African tour camps have,” said Cohen. “Overall, Africa has high standards for its guests.”
There are a lot of safari travel options for guests to choose from when planning Zambia Safari Tours, with options for every budget.
For detailed tour itineraries on all of Wild Planet Adventures wildlife eco-tours and safaris, call toll-free 1.800.990.4376, visit http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/ or contact trips@wildplanetadventures.com.

 

WPA Zambia from Wild Planet Adventures on Vimeo.

RiSE Festival 2014

RiSE Lantern Festival 2014 Lifts Spirits in the Mojave Desert

August has greeted us, and we are wrapping up all of our summer plans and looking forward to our end of the year excitement. Before we jump into the holidays, why not have a once in a lifetime experience? You can join thousands in the beautiful Mojave Desert for the inaugural RiSE Lantern Festival 2014 on October 18.

RiSE Lantern Festival 2014
RiSE Lantern Festival 2014

At dusk on October 18, thousands will flock to the desert to reflect on dreams, hopes, and aspirations, releasing them to the skies in the shape of lanterns. The simple beauty of each lantern represents a hope, a dream, a new leaf, or a forgotten wish coming together to form something beautiful.

Together, 10,000 attendees will launch 20,000 lanterns into the Mojave Desert sky, just outside Las Vegas at Jean Dry Lakebed. Shuttles will pick up guests from the Las Vegas Strip, as well as the Gold Strike Casino and the gravel lot.

With the purchase of a ticket, attendees will receive an individual bamboo ground mat, two sky lanterns and one ground lantern.  During the first hour, guests have the chance to write personalized messages on each lantern while listening to live music, relaxing and enjoying some great food and wine available for purchase. An hour after sunset, RiSE culminates as everyone lights and releases their lanterns in unison, giving a collective voice to dreams, leaving each spectator with one unforgettable evening.

RiSE Festival 2014
RiSE Festival 2014

Even if you choose to partake on this adventure alone, you’re bound to make friends. Each lantern will take 2 to 3 people to launch, so you’ll be able to share your hopes and prayers with others who have come to celebrate.

RiSE becomes more meaningful when you make your lanterns personal, so guests are encouraged to personalize each lantern with something special. Inscribe them with a message, prayer, or resolution. Guests will also be given the right type of markers to make sure lanterns aren’t damaged in the process.

“Each person’s lantern means something unique to them, but one thing we all share is a love for the planet,” said representative Jenna Rose. “That’s why it’s RiSE’s responsibility to leave no trace, and it’s a responsibility they take seriously. The wide-open nature of the event area makes conservation possible.  Because they’re able to retrieve between 98-100% of the lanterns, and because each lantern is 100% biodegradable, sustainability is something they achieve with every event.”

Additionally, RiSE purchases carbon offsets for every vehicle they use in the setup and cleanup of the festival, and they encourage participants to purchase carbon offsets for their travel to and from the festival.

Tickets for RiSE Lantern Festival 2014 are available for purchase at www.risefestival.com. There will be another taking place in Bali in November, but it’s invite only – will open to the public in 2015.

If you are looking for a supernatural adventure, get a chance to illuminate the sky with RiSE Festival this fall.

For more information, go to the RiSE Festival website, or visit their Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Can't you imagine Bobby Kennedy on this ledge?

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Grand Canyon

Since it’s the peak of family vacation time, we figured it would behoove us to pay homage to one of America’s greatest family attractions – The Grand Canyon.

It doesn’t matter if you are an athletic individual looking for a Grand Canyon raft vacation, or if you simply want to take in the sights, there is something for you at this Wonder of the World.

Kamron Wixom, a representative with Western River Expeditions, has spent 700 consecutive days in the Canyon on the Colorado River, so he definitely knows a thing or two about this gorgeous site.

“There’s a synergy between a human being and a canyon. We get possessive of it; it’s our canyon,” said Wixom. “It’s so huge on one scale but so intimate on the other scale that it becomes our own. When people talk about their experiences in the canyon you have an instant bond with each other but at the same time you’re possessive of it. This contrast is indicative of nearly every experience you have in the Grand Canyon.”

As a way to get folks interested in creating their own adventure in the Grand Canyon, Wixom has shared 10 things that everyday visitors probably don’t know about the beautiful area.

10 Things You Never Knew about the Grand Canyon

  • The first known exploration of the Grand Canyon by boat was in 1869, the John Wesley Powell Expedition. He was the first to use the name “Grand Canyon”. By 1969, fewer than 100 people had his followed by boat through the remote gorge.

Grand Canyon Rapids

  • Outside of the occasional dust storms and forest fires, the Grand Canyon is home of the some of the cleanest air in the United States.
Take a deep breath!
Take a deep breath!
  • The Kaibab Tree Squirrel, a unique species that lives only on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, was separated from its South Rim cousins millennia ago.
  • An estimated five million people view the Grand Canyon annually from the North and South rims. Only 20,000 see it by river raft or dory. (Western River Expeditions is the leading outfitter, putting some 4,000 guests through the Canyon each year.)

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  • Grand Canyon was named America’s 17th National Park in 1919, following in the footsteps of, among others, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Glacier and Denali.
  • The Kennedy family took a highly publicized Grand Canyon rafting trip in 1972 and the popularity of rafting in the Grand Canyon suddenly skyrocketed.
Can't you imagine Bobby Kennedy on this ledge?
Can’t you imagine Bobby Kennedy on this ledge?
  • Grand Canyon still uses a scale of rapids from 1-10, a system that was grandfathered in before an international system scaled rapids from 1 to 6. A 10 is like a 5 on the international scale; a 6 on international scale cannot be navigated.
  • Because they couldn’t afford a boat, two swimmers in 1955 swam the entire length of the Grand Canyon, a distance of 288 miles.
  • The Grand Canyon National Park has recorded more than 4,800 archeological sites and has surveyed just 5 percent of the park’s 1.2 million acres.

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  • On June 30, 1956, two planes flying from Los Angeles to Chicago, a United Airlines DC-7 and a TWA Constellation, had a mid-air collision over the Canyon and all on board perished. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was created in 1958 as a result of this accident.

If you’re interested in a trip to the Grand Canyon, consider one of the Grand Canyon river trips that are available this summer season.

For more information, contact Western River Expeditions at 866.904.1160 or visit: http://www.westernriver.com.