The Mingus Mountain Man Travel to Geronimo’s cabin and get to know ‘The Last Woodcutter’ on Mingus Mountain

The Proper Function

The Last Woodcutter

Born in Mexico during 1877, Geronimo Pena later immigrated to the Arizona Territory where he began work as a woodcutter. As the mining town of Jerome became the fourth largest city within the territory, the constant demand for firewood was on the rise. While many flocked to this area due to the mining boom, Geronimo decided to shun the conviences of modern-day life and live permantently on Mingus Mountain. No water. No electricity. No automobile. Just a wild life.


He preferred his burro over an automobile. Worked with a crosscut rather than a chainsaw. By trade, he would deliver and sell full cords of wood to the residents of Jerome to make ends meet. Finally, after working as a woodcutter for 37 years, it was in February of 1957 when Mr. Pena passed away inside the cabin he’d built. When the body was discovered, it was Westcott Funeral Home who handled the arrangements. He was laid to rest in the Cottonwood Cemetery (plot AZTECA) shortly thereafter. 01_WidePhoto


“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” – Vince Lombardi

Geronimo’s Cabin

This rustic cabin is tucked away within a slot canyon on Mingus Mountain. As you embark upon this very Proper Function, you will notice some active thinning of the forest which hides the path leading to the cabin. The cabin mirrors its environment, making it difficult to spot.The logs are strewn vertical to match the surrounding pine, unlike traditional horizontal log cabins, you wonder if this wasn’t by design.


While others have attempted to find the cabin, it’s the cabin that chooses when it will reveal itself. If it wasn’t for some white-tailed deer sprinting up the mountainside, I may have missed it myself. Upon approach you promptly realize this is no longer a home,  but a resting place.


The metal roof flaps in the wind like applause as you approach the doorway. As you enter, it’s very clear not many people have been here. Mr. Pena’s boots still remain, which causes you to stop in your own shoe’s and appreciate the space you stand within. Initially, I felt an awkward presence which relieved itself after I placed fresh flowers within one of the boots. To the right, Mr. Pena’s bedroom where you can see a homemade box spring, oven and some rusty food cans. The main living space with a table, kerosene cans, grill and other items to support such a life in the mountains. To stay long inside, doesn’t feel right. 01_WidePhoto01_WidePhoto

The Improper Function

Learning about Geronimo Pena and visiting his cabin lead to this discovery : There is an extended confrontation I have with myself when I publish such unique experiences. At its core, I created The Proper Function to help others embrace insightful and meaningful moments while exploring. To me, I do not feel the average person is compelled to research outdoor blogs and then go deface those areas. Rather, it is content of The Proper Function that allows one to understand the depth upon the ground they walk, thus developing a deeper appreciation.

Until I resolve this discovery, I have placed generic waypoints for this location. If you are interested in visiting Geronimo’s Cabin, send me an email with a brief description of why you’d like to visit this place and I’d be happy to provide you a more specific guide.

Census InfoCable AnchorsOutdoor PatioReferences
01_WidePhotoGeronimo Pena
Born: Mexico c 1877
Died: Mingus Mountain, Yavapai, Arizona c 6 Feb 1957
Buried: Cottonwood cemetery.
Spouse: Unknown
Parents: Unknown
Occupation: Woodcutter
Remarks: Westcott. Information: residence was on Mingus Mt. Death certificate: had lived in the area for about 40 years. Cause of death: myocardial infarction due to arteriosclerotic heart disease. Arrangements.
Hauling Supplies
Just north of the cabin, you will see a large cabin strewn around a boulder. If you follow that line down the mountain another anchor resides. More than likely, Mr. Pena had rigged a line to haul supplies both up and down the mountainside.
A Place To Relax
Outside the cabin, there appears to be an outdoor seating area. A couch made from an old horse buggy along with barrels cut to feed and water his burro.
This Proper Function
(Approximate Data)
Party Cloudy
2,315ftElevation 13.7hrsDistance From You
LocationMingus Mountain
State, RegionArizona,Northwest
Coordinates34.695731°, -112.136939°
DirectionsView on Google Maps
Time2 hours


Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and founder of The Proper Function, an outdoor editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.