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Mojave vs. Black Rock. Pick Your Poison.

Tens of thousands of us camp in the harshest deserts the west coast has to offer, and subject ourselves to a hostile environment that’s trying to kill us.

And we love it.

The Burner-adjacent crowd has a plethora of events to choose from. Focusing on just a few… you’ve got Burning Man, Juplaya and more on the Playa of the Black Rock Desert in NV, and Bequinox, Everywhen and more in the Mojave in CA.

Which horrible death is right for you?

Maybe you like the idea of boiling from the inside. You might pick The Playa. Temps can get - and stay - above 100 degrees for your entire stay. Staving off heat exhaustion and dehydration is a full time job. You will hear “When was the last time you pee’d” from your camp mates (the ones who like you, anyway). But don't worry, you could still find yourself in deep Playa without your jacket when temps dip into the 40s at night. And the dust we all love so much… you’ll be bringing plenty of that home with you. You will need several showers to get it out of your hair, and there are some things that will never, ever come clean again no matter how much vinegar you use. Or maybe you prefer suffocating? The dust storms rival any sci-fi movie, and the air is so arid, no amount of lotion or chapstick will uncrack your lips and skin. Can you say, Playa Foot?

Maybe your vibe is a slower kind of death. Being pelted by flying daggers during a windstorm, and swarmed by bees. Sure, the temps are slightly more moderate in the Mojave (but not by much) and the dust isn’t nearly as fine as the alkaline environment of The Playa, so it stays more on the ground than inside of all your orifices. But it’s both too soft for tent stakes (until you get to the clay layer that’s harder than concrete) as well as coarser because it’s ground up granite. So when there’s a wind storm, it’s not the cool looking, billowing wall coming toward you. No, this is everywhere, coming from every direction, stabbing you (and your vehicle) with painful shards of rock. (A friend had to replace his windshield after THE wicked WTF storm in October.) Oh, and the critters. The Mojave is more noticeably “alive.” Flies, bees, kangaroo mice (ok, they’re rats) and other creatures will come for your blood or your food.

But there is so much beauty in both. Those kangaroo mice are adorable and soft, there are hot springs nearby, and you might find a giant fallen tree branch for your next dream catcher. And the best part of these hostile environments? … they will break you.

With high heat, dehydration, dust storms and bug bites, you are bound to break. Everyone does at some point. When it’s all too much and you beg for a hot shower and crisp hotel sheets, you’re going to want to quit. You might throw a temper tantrum or start a fight with your campmates or partner. But once you’ve had your meltdown, that’s when you let go of the default world and remember why you came.

So, pick your poison and embrace a maddeningly magical landscape. And whether you chose desert, beach or forest… Never Ever Leave A Trace.

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