From luxury tent-camping to glacier hiking, here are the best ways to have fun in the Western wilderness
Biggest problem: Portable toilets with long lines.
The solution: Bring your own RV.
Where’s the money? Not here—it’s a “gift economy” except for the coffee at Center Camp Café.
Not the weather, not the hiking, not the job opportunities. No, this is why you, and everyone before you, came West: freedom. You want to be able to get naked, do drugs, play human foosball, set up a booth where you can smell other people’s armpits. Or at least see other people do that stuff. At Burning Man, you see what happens when 50,000 people set up a city in the remote, barren, lifeless, cell-phone-service-free, windstorm-ridden playa of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert over Labor Day week and then take it completely down. You want to walk lost down apparitional streets of people in camps, pushing your way through 90° windstorms with a towel turbaned around your head, looking for the girl with the body paint and bird wings who called herself Octodaughter and somehow gave you a warm cookie at 4 a.m. the night before, the one who said she worked at Twitter or Foursquare or maybe it was a coffee shop. You want to see what a lawless culture built by forty-niners and Deadheads and cyberpunks leads to. You want to see a place so free that there’s no money, though there is still a post office, diner, coffee shop, dating service, airstrip, transportation, bars, nightclubs, and giant installation art. You want to see freaks. And if you don’t, then maybe you belong back in New England, thrilling to the surprise of discovering what people brought to your church potluck. Aug 29–Sep 5; advance tickets and extensive preparation required; burningman.com