Today around noon we pulled into the garage, threw suitcases and camping equipment into a cart and high-tailed it for the elevator. I was peeling my clothes off as I put the key into the lock, opened the door to our condo, checked our messages and ran to run a bath. Home sweet home. Nothing makes me appreciate modern amenities more than rustic camping.

Over 600 people showed up for the first Great Lakes Regional Burning Man event, Lakes of Fire, in southwest Michigan. As I previously mentioned, we’ve attended the astounding, world famous Burning Man Festival in Nevada three times in the last decade. So, it seemed a great idea to join some fellow Burners for a fun weekend only a few hours away, and we’re glad we did. We reconnected with friends we’d met on the playa or shared camp with in Nevada, shook off some of the dust that has accumulated on our creative souls, loosened up our city personae a bit and just had a great time. Everyone we talked with mentioned that Lakes of Fire embodied the true spirit of Burning Man, and they also emphasized how much they enjoyed the multi-generational aspect of the event.

A lot of people came in groups and themed their camps; our camp was “Kamp Outpost” with a bit of a steam punk theme happening. Sitting on our “verandah,” I felt as if I were in some distant land, Kenya came to mind, overlooking the hills watching the sunset. A steady parade of people walked by, said hello or stopped to talk a while. At night, we turned in comparatively early (1am) to the pulsating beat of nearby dance camps.

Midwest Mayhem Dance Camp

Midwest Mayhem Dance Camp

The beat lulled me to sleep, but handsome-hunk husband had to reach for the earplugs.

Here are a few of the sights, though they don’t seem quite the same without the sounds!

Instead of a "Burning Man" effigy, Lakes of Fire featured a ship burn on Saturday night, the SS Bacon

Instead of a "Burning Man" effigy, Lakes of Fire featured a ship burn on Saturday night, the SS Bacon

During the day everyone wandered around to see the art projects, view performances or just greet old friends and meet new ones.

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We were intrigued by this vintage Canned Ham trailer. We even got a peek inside:

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In keeping with the Bacon theme of the effigy, we had Bacontinis for breakfast:

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Fire dancers just before the burning of the S.S. Bacon:

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The SS Bacon bursts into flame:

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We were part of the Whistle Works camp at our first Burning Man festival, and Whistle Works made an appearance at Lakes of Fire. The water tank is heated by logs and the steam flows through the pipes and out the whistles on the tops of the pipes in a range of very eerie sounds. I think you can make out the pipes in the foreground of this photo:

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An event like this takes a lot of coordination and dedication to pull off. My hat is off to all the talented and creative people who gathered at Lakes of Fire to blow off some steam and step away from the cares of every day life, if only for a few days.

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