Burning Man Off to Late Start After Rain Soaks Desert

PHOTO: People set up camp near Pyramid Lake along with other Burning Man attendees who were unable to enter the festival which was delayed due to heavy rains, Aug. 25, 2014, in northeast of Reno, Nev.
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Burning Man attendees who were stranded overnight after torrential rains soaked the desert are finally being let inside the festival this morning.

Hundreds of festival-goers were turned away and forced to spend the night in parking lots miles away after roads leading to the entrance gate were closed on Monday. Downpours had turned the normally dry grounds of Nevada's Black Rock Desert, where the festival takes place, into a muddy mess.

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“We’re just trying to stay positive,” a festival-goer who identified herself only as “Driftwood” said while killing time outside Walmart in Reno on Monday. “Positivity can raise everything up.”

PHOTO: Jeff Difabrizio, left, and Jahliele Paquin of Yellowknife, Canada, load up provisions in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, Aug. 25, 2014, in Reno, Nev., on their first trek to Burning Man.
Scott Sonner/AP Photo
PHOTO: Jeff Difabrizio, left, and Jahliele Paquin of Yellowknife, Canada, load up provisions in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, Aug. 25, 2014, in Reno, Nev., on their first trek to Burning Man.

Other so-called Burners were equally optimistic about the delay.

“You take it as it comes,” said Mark Vanlerberghe, whose RV was also parked at the Walmart. “You’re going to the desert and you know there’s weather to deal with. I guess that’s part of being a Burning Man. Don’t get stressed about it.”

More than a hundred vehicles bound for Burning Man were parked across the street, in the parking lot of a resort casino.

Aerial photos showed thousands of vehicles stranded in the desert.

PHOTO: Travelers en route to Burning Man parked more than 100 recreational vehicles at a Wal-Mart and the Grand Sierra Resort Casino in Reno, Nev.
Scott Sonner/AP Photo
PHOTO: Travelers en route to Burning Man parked more than 100 recreational vehicles at a Wal-Mart and the Grand Sierra Resort Casino in Reno, Nev.

The chaos even prompted its own hashtags on Twitter: #strandedman and #soggyman.

But this morning, the festival finally opened, and people packed up their camps once more to head to the desert. The gate opened at 6 a.m. local time, according to Burning Man's Twitter account. Revelers eager to get inside sounded off on social media, posting photos of the sunrise and telling friends that they're on their way.

Burning Man takes place in the Black Rock Desert, about 100 miles north of Reno. Last year, 68,000 people attended the festival, known for its policy of banning cash transactions and setting a giant effigy on fire during the final night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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