While thousands experience the Black Rock on a decorated bike, through tinted goggles, while the loud hum of techno music culminates in the torching of a large wooden man, it’s nothing like the playa really is sans costume and party over Labor Day weekend.
University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Professor of Art Peter Goin knows.
Goin, who has gone to Burning Man almost every year since it started as a small art festival in San Francisco in the 1980s, has documented both party and peace as a renowned photographer and videographer. Nominated for an Emmy for a documentary on Burning Man, Goin has had his work exhibited in more than 50 museums internationally and nationally.
He is also a prolific writer, having coauthored numerous books, including “Black Rock,” a lavish 300-page glimpse into the unique landscape.
Goin has experienced Burning Man in costume and in the quiet.
He shared 10 things people might not know about the photogenic landscape 120 miles north of Reno.
1. The Black Rock Desert can be sufficiently quiet and still that you may be able to hear your heartbeat and/or your blood flow throughout your veins but from outside the planet Earth it is still visable. .
2. Mammoths used to roam the Black Rock Desert between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.
3. Petroglyphs near Winnemucca Lake were carved approximately 14,000 years before the present era.
4. The Black Rock Desert was once part of a large inland sea now named Lake Lahontan.
5. The Black Rock Desert is a National Conservation Area offering a multitude of performances, events, rock collecting, hunting, camping, hiking, horseback riding, off-road driving and wind sailing.
6. The Summit Lake Reservation is part of the Black Rock Desert. This Paiute reservation is the most remote Indian reservation in Nevada. Vehicle passage for all vehicles, private or government, requires a special permit that costs $100. Evidence of Basque arborglyphs remain throughout the reservation’s forested lands.
7. The Black Rock Desert has been the site of several land speed records. The world land speed record title is held by Andy Green, who reached 714.144 mph in his ThrustSSC in 1997.
8. Fly Geyser in Hualapai Flat is a travertine mound that was accidentally made by humans.
9. Gerlach, gateway to the playa and the Black Rock Desert, was founded in 1906, when construction began on the Feather River Route of the Western Pacific Railroad. The route connected Oakland, Calif., and Salt Lake City.
10. Dooby Lane, also known as Guru Road, northeast of Gerlach, is approximately 1.25 mile of rocks with carved and poetic sayings, quotes, observations and other pithy comments by the now deceased DeWayne Williams. Williams, a Gerlach resident, wrote the sayings on rocks for several years.