GO Gathering in California, August 10-12, 2012

By Mike Boisvert.

Fancy doing something different on an August weekend? Don't waste it trotting around shopping ~ escape from the town and get down to the forest with Great Outdoors' and GayOutdoors' GO Gathering. 

Our 10th annual GO Gathering is built for incredible memories. This year we have joined forces with Great Outdoors' annual Summer Jamboree. You'll never forget Gay 'Sunset' Cruise Party at Big Bear Lake on Saturday night; the mouth watering BBQ dinner & Karaoke at B's Backyard BBQ late Saturday afternoon; and Sunday morning's continental breakfast with fresh coffee. It's BYOB the entire weekend. 

Join us for our biggest event of the year...it cannot be missed! Sign up has just begun. There is no better weekend camping event than the one hosted by California Great Outdoors and GayOutdoors, two of the world's largest gay outdoorzy organizations. This is a great opportunity to meet outdoorzy men from all over the country. You will need to bring camping gear such as tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking stove, etc.

This is an action packed weekend for all, designed to have a bit of everything to give you a chance to try something new or to just enjoy your favorite outdoor pursuits. Most activities are included in the registration fee but there are certain activities that cost extra.

Many members say it is the event to attend. The GO Gathering is where GayOutdoors' and Great Outdoors' members from all over the country gather together to introduce themselves, finally get to meet members they have chatted with in the forums or met online, and to plan future events. Every year our gay camping group enjoys good food, friends, and outdoor activities...every year our group gets a little bit bigger.

This will be our first year that the annual GO Gathering will be held in southern California. That’s a great reason for the 2012 GO Gathering to be our “best event ever”.  We have made a lifetime of friendships over the past few years, so let’s say “HELL YEAH!”  and celebrate!   We will GO Gay Camping at beautiful San Gorgonio Wilderness like there’s no tomorrow.

If you have heard of GayOutdoors and Great Outdoors ~ and wondered what sort of stuff we are up to, then this is your ideal first event as there's such a wide range of daytime and evening activities available to try.  

As long as you're gay-friendly, even straight guys are welcome to sign-up for the GO Gathering and join our group.

If you don't live nearby make this a mini-vacation and take the extra time to hike in the San Bernardino National Forest, visit the Moonridge Animal Park and Big Bear Discovery Center, ride down the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain and explore greater Los Angeles.  

You must pre-register to attend the GO Gathering. The GO Gathering is an annual event and pre-registering is mandatory. 

>>Click Here For More Information And To Register By Mail

[Under G.O. Member # enter your "GayOutdoors' user name" and under Chapter enter "GayOutdoors". All GayOutdoors members will be given the membership rate].

>>Click Here To Register/Pay Online 

If this is your very first GO Gathering, or you've got questions, email us your questions. We'll send you a personalized reply.

Email us with information>


Photo Gallery

If you haven't looked at last year's trip report/pictures, you really should. [Please note that last year's was an entirely different event].



Directions to the campground will be provided upon registration.


We Begin On Friday

The GO Gathering weekend starts on Friday with an all day tent pitching party and campsite setup. We are expecting around 100 people and that equates to around 70 or 80 tents. The earlier you arrive, the better the campsite you can have. This is not a KOA type campground. Inexpensive pay showers are just a 5-minute drive away at Barton Flats. There are picnic tables. Drinking water and toilets are onsite. For Friday night, you'll need to provide for your own dinner.   

When you arrive on Friday please join everyone at 4pm for a wine and tea meet & greet [BYOB]. At 9pm we'll have a group campfire and star gazing activities. 


Escape the Summer Heat At Big Bear Lake

Imagine the dog days of summer.

Maybe it's one of those sweltering days where everyone's talking about their weekend plans just to get out of the city..and while everyone seems stuck in their common routine, it's your turn to offer up what you're doing...

"I'm going camping at Big Bear Lake with over 100 gay guys."

Yeah. When it comes to bragging rights, it's hard to top a summertime camping weekend with a bunch of gay outdoozy guys. Your GO profile photos of this event afterwards will inspire envy of everyone who did not attend. It's all about GO-ing Outdoors and Making New Outdoorzy Buddies in a safe, comfortable atmosphere.

You'll have to provide your own breakfast on Saturday morning. There will be a difficult and an easy hike offered in the morning.  

At 12:00 PM a group will going to Big Bear Lake to lounge on the beach and swim; or participate in pay-for-your-own-water adventures including jetskiing, waterskiing, boating and water tubing! 

At 4:00 PM we'll meet up at B's Backyard BBQ for a pay-for-your-own-buffet-style dinner with options such as tri-tip beef, pulled pork, roasted chicken, baby-back ribs, beans, potato salad, cole slaw, mac & cheese, dinner rolls, hot coffee or tea, ice tea, and water. There will be karaoke and prime-viewing seats right on the shore of Big Bear Lake. 

At 6:00 PM we'll have an all gay sunset cruise party on Miss Liberty at Big Bear Lake. There will be a cash bar with liquor, soda & snacks, music, entertainment, historical narrative tour on an 85-passenger tour boat with a heated lower deck and outside upper deck. 

Then at 9:00 PM back at the campground we'll once again have a group campire and star gazing activities. 



We'll spend the weekend camping in the San Gorgonio Wilderness at the Oso Group Camp. The camp is in a fantastic spot just 25 minutes from Big Bear Lake, California. It is located at 6600' elevation in the secluded Barton Flats area off of Highway 38. It is next to some of most amazing locations for all the outdoor pursuits that Southern California has to offer such as swimming, sunbathing, waterskiing and jet-skiing at Big Bear Lake. The site is only used for camping by our groups and we have exclusive use of the site. It has plenty of parking for RVs [no hook-ups]. Drinking water and toilets are onsite, with inexpensive pay showers just a 5 minute drive away at Barton Flats.

With that being said, the answer to what should I bring is everything you might possibly want while stranded in the woods in the San Gorgonia Wilderness. While some people bring everything and the kitchen sink; other campers come only with a tent and a few supplies. There is a definite balance between comfort and convenience. If you drag too much shit to the woods, you will spend a huge portion of your weekend on setting up and packing up.

No matter what your camping style is, the following is a list of highly recommended basic camping supplies:

  • Tents start off relatively cheap but as they say, you get what you pay for.  Cheaper tents may leak, break or blow away.
  • A thin foam 'carry mat', therm-a-rest, or inflatable air mattress are good to sleep on and you can use your clothes to make a pillow. Or if you have the room in your tent, an air Mattress with electric air pump.
  • Don't forget you need something to sleep in. You'll need a sleeping bag or warm bedding in layers -some nights its cold and sometimes its HOT! 
  • Don't forget a Flashlight (or headlamp) to find your tent in the dark.
  • Propane or Gas Lantern (there are some fluorescent ones that run on batteries) .
  • Bug Spray for the Flies (don't worry about mosquitoes).
  • Cooking stove, food and cooler.
  • You can easily beg a cup of coffee from more seasoned campers ~ but if helps if you have a cup, and don't forget a plastic glass if you like wine!
  • A folding chair for around the campfire is great.
  • 1-2 bundles of firewood.
  • Some proper warm clothing always comes in handy ~ even in the summer.
  • Rain gear and umbrella.
  • Ear plugs are always a great idea.

Once you have been once or twice you will know what to bring. You'll be so good at it that you'll be able to cook a full breakfast and host a party for eight in your tent. Until then, the above basics will get you started.


Who Is Attending/ Carpooling

After you purchased a ticket with Great Outdoors, be sure to let other GO members know that you are going by also signing-up on the GO website. This is a good way to contact other members for carpooling and allow you to recognize the other GO members attending. Do not sign up here until you have confirmed reservations from Great Outdoors.

>>View our trip sign-up list to recognize other GO members and contact them for carpooling purposes.


Itinerary Overview

Friday, August 10

10PM: Campground Opens

4PM: Meet 'N Greet Wine and Tea Party

9:00PM: Group campfire & Star-Gazing activities

Saturday, August 11

9AM: Difficult Hike [Location to be determined that morning]

10AM: Easy Hike to Jenks Lake

12:00 [Noon]: Big Bear Lake Activities including sunbathing, swimming, jetskiing, waterskiing, boating and water tubing.

4PM: BBQ Dinner & Karaoke at B's BBQ Restaurant

6PM: Sunset All Gay Party Cruise at Big Bear Lake

9PM: Group campfire & Star-Gazing activities

Sunday, August 12

8AM: Continental Breakfast

9AM: Easy Hike

12:00 [Noon]: Campground Closes



Tickets for the GO Gathering Weekend are only available at Great Outdoors. Tickets cost $35.00 per person for the entire weekend. The Gathering begins Friday August 10th, 2012 at 2PM and ends on Sunday at Noon. Your ticket price includes camping fees, trips, parking fees and Sunday's continental breakfast. The Party Cruise is an additional $15.00. RV's are an additional $10.00. If you carpool with someone else there is a $5 discount.  You must provide for your own meals Friday night and Saturday morning; and of course your lunches! Tickets must be purchased before the sales closing date of August 3, 2012. There is no raindate for the GO Gathering 2012.

Camping in the rain is no fun and we have tried in years past to make sure we had a backup raindate. Unfortunately, this does not work with most peoples schedules. For many people the GO Gathering is a planned summer mini vacation and their schedules are just not flexible. Because of this, we will not have a scheduled rain date for the GO Gathering 2012. If you buy a ticket you are taking the chance that Mother Nature will screw all of us. 

You must pre-register to attend the GO Gathering. The GO Gathering is an annual event and pre-registering is mandatory. 

>>Click Here For More Information And To Register By Mail

[Under G.O. Member # enter your "GayOutdoors' user name" and under Chapter enter "GayOutdoors". All GayOutdoors members will be given the membership rate].

>>Click Here To Register/Pay Online 

Your hosts,
Brian Miller, Mark Legassie and Chris Fava
Great Outdoors

© 2012 Gay Outdoors ; All Rights Reserved.

Hiking, backpacking, camping or vacation adventures, GayOutdoors [GO] has been the LGBTQ outdoorzy community leader for the last 22 years. We are an informal group of diverse hiking enthusiasts in the United States with a shared love of the mountains who prefer hiking with friends. We invite you to join us on our hikes, to post hikes for other members to join you and to share your hiking photos, stories and advice.

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If you find it invigorating to hike along a mountain trail with friends not knowing what’s just around the corner, to get some fresh air, to stop and soak in the views on a summit, and to soak your feet in a mountain brook after a hike, give us a try!


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