Black Rock Desert - June 2016

Camping Trip

Decided to make another trip out to the Playa. As always arrived at night.

It is simply unbelievable how many Jack Rabbits are roaming around at night driving from Fernly to the 9 mile entrance to the Playa. Some of them would just hop along the road in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes as thie on dumb bunny decided to just hop along the lane. He disappeared under the fron of the car.. but popped out a few seconds later.. just taking his time wandering down the road. I had to wait for thim to decide left or right. He would go one way.. then stop.. then the other.. then stop.. took him 4 tries before he finally got out of the way. I saw so many rabits out at night.. its a miracle that I didn't hit any of them.

So, like I said.. I arrived at night so instead of setting up the tent and all, I just slept in the back of the station wagon. Completely comfortable.

The next day I set up a target and got out my .22 and decided to get it tuned up. Had not shot it for years and it took a little bit for the scope to get sited in, but once it was, I had no trouble hitting what I was aiming at. Jacketed ammo worked better then plain lead - that jammed. Like I said, the gun had not been used in years. Ate then decided to visit the hot springs.

While driving around the playa I came across the gigantic hunk of moop. It was a chunk of thich rusted wire that mush have been a quarter of a mile long. It had obviously been buried out there for years but came to the surface now. It was a driving hazard because it was in pieces that could pierce a tire if you hit it the right way. I had no way to remove it. So I documented it and drove on.

Found the first spring, no problem - Trego Hot Springs. These are on the east side of the playa, near the rail road tracks. I checked it out and decided to drive up to some of the rocks that overlook the area. While wandering around the rocks it became obvious that this was something of a party spot for people as there was evidence of recent visitation. One of those pieces of evidence was a perfectly clean glass pipe left next to one of the boulders. Playa Score. I don't smoke (anything) but I know people who do and who would be happy to have it. So.. nice.

After this I decide to drive up to Black Rock Springs. This is easy to find.. just drive toward the Black Rock, and stay a little to the west. You will hit the road (you will need 4 wheel drive) that leads to the spring, and to the road at the base of the Black Rock. I stopped by the spring (which was 110° according to the thermometer attached to the little pier there. I decide to look for a way up to the top of the Black Rock. I had heard there was a trail that lead to the top, but after driving around toward the back, I did not find it. I, instead, wandered up and down the side checking out the rocks (I used to be a rock hound) and realizing that they told a story that I just could not read. There were some crystal structures in some rocks that hinted at long ago water, but it has been so long since my rock collecting days that I can no longer read the geology of this place. Still, there are some interesting rocks to be seen.

Returning to the spring, I got confused as to the exit road. I took a wrong turn and ended up on a road that lead to the playa, but before it got there, there was a muddy patch. Now, this is important.. If you have any brain at all you do NOT DRIVE ON PLAYA MUD. You're vehical will sink and you will be stuck. I got out. I looked at the patch. It was about 50 yards of brown soil and I could see tire tracks going through it to the playa on the side. It looked like I could make it.


About 20 yards in I felt the wheels start to slip. I paniced. I stomped on the gas to keep the wheels moving and started a steering/slipping/sliding back to the road I came in on. I was so fortunate in not getting stuck.

Here is the thing. If I had gotten stuck, the only way out would be for someone with a rope to pull me out. Now, I am all the way down by the Black Rock at Black Rock Spring, and it is Sunday. It is perfectly possible that no one would show up there until the next weekend - and I would be stuck there the entire time. Water would have been no problem - I have the spring. But I didn't bring a weeks worth of food with me. I had my rifle. I had a knife. And there are plenty of Jack Rabbits, so I probably would have been okay. But my wife would have freaked out. And walking out is not an option. It is almost an hour drive at 60 MPH to get back to Gerlach. I'm not going to walk 60 miles. So. Stuck I would have been. I was very lucky.

So anyway. Now I'm looking for a way to get back to the playa so I start following this road I have never seen before that goes east around the base of the rock. Followed that for a while, but it didn't look productive, so I turned around and went back to the spring. There I saw where I went wrong. From the playa to the spring it looked like a road. From the spring to the playa, the first part just looked like a drainage area. So.. I got back out.

Having wasted a bunch of time now, I decided to forgoe Triple Hot spring and go back to Gerlach for gas (I never let it get less than half full when exploring in a desert). Gassed up and had dinner at Bruno's.

There I got to talking to a lovely couple. The guy was a verteran burner, and his girl friend was a burgin - this to be her first year. And she was a roller derby jammer. I did not know there was roller derby at Burning Man, but apparently there is - at the Roller Disco on the Esplande. She told me the rules and I made it a point to be sure to visit the roller derby at 2016 Burning Man - there are pictures of that on the other page.

After dinner, back out to the playa. Tent setup. Reading. Star gazing. The place is amazing... and I didn't set up in the middle of the playa. Last time I did that I had the strangest dreams and kept thinking that someone was driving by in the middle of the night and camping right next to me. No.. On the western edge.. away from the rail road tracks (which will feel like and earthquake if a train goes by in the night.

Next day.. Home.. but had to stop at the car wash because my little romp in the mud got mud ALL over the car. Took quite a bit to get it all off.


Photos from the desert