Lost Horse Mine Overnight

Even in the sultry warmth of the Mojave, we struggle with a strong impulse to stay in the nest rather than go outside. When we force ourselves to pack for an overnight outing “for our own good”, events seem to conspire against us. I’m late finishing my work, we get distracted replacing a sleeping pad, and finally we start pulling out light bulbs when it looks like our truck dome light isn’t going to turn itself off as usual. When we do get on the trail it soon becomes obscure and Ann takes over navigation by GPS as daylight retreats.

Juniper Flats Trailhead

Faint Trail Navigation

We end up just a few miles in, right in a narrow canyon with no spot big enough for us to sleep together. Ann puts up a single-wide tent pitch while I heat some dinner and prepare to sleep out with the snakes. Then the sky turns pink and a sliver of moon shines down on us, and we’re kind of glad we forced the outing.

Pink sky over Hidden Valley

Skinny Moonset

In the morning things feel easier again, and we make our way easily through the burn area of a 2009 wildfire to the remains of the Lost Horse mine.

Hiking warm, snow on the horizon

Lost Horse Mine Road

Burn Area

The Lost Horse mine was one of the few successful gold and sliver mines in the area. Named by prospector Johnny Lang after his horses were stolen, it operated until 1931.

Ann by Lost Horse Mine

Lost Horse Mine

Further afield we find other ruins amidst perfect Joshua Trees.

Chimney and Bed

A fine Joshua Tree

To make a full loop from the backpacker trailhead, we have to walk a stretch of paved road. As a consequence we see something that I’m sure no one driving on this road sees – the grave of the Lost Horse mine owner Johnny Lang.

A final leg on the road

John Lang's Grave

5 responses to “Lost Horse Mine Overnight”

  1. YOU LIKE SLEEPING OUT WITH THE SNAKES. This was the best hike! I felt tired and sunburned and yummy and it was so beautiful the whole way.

  2. Very nice synopsis / commentary. The pics are great as well. Good job on the grave thing especially.

    You ever see a rattlesnake in the winter?? I have seen one baby sidewinder. Aside from that, nada.

    You get out to the east / south east part of the park yet? It’s intriguing for sure. I’ve just driven the highways out there and it looks pretty cool.

    I like Ann’s comments as well.

    Well, s’pose that is it.

  3. Thanks Ted – that may be the nicest comment you’ve ever left here, you must be worried about us!

    I don’t remember ever seeing a rattlesnake in the winter, but at the Arizona sonoran desert museum they said there’s no “rattlesnake season” (down there, at least) unless it’s all year long.

    The lost palms oasis outing we did was our furthest southeast, and it was one of the best. I am curious about the wilderness even further east – no trails on the map there.

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