GOC First Timers Tips

Donna Kirby
Donna Kirby

    Follow the directions, EXACTLY using the mileage up the mountain and your car’s odometer. (Men, do not be proud — be “smart”.) USE THE DIRECTIONS!!

2. At the top of the mountain, (check your odometer — there are several false “tops of the mountain”) there is a sharp turn back after you see the GOC Banner — go slowly — do not miss it! The sharp turn is the road just before the banner. (if you come in from Cloudcroft)

 3. Try to bring all you will need on the first trip up. You will see why you don’t want to make a second trip after you make the first. The “road”is narrow and very rock filled. Usually, a veteran GOCer will make a run to town for supplies, and will take your money for things you may have forgotten to bring with you. Ask around for this person.

4. Remember to take warm clothing for the nights, as it will likely drop into the forties during the dark hours. You will need a warm sleeping bag!

 5. You are closer to the sun on top of the 9,000 ft mountain, and the UV rays are much stronger. Bring a hat or head scarf to protect your scalp from burning. Bring light, loose clothing with ample sleeves or legs to protect your untanned skin from burning. This can happen almost without your awareness during the mild daytime. Watch your kids for sun exposure.  Sun block helps.

 6. Ladies, use a “Fannie pack” in lieu of a purse. Fannie packs are harder to leave behind.
In your Fannie pack, be sure to carry some baby wipes to wash your hands with after visiting the port-a-potty. (These can be sealed in a small ZipLock bag.) There is no water in there — running, or otherwise!

 7. Bring plenty of Reverse Osmosis bottled water to drink and/or wash with.
     Remember to bring enough water for any dog you might bring. There is absolutely NO
     RUNNING WATER for miles.

 8. Be sure to bring several large drawstring trash bags to hang in the trees for your trash, so that your sleeping facilities will remain more insect free.

9. The campsite is located within a National Forest, and there may be some wildlife you don’t want foraging through your tent, so try to keep all food out of the tent, perhaps in your vehicle.

10. Family dogs are welcome, but please keep the following in mind:
     A. Dogs must be on leash within the camp, as others may also have dogs.
     B. When leaving you dog at your campsite, they must be constrained so that they cannot
         come closer than six feet to the road where your fellow campers will be walking.
     C.  You are responsible for injury your overprotective dog may inflict on others.
     D.  If you are walking through another’s campsite, be alert for their dog. Do not try to
          pet another person’s dog without their permission!
     E.  Occasionally you may see a dog off leash in the quiet times (early morning or late       
          evening). Most of these dogs have been trained and have been coming to the GOC for
          years. Remember, do not try to approach any dog you don’t know.
     F. Down the sides of the mountain are ample off-leash exercise areas, but always be
         aware of what might be in the trees. Many species of wildlife (some quite large and
         dangerous) see a dog as a threat, and many dogs will not answer to a “come” call if
         their protective instincts are in overdrive.
     G. Feel free to talk with Brett or Cliff if you have questions that have not been
         addressed here.

11. There may be a burn ban in effect, so keep that in mind as you pack your food supplies.
      A small charcoal or propane grill kit should serve as a back up in the case that open         
     fires are not permitted.

 12. If you have the room, please bring a log (one and a half to two feet long) to add to the     
      Sweet Medicine Dance Fire Pit. We will light the fire Saturday Night, if the burn ban
      has been lifted. Park rules allow gathering of deadfall wood, but not the cutting of live

 13. Sharing of meals with neighboring campsites is a tradition in which you may want to    
      participate, though this is optional. However, there is a potluck luncheon after the Give-A-Way, on Sunday, before departure.

14. The site GOC uses is what’s called “primitive,” There are no man-made objects short of what we bring in. Bring a folding chair, and be sure to place a nametag on each chair, so you will know which is yours.

15. Cliff traditionally cooks his “World Famous Pancakes” ($3.00 per eater) for the whole Gathering, Saturday morning. However, He does not provide plates, cups, forks, chairs, napkins, etc.  Bring  your own. If you wish to help with food supplies in lieu of the $3.00, contact Cliff  before the GOC.(However, bacon or sausage is usually accepted)

 16. Do not forget your cameras, binoculars, hiking boots, hats, raincoats, and rainfly for your tent. Bring a gift wrapped in plain paper for the Sunday morning Give-A-Way. (a paper sack is OK)

 17. This campground high above the rest of the world is a special gift for us each year, and if we want to return here in the years to come, we must care for it. Please return the ground to as near the state in which you found it. Refill fire pits. pick up anything that did not grow there on your way out.

If you  have any questions, Please E-mail me at

I know you will all have a wonderful time at Cloudcroft — I always do!
This is my fourth year at the Gathering.

Take a look at Cathy Martin’s Video of GOC photos.