Old Woman Mountains


By: Greg Roach


Very Old Woman Mountain List Finish

Sixty-eight hikers and 5 canines arrived at the trailhead for the “C” route climb of Old Woman Mountain. We had all carpooled from Skeleton Pass; otherwise known as Party Headquarters, where we had all met earlier Saturday morning. This was to be no ordinary peak climb. This was Linda Mc Dermott’s 2nd DPS List Finish and Birthday Party. She had finished the DPS list for the first time on this same peak six years ago to the day, hence the name “Very Old Woman Mountain.” However, we all know Linda is very young at heart and age.

Using two-way radios, the leaders kept in contact as we monitored the groups’ progress up the rugged canyon to the southwest ridge of the summit. For some, this was their first DPS climb. At a rest stop somewhere way up the canyon, I looked back to see a lone figure at the back of the group slowly, proceeding up the canyon. Who could this be? I wondered. The person was way behind the slower hikers. I radioed back to Scot Jamison to see who the lone hiker was. “Jim Hinkley,” came the answer over the radio. Strange I thought — Jim’s a very strong hiker. “Why is he going so slowly? Is he all right?” I asked Scot. “He is carrying Linda’s Dog, Daisy” Scot answered back.

We rested as Jim soon caught up to the rest of the group, with Daisy riding contently in his backpack. Jim was fine but a little tired. Daisy, however, had hurt her paws on the rough canyon rock and kept sitting down, so Jim just picked her up and put her in his pack. She rode with Jim all the way to the summit Good thing she’s not a St. Bernard, right, Jim? Kudos to Jim for carrying the dog all the way to the summit!!! I know Linda appreciated it. Linda’s note: Jim had volunteered to stay behind with Daisy because she was having trouble with the terrain. I expected to pick them up on the way down. I kept Maggie with me because she had no problem with the uneven rocks. I was SO MOVED to see him have a little black head popping out of his backpack — heck, Daisy is over 40 pounds of pooch!! We reached the summit about 12:30 p.m., and the celebration began. Linda had recruited people to bring up ice cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, nuts, whipped cream, and other goodies. Linda and friends graciously served ice cream sundaes. Linda’s note: Kudos to Yvonne Jamison for trying to figure out how to serve 68 people all at once! I gave her the SPECIAL SCOOP — a yellow one that had been used on my first list finish. We had four ½-gallons of ice cream, all just right with the use of dry ice under the ice cream that my heroes carried to the top - HEAVY. We also had volunteer chocolate squirters, whipped cream sprayers, sprinklers and nutters. Of course there was the traditional champagne to accompany the sundaes, and we all congratulated Linda on her great accomplishment of organizing this party. Oh, something was also said about finishing the DPS List for the second time as Mirna pinned Linda with the DPS List Finish Pin. Mirna then presented Linda with a “Ladies of the Desert” Calendar she had made for Linda. The calendar featured pictures of Linda and her friends doing what they love best - enjoying nature and climbing peaks. We all signed the calendar to show Linda our love and friendship for a very special “Lady of the Desert”. OH MY — did I ever feel special on top of that peak! At my old age, I absolutely treasure the things that make me smile and laugh. Greg and Mirna are at the top of that list, always making me smile and laugh as we have our serendipitous experiences. Many, many thanks to them for not only leading the trip, but for the list finish pin, the calendar, and many other special things given to me round the campfire.

After the traditional group pictures, we descended the peak by the same route we came up except for a small group lead by Ron Hudson and Patty Rambert who explored the “D” route back down and reported it went very well as good if not better than the “C” route. Daisy, Linda’s dog, did much better on the return trip. Daisy is a city dog and kind of like an old saddle horse. She is slow to leave the comforts of home, but when you say, “Back to the barn,” she is ready to go quickly and eagerly. The last members of our group returned to the cars at 4:00 pm, and we headed back down the rough road to camp.

Once back in camp, the celebration continued. Everyone did a great job in bringing goodies to the potluck dinner. There were so many good salads, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Good comradeship enveloped the group as we enjoyed our dinner and the campfire. Because this was a special event, fireworks were also in order. Thanks, Scot. After dinner, we enjoyed songs around the campfire. Thanks for bringing your musical instruments and leading the group in song, Kathy, Audrey, and James. Mirna presented Linda with a collage of pictures and watercolor paintings by Elaine Baldwin. Ellen Grau presented Linda with a painted sign for her garden from the “Ya Ya Sisterhood” vintage. Good stories were told about past peak climbs and desert trips. Linda thanked everybody who had helped her climb all the peaks. She even presented me with some much-needed new camp chairs. I guess she didn’t understand 1 was trying to set a record for the most DPS trips any camp chairs have been on. Thanks, Linda!

Sunday morning the guys were up early. Under the leadership of Dave Baldwin, the men fixed the “Ladies of the Desert” a pancake breakfast complete with fruit, sausages, and gourmet coffee. Why, we even had mimosas. Terry Flood was the birthday girl’s personal server. He didn’t want our Guest of Honor to wait in line for her breakfast. Excellent choice, Linda - good hired help is very hard to find these days. We sang Happy Birthday while we had our breakfast.

Linda’s note: Well, I chose to be decadent — sat in a chair, collecting the nearest male to get various breakfast items for me. Special thanks to Terry — heck, once my pancake came back with a “Q” on it — I was told it was for “Queen.” Maybe Queen for a very short day! Thanks to everyone who joined us for the party and helped make it a success. Special thanks to all the newcomers who joined us. Hopefully we will see you (and everyone) again on more DPS trips. Linda’s very last note: Thanks to everyone who came and participated in this most special birthday! Thanks for all the hugs, laughter, smiles and for creating memories that will last all our lives. And no, if you missed this time, there will not be a number 3! The participant were : Pat/Dean Acheson, James Adams, Mark Adrian, Henry Arnebold, Pat Arrendondo, Dave/ Elaine Baldwin, Mike Baldwin, Sandy Houston, Ron Bartell, Christine Mitchell, EricfLori Beck, Mark Bender, David Beymer, Helfert Breanna, Bruno Geiger, Richard Carey, John Connelly, Gary Craig, Janet Damen, Devra Wasserman, Frank Dobos, Edna Erspamer, Terry Flood, David Frenkenberger, Rich Gnagy, Audrey Goodman, Gail Hanna, Sherry Harsh, Jim Hinkley, Delores Holladay, Sue Holloway, Ron Hudson, Judy Hummerich, Scot/Yvonne Jamison, Cliff Jones, Karen Boyd, Charlie Knapke, the Lakey Family, Kathy Mazur, Linda McDermott, Bob Michael, Gloria Miladin, Mitch/Kat Miller, Rayne Motheral, Ken Olson, Molly Parent, Maura Raffensperger, Patty Rambert, Barbara Reber, Jan/David Reneric, Dennis Richards, Mirna/Greg Roach, Julie Rush, Neal Scott, Brian Smith, Carol Snyder, Jaramey Snyder, Jennifer Snyder, Jan St. Armand, Steve Thaw, John Strauch, Tom Sumner, Bobcat Thompson, Judy Ware, Jim/Leslie Wheater, Jack Wickel, George Wysup, Robert Young, Bernie Millares, Ron Young.

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