Visitor Guide

Visiting the Wolf Creek SanctuaryNote: This document was recently linked-to on email lists. Please be aware that this Guide has not been approved by CoCo, has no official status, and is preliminary; none of the authors would have posted announcements for it yet. Caveat lector.(Eventually, this Guide will be polished and official. In the meantime, it may not be 100% accurate, but hopefully it’ll be useful.)

Arriving

Where is everybody? After crossing the bridge (and leaving your car), take a left down the driveway. In Winter, people will be at the farmhouse (Gardenhouse), on your left just past the greenhouse. In Summer, skip that and continue to the Barn (about twice as far as the greenhouse – it’s big, you can’t miss it).

Do not pitch your tent until you are familiar with Poison Oak! Really! This is the most common plant here, especially in the appealing camping spots — even if you’re not allergic, people you touch will be. (More details below)

No smoking on the trails, in the meadow, or at your tent. In this climate and with all the tall grass, it’s a huge danger. (see Smoking)

Housing/Camping

Campsite suggestions and spots to avoid.

Garden house is not housing, please keep the intention of not using it as such, if you need temporary space to land (such as a late night arrival) please try to check with a caretaker.

Within the Parking Lot during larger gathering (Beltane, Samhain, SGRF), we ask that you do not camp in a tent except at the edge of the gully or near the Pumphouse. Tents, especially late at night, can cause a huge safety hazard for drivers and tent occupants. Also, please park your car intersecting the rows of tree, not parrellel to them.

Please do not camp:

  • on an access road, including the path and road from the parking lot to Gardenhouse and the Barn and the road ringing the Meadow.
  • in the labryinth, near the maypole, under the big maple tree
  • next to an altar (including Quan Yin on the far south of the Parking Lot). check the map at the Welcome station in the north of the Parking lot or in the Barn for reference.

Within recent years certain areas of land have been traditionally quieter camping than others:

  • Quiet: Pattysville: the wooded area to the east of Barn, Smoking Circle and Flush.
  • Louder: The Parking Lot

Getting your stuff there.

To get your stuff to your campsite, please try to find a cart. On the land we have at least one large cart and a couple of wheelbarrows. The intention is for these to be available in the parking lot. As always, please leave your car in the parking lot; if for whatever reason you may need to leave the parking lot, always check with a caretaker first.

Special needs

here is limited indoor housing space that may be available. This is prioritized for people with special needs, which for whatever reason, a faerie is unable to camp. This space is available on a first-come/first-serve basis, with the intention that all special needs faeries contact the sanctuary in advance. Since special needs housing is for our special needs faeries, these spaces should never be used for any other purpose, and should be respected as private spaces, even if a faerie does not appear to be occupying it currently.

Being Here

Special diets and needs. Meals. There’s no staff. Community norms.Short-term visits. Long-term visits

Emergencies and Hazards

It’s the Country. 911

This is a very rural part of Oregon. It’s rustic and there are many way to hurt yourself if you’re not looking. Also, it takes much longer for services (Fire, Police etc.) to get to the Land than in a the City. In many cases, many “emergencies” we can handle on the land. Only in extreme threats or life-saving treatment needs do we need to call 911. Otherwise, use caretakers and your community as your resource. There’s a phone in Garden House. Our address is 4525 Lower Wolf Creek Road.

Medical Emergencies

  • If it’s a heart attack or something that needs life-saving treatment right away, call 911 for the Wolf Creek fire department.
  • If somebody’s swelling up badly from a sting (yellowjacket, bee), keep a close watch that they don’t have trouble breathing and their throat isn’t tightening up. We normally keep an “epi-pen” in the first-aid kits; it’s a shot to counteract this, only for emergencies. Ask a Caretaker; they might suggest you take it along with the victim to the hospital.
  • Otherwise, we’re 20 minutes from the hospital in Grants Pass, so it’s faster to drive there than to wait for an ambulance. Check with a Caretaker first; they can give you directions, and might be able to help.
  • First Aid kits: The main supply is under Garden House stairs (by the front door); also at the front of the Barn, just left of the door. Trauma kits are in bright orange bags (I’m not sure where). Smaller first-aid stuff is at the Garden House bathroom: just outside the door, and below the sink.

Fire!

In case of fire: Grass fires spread FAST! It may be too late already.

  • Yell loudly for help. If there’s an air horn nearby (they’re at outhouses, Garden House, Barn, pumphouse, cabins), blast it on-and-off while running to the fire.
  • If you hear an air horn: run in that direction. If you’re near a vehicle, consider driving to a fire barrel to fetch tools, or carrying people to the fire.
  • Send the first person who arrives to call 911.
  • If you don’t have an air horn, send the second person to get one (and blast it on the way back).
  • Everybody else run to the fire barrels, marked with red reflective tape (at the edges of the meadow). Grab a burlap sack, dip it in water, beat the fire with the wet sack. Grab a shovel or rake, and clear a fire break well ahead of the fire, as wide as the grass is tall.
  • As more people arrive, set up a bucket-brigade to pass burlap back and forth for dunking in water.

Never pour water on a grass fire: it doesn’t help in the slightest, and uses up your water. Grass fires are fast. If it reaches the forest, we’ve burned down our woods and a chunk of the valley.

Water bottles (glass or plastic) left in the sun can act as magnifying glasses; we once found cloth with a big hole charred by the sun. If you see a bottle left outside, please bring it in!

Smoking

Smoking areas are designated near the barn and Garden House, and also include the parking lot, Theresa porch, and inside some residences. No smoking in the woods. If you see somebody smoking while he walks through the meadow or along trails, stop him! A single fallen ember can destroy this place; at times, we faeries are the biggest threat to the environment here.

Poison Oak

is the most common plant here; it especially grows in dappled shade under the trees (right where you’d camp). If you brush against one of the leaves and then touch a faerie who’s allergic (maybe yourself; most people are), they can develop an itchy, weepy rash that doesn’t add to the gathering experience. Walk through the underbrush and sit on the sofa, and some people here will get really sick.

Fortunately, Poison Oak isn’t that hard to avoid. First, learn what it looks like at this time of year. (Early Spring: vertical shoots with tiny, purply leaves – very oily! Summer: medium green vine or shrub, with 3 leaves coming together at the stem. The only other 3-leaved plant is wild raspberry, which has little thorns. Fall: pretty flame-red leaves are oily even after they drop.) You’ll find that most cleared campsites don’t have any in the way, but watch on the edges, especially when pitching your tent. If you go hiking, keep a close eye out and know that going off the trail often means having to back up to find a clear path; be sure to put your hiking shoes and clothes in a safe spot afterwards.

If you’ve been exposed: look in the first-aid areas for Technu, which neutralizes the oil. (Instructions on bottle.) Second choice: shower in cool water with lots of soap, washing the oil away from the rest of your body. Developing a bumpy rash? Ask somebody who knows what it looks like, and see about cortisone cream. If somebody’s face, mouth or throat swell up, see Emergencies; they need treatment to make sure the windpipe doesn’t swell shut.

Rattlesnakes

Aren’t territorial or agressive, but they sometimes sunbathe on trails and can’t get away quickly, remember, they are more afraid of you then you are of them. It’s a good idea to look where you’re walking, especially when away from the busy areas. (Some years there’s a rattler living under Garden House, who is exposed while going to and from the meadow. In Spring, before Beltane crowds arrive, there’ve been baby rattlers around the Barn.) If you’re in the high grass off the trails, stomp a bit so they hear you coming (they sense vibration). Climbing in rocky areas, don’t put your hands where you can’t see! On the other hand, in 25 years the only snakebite was on the nose of an obnoxious dog.

If you hear a rattle, freeze. Unless he’s coiled, he’ll be moving away. If you stepped right next to him and he’s coiling up, your instinct is right: jump away!

Police

If lives are in danger or somebody’s brandishing a deadly weapon, run and call 911. Otherwise, it’s best to talk to a Caretaker first, in case we can handle the problem without calling the Sheriff. If you do call 911, if able to, please follow-up with a caretaker so we can be aware of their arrival.

Faeries

New arrivals don’t know our community and its norms yet, so possibly somebody will try to take advantage of that (and you). We think it’s rare, but it usually only happens to new visitors, one-on-one so the rest of us can’t intervene and don’t always hear about it. We figure the best prevention is to make sure you know: It’s ok to set boundaries. Do stretch your own limits when you feel safe to do so, but also take care of yourself. If something feels creepy, it probably is.

If anybody says you’re obligated to get have sex with him because he gave you a ride, or let you stay in his tent, or because it’s not the faerie way to say “no” to another faerie, or because he’s spiritually more advanced – that’s BS. If you need a different place to stay, ask a Caretaker or any of us to help you find a place to sleep (spare tent, couch; we’ll find something). We celebrate nakedness and sex, but anybody worth playing with will also be open to “no” as an answer. One of the joys in this community is learning that we’re all spiritual beings who can heal each other, in our many different ways. It’s a wonderful tribe; don’t let the occasional confused one spoil it for you.

The Portland faeries have a saying: “Self-care is sexy.”

Bears

are scared of people (so far), but love to find goodies in the woods, including something in your tent. Chocolate, fruit, or almost any snack can invite their sensitive noses, so please keep these things in a car, away from the woods.Tents have been shredded by hungry bears on at least two occasions, and if they decide we’re a source of food, it’ll be bad for everybody.

Gender

Getting Involved

If you’re here for a Gathering, please do fill out a registration form so we know you were here! That also lets you be in the Gathering directory, if there is one.

We have an email list to get Gathering announcements and other news from the Sanctuary: groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfcreek-info .

You’ll notice there’s no hired staff here, but also nobody telling you what to do when. This all happens by people noticing things that need to be done, and doing them. Whether it’s helping in the Barn and kitchen (dishwashing, sweeping, taking out the trash and compost), cleaning up the smoking circle, signing up for a job at morning circle, helping with a project – you’ll find it’s a great way to connect to the place and people. (Please do check with a Caretaker before changing things.)

Leaving (or Staying)

We’d like to hear about how your visit went. There’s a new email address for that:
visitor-feedback@nomenus.org .
Thanks for visiting; please tell us how it went.
Suggestions for future visits. Helping us from the outside world. Nomenus.
So you’ve been asked to leave.
I want to live here!

Finally…

What can you identify that’s missing? Anything you’d change? As you can see, this how-to is still incomplete; it was written by just two of us, so far. We’d like suggestions, feedback, text, whatever. mugwort@pobox.com