May on the playa...

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
FilXeno
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May on the playa...

Post by FilXeno » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:16 pm

Hey,

I've been camping on the playa many times, and a few friends and I planned a trip in mid May. It just dawned on me, though, that I've never been there in late spring--only in fall. So, I understand that It may be impassable at that time of year.

Does anybody know if the playa is usually dry enough to camp/drive on my May 15th ish?
Or is is still a goopy mess?

thanks!
-Fil

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ygmir
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Post by ygmir » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:22 pm

If you can wait, I'll be able to tell you around the end of May.............
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¡Niers!
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Post by ¡Niers! » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:56 pm

Impassable schmassable.
If there's a will there's a way.
Park your car and hike in if you don't have a monster truck.
Or you could just haul in some gravel and drive on that...........it IS public land, after all....rape it!

On a serious note, leave the fuckin' place alone and camp somewhere else.
Isn't it enough that 50,000+ people go there every year enough? Shit, there's plenty of desert out there that a man can die of dehydration in.
Go explore! Utah is full of Mormons, spread the word!

FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:00 pm

¡Niers! wrote: On a serious note, leave the fuckin' place alone and camp somewhere else.
Isn't it enough that 50,000+ people go there every year enough? Shit, there's plenty of desert out there that a man can die of dehydration in.
Go explore! Utah is full of Mormons, spread the word!
It just so happens that this is the best dehydrating land there is, and it's only about 1.5 hours from my house.

I guess I'll have to invest in a monster truck. 8)

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¡Niers!
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Post by ¡Niers! » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:11 pm

How about Alkali Lake, which is only a bit NW of BRC. Let's not abuse what we have been allowed to use for so many years. I'm sure Alkali Lake is just as harsh but not as known and used. Leave the Playa alone for the remainder of the year. We risk our permit if we don't.

FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:15 pm

¡Niers! wrote: We risk our permit if we don't.
I don't think that's true.
People have been camping on the land far before Burning Man was around. And many others use it as well. Just because the Festival is held on a fraction of the land doesn't put it off limits to all other use.

As far as Alkali Lake goes, I'll check into that too.

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oneeyeddick
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Post by oneeyeddick » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:24 pm

Not only should you go camping out there, you should make a bonfire on the open playa.
Thats what the rest of the people usually do, the rest of the year...there's no reason at all not to.
Also feel free to hang out in the frog pond, as you can't during the event any more.
We have an obligation to make space for everyone, we have no obligation to make that space pleasant.

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Post by Playa Tom » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:45 pm

I was on the playa Easter Sunday and drove around a little. By the middle of May most of the playa will be drivable, just be a little careful. The basic rule of driving on the playa is, if you're kicking up a cloud of dust the playa is ok to drive on, if you are not raising dust it is wet and you are in danger of getting stuck.
While you are welcome to camp on the playa there are better places to camp in the area the Friends of the Black Rock can give you lots of valuable info.

FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:54 pm

Playa Tom wrote:I was on the playa Easter Sunday and drove around a little. By the middle of May most of the playa will be drivable, just be a little careful. The basic rule of driving on the playa is, if you're kicking up a cloud of dust the playa is ok to drive on, if you are not raising dust it is wet and you are in danger of getting stuck.
While you are welcome to camp on the playa there are better places to camp in the area the Friends of the Black Rock can give you lots of valuable info.
Awesome, thanks for the help.
The Dust thing is a great Rule of Thumb.

When camping anywhere (playa or not), I know to LNT.
-Fil

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¡Niers!
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Post by ¡Niers! » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:02 pm

Well, whatever.....let's all just go there whenever we want.
Hell, maybe we should just open up a 7-11. I'm sure the town of Gerlach would love it.
I have friends that live in the area. They live there cause it's quiet, and nobody comes around. Isn't 2 months out of a year enough? If not, I don't know how encouraging year-round camping is helping Bmorg keep up the permits.

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oneeyeddick
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Post by oneeyeddick » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:17 pm

¡Niers! wrote:Well, whatever.....let's all just go there whenever we want.
It's great to be an American, isn't it.

Hell, maybe we should just open up a 7-11. I'm sure the town of Gerlach would love it.
Actually...they would love it.
I have friends that live in the area. They live there cause it's quiet, and nobody comes around.
I think they probably live there because they work there
Isn't 2 months out of a year enough? If not, I don't know how encouraging year-round camping is helping Bmorg keep up the permits.
What does that have to do with Bmorg permits ??
There was and always will be camping in the area, regardless of "Bmorg"
I will also be camping out there next month, and in June, and in July, and probably in August and September also.

If you lived in Reno also, you probably would too.

Where do you think we have our regionals.........In downtown Reno ? 8)
We have an obligation to make space for everyone, we have no obligation to make that space pleasant.

FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:20 pm

I edited this post, because I pretty much had the same thing written as 1eyeDick.

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phil
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Post by phil » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:54 pm

Another tip I got from someone:

If you're driving down the playa and you find yourself having to give it more gas, start making a wide U-turn cuz you're gonna bog down - you're driving into a puddle.

I was driving along in July and found I couldn't keep my speed, so I did the wide turn and escaped.

FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:45 pm

Alright, good to know.

I was camping out there on Halloween. the forecast showed no rain...but sure enough, I awoke at 2am to a downpour. The Drive out was nothing short of 'Scary as Hell."
Lucky we got out early, too...It rained off an on for 3 days after.

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Post by wedeliver » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:53 am

Burners are not the only people who use the Black Rock Desert...

[quote]Rocketry
The Black Rock Desert is a mecca for rocket launching enthusiasts. Several amateur rocket clubs, including Aeropac, use the Black Rock Desert Playa as a launching site because of its remoteness, good sight distance and good weather.

At least three different rocketry clubs conduct launches and campouts on the Black Rock Desert Playa each year.

The current altitude record for amateur rocketry was set by the Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT) on May 17, 2004, when its “Go Fastâ€
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Post by Boijoy » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:42 am

I understand there is very good camping if you take the fork from Gerlac left instead of right toward BRC. Also, there are fire pits already set up from previous campers. If you are heading along the side to camp & see tires on the ground, turn around, those are left as markers as a warining for sand traps? Stop in Brunos. They will give you some good camping advice. :-)
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FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:01 pm

Thanks!

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:36 pm

General advice for any year -- end of May on the playa you might find muddy ground anywhere along the east or west margins due to water seepage from the major side canyons. Also, northeast of the 12-Mile playa entrance a shallow lake often forms from the outflow from the Quinn River. The extent of this lake varies with daily snowmelt and wind patterns -- friends of mine have reported it moving a mile or two overnight from the east side of the playa toward the west. The west side playa road is usually passable in May along most of its length, but you still have to watch out for wet spots.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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wedeliver
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Post by wedeliver » Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:02 am

Bob wrote:General advice for any year -- end of May on the playa you might find muddy ground anywhere along the east or west margins due to water seepage from the major side canyons. Also, northeast of the 12-Mile playa entrance a shallow lake often forms from the outflow from the Quinn River. The extent of this lake varies with daily snowmelt and wind patterns -- friends of mine have reported it moving a mile or two overnight from the east side of the playa toward the west. The west side playa road is usually passable in May along most of its length, but you still have to watch out for wet spots.

If your vehicle gets stuck or breaks down in this area you could die. Nobody else is going to drive down that road for 2 weeks, you might see buzzards in the sky in the late afternoon, that will be the only other sign of life, besides the ever blowing breeze. The key words in the correct statement above are...


"The west side playa road is usually passable in May along most of its length, but you still have to watch out for wet spots"

It is in those wet spots that even the most seasoned local finds themselves at times. Not fun, make sure you have told people of your route.

Memorial day and after things are better, there are more people to help those stranded and things have mostly dried out by then. This year thats May 25th

In the last few years there have been little art pieces left from real life in the open playa area of Black Rock City. I remember one pretty good sized distrubance on the ground last year, you could see the evidence of a vehicle that was stuck and the foot prints of the occupant leaving the vehicle heading south.
was camping out there on Halloween. the forecast showed no rain...but sure enough, I awoke at 2am to a downpour. The Drive out was nothing short of 'Scary as Hell."
Lucky we got out early, too...It rained off an on for 3 days after.
LUCKY, you think?
Another tip I got from someone:

If you're driving down the playa and you find yourself having to give it more gas, start making a wide U-turn cuz you're gonna bog down - you're driving into a puddle.

I was driving along in July and found I couldn't keep my speed, so I did the wide turn and escaped.
Which direction you make that U-Turn can make all the difference.

Do Not Camp on the lake bed during the rainy season is the best advice. A 10 minute downpour can make any movement impossible. So camp no more the 5 minutes from the road.
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Post by BitterDan » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:08 am

If not, I don't know how encouraging year-round camping is helping Bmorg keep up the permits.
You're crazy. There is no risk of losing our permit because some dude went camping on BLM land where hundreds of off-road enthusiasts drive thier vehicles at top-speed, leave their trash, drain their oil on the playa, etc. It is totally legal and there is nothing wrong with you going to the playa and the BLM isn't going to pull any BM permits because of it.
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:06 pm

Camping per se has nothing to do with Burning Man, but volunteering with the BLM on camping trips might.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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LostinReno
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Re: May on the playa...

Post by LostinReno » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:49 pm

FilXeno wrote:Hey,

I've been camping on the playa many times, and a few friends and I planned a trip in mid May. It just dawned on me, though, that I've never been there in late spring--only in fall. So, I understand that It may be impassable at that time of year.

Does anybody know if the playa is usually dry enough to camp/drive on my May 15th ish?
Or is is still a goopy mess?

thanks!
-Fil
Since you live here too, you know that we've had a wetter year this year than last, that aside we camped out there mid May last year and it was fine, cold as hell at night, but it was dry as a bone.
Image

FilXeno
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Post by FilXeno » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:04 pm

Yeah, it has been a bit wetter.
Maybe I'll just drive out there one of these days before hand.
Thanks for all the tips
-Fil

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Post by EspressoDude » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:16 pm

anyone ever try getting unstuck using a come-along, couple hundred feet of cable and a BOAT ANCHOR ??

Image
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oneeyeddick
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Post by oneeyeddick » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:17 pm

We are going out there this weekend, to burn a memorial for Caleb(Shooter) Schaber.

hopefully, it doesn't end up looking like this.

Image
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EspressoDude
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Post by EspressoDude » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:21 pm

If that gal is along, it just might ..........
Is 4 shots enuff? no foo-foo drinks; just naked Espresso
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Post by EspressoDude » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:21 pm

If that gal is along, it just might ..........

light one for me too
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oneeyeddick
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Post by oneeyeddick » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:37 pm

sure thing..........
We have an obligation to make space for everyone, we have no obligation to make that space pleasant.

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Post by TomServo » Tue May 05, 2009 11:58 am

well it's almost mid-May. Have been out in April. and parts of the playa were still under water. At 4th of juplaya a couple years ago, a DPW vehicle got stuck in the mud..and that was july. I think as long as you use the eastern road up and camp on the edge of the playa you'll be fine. Eastern road has a spur that goes over the tracks and out to the playa..... just past the frog pond..
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geospyder
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Post by geospyder » Tue May 05, 2009 1:21 pm

Was up in Gerlach yesterday doing Child ID at the Gerlach Health and Literacy Fair. I didn't venture onto the Playa but I could see it was dark in a lot of places. Dark is not good when driving. Dark becomes stucky real fast.
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