Pacific Crest Trail (2019) 49: War of Attrition

Thursday, May 02, 2019 – 5.70 miles

Traffic on Lake Hughes Road was minimal this morning, so I didn’t try to hitch and instead walked the 2.3 miles to town. In the store, I was impressed by the friendliness of the townspeople but not the contents of the shelves, which must have reflected the fact that Lake Hughes isn’t a common resupply stop for hikers. The shop had no fuel canisters, but also no things like dried fruit, small bottles of hand sanitizer or packages of Idahoan potatoes. There were however big boxes of Idahoan. NO ONE IN ANY CAPACITY NEEDS THAT MUCH IDAHOAN. I bought cereal in place of granola, and applesauce packets in place of dried fruit. The applesauce packets are delicious, but there’s so little in each packet… The store did have a good selection of some trail foods, like beef jerky and chips, and it also had local(?) bakery items. I bought brownies and ate them as I walked to the post office, just as a hiker should eat brownies. After retrieving hand sanitizer and bars and a few other items from my bounce box, I mailed it onwards to Wrightwood.

After those chores I visited the Rock Inn, a historic building that contains a restaurant and bar with three motel rooms above. The rooms would probably be interesting, but if I’m going to pay to stay somewhere for its historical or aesthetic merits, that place is going to be Timberline Lodge. The food was nothing special for the price, but I managed to download a few audiobooks using the Wi-Fi and inform my parents that I’m not dead. I was hoping that Lake Hughes would have a nice lake to sit by, but all I ever saw of water was within the boundaries of a fence with ‘private property, no trespassing’ signs.

Back in Mojave I began seeing large numbers of painted lady butterflies, but those numbers have exploded near Lake Hughes. As I walked down the road, dozens were floating around or resting on bordering bushes at any given time. Occasionally I saw injured butterflies flopping around on the road shoulder, but I didn’t have the heart to kill them.

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Painted lady

The butterflies may like this scrubby country but it’s not easy to camp in, and I had difficulty finding a campsite today. I saw a small tent site within what was essentially one big hedge stretching across an infinity of hills, but it featured some evidence of a cathole.

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The hedge

Suppressing my rage in order to issue some cathole advice to future hikers, there have been numerous roads when the PCT has passed through this type of country, so walk along a road to get away from the trail, then push your way through the bushes as far as you can.

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I ended up cowboy camping in a clear spot on a spur. I want my tent… I want to change my clothes in the manner of a civilian, not a ninja… another mosquito has appeared. Mosquito the second. It’s a war of attrition.

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