We had decided to take a much-needed break after our long first day along the Mojave Road. At the end of our first day we had found ourselves at Camp Phallus and as it was at a noticeably cooler altitude decided that would be a good spot. I planned on catching up on some reading and Willow, as always, planned on sniffing as many millimeters of the camp as possible and keeping the local fauna on its toes.
We awoke early and took a few photos with the orange glow of the morning sun beginning to color the hillsides that surrounded the camp.
Breakfast prep, consumption and cleanup were all uneventful. Just as we finished though we heard an unpleasant sound that was obviously getting closer and rapidly increasing in volume. Right as we noticed the rays of direct sunshine creeping closer we figured out that the noise was linked to the sun. It was the noise of millions of insects beginning their day. Flies, lots and lots of flies descended upon our camp like a plague from some fictional story and set about making themselves at home. Plus, being the desert with water in high demand we had bees stopping by all day to slake their thirst in Willow’s water bowl.
Bees are good. We need more of them. Flies though…we challenge anyone to convince us that if flies disappeared off the face of the Earth overnight the ecosystem wouldn’t just breathe a sigh of relief and go on about its business with nary a misstep.
We doused ourselves with DEET spray and settled in for the assault. Several magazines still got read. Hundreds of thousands of square millimeters of the camp and surroundings were thoroughly sniffed and sometimes scent-marked by my girl. As we always do what little garbage we found around the camp left behind by previous visitors was picked up. Temperatures stayed in the upper 80’s which was a marked improvement over the day before. The insect cacophony didn’t let up until the last rays of direct sunlight drifted away from the camp at around 6pm that night. They were so noisy that at one point in the day we didn’t hear the one vehicle that arrived until it had turned that last corner into the clearing and drove up into the campsite. We could tell that they were surprised and somewhat annoyed to find us here but first come, first served people. Plus, I consider them extremely lucky and mentally considered it a consolation prize that they didn’t find me walking about au naturel as I did a couple of times when I re-applied the DEET spray. That would have been embarrassing for all of us.
So, except for the shit ton (technical unit of measurement) of flies buzzing around and all the noise they were making it was a good day. With that in mind we amusingly surmised that perhaps the name of the camp is not because of that iconic rock but because of all the dick bugs harassing us. Just a thought. Next time we’re plugging in a bug zapper.
After a nice, somewhat relaxing and relatively cool day at Camp Phallus with only the noisy bugs as a negative we decided we would pack up the next morning and continue on towards our next major destination, Marl Springs…and beyond.