Desert Survivors
Old Woman Wilderness Backpack
January 12-14, 2014

This would be the third attempt to find a good backpacking area in the Old Woman Wilderness. An attempt on the northwest side was found to be difficult due to steep mountain ridges and insufficient springs. The Sweetwater Wash and Honeymoon Wash in the northeast was found occupied by a herd of cattle. This trip was intended to find a reasonable road access to Painted Rock and then explore a likely backpack route.

After some searching with backing and filling, Pov, Andy, and I confirmed a reasonable 30 miles route to Painted Rock From I-40. We arrived there at twilight and saw a full moon over Painted Rock. The next morning we found several panels of petroglyphs, a small cave with pictographs, and a spring.* There was clear water in the spring pond and in the pond below a concrete and rock dam.*

Northeast of Painted Rock in the middle of that bajada there is a small game guzzler labeled, “Water for Wildlife Volunteers Rehab 2011”.* From there the Old Woman Statue was a prominent spire of the mountain ridge.*

After crossing a low ridge to Azalea Wash there were two large rock cairns and a few minutes later a single large carin.* At the end of Sunflower Road and the top of Sunflower Wash we found a cabin and mine adit that we thinks are Goldstar Mine and Cabin. The cabin was intact with a good roof and intact windows.* A building remnant made of railroad ties was nearby. We saw a phainopepla perch that was loaded with mistletoe berries attached to tree limbs.* A queen butterfly allowed a photo while on a chinchweed blossom.

At the end of a spur off of Sunflower Road at the base of the next ravine north there was another similar cabin, probably Pinyon Pine Cabin and Spring.* The spring was covered by a derelict rock and wood structure. A pipe had a slow drip of water that fell into a rectangular tank setup to overflow into two additional tanks. The first tank was about two-thirds full of clear water with a few dead bees on the surface.

We followed a road northeast then crossed a low pass into Paramount Wash where we found a mine site with derelict buildings and a hoist motor with a collapsed headframe over an open mine shaft. On the other side of a hill there was an adit that lead to a second vertical mine shaft. On concrete gateposts there were inscriptions of mine owners.

On crossing the bajada south we saw several ten inch diameter volcano shaped piles of pebbles with a one inch diameter hole.*

At Sunflower Spring there was a cattle station with several intact building and a corral. There were several springs that had been altered with concrete and pipes. All were dry.

This will make a good backpack trip. It will appear on the schedule.