25 Jun Invisible City – Alvord Desert
July 21st-25th. Alvord Desert, in the far SE corner of Oregon. BLM land. 1 month of planning. An overpacked flatbed truck. 8 hour drive through cities, mountains, plains, and high desert. 38 friends. What does this get you?
The Invisible City. We arrive early Friday morning. Thrilled to be in such a vast freeing space. Set up starts immediately after we all rip our cars across the desert and to get to the center of nothingness.
As each new car arrives, they are welcomed with various gifts, and a manifesto:
“Welcome to the playa!Our mission this weekend is to create atranscendental oasis.In this oasis, you are free.Free from stress.Free from anxiety.Free to be who you want.Allow yourself to feel the energy we cultivateas a community, as a family.You’re surrounded by positivity and love here.Let that create a safe place for you to beyour truest self.With this in mind,Think about an intention you would like to have forthis weekend.What are you seeking?What do you need to let go?What do you need to find?”
With the final touches on the campsite complete, we started Saturday with a fashion show, BLANK designed by Kara Jean and Nick Jacobs.
As night fell, we watched a transformative performance put on by Joseph Lanker. It set the tone for the evening, and as soon as he stopped performing, everyone joined in the dance party. The night felt like it went on forever.
The next day we all hopped on the flatbed to the edge of the desert. There is a single shack, with the most restorative hot springs you will ever experience. A very kind woman named Rose was runs it, and asked if we were apart of a religious group (or a cult). We tried to tell her otherwise, but everyone dressed in white wasn’t acting in our favor. She happily shrugged, and showed us around.
Sunday night was a test. We got hit by an epic rain and wind storm. Tents were flattened out, and blowing away. After tying our kitchen and various other structures down to our cars, everyone pulled their mattresses into the dome to sleep together and wait out the storm till sunrise. The Sun eventually rose, peace and quiet fell on the campground. The storm had passed, and it was time to go home.
With a closing ceremony, we all said one word that resonated with our weekend experience. Though really, it is indescribable. This is something that can not be put in to words. Our hope is that you can grab the essences of something truly spectacular that happened.
We will leave you with some portraits of a few of the absolutely beautiful beings that were apart of the adventure.
With Light & Love, thank you for being apart of our story.
All photos taken by Aaron Rayburn, J Yun, and Kara Jean.