OLD WOMAN MOUNTAIN (5,326'), GRANITE MOUNTAIN #1 (6,786'), ROUTE 66, AND LAUGHLIN, NEVADA January 29 to February 3, 1998

After staying in Barstow, CA, I took I-40 to attend another DPS List Completion and tour old Route 66 on this six day adventure from home. I hiked a bit in the Providence Mountains on the Crystal Springs Trail. Taking a side road from I-40, I came to old Route 66 and shot a few pictures. I made quick photos stops at Essex and Danby, CA.

Motoring into the meeting site, I bogged down a bit on sandy road, but was relieved I didn't get stuck. The party site near Skeleton Pass was well chosen. Dozens of us were there early.

The group of 60 or so carpooled into the 4WD vehicles and drove the rocky five miles to Carbonate Spring. We gathered about, and began hiking at 8:35 a.m. We broke into two groups, one fast and one slow.

I topped out at about 11 a.m., and began taking pictures. I thought this was unreal, being here for a hardly imaginable second time.

Soon, everyone had summited, and the festivities began. I shot a few more pictures, and left the group shots to the dozens of other hikers with cameras and video camcorders. Ice cream was broken out, and it was a trying moment for the organizers, with so many people.

We descended via another route. I was slow, but stayed within communication range. I was back to the jeep by 2:45 p.m., and we all straggled back in our vehicles to the main camp and party site.

Plenty of food was available, and I walked into the hills for a photo of the peak and the party, from afar. A nice campfire and a humorous bequeathing of hiking items comprised the night's activities.

Having spoken with another climber, Robert, we both left the camp in the morning and drove over to the Kelbaker Road to hike Granite Mountain #1. I had a route description, with my DPS Guide, and we made a start with about two miles additional walking from where 4WD trucks were blocked by a red stake.

After some three hours and twenty minutes, we arrived on the summit. The views (photo, bottom) brought me to think that the Mojave National Preserve should have been a National Park. Since Bob had to get home early, we left after 23 minutes, and came back to the truck by 3:10 p.m.

Despite a brief, light sprinkling, I headed back east to do some more exploring. Passing through Needles, CA, I utilized some nearby, highly reasonable, casino lodging, and prepared myself for some more desert enjoyment.

Taking old Route 66, I tried for a photo essay of this scenic byway, now promoted officially by the BLM here. Passing by various peaks, I came to Oatman, AZ, and wished for better light, being that it was overcast.

I took another road back to Bullhead City, AZ, then Nevada and the Laughlin casinos. The weather forecasts weren't very promising, and I drifted to boredom. Obtaining lodging, I had buffet meals, took some night photos, and did the mile-long Riverwalk a few times. A side trip back to the glyph site at Grapevine Canyon used up some more film.

I left the area in the morning, and came back to the El Nino-generated, rainy weather upon returning to the Central Valley.