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Tepui Adventure: Black Rock Desert 2015

For our annual Lost Coast Adventure just a few weeks ago, we explored vast blue stretches of nearly untouched California waves, beaches and coastline, then moved deeper inland into towering redwoods and verdant scenery. That strip of California is highly recommended. Go there. But as the month wound on, something in us was really looking forward to the arid, wide open expanses of the Black Rock Desert, and once again this year, the desert did not disappoint.

For those who haven’t heard, the Black Rock Desert is a lush desert due to underground springs which emerge in various areas. Many are hot springs, and one we noticed hit a scalding 180 F! There is amazing off-road driving in the canyons and over the playas (near Burning Man, which, as we encountered, is akin to seeing a small city being built in the desert), vast plains with blooming flowers, awesome sunsets and equally breath-taking starry night skies. Those with Tepui Tent models with our operational sky panels, like the Kukenam Sky and the Autana Sky, really got a bonus on this trip for the late night star gazing opportunities from the comfort of their sleeping bags.

A few families joined the Tepui crew this year as we navigated our way to our eventual resting place amid modest (for the desert) temperatures ranging from mid 70s to mid 90s. Only one time as we journeyed did someone get stuck, as one our of our guys (Todd) got stuck (high centered on some silt), and we had to hook a winch up to Michael Horn’s truck to yank him out.

Once set up for the duration, the familiar comforts of camp such as good food and better company once again turned a fun exploratory foray into a truly memorable experience. Amy and her daughter practiced yoga in the morning to get the day started right, while some of us opted for a strong cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito as we watched the wildlife go about their business. Wild horses, donkeys, something akin to an antelope, lizards, eagles, and coyotes…we were far from alone!

To take in more of the inhabitants and their landscape, one day we went for a gnarly hike up to the top of some cliffs which offered great views of the windswept plains, canyons, and fascinating natural rock structures. We only encountered a few dust devils winding along, but certainly got a solid dose of dry conditions for a few days. The Tepui roof top tents held up great in high wind situations, and that wind that gave rise to a particularly fun activity which harnessed its power: kite flying. This activity entertained the younger as well as more seasoned of our group throughout the days, as well as loud rounds of rocket shooting!

As the day inevitably wound down, some seriously excellent camp food was served for the evening meals, including everything from spaghetti and meatballs to burgers, Brats, salads, grilled corn…good food… Add in spectacular sunsets and tall tales and you’ve got the right ingredients for a great trip.

Thanks again all, let’s do it again next year!

- Griffin

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