September 2006. On the Playa in the Black Rock Desert, in the talc-like dust, gather wannabe tribe members of the annual Burning Man Festival. I did not go. Rather, Lynn and I watched the 'burn' on Saturday night, September 2 from 10 miles away and 4000 feet above the Playa on Granite Peak. With Lynn being a resident of Empire he could have gotten us in for relatively cheap compared to the $300+ normal entry fee. But after seeing the trails of huge RVs, some pulling generators or SUVs, I decided that it's something I don't need. I'm sure that there exists an element of the original honorable rebellious intent and the vibrant irreverence that gave the festival birth years ago on a beach in San Francisco. And I'm sure that some of the art is still relevant. But the event has bloated into a gaudy baroque of a flamboyantly overblown attempt at forced hipness. It is a temporary Las Vegas. It is KOA on steroids and acid. Lynn and I drove the Rhino for 6 hours up, over, and around the Granite Peak area north, northwest of Empire/Gerlach until we found a perfect, nearly level promontory at about 8000 feet to camp on. And from there watched the lights and the burn and the UFOs.
The desert is deep loneliness. That is how I prefer to leave it and to experience it
The drive home through the Warner Mountains and Modoc County. Photos in the movie below includes shots of Surprise Valley on the east side of the Warner, the stream, one of a couple where I stopped to splash a fresh chill on my face, and the tree that was blocking the road but whichI was able to lift it out of the way enough to get around.