SUSTAINING MEMBERS ONLY: GayOutdoors Gathering Weekend
Camping DATE: 08/03/2018 - 08/05/2018
Trip/Event Location: Hinsdale, NH
Trip Leader(s): Gandalf
Max # People: 40
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: Yes, but only to cover shared expenses, and I too am paying
Difficulty Level: Easy
Join us for a weekend retreat at MountainSide campground in Hinsdale, NH; a private natural setting nestled in the hills of Southern New Hampshire!
Conveniently located just 2 hours from Boston MA, Providence RI, Albany NY. and Hartford CT. NYC and Montreal PQ are only 4 hours away.
87 McDonald Drive
Hinsdale, NH 03451
Use Google to map out driving directions. Enter your starting address and the campground address.
If you missed it, then you missed the passion, camaraderie and magic of another great GO Gathering in southern New Hampshire, held August 3-5, 2018.
I think I enjoyed this GO Gathering more than any of the others! Admittedly, this is fresh in my mind but the past few have been held at Branch Brook so perhaps it’s because it was a new campground. I think having a GO Gathering at a men’s only campground makes for a better time.
The gathering, a reunion and homecoming event for gay outdoor enthusiasts everywhere, is held to celebrate the holistic benefits of gay men being active in the natural world. Just the fact that we're still having GO Gatherings and having so much fun after 19 years speaks for itself!
We all came from distant points, hurrying along to arrive as soon as possible to enjoy the surroundings of southwestern New Hampshire and to meet new and familiar faces once more. Jon and I have never been to MountainSide before and found the entire campground FABULOUS!!! From the open fields providing views extending for miles to the cute accommodations in cottages, bunkhouse, vintage campers, cabins, screen houses, horse trailers and lean-to’s, the campground was perfect for GayOutdoors members. Dave was so charming greeting everyone and personally walking everyone to their site. We give a bug hug to both Dave and Mike for helping us have the GO Gathering run so smoothly! SMOOCHES!!!
Everyone began arriving in mid-afternoon to late evening. Waves of thunderstorms arrived after 4PM. After checking in with Dave and Mike, and setting up their gear, guys chatted by the canteen. Some of the guys who were planning on tenting asked if there were any indoor accommodations and Dave gladly assisted to find something suitable.
MountainSide was our base. The campground was beautifully maintained, bathrooms clean with highly pressurized showers, and offered many opportunities for outdoor activities.
Sustaining members brought over snacks to share at the Canteen and then the GO Gathering got into full swing with the start of the Beer Blast Friday evening. At the Beer Blast, we brought a six-pack of our favorite local craft brew to share with others. Some of us pitched in a bottle of wine. Out of all the local brews I tasted, Plum Island was my favorite. We had so much beer that it lasted all weekend!
Mike turned on some background music. At the start, there was a downpour so we lit up the Tiki Torches that provided a soft, ambient light. The evening was a mix of socializing, entertaining and meeting other GO members. I noticed a lot of new faces as well as a great many GO Gathering veterans. I take that as a sign of a healthy and vibrant community that is developing its own tradition and history while looking outward and evolving.
Around 9PM, the rain had stopped so Dave said, “Let’s try a campfire?” We stocked up the fire pit with wood Jon and I brought and Dave skillfully lit up the fire. Mike tended the campfire during the night.
Saturday early morning was overcast and very hot and humid. After a relaxing breakfast in camp, everyone joined Jon and me to a Kilburn Pond Hike/Swim. Click Here For Trip Report.
I particularly enjoyed Saturday’s Potluck where the culinary outdoor talents of our members were in full display! I was just amazed how great all the dishes were...and this was put together in a campground. This rivaled any of the potlucks I've been at that were cooked indoors! Dishes included grilled chicken sausage with onions/peppers, salmon, Italian pasta dish with mussels, chicken pot pie, chicken breasts/wings, delicious pasta dishes, summer salads, and desserts. Gay men sure know how to cook!
In all the excitement, we forgot to take a group picture. Next year!
We enjoyed gazing at a beautiful sunset. Jon and I lit up a couple of Sky Lanterns that stayed afloat high into the sky for easily 5 minutes. Mike set up this huge bonfire while we looked up at thousands of stars above. Later in the evening, Jon and I shot off a bunch of fireworks that everyone enjoyed.
Sunday we focused on packing and heading home however some of us went to Rock River since it was such a beautiful day! This was a fun weekend with an amenable group of GO members. Most of us had never met before. Some kindled new friendships.
Great ideas were exchanged by our sustaining members during the weekend to improve the Gay Outdoors network. The GO Gathering certainly lived up to the GayOutdoors slogan, "Making New Gay Outdoorzy Buddies in a Safe and Comfortable Atmosphere!" It provided a fun and safe venue for a group of strangers to bond together, share their passion for the outdoors, and meet others to plan/run future outdoor activities for the gay community in their local area. From the feedback I received, it appears that almost everyone will be returning at next year’s GO Gathering.
Mark your calendar! It will be held the first weekend in August in 2019!
The 19 year-old Gay Outdoors network has been dedicated to helping gay, bisexual and straight male outdoor enthusiasts meet each other online to participate in outdoor activities run by volunteers who post them in its activities calendar, find the latest news of interest to the gay outdoors community, learn about where to go, what gear to buy and how to get started in outdoor activities. It all leads to a safe, healthy and positive lifestyle!
Thanks to all of us that signed up and participated! We had extra money and will be donating $125 to GayOutdoors. We had a fun and relaxing time. Hope to see you on our other trips real soon!
Mike and Jon
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