Old Woman Mountains, Granite Mountains #1

April 22-23, 1989

By: Tina Stough


We had a fine group of twelve meet at 8 a.m. Saturday on the road through Danby off old hwy 66 for the climb of Old Women. (There's no sign for Danby, though highway 66 does have a sign for an intersecting road--follow the mileage indications on the Auto Club map to be sure.) Harry Feimanis was being a good Samaritan in helping a fellow with a flat tire, so he left and caught up with us later on the summit of Old Woman. We consolidated passengers in cars end drove on up to the Florence mine remains to begin the hike--two wheel drive cars made it. Our weather was comfortable, though Harry found it rather hot at the beginning when he started forty-five minutes or so later. We headed up the slope south of the mine, then southwest a bit to come up the less steep side of the point marked 1498 on the Provisional 7 1/2 minute map. From there we went down slightly to the saddle and up the ridge to the summit. We went back about the same way. Linda Landau wasn't very happy to have startled a rattlesnake. Later on the way down a rock rolled on Linda's finger, causing bleeding beneath the mashed nail but no other problems.

We stopped at Chamless for gas and beer and then headed south toward Cadiz to the intersecting power lines and followed them east several miles and then a short ways north again to an area to hunt for trilobites and other fossils in a band of shale. From there we backtracked to 66 and the Kelbaker Road north to the unsigned road in toward Cottonwood Springs. The first 1.7 miles of this road are quite good. Three roads actually go downhill into the wash for the next leg toward the springs, and the middle one of these was in the best condition. All of the cars--most of them two wheel drive--made it to our camp and back out without any problem though the road is badly rutted and titled in places and the section into or out of the wash is steep. We found an open campsite near the big rock large enough for our group and had a fine campfire and sharing of victuals. This spot is just before the road turns to 4WD on the 7 1/2 provisional topo. Sunday we were off at 7 a.m., more or less, after Richard and I fussed with the map to determine that, yes, it was as straightforward as I thought. The provisional map is a bit misleading for the location of Cottonwood Spring if one compares it with the Auto Club map. It seems that the Auto Club map is more reliable--at least there are cottonwood trees at the end of the little road shown going to the spring. The topo shows the same road, and the mileages all fit, but I didn't see signs of a spring where it is marked, though I didn't hunt. Certainly there aren't any cottonwood trees there. Often following cow paths, we went right up the canyon to the peak, passed several cattle, and enjoyed great views with a bit less haze than on Saturday. All twelve made the summit and back to the cars without incident. Other fine hikers and all-around good sports on the trip besides those mentioned were John Blanche, Martha Flores, Gene Gail, Bill Gray, Ron Grau, John Radalj, K T Shum, Bill Stevens.

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