Long Hike to the Lady Jeanne in the Old Woman Mountains photos

There's just no easy way to get there. Wilderness boundaries and rugged terrain have seemingly walled off the Lady Jeanne Mine. Even if one did get there, is there anything remaining to justify the effort? Of course, without going there, we can't answer the question. We've been tempted, but this trip invariably gets pushed to the back burner. Finally, we simply can't stand it any longer. Bring it! We're ready!

The long drive from Essex up the grade to the Old Woman Mountains seems sandy and rough compared to our last visit. Soon, though, we crest the saddle and start to work our way to the trailhead for our hike. Spring is here. The wildflowers add an ephemeral splash of brilliant color to the already scenic terrain. The route that we've decided on is a compromise and a gamble. We'll try to use washes whenever possible because it's easier going than tramping through the tangle of cacti and vegetation. It's a longer route than we would like but anything shorter will involve some major mountain climbing. However, there will be one climb that will be a stern test of our resolve. In the back of our minds, the question as to whether it will be too difficult rattles around like a nasty ghost. We don't know much about the Lady Jeanne. Mining records show that the ore was high in gold with a trace of silver. A satellite image shows what might be a structure near the mine. Those are sparse facts but we'll just have to wait until we get there to find out anything else.

We park the Desert Canary next to a wilderness boundary sign and have a bite to eat. The morning air is fresh and we're filled with excitement. We expect to be gone most of the day and our water load makes for heavy packs. After our snack, we grab our hiking sticks, camera gear and get the GPS receiver going. Would you like to join us? Limber up your mouse hand, then, and get to clicking 'cause we're movin' out!


Click here for photos.