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.
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.
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.
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.
Further afield we find other ruins amidst perfect Joshua Trees.
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.