Photos from the third annual Firefly Gathering

Far from Asheville’s Bele Chere festival, an intimate group assembled in the woods at Camp Pinnacle in Hendersonville for the third annual Firefly Gathering. The four-day retreat, held Thursday through Sunday, July 22-25, offered hands-on workshops focusing on various primitive skills, such as fire making, trapping land animals and water critters, wilderness emergency care, African bow-and-arrow making, buckskin sewing and clothing design, butchery, seed-saving techniques, blacksmithing, wild-food foraging and medicinal herbs.

The forest of Camp Pinnacle, equipped with small wood cabins, a covered gym and campsites galore, established an ideal setting for the gathering. Participants cooked over roaring fires at the communal and primitive kitchens built especially for the occasion, attended morning and afternoon classes under poplar and oak trees, swam in Wolfe Lake and danced to live music performed in the evenings. Read more about the Firefly Gathering here.

At Sunday evening’s closing circle, event coordinator Natalie Bogwalker spoke to the success of the gathering as a whole, expressing gratitude for the enthusiasm and energy that the community brought to the land. She then reading the following aloud: “I’ve been approached by several people who told me that the Firefly Gathering has drastically changed their lives. That is exactly our intention, to inspire people to deepen and expand their connection to the natural world. We come together to share and learn skills that may help us to survive, but our hope is to foster the ability to thrive.”

Here are a few photos from the Firefly Gathering taken on Sunday, July 25.

Morning Circle

“Weeds, Woodslore & Useful Wild Plants”

Leather shop

Goat farming

Crosscut saw

Building a temporary shelter with natural resources


Wolfe Lake

Firefly butterfly

Photos by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
Aiyanna grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was educated at The Cambridge School of Weston, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oxford University. Aiyanna lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she proudly works for Mountain Xpress, the city’s independent local newspaper.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

2 thoughts on “Photos from the third annual Firefly Gathering

  1. tyler Holmes

    This gathering was fantastic, a highlight of my summer break from college. Unfortunately, the world is in a state of high stress. In the coming time, it is imperative to reinvent our modern society with the creation of smaller and more self sufficient communities. Through thinking big and acting local, we can reduce the stress that industrialization has caused. Down with monopoly! Support local industry, support local agriculture, support local schools, support your direct community. Shake stranger’s hand and pet your neighbor’s dog!
    Start by reconnecting with the sacredness of Earth and yourself! Feed your creative mind by learning some primitive skills at the FIREFLY GATHERING!!!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.