Thursday, June 08, 2017

Recap: The In-Ko-Pah 4 Weekend


A few years ago, I was invited to a weird ass festival in Jacumba around the hot springs. The music was cool, but it was mostly high teenagers trying to bum booze, I was laughed at when I checked in for a press pass, and it was unbearably hot and dusty, resulting in us staying for just a few bands and returning home before sunset. If only those people had it half as together as The In-Ko-Pah.

I knew The In-Ko-Pah wasn't at the same location and found an article online to be helpful in giving us some idea where we were going. It was hotter than we expected in the desert this past weekend, and there was music, but that's where the similarities of the two events end. The In-Ko-Pah takes place at The High Desert Tower, a privately owned property in Jacumba, just north of the 8 freeway off exit 77. You know when you go somewhere or do something and you can't believe you never did it before and you kinda kick yourself? That's kinda how I was. I was just in awe the whole time, from the location to the participants to the attendees to the amenities and planning, it was just an incredible experience. I'd heard that the wind was especially brutal last year, so it was probably best that we waited to pop our cherry this year, but still, I can't believe I ever missed it. The In-Ko-Pah was an amazing experience.
Read more after the jump.


I already told you how we've never camped as a family, so we had to prepare for not knowing what to expect, meaning we had winter coats and scarves along with our lighter desert clothes. From the website, we knew we needed to bring all our own provisions, but it wasn't clear what the site was like and if we'd have to carry everything meters or miles to camp, so we tried to minimize our load.

I was proud we left only about a half hour past my planned departure of 12:30pm, and by the time we had lunch, made the hour drive and got to the parking it was 2:30, and then by the time we unloaded and loaded onto the shuttle bus, unloaded and set up camp, it was approaching 5. It's funny how you get so used to rules, when the rules are few, you don't really know what to do. It is a bit of a free-for-all at In-Ko-Pah. Later I would learn that this is because the land is privately owned, so it's not a proper campsite. This is a special one-time-a-year deal, if you can find a place to pitch your tent, it's all yours. We found a nice little spot, nooked between rocks and cacti, where we immediately tried to hydrate and take shade from the sun.


By the time we were ready to explore the event, we went straight to the tower to enjoy the breezes that blew through until we were ready to jump into the sun to catch the music from a little bit closer.

Darren and Nova exploring the sculpted rock maze


The rest of the day was just for relaxing. We watched the music, Nova played on the rocks or in the sacred canopy, we used the communal grills to fire up some hot dogs, and had so much fun seeing so many friends. There's something really special about getting out of our usual venues and spots and seeing everyone in the wild. It's also nice feeling connected by just a couple degrees of separation to everyone, as it lends people to respect property and keep the port-a-potties and bathrooms clean.

An early afternoon view from the tower

Our camp was the gray tent with the orange cover. Not taut because we're rookies. 

I was obsessed with the fowl running around the property

BFSB (Buckfast Superbee) playing in the blazing sun.

Josh Kmak, aka Creepseed, slaying the crowd with new material

I think he was flirting with me

Nova testing the yoga swing in the sacred canopy

A hen protecting her chicks in the shelter of an aloe plant


Eventually night fell, and Nova and Darren went to camp to call it a night. (Someone had to be responsible to break down the camp in the morning and it wasn't gonna be me.) I was happy to hang with friends, catch all the late night bands, and get some hang time after it was all over and winding down. It was also sweet to hang with the organizers, John and Jim, and hear all the inside scoop on what a massive undertaking it is to organize and put together. I am completely grateful to them for inviting me the past few years and glad I finally got to take them up on it.
Birdy Bardot and The Redwoods

The Archons melted faces after midnight

Jeff "Doom" of The Archons

A late night view from a distance
I was up super late, as I am just about every night, and it was pretty amazing. Particularly when the bright moon dropped behind the rock mountains and the stars completely blanketed the sky, everyone settled into their tents, and all you could hear were the insects and the quiet murmur of snores from various tents. I was pretty sad that the whole thing only lasted a day, but it was also the perfect trip to break in our camping experience. I learned a lot--like things I definitely need to pack and leave behind in the future--and it warms my heart that Nova was already asking if we're going to be able to come back in 2018.
I certainly hope so.
My early morning walk back to camp

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