Video: Burning Man 2011

Burning Man 2011 has come to an end. Friends of mine who attend every (single) year are home from the journey, spiritually awakened, refreshed, and tan. That seems to be how most Burning Man folk return back to their respective homes once the festivities are over with. Burning Man is a week-long event held every year in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. It’s called ‘Burning Man‘ because a giant effigy built from wood is burned at the festival. 50,000 people traveled to Burning Man this year from near and far. In fact, for the first time in the history of Burning Man, the 2011 festival sold out. All in all, it’s a pretty big deal. All not-so-nice stereotypes aside, I honestly would like to experience the event myself. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, check out this video. Fixed around the (what makes it so catchy?) song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes, this video gives you a little bit of insight to Burning Man 2011.

WARNING: While nobody is completely naked in this video, there is plenty of skin to be seen. Use your own discretion before playing this video in the office, in front of your small children, your green-with-envy girlfriend, and, of course, your grandmother.

Camping America’s most beautiful desert lake

In the middle of a high altitude desert completely devoid of shade, I somehow find myself setting up a tent on the beach.

At least, I think it’s a beach. There’s sand under my toes, the sound of waves lapping against the shore is no further than 10 yards from my tent flap, and between lukewarm sips from my Tecate beer can I’m able to faintly make out the scent of sea salt wafting on the breeze.

Only, I’m not on the coast. I’m in Nevada, 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean, on the shores of one of the few remaining salt lakes in the entire country. Furthermore, this is the desert, a place that only receives 7 inches of rain a year and is synonymous with exceptional dryness and heat.

Yet here I sit, tailgate facing the water and beach chair firmly planted in the sand, wondering if there is a reason why I’m the only one here.

%Gallery-131840%At 3,800 elevation and over an hour from the nearest urban center (Reno), Pyramid Lake is regarded by many to be the nation’s most beautiful desert lake. Covering a swath of 188 sq. miles of desert, the lake is 1/10 the size of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, yet due to its greater depth actually contains 25% more water. And yes, it’s salty, with the water containing about 1/6 the salt of regular ocean water.

As the terminus of the Truckee River which flows from higher, cleaner, and far more popular Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake retains an aura of tranquility and calm that’s lost on its famous neighbor. While other notable Nevada lakes such as Tahoe and Lake Mead swell with weekend partygoers and well-heeled recreationalists, it’s still possible to find a sliver of sand on Pyramid Lake where the only semblance of movement is the sun sinking below the distant horizon.

Set entirely within the boundaries of the Paiute Indian Reservation, Pyramid Lake is also a renowned spot for fish-hungry anglers looking to go home with a filet and a photo. In addition to the various species of trout that populate the lake (many of which are caught by fisherman sitting in the shallows of the lake in strangely concocted fishing chairs that look curiously like glorified lifeguard stands), Pyramid Lake is the only place on the planet known to contain the critically endangered cui-ui fish.

At the general store in the town of Sutcliffe, a local, non-Indian woman sporting a “Charter Member of the Piss and Moan Club” t-shirt is criticizing the recent move by the Paiute to close certain sections of the lake to non-tribal members. Due to various instances of graffiti found on sacred sites along the lake’s eastern shore, the tribe has taken the drastic measure of closing these sections to the general public.

These sites include the pyramid shaped rock structure 19th century explorer John Fremont incorporated into the lake’s name when in 1844 he became the first Westerner to lay eyes upon the lake. For the next 16 years, Pyramid Lake would be at the center of the tensions between native Paiute tribes and the hordes of American prospectors looking to strike it rich in silver, lumber, whiskey, and gold. Finally coming to a head in 1860, over 70 early settlers would be killed in a botched attack on the Paiute Tribe in what would infamously be the Pyramid Lake War. A full account of the reservation and the cultural history is available by visiting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor Center in the town of Nixon.

Camping permits for the reservation and Pyramid Lake are available for $9/night at either the Nixon General Store or by advance purchase online, so for less money than the minimum bet at the Vegas craps table, you can have the finest piece of beachfront property Nevada has to offer. The sunsets even come free.

BBC mapping tool Dimensions creates unique mashups

Ever wondered about the size of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome? Or the how long the infamous Running of the Bulls route is in Spain? The BBC has a great new mapping tool, called Dimensions, to help give visitors and interesting perspective on these unique sights, historical marvels and famous events. Dimensions drops the outline of famous cities, tourist hot-spots and historical points of interest onto a Google Maps view of any postal zip code, creating a uniquely personal context for these well-known places.

To give Dimensions a try, stop by the BBC’s new website, over at You’ll be presented with nine different topics to map, pulled from a mix of news topics and places: The War on Terror, Space, Depths, Ancient Worlds, Environmental Disasters, Festivals, The Industrial Age, World War II Battle of Britain and Cities in History. As you browse the various choices, dropping the maps onto your hometown, unique insights come to light. For instance, who knew the camp at Nevada’s Burning Man Festival was bigger than the Chicago Loop? Or that the circumference of the Moon is about as big as the entire United States?

BBC Dimensions isn’t just a fun toy. Taken in the larger context of journalism and travel, it represents an innovative way to put news stories and tourist destinations in perspective. Our experience of the world is ultimately derived from what we know. By helping us understand important places in a new way, BBC Dimensions makes the abstract something more than mere stories in a newspaper or photos in a guidebook. A new type of map to help us make sense of the world.

Gadlinks for Friday 10.16.09

Another Friday is upon us here at Gadling, and after that balloon kid fiasco yesterday, which also happened to be Blog Action Day, I think we need a good few days of rest. So cuddle up with these cool weekend reads and enjoy what I hope will be a drama-free weekend!

‘Til Monday, have a great weekend!

More Gadlinks HERE.

Five great ways to get naked around the world

With Nude Recreation Week just behind us, TripAdvisor has announced the top five naked events in the country. So, whether you like to wet your willie while skinny dipping or prefer to bike in the buff, you have plenty of choices to hang your wang.

Biking in the Buff: World Naked Bike Ride – Worldwide, June and July
This one just ended, but put it on your calendar for next year. Since 2004, bikers from around the world have converged to protest our car-driven culture. Show some skin for what you believe in!

Daring Dip: AANR World Record Skinny Dip – Across North America, July 2009
More than 12,000 people set a record by wearing nothing but water in July, creating the world’s largest skinny dip. Everyone had to be shoulder-deep, which I imagine was easier on the eyes in some cases … and disappointing in others.

Maslin Madness: Nude Beach Olympics – Maslin Beach, Australia, January
You have time to plan for this! Maslin is Australia’s first official nude beach, so you can take part in history as you stumble along in the three-legged race (feet, mind you, are joined).

Barely Bulls: Running of the Nudes – Pamplona, Spain, July
PETA’s “Running of the Nudes” is meant to protest bullfighting, but it doesn’t have to be political. Free your body from that fabric prison, and mingle with the few hotties you can find at these types of event. One TripAdvisor traveler admits, “I was shocked but entertained because everything was jiggling around and flopping around, if you know what I mean.”

Share Some Skin: Burning Man – Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August – September
This is an American classic, billing itself as a retreat for self-expression, creativity and community. Burning Man attracted almost 50,000 people to the Black Rock Desert in 2008, many of them getting service without shirts or shoes.