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  • Writer's pictureSteven Reinhold

Content Creators Camp

We started the trip off as strangers and finished as friends, better yet family, with a shared value for creating content that is true to our selves and our experiences.

Our first Content Creators Camp crew from let to right; Danielle Johnson, Avery Hayden, Rose Goodbread, Jessie Johnson, Shannon Davis, Lee Trebotich and Steven Reinhold

“I can't even rank my excitement from new friendships to new knowledge. I know I will be reminiscing for years to come." and "I am feeling immensely refreshed and reinsured after learning so much from Shannon and Steven!"
~Avery Hayden~ @goaverywhere

Content Creators Camp - Day 1

We started off the day in true content creator style — half-awake at the local coffee shop. Once we had a chance to meet and greet, and were all properly caffeinated, we consolidated cars and made our way onward and upward to the trailhead. After a quick gear shakedown and intro to our instructors and course curriculum we hit the trail together toward a favorite local spot in the Pisgah National Forest.

Halfway into the hike we were pleasantly surprised by a trailside charcuterie set up from Food For Adventures! That first kind act of trail magic, paired with freshly filtered creek water, really energized our crew and set the tone for the rest of the trip by fueling up everyone’s enthusiasm! As we approached our first camp it was clear that storms were moving in, so we pushed through the mountain meadow and set up our tents just before the first downpour! For the rest of the day we intermittently educated and commiserated in between the rains — gotta love that type II fun! We gathered under a makeshift tarp and talked gear and how-to reviews for hours and game planed our #enohammock shoot by poring over the ins and outs of their Creator Toolkit so we would be ready to shoot when the light finally hit.

Later in the afternoon we found our selves looking at the sunshine through a brief weather window, so we went to work! In an evergreen sylvan, on the fringe of the meadow, we hung our hammocks with care and explored the beautiful art of outdoor product photography.

After nailing our hammock shots, thanks to the the guidance of ENO's Creator Toolkit, we hit the meadow to feast once again with #foodforadventures! Dinner was beginning to be beautifully backlit but just before golden hour struck so did the lighting accompanied by its old friend thunder. On those cacophonous notes we retreated to our tents and weathered the storm until morning…

Photo of our ENO Hammocks photoshoot at Content Creators Camp

Content Creators Camp - Day 2

Day 2 was all over the place and that particular place was Haywood County, NC. We woke up to an unexpected sunrise on the southeastern edge of the county and captured some magical moments! We then made our way back to the vehicles and enjoyed a trailgaiting style breakfast just before the rains came... again.

After breakfast we made our way across the heart of the highest elevation county on the east coast, stopping of course for coffee in the middle, and made our way to our second trailhead of the day — just across the county line off Highway 209. After sorting through our gear and crushing a #foodforadventure’s signature tailgate salad bar we crushed the 2.5 mile hike up to the Cabins at Sandy Mush Bald — pausing for a creekside course in adventure writing skills — and settled in to our mountaintop situation!

After exploring the amenities at the cabins (i.e. hot shower and wood stove fired foraged-teas) we enjoyed another wonderful meal of veggie soup and garlic bread — we’re certainly eating well these days! After dinner it was time to hoof it up the half-mile and 500’ of elevation gain to the top of the pastoral “Big Bald” for sunset! We were inspired by a previous ENO Hammocks post to live the high life by setting up a hammock on top of a mountain! So, we brought their Nomad setup along and fully relaxed, laughed and captured some all time shots of the not-so-serious situation! Our golden hour never came to fruition so we hustled back down the hill for a fireside ukulele session and fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert! A fitting end to another fine day in Appalachia...

Photo of one incredible meal by Food For Adventures

Content Creators Camp - Day 3

Day 3 would have been a total wash without the Cabins at Sandy Mush Bald. We woke up early for sunrise, eternally optimistic, but fully surrounded in a cloud of mist. With no light to work with we reached deep into the bag and borrowed a trick from an ol' friend and true light in the darkness, Seth Orme. By incorporating an old oil lantern into the scene -- Seth was famous for doing so during his time as winter caretaker at the Leconte Lodge -- we made moody magic and salvaged the morning!

After the lackluster sunrise we began our standard coffee regiment and feasted on the combined breakfast efforts of Food For Adventures and the #cabinsatsandymushbald crew. With full stomachs and an entire day ahead of us we fully gathered ourselves, and then went to work. Throughout the day editorial legend Shannon Davis dropped a wealth of information around the overall approach to writing and explored adventure narratives before giving us a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of adventure media! Later in the day, Shannon and Steven explored the pitch process together and guided everyone through a networking strategy session before breaking out into a free flow work session.

Although we dreamed of being bathed in golden light we were drenched with steady showers throughout the day. But, as is often the case, we couldn’t initially see the forest through the trees and it turned out that a 24hr rain delay was exactly what we needed. There seemed to be more like 100hrs in this day. Removed from our daily lives and immersed in the experience we were able to brainstorm new ideas, work on our post-processing approach for photos and free-write in a relaxation induced flow state. It turned out to be one of the most memorable days yet for #TheAAC. We started the day out as friends but we set down to dinner as a family. A modern family discussing algorithms and studying angles while dining on a cherrywood-smoked baked ziti prepared in an antique wood stove — compliments to the Chef and all of our fantastic guests!!!

Photo of Rose Goodbread in the long-awaited golden light

Content Creators Camp - Day 4

The morning started off just like the last — total cloud immersion. We made our peace with the situation, aided by the faint smell of fresh coffee, and decided to head inside for breakfast. But, as often is the case in life, and the chase of light, the moment you give up trying is when the moment you were looking for magically appears. For 15 glorious minutes we enjoyed the golden light that we had waited 3 days to see!!!

The clouds parted and the rising sun lit the sky with a paint by numbers type scene. We rambled around screaming, shouting and what would be known locally as “tellin’ it on the mountain” as we finally got the shots that we had been dreaming of. Those fifteen minutes felt like 10 seconds, yet, it almost seems like the moment hasn't ended — that’s the beauty of capturing those moments on camera!

The clouds quickly settled back in on us and we settled down on the porch for a zen yoga experience by Rose Goodbread followed by Shannon's synopsis of the catalog of knowledge he dropped during the trip. He even offered to walk everyone through a practice pitch and editorial process for the story of their choice — now that's a value added proposition! We slow played the 2.5 mile walk down the Newfound mountains sensing the inevitable parting of ways at the trailhead with our newfound friends. But shared experiences like this forge lasting friendships and we will adventure again and continue to keep in touch!

Thanks for following along on our adventure. Our next Content Creators Camp is September 16-19 in colorful Colorado -- take a minute to read what our guests had to say about our inaugural camp and hit us up if you would like to come be a part of the next experience!

Photo of Jessie Johnson shooting sunrise at Content Creators Camp

This thoughtfully curated experience allowed me to step away from life's daily demands and focus on improving my photography and writing skills, and soak up Steven and Shannon's deepknowledge of the outdoor indusrty. The group teaching sessions, individualized instruction and informal conversations were each uniquely valuable. they provided us with resources to continue to improve our creative process after the camp ended. I highly recommend this experience!"
~Jessie Johnson~ @epicweekendadventures

Photo of Danielle Johnson taking in the morning view at Content Creators Camp

"While jokingly referred to as "Influencers' Camp", this weekend delivered so much more than that -- educationally, experientially, and inspiration wise. We went deep, and laughed endlessly. Steven Shannon and Lee offered so much of themselves and their crafts to not only push us forward in our work, but also create community together in the process."
~Danielle Johnson~ @dnlljnsn

Photo of Avery Hayden celebrating a joyous morning in the golden light

I can't even rank my excitement from new friendships to new knowledge. I know I will be reminiscing for years to come." and "I am feeling immensely refreshed and reinspired after learning so much from Shannon and Steven."
~Avery Hayden~ @goaverywhere


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