All-Women Road Trips:
Sorry, No Men Allowed
A Vegan Eatery Even
Carnivores Can Enjoy
The Ultimate Hike for
Burning off the Eggnog
25 Great Ways
to Explore the State
Meet Bill Brooks:
John Wayne’s Pilot —
and So Much More
Why a Prescott Woman
Is Climbing Kilimanjaro
The Historic Arrest
of John Dillinger
E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
Desert Botanical Gardens
◗ Looking more like Everest, the
San Francisco Peaks are a skier’s
dream in January. photograph by
FRONT COVER: Desert View Watchtower,
designed by Mary Colter,
sits on the Grand Canyon’s South
Rim. photograph by george
BACK COVER: Desert Botanical
Garden showcases arid plants
from around the world, including
this aloe, a native of Africa famous
for the balm in its leaves.
photograph by ken akers
Sunset Crater Volcano
46 GIRLS CLUB
What started as a girls weekend for two sisters from Phoenix
has grown into an all-women travel brigade with more than
1,000 adopted “sisters.” Fly-fishing, horseback riding, whitewater
rafting … that’s how they spend their days. At night,
they crash in their vintage Airstreams, et al. It’s not that these
women have anything against men, per se; they’d just rather
hit the road without them. By JoBeth Jamison
departments • POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
2 EDITOR’S LETTER 3 CONTRIBUTORS4
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state, including one
of the healthiest places to eat in Tucson, Scottsdale’s one-of-a-kind
B&B, a Prescott native’s fundraising efforts in Africa, and
the story of John Dillinger’s historic downfall in Arizona.
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Volcanoes & Ruins Loop: Here’s something different — a Sunday
drive that’ll take you to the moon, sort of, and then back in
time. All within 70 miles.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Bell Trail: If you’ve had too much eggnog and holiday cheer
recently, this scenic trail near Sedona is the perfect way to get
back on track.
56 WHERE IS THIS?
14 WEEKEND GETAWAYS
With gas prices where they are, traveling is more expensive
than it was a year ago. Still, a road trip in Arizona is a pretty
good bargain, whether it’s a visit to Desert View Watchtower
at the South Rim, the Bluegrass on the Beach concert series
in Lake Havasu City or the Butterfly Lodge Museum in Greer.
This month, we feature 25 of the state’s best weekend getaways.
By Lauren Proper
24 THE LIGHT OF DAY
It was Newton who first demonstrated that white light consists
of a roughly equal mixture of all visible wavelengths,
which can be separated to yield the colors of the spectrum.
George Stocking isn’t Sir Isaac Newton, but as you’ll see in
this month’s portfolio, he’s an aficionado when it comes to
using natural light in landscape photography. You might even
call him the master. By George Stocking
34 BATTLE GROUND
Telescopes on Mount Graham, snowmaking machines in the
San Francisco Peaks, a highway through South Mountain ...
these are just some of the conflicts brewing over sacred native
lands and the uses that 21st century America has in mind for
them. The New York Times calls it “a new kind of Indian war,”
with Arizona as its ground zero. By Lawrence W. Cheek
40 WING MAN
Bill Brooks isn’t your everyday Arizonan. Not because he’s
a judo master. There are plenty of those. And not because
he once hosted a cooking show, trained as an astronaut and
acted as an extra in B-Westerns. No, Bill Brooks stands out
because of his longtime role as sidekick and personal pilot
for John Wayne. It’s a story more improbable than any movie
plot. By Keridwen Cornelius
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS AVAILABLE Prints of some photographs in this issue are available for purchase. To view options visit arizonahighwaysprints.com. For more information, call 866-962-1191.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m
TALK TO US: As you can tell by our cover, this month’s issue features 25 of the state’s
best weekend getaways. Some you’ve heard of; others, probably not. No doubt you
have some favorites of your own, and we’d love to hear about them. When you get a
chance, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET MORE ONLINE:
Learn about the best desert hikes in our extensive “Hiking Guide.”
Get details on some of this month’s biggest events, including the Fiesta Bowl Parade
and the Smithsonian Photo Exhibit, in our “Events Calendar.”
Find out where Arizona’s celebrities like to hang out in the Grand Canyon State.
2 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
JoBeth Jamison responded quickly to an invitation to join Sisters on
the Fly for an all-women adventure (see Girls Club, page 46). And after
living in a vintage Airstream and exploring Monument Valley with the
cowgirl caravan, Jamison came up with a few ideas of her own for a
cowgirls-only road trip. “I’d say the sisters pretty much have it dialed
in,” she says. “But cooking school in Tuscany would also rock.” Jami-son
is a former associate editor of Arizona Highways and the current
editor of Sedona Magazine. Her work has also appeared in Fodor’s Ari-zona
travel guides, Billboard magazine and The Arizona Republic.
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
Photographer Bruce Taubert
began taking wildlife photo-graphs
30 years ago, but only
got serious, he says, in 2000.
“If any species of wildlife stays
still long enough to have its
photo taken, I’m interested,”
Taubert says. “I enjoy photo-graphing
all wildlife, but if I had
to pick a favorite, it would be
taking high-speed flash photos
of flying hummingbirds and
flying bats. I love the challenge.”
To that end, Taubert faced
plenty of challenges while pho-tographing
the Bullock’s oriole
for Birds of a Feather? (page 11),
including picking just the right
spot where the birds might be
feasting on flowers in just the
right season. It was a waiting
game, but one that Taubert
eventually won. In addition to
Arizona Highways, Taubert’s
work has appeared in Arizona
Wildlife Views, Birders World
magazine, WildBird magazine
and Conservation International
LAWRENCE W. CHEEK
Writer Larry Cheek holds many things sacred. Nature in particular. “In
nature, all living things and all landscapes are interdependent and thus
equal in value — and equally sacred, in my sight,” he says. It’s a con-cept
he explores in Battle Ground (page 34), his wonderful essay about
the conflicts brewing over some of Arizona’s sacred native lands. A for-mer
Tucson resident, Cheek has been contributing to Arizona Highways
since 1984. Today, he lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, where, he
says, the daytime highs rarely exceed 80 degrees. cape Breton is an island off the north coast of Nova Scotia. It’s one of the most
beautiful places in the world, and it’s about as far away from Arizona as you can
get without leaving North America. Just off the coast of this scenic island is another
scenic island. It’s a lot smaller, but it’s vast in terms of its cultural significance. It’s
also a point of contention, at least among the locals.
The rub is that the island is owned by a guy from Phoenix. The natives aren’t
crazy about that, and they’re not shy about saying so, which is unusual. If you’ve ever
met a Canadian, you know it takes a lot to get them riled up. This is the same coun-try,
after all, that gave us Gordon Lightfoot, Tommy Chong and Strange Brew. That
said, the idea of an American owning a piece of Nova Scotia’s sacred land is a real
bugger. And we know how it feels.
Back in the 1800s, Walter Vail — a Nova Scotian — owned more than a million
acres in Southern Arizona. The Empire Ranch, as it was known, was quite a spread,
regardless of the flag at the top of the pole. The ranch was sold in 1928, and eventu-ally
ended up in the hands of the federal government, which declared it a national
conservation area. Since then, the Empire Ranch Foundation has worked to preserve
the ranch house and other buildings as a way of educating visitors about the dif-ficulties
of frontier life. If you haven’t explored this home on the range, it’s definitely
worth the drive, and so is everything else in this month’s cover story.
In all, we feature 25 of the state’s best weekend getaways. Among them are road
trips to Desert View Watchtower at the Grand Canyon, the Butterfly Lodge Museum
in Greer and Kitt Peak Observatory, which is ideal for curious 5-year-olds intrigued
by full moons, falling stars and far-off galaxies. All of these getaways, by the way, are
rated G. If you prefer a PG-13 road trip, there’s Sisters on the Fly. As the name implies,
the club is for women only, and membership requires a cooler full of estrogen.
Sisters on the Fly was started by two sisters from Phoenix, and over the years it’s
become an all-women traveling brigade with more than 1,000 adopted “sisters,” most
of whom tow their own Airstreams, Fireballs, et al. — classic trailers dating back to
the 1950s. Despite the inherent gender restriction, the women don’t have anything
against men, per se; they’d just rather hit the road without them, and they do so on a
regular basis. On a recent trip to Monument Valley, they let one of our writers tag along.
If you like what you see in this magazine every month, check out Arizona Highways Tele-vision,
an Emmy Award-winning program hosted by former news anchor Robin Sewell.
Now in its fifth season, the show does with audio and video what we do with ink and
paper — it showcases the people, places and things of the Grand Canyon State, from
the spectacular landscapes and colorful history to the fascinating culture and endless
adventure. And that’s just the beginning. “For me, the show is about more than just
the destinations,” Robin says. “It’s about the people behind the scenes. It’s their stories
that make the destinations so interesting.” Indeed, there’s a reason this show wins so many awards — it’s
second-to-none, and we’re proud to have our name on it. Take a look. For broadcast times, visit our Web
site, arizonahighways.com, and click the Arizona Highways Television link on our homepage.
ROBERT STIEVE, editor
In Girls Club, JoBeth Jamison tells the story of
the sisters and shares her own experience, which
included a sacred blessing led by Susie Yazzie,
the “Grandmother of Monument Valley.” It was
a rare opportunity with an amicable mingling
of cultures. It was something special. Unfortu-nately,
that’s not always the case in some parts of
As Larry Cheek writes in Battle Ground, Ari-zona
is home to “a spreading series of knotty con-flicts
between off-reservation sacred lands and
the uses that 21st century America has in mind
for these same places — roads, resource extrac-tion,
recreation and even scientific research.” The
New York Times calls it “a new kind of Indian war,”
with Arizona sitting at ground zero.
Although casino revenues are giving many
tribes the resources to hire lawyers and pursue
legal action, there aren’t any easy solutions. As
you’ll see, growth and religion are a complicated
mix in the West — far more complicated than
sharing a fence line with a Canadian land baron
blaring Gordon Lightfoot music.
In case you hadn’t heard, Arizona Highways
recently won 11 international magazine awards
for writing, photography and design — the
awards were given by the International Regional
Magazine Association. In addition, our sisters
at Arizona Highways Television recently added
yet another Emmy to their growing collection.
Hats off to everyone involved; you’ve made us all
8 0 0 -5 43 -5 432
a r i zona h i ghways .com
JA N UA R Y 2 0 0 9 V O L . 8 5 , N O. 1
Director of Photography
BARBARA GLYNN DENNEY
Deputy Art Director
SONDA ANDERSSON PAPPAN
VICTORIA K. SNOW
Director of Sales & Marketing
CINDY BORMANI S
Corporate or Trade Sales
Sponsorship Sales Representation
Letters to the Editor
2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009
Director, Department of Transportation
VICTOR M. MENDEZ
Arizona Transportation Board
ROBERT M. MONTOYA, FELIPE ANDRES
ZUBIA, WILLIAM J. FELDMEIER, BARBARA
ANN LUNDSTROM, V ICTOR M. FLORES
International Regional Magazine Association
2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001
MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
Western Publications Association
2006, 2004, 2002, 2001
BEST TRAVEL & IN-TRANSIT MAGAZINE
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published month-ly
by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Subscrip-tion
price: $24 a year in the U.S., $44 outside the U.S.
Single copy: $3.99 U.S. Subscription correspondence
change of address information: Arizona Highways, P.O.
Box 653, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0653. Periodical post-age
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4 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 5
letters people > dining > lodging > photography > history > nature > things to do > > > > THE JOURNAL 01.09
I was surprised to learn that Arizona
Highways had never done a special
“photography issue” [September
2008]. Although I enjoy the history
stories and the hiking features, it’s
the photography that catches my eye
every month. I’ve never seen anything
quite like the work of Joel Grimes
[Black & White and Shot All Over]. It’s
MICHAEL BERRY, DALLAS
Just couldn’t believe the comment
you made in your Editor’s Letter
[August 2008] regarding the trash-ing
of our outdoors, specifically,
“It’s not our place to judge.” I believe
Arizona Highways does share some
responsibility for this trashing. The
magazine’s original mission was to
promote automobile travel through-out
Arizona, but for too many years
now, it’s become more like a hiking
magazine. By leading people to these
areas with your wonderful articles
and maps, you do share a responsi-bility
for this trashing. Don’t wash
your hands of this mess and have a
once-only article about the trashing.
You should focus more articles and
include a reminder in every article
about keeping our outdoors clean.
I’d bet that only a small portion of
the population here even knew about
Fossil Creek or anyplace else other
than the Grand Canyon or Sedona
perhaps, until Arizona Highways wrote
about it. Please remember you are
guiding people, most of whom have
no roots in Arizona, to these wonder-ful
places. Other than that, keep up
the good work.
PHIL BERNACKE, QUEEN VALLEY
As a longtime subscriber, I wish
to congratulate you on your recent
article, Endangered Arizona [August
2008]. It’s a long-established fact
that many of our state parks and
natural areas are under severe stress
and that the legacy that we all wish
to pass on to our children is at risk.
Unfortunately, our political leaders
regularly reduce the budget for our
state parks, failing to recognize that
modest investments would not only
protect these irreplaceable areas, but
also draw more visitors to our state
and pay for themselves along the way.
Courage is something that we rarely
see in publications under the wing of
the state administration, and you are
to be commended.
BRENT W. BITZ, SEDONA
KIWIS AND OTHER BIRDS
A good friend, who grew up in
Arizona, has shouted us a regular
subscription to Arizona Highways.
What a brilliant gift. Thanks to your
magazine, we’ve been captivated by
the awesome landscapes, especially
the Grand Canyon; surprised by
oases of verdant green and sparkling
water; entranced by legends of the
earliest inhabitants; and gripped by
tales of derring-do and high adven-ture.
Plus, we’ve enjoyed looking
at some quirky but scary-looking
wildlife that we don’t get here in
New Zealand. We don’t have eagles,
bears or snakes, though we do have
kiwis and other unique birds. We’ve
got some wonderful scenery, too, but
Arizona looks very different. I haven’t
visited yet (my wife has), but I’d love
to sometime. As a professional jour-nalist
and photographer, I can truly
say Arizona Highways is inspirational.
DAVID J. KILLICK, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
I was disappointed to read in Dressed
in White [July 2008] that Arizona
Highways believes there is not a threat
of aspen extinction. In reality, aspens
have been in serious decline through-out
the Southwest for decades. In
response to your claim that “the only
natural force that appears to limit
the amount of growth of aspens is
the appearance of pocket gophers,”
you could also add browsing by large
ungulates, namely elk, and drought
to the list of factors causing this
serious decline. Aspen decline is an
important issue, one we should be
working to increase public awareness
MEGAN KERNAN, FLAGSTAFF
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the feedback,
Megan. Our position is that the root
systems, not the trees themselves, are
equipped for survival. We concur with
you on the effects of prolonged drought
and voracious ungulates.
If you have
we’d love to hear
from you. We can
be reached at
by mail at 2039
W. Lewis Avenue,
85009. For more
On the Ropes
Whether you’re a spectator or a
hands-on participant, rock climbing is
unlike anything you’ll ever see or do.
In Sedona, one of the best places to
catch the action is “The Mace,” which
features body-swallowing chimneys,
spacious belays, a final summit
step-across and big air. The spires are
accessed from the Cathedral Rock
Trail. Information: Coconino National
Forest, 928-282-4119 or www.fs.fed.us/
6 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 7
Robert Oppenheimer never opened a steakhouse. That’s not unusual — scientists typi-cally
stick with science, or maybe take up fly-fishing, but they don’t open restaurants.
Peggy Raisglid is the exception. After working for 13 years as a chemist for Mobil Oil,
she finally took the advice of friends who would come up to her after dinner parties and say
things like: “Peg, your casserole was so good I licked my plate. And then I licked the plate of the
woman sitting next to me. She looked at me a little funny, but I didn’t care. It was incredible. You
really ought to open a restaurant.” And so she did.
Like Peggy, Lovin’ Spoonfuls is unique, especially in a state like Arizona, which is known more
for red meat and potatoes than “burgers” made of adzuki beans, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots,
corn, organic oats and walnuts. Not only is her restaurant vegetarian, but it’s also vegan, which
means there isn’t an animal or animal byproduct in sight — no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no
To an unwavering carnivore, that might sound like a recipe for disaster, but even beefeaters
are embracing this popular Tucson restaurant. That’s because the menu goes beyond the
stereotypical list of vegetarian options — things made of seeds, twigs and pinecones. Here,
everything is fresh, flavorful and filling, another stereotypical knock
on vegetarian cuisine.
Of course, there are a few things on the menu that require an open
mind, such as the Deluxe BLT, which is made of soy bacon strips,
fresh lettuce, tomatoes and vegan mayo; the Asian Pepper Steak,
which features stir-fried vegan beef with peppers and onions; and the
A Different Animal
Vegetarian restaurants tend to scare carnivores,
but not Lovin’ Spoonfuls in Tucson, which
is attracting beefeaters and tree-huggers alike.
By ROBERT STIEVE
IF IT WERE UP to Leah Hickman, she’d spend every
day doing what she loves most: hiking. For the Prescott
native, there’s nowhere she’d rather be. This month,
she’ll be doing her thing overseas,
when she joins an international team
of 13 other women — one of whom is
an Arizona native — attempting to climb three of Afri-ca’s
highest mountains in three weeks. They’re not just
peak-bagging, though. They’re climbing for charity.
As part of the 3 Peaks 3 Weeks Challenge, Hickman,
23, will try to summit Mount Kilimanjaro (19,333 feet),
the tallest freestanding mountain in the world; Mount
Kenya (17,058 feet), Africa’s second-highest peak; and
Mount Meru, which rises nearly 15,000 feet. The goal is
to heighten awareness about three key issues affecting
the African continent: environment,
education and health.
“The climbs are sort of the cherry
on the top,” says Hickman, whose first
backpacking trip was to the Havasupai
Reservation in the Grand Canyon at
age 8. “Anybody can climb mountains,
but with this, you’re spending an entire
year getting funds together.”
In all, she pledged to raise a mini-mum
of $10,000, but says she hopes
to at least double that amount. In
2007, the inaugural team, which also
included a member from Arizona,
raised more than $350,000.
“I’m pretty uncomfortable asking
people for money,” she says. “Having
grown up in Arizona, with the back-country
literally being my back door,
the climbing is much less challenging.”
Hickman, who spent her childhood
exploring Arizona’s mountains and
canyons, including the Mogollon Rim
and the Chiricahua Mountains, studied
environmental science at Mesa State
College in Colorado. During summer
breaks, she’d return to Arizona to fight wildfires as
part of Prescott’s Granite Mountain Hotshots trainee
Last summer, in addition to fundraising, she spent
some time training in the San Francisco Peaks near
Flagstaff. “It’s the closest thing to climbing the peaks
in Africa,” Hickman says. “The Grand Canyon is also a
fantastic way to prepare, because there’s so much eleva-tion
Her new home state of Colorado offers some great
training options as well. “I imagine I’ll be ready when
I can hike up several 14,000-footers in a weekend and
come down and not be sick,” Hickman says.
None of this is considered a hardship. “I’m happiest
when I’m out doing things like hiking,” she says. “It’s
not only training, it’s a kind of soul food.”
When Hickman travels to Africa this month, she’ll
spend some time between the hikes visiting the non-profit
organizations in Kenya and Tanzania to which
“It’s really important to the team, because we get to
see firsthand where the money is going,” she says. “It’s
certainly a challenge, but it’s
fantastic. I’m so grateful to be
a part of it.”
Up to the Challenge
Leah Hickman is headed to Africa.
No, it’s not a safari. She’s going over to
climb three of the highest peaks on the
continent, and raise some money for
charity in the process.
By LEAH DURAN
Golden Nuggets, an appetizer of battered soy
chicken served with various vegan dipping
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you
won’t find a more palatable vegetarian menu.
If you’re more concerned with filling an open
stomach than an open mind,
there are plenty of safe options,
as well, including soups, salads,
burritos, pastas and some of the best french
fries you’ll ever eat. Because they’re made
with 100 percent canola oil in a fryer that’s
free of fish sticks and chunks of calamari, the
natural flavor of the potato is deliciously tan-gible.
Equally impressive is Peggy’s Cashew-
Mushroom Pâté, which was named one of the
six best vegetarian dishes in the country by
the readers of Vegetarian Times magazine.
In addition to the entrees and appetizers,
the atmosphere at Lovin’ Spoonfuls exudes a
kind of healthiness. It’s not hippie, like some-thing
you’d find in Flagstaff. It’s minimalist
and clean. Spotless. Kind of like a chemistry
lab, but instead of petri dishes and test tubes
there are sandwich baskets and dinner plates.
What else would you expect from a scientist-turned-
Lovin’ Spoonfuls is
located at 2990 N. Campbell
Avenue in Tucson.
For more information, call
520-325-7766 or visit
THE JOURNAL > people THEJOURNAL > dining
T U C S O N
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
For more information, or
to make a donation, visit
P R E S C O T T
If you were trying to
convince friends in
your native Canada
that Arizona is one
of the most beautiful
places in America,
where would you
I’d definitely take
them to Sedona.
And I have.
What’s your favorite
place to photograph
I have three:
Sedona, Oak Creek
If you were making a
road trip to the Grand
Canyon, which would
you choose: Harley or
vintage muscle car?
Vintage muscle car.
Maybe a ’67 Chevelle
or a ’68 Dodge Dart.
Best place in the
state to grab a bite
I love the Javelina
Café in Sedona.
Where’s the best
place to watch a
football game in
Well, University of
Phoenix Stadium in
Glendale is unreal —
— but there’s no place
— Dave Pratt is the host of the
“Dave Pratt in the Morning” show
on KMLE 107.9 FM in Phoenix.
8 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
AFTER BILLIE “THE KID” SHEPHERD had her first country dance with Johnny “Wild” West,
she couldn’t get the bearded cowboy out of her head. He told the enthusiastic city woman
about himself and also about two horses, Red and Buck — “an aging
sorrel” and “a beautiful buckskin with tiger eyes,” according to
Shepherd’s essay, “The Story of RedBuck Ranch.”
Shepherd, who grew up in England on military bases with her family, first learned about
Arizona in 1960 from a copy of Arizona Highways. Although it arrived with stacks of other mail,
the magazine stood out, and after thumbing through it, Shepherd’s father decided to move to
Arizona when he retired.
West’s story was a little different. He grew up in Chandler on a dairy farm, and his dancing
skills were almost legendary — he was once Arizona’s Dance Fever winner.
A year after their first dance, Billie and Johnny were sleeping in a horse trailer while they built
the ranch of their dreams. Then, they decided to share that dream with others.
Although they wanted their guests to get the same awe-inspiring feelings they do from the
beautiful property, they wanted to keep it intimate. So, the Hideout is open to only one couple at
a time. It’s a place where people can experience Arizona in a very private
way. And there’s something for everyone, from golfers to honeymoon-ers
to locals looking for a weekend getaway.
“Guests can do as much or as little as they want,” Shepherd says,
adding that they’ll arrange for just about anything a guest could pos-sibly
think of. “As long as it’s legal, we’ll do it.”
Some of the common activities include
horseback riding, Jeep tours, hiking, golfing,
bird-watching and day trips around the Valley
of the Sun. For those who prefer to stay on
the ranch, there’s plenty to do. Or not do.
There’s a golf challenge with three sand
traps, and a beautiful pool and spa with
a Western-style cabana nicknamed “The
Relaxation Station.” Then, of course, there’s
the appropriately named Hideout. Shepherd
says many guests who visit RedBuck never
leave the property, choosing instead to enjoy
the Hideout’s private patio with fireplace, full
kitchen, flat-screen TV and bathroom. Seri-ously,
the bathroom. It’s something special,
thanks to a massive window next to the red
tub that provides for romantic baths with
mountain views as far as the eye can see.
Guests can choose from four different
packages during their stay, each of which
includes one big ol’ country breakfast on a day
of the guests’ choosing. Like Shepherd and
West, the Hideout at RedBuck Ranch is a kind
of convergence. A place where the mountains
meet the sky, where the Wild West meets
contemporary high-class desert living. Best of
all, there’s the serenity of getting away from it
all without leaving the city limits.
RedBuck Ranch is
located at 30212 N. 154th
Street in Scottsdale. For
more information, call
480-471-0011 or visit
SHOOT THE MOON
A simple way to begin
skyscapes is to experi-ment
with the moon.
daily at sunrise
of those opportuni-ties
related to the phases
of the moon. The
moon, whether it’s
at its full, crescent or
can evoke a sense
of romance, whimsy
or mystery, adding a
lot to an image. First,
determine when the
moon rises and sets
each month — the
information is eas-ily
found online. Next,
choose an interesting
the moon is the bright-est
object in the night
sky, shoot several days
before the full moon
to maintain the detail
in both the moon and
the foreground of your
editor’s note: Look for
Arizona Highways Photog-raphy
Guide, available at
bookstores and arizona
Frank Zullo is a very talented photographer. You might not
know his name, but once you’ve seen his astrophotography,
you’ll never look at the night skies the same way again.
Interviewed by JEFF KIDA, photo editor
ah: How did you get interested in photography?
frank zullo: I remember selling packets of American
Seeds door-to-door when I was growing up in New
Jersey. It was the early ’60s, and I sold enough seeds
to choose a Brownie box camera from a list of prizes.
I used it to take pictures of family and friends, like
most people, but I also found myself experimenting a
bit. I remember one time my brother and I set up his
model cars and I tried to photograph them close-up
and at low angles to make them seem full scale. I really
liked to experiment with it. We later moved to Tucson,
and my parents let me use one of the bathrooms as a
darkroom when I was in high school. At that time I
discovered the photography in Arizona Highways and
wondered, “How could I do that?”
Did you contact the magazine?
No, I joined the Air Force and was trained in documen-tary
filmmaking. When I got out, I did some television
work, but realized it wasn’t what I was looking for; I
really missed still photography. So, I went back to
Arizona State University and studied visual commu-nications
design. From there I did commercial work in
Phoenix, especially golf course photography.
How did you go from
golf courses to con-stellations?
By then it was the
early ’80s, and I
began reading about
the return of Hal-ley’s
comet, the peak
of which was sup-posed
to happen in
the spring of 1986. I
was captivated by
the night sky from
an early age, and
had tried shoot-ing
subjects before this
with mixed results.
So I decided to
make the event the
focal point of my
finally learn the
secrets of capturing
the stars on film. I did some research and built a hand-cranked
sky-tracking device that would allow me to
make successful photos of the comet.
Your efforts paid off, but unlike so many night-sky
photos, most of yours use strong foregrounds as part
of the composition.
I knew I wanted to have foregrounds in my photo-graphs
from the beginning, so I experimented with
simple techniques to accomplish that. Early on, I used
Kodalith film to shoot opaque or silhouetted land-marks
with clear skies. Then I sandwiched the nega-tives
and shot duplicates to make a single photo.
Because you create your final images using multiple
photographs, how do you handle mixing stock
foregrounds with different sky photos — in terms
To be honest, in the early days, I was just trying to see
what would work with different films and exposures.
So I wasn’t always as aware or careful about orienting
specific landmarks with skies. What really opened
my eyes was learning about the stars themselves
and simultaneously becoming more confident with
technique. When I
rock art into my
pages 34-36], I was
amazed to see the
number of refer-ences
and stone. At that
became very impor-tant
Is your career in
When I think
about my career, I
can say this: I don’t
know exactly how
I came to be where
I am today, but I
know it’s where I’m
supposed to be.
THE JOURNAL > lodging THEJOURNAL > photography
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips and other informa-tion,
ways.com and click on
S C O T T S D A L E
There are a lot of things to like about RedBuck Ranch in Scottsdale:
the food, the atmosphere, the hospitality. Even better, it’s limited to
one set of guests at a time. Talk about privacy.
By LAUREN PROPER
10 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
TURNS OUT, TUCSON IN January wasn’t such a great
idea for John Dillinger. The weather was nice, and
the Hotel Congress offered first-rate
accommodations, but it was the cops that
ruined things. To the surprise of everyone,
including Dillinger himself,
the local police did what the
FBI couldn’t and captured
the notorious gangster on
January 25, 1934.
“Well I’ll be damned!”
Dillinger exclaimed, amazed
that Tucson’s bush-league
police officers nabbed him
without firing a single shot
— something the combined
forces of several states and
the FBI had been trying to
do for almost a year.
Seventy-five years later,
the city still celebrates the
historic moment during
its annual Dillinger Days
event, which features re-enactments
of the arrest, live
music, tours, lectures and
an antique car show. This
year’s event takes place on
Back in the ’30s, things were less festive. It was the
Great Depression, and Dillinger dominated the head-lines
for a series of bank robberies and murders across
the United States. In a period of eight months, Dillinger
and his gang had robbed more than five banks,
plundered four police arsenals and ruthlessly mur-dered
several people involved. What’s more, he was
frustrating law enforcement agencies along the way.
It was after a bank robbery in East Chicago, Indiana,
during which an officer was killed, that Dillinger and
his mob headed south to Tucson to hole up for a while.
They were staying on
the third floor of the Hotel
Congress, under aliases,
when a fire broke out. After
being told of the fire by the
desk attendant working the
switchboard, the gang fled
down aerial ladders but for-got
their luggage. With the
encouragement of a $12 tip
from the gangsters, a couple
of firefighters retrieved the
heavy bags, discovering
afterward that they’d been
packed with a small arsenal
of weapons and $23,816 in
A few days later, one
of the same firemen rec-ognized
in a story in True Detective
magazine. A subsequent tip
led to a stakeout at a house
on North Second Avenue,
where Dillinger was eventually captured. Although
the arrest occurred without a bloody shootout, it put
Tucson police in the history
books as the law enforcement
agency that finally captured
Public Enemy No. 1.
Caught by Surprise
John Dillinger was a murdering bank robber
who always managed to get away. That is, until he showed
up in Tucson, 75 years ago this month.
By KENDALL WRIGHT
Rudyard Kipling once said,
“East is East and West is
West, and ne’er the twain
shall meet.” Tell that to the American
In 1973, the AOU rocked the avian
world with the declaration that, since
western Bullock’s orioles (above)
sometimes interbred with eastern
Baltimore orioles (the birds, not the
baseball players), they were actually
one species. These scientists elimi-nated
both names and dubbed them
all northern orioles — a decision that
simultaneously shortened birders’ life
lists by one, and left the Baltimore
Orioles (the baseball players, not the
birds) suddenly mascotless. And as
everyone knows, you don’t mess with
birders or baseball fans.
The decision puzzled nonunion
ornithologists, because the birds
don’t actually look alike. The Balti-more
oriole (like the Scott’s oriole, an
Arizona resident) has a black head
and mostly black wings, while the
Bullock’s has an orange face with
ebony slashes across the eyes and
partially whitewashed wings. The
Bullock’s is a westerner and the Balti-more
an easterner; they only hybrid-ize
in the Great Plains, where their
Bullock’s orioles are named after
English naturalist William Bullock,
who collected the bird while visiting
his silver mine near Mexico City. The
Bullock’s is one of many neotropical
birds that arrive in Arizona’s riparian
areas in spring to breed, then migrate
to Mexico and Central America for
the fall and winter.
In Arizona, Bullock’s orioles con-gregate
around the San Pedro River,
the Huachuca Mountains, and in
lakeshores and rivers in the north.
They nest primarily in large trees like
cottonwoods and willows, and feast
on caterpillars, fruits, insects, spiders
With their flashy colors, you’ll have
no trouble spotting Bullock’s orioles.
The male is distinguished by its tux-edo
wings and mango belly, while the
female has a modest gray body and
a lemon face. In fact, the word oriole
is related to its homophone aureole,
both of which derive from the Latin
aureolus, meaning “golden.”
As for the northern oriole contro-versy,
both birders and baseball fans
were delighted in 1995 when the
American Ornithologists’ Union (per-suaded
by DNA evidence) decreed
that the Baltimore and Bullock’s were
separate orioles. And ne’er the twain
THEJOURNAL > nature
■ ON JANUARY 1,
1895, the Sisters of
Mercy opened St.
a 12-bed hospital in
an adobe cottage
located at Fourth
and Polk streets in
Phoenix. The nuns
devoted their lives
to caring for tuber-culosis
■ IN JANUARY
1890, two teachers
from Tucson were
from their duties for
■ ON JANUARY 8,
1774, Juan Bau-tista
de Anza set out
from Tubac on his
first expedition to
California, where he
the sites for Presidio
de San Francisco
and Mission San
Francisco de Asis.
■ IN JANUARY 1889,
the Fifteenth Ter-ritorial
met in Prescott and
voted to move the
capital to Phoenix.
Then they promptly
■ IN JANUARY 1825,
Ohio Pattie trav-eled
along the San
Francisco River in
and, along with a
250 beavers in 14
days. Pattie is be-lieved
to be the first
American citizen to
travel in Arizona.
The January 1959
issue of Arizona
a point. Pun intended.
with Arizona as
its capital. Among
other things, the
issue included a
of cactus blooms
cactus spines, as
well as a story
ye5a0r s ago
I N A R I Z O N A
H I G H WA Y S
For more information on
Dillinger Days, call 520-
622-8848, ext. 207 or
Desert Box Turtle
The desert box turtle
is somewhat of a mis-nomer.
it has the foot and leg
structure of a tortoise
and prefers to live on
dry ground. However,
unlike tortoises, which
are strictly herbivores,
the box turtle is an
omnivore — like its
terrapin brethren, this
will make a meal of
insects and carrion.
— NIKKI KIMBEL
THEJOURNAL > history
Birds of a Feather?
Baltimore orioles and Bullock’s orioles have a lot in common.
Don’t lump them together, though. The American Ornithologists’
Union tried that once in the ’70s, and it wasn’t pretty.
By KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
12 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9
THEJOURNAL > things to do
JANUA RY 1 - 3 1 TUCSON
Tucson Museum of Art presents the work of Maynard Dixon, one
of Arizona’s most renowned artists. The exhibit, A Place of Refuge:
Maynard Dixon’s Arizona, features the painter’s interpretations of local
subjects, including 60 paintings and 50 drawings, some of which
Dixon painted at his winter home in Tucson. 520-624-2333 or tucson
Yuma, which is known as the winter lettuce
capital of the world, presents its 11th Annual
Yuma Lettuce Days Festival. The festival takes
place in historic downtown Yuma and offers
“largest salad bar,”
and vendor booths,
fresh produce dis-plays
and a ceramic
salad bowl exhibit.
Smithsonian Photo Exhibit
JANUA RY 1 0 -MA RCH 2 9 PHOENI X
This month, the Burton Barr Central Library
in Phoenix presents Lasting Light: 125 Years of
Grand Canyon Photography, the national debut
of the Smithsonian Institution’s touring pho-tography
exhibit. The show is free and fea-tures
60 photographs covering 125 years of
history at the Canyon. Noted photographers
include Jack Dykinga, George H.H. Huey,
James Cowlin and Sue Bennett. 602-262-4636
Time again for the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Event.” Last year’s
auction drew more than 280,000 visitors who watched some of the
world’s most expensive vintage and collector automobiles go on the
block during the weeklong auction. This year, high-rollers, celebrities
and car buffs will get a chance to bid on more than 1,000 rare and
unique vehicles (including the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda pic-tured
above). Cooking demonstrations, fashion shows, wine tastings
and gourmet food offerings are also included. 480-421-6694 or barrett-jackson.
J ANUA RY 1 1 - 1 8
SCOT T SDA L E
J A N UA R Y 2 4 - 2 5
Gems & Minerals
JA N UA RY 1 - 3 1 QUA RT Z S I T E
Gems, minerals, fossils, petrified wood, crys-tals,
rough and cut stones, geodes, carvings,
finished jewelry, lapidary supplies … they’re
all available this month at one of the state’s
most popular gem and mineral gatherings.
Also, on January 3, Quartzsite celebrates
its most famous resident, camel driver
Hadji Ali, during the town’s annual Hi Jolly
Springtime in Arizona offers great photo-graphic
opportunities. Travel to Tombstone
to try your hand at portrait photography or create unique images of
Arizona’s ghost towns. If stunning landscapes interest you, our photo
workshops will take you to places like Saguaro National Park and the
Chiricahua Mountains. 888-790-7042 or friendsofazhighways.com.
Offer expires January 31, 2009. Use Media Code #591.
Shipping and handling not included. You can also visit our
retail location at 2039 W. Lewis Avenue in Phoenix.
North. South. East. West. In IMAGES: Jack Dykinga’s
Grand Canyon, our Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer
visits every side of the Grand Canyon — 35 sites in all.
Order now and SAVE 15% off the cover price.
Visit arizonahighways.com or call 800-543-5432.
#AGVH8 $39.95 now $33.96
14 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 15
With gas prices where they are, traveling is more expensive than it
was a year ago — we’re not going to pretend otherwise. Still, a road
trip in Arizona is a pretty good bargain, whether it’s a visit to Desert
View Watchtower at the South Rim, the Bluegrass on the Beach
concert series in Lake Havasu City or the Butterfly Lodge Museum
in Greer. What follows are 25 of the state’s best weekend getaways.
Some you can experience in a couple of hours, and others will take a
day or two. Either way, there’s something in here for everyone.
B Y L AU R E N P ROP E R
photograph by jeff kida
16 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 17
Field Institute Classes
GR AND CANYON NAT I O N A L PAR K
It’s hard to argue there’s a more beautiful classroom than the Grand
Canyon, and the instructors at the Grand Canyon Field Institute
have made the great gorge their primary subject. More than 200
classes each year focus on everything from learning about the
Canyon’s natural history to backcountry medicine. For many, the
introductory backpacking class is the most appropriate. After hik-ing
down Bright Angel Trail, students spend two nights at the Bright
Angel Campground and explore places like the slot canyon carved
by Phantom Creek, Indian Garden Campground and scenic Plateau
Point. Information: 928-638-2485 or grandcanyon.org.
Hopi Mesa Tours
HOPI NAT ION
According to the story of the Four Worlds, the Hopis were led into this
world through a reed that took them to the Grand Canyon, their sipapu, or
place of emergence. They were allowed to stay as long as they promised to
take care of the land. Nearly 1,000 years later, they still inhabit the same
area. This tale, along with several others, is part of Gary Tso’s tour of the
mesas of Hopiland. In addition to storytelling, Tso also introduces people
to native artists, takes them through the village of Old Oraibi and shows
them some of the more than 15,000 petroglyphs that still exist on the reser-vation.
Information: 928-734-2567 or e-mail Gary Tso at email@example.com.
GR E E R
When James Willard Schultz
and his Native American wife
came to this small Mormon
town, no one could have expect-ed
how well the untraditional
couple would fit in with their
neighbors. With the help of a
local family, Schultz and his
son, Lone Wolf, built a cabin-turned-
hunting-lodge in Greer
in 1913. They named it Apuni
Oyis, which means “butterfly
lodge” in Blackfoot. Today, the
lodge is a museum that honors
the Schultzes and displays some
of their original works — James
was a writer, and Lone Wolf, or
Hart Merriam, was an artist
and sculptor. Once a year, Greer
pays homage to James by per-forming
a dramatization of his
first novel, My Life As an Indian,
at the town’s community center.
Information: 928-735-7514 or www.
Desert View Watchtower
SOUT H R IM, G R AND C ANYON
There aren’t many buildings at the Grand Canyon that Mary
Elizabeth Jane Colter didn’t have a hand in designing. Her
most physically prominent contribution is the Desert View
Watchtower, the tallest building on the South Rim. Initially
meant to be a rest stop and gift shop, Colter modeled the
70-foot tower after a prehistoric Indian structure. When
it opened in 1933, the bottom floor operated as a souvenir
shop for visitors with the upper levels serving as observation
decks, which look out across the Grand Canyon to the Painted
Desert and San Francisco Peaks. Inside, murals painted by
Hopi artist Fred Kabotie depict various aspects of Indian
life in the area, including images of Hopi mythology.
Information: 928-638-7888 or nps.gov/grca.
SNOWF L AK E
Twenty-four. That’s the num-
ber of children James Flake
had; nine with his first wife
and 15 with the next. He
a big house — one with three stories and space on the roof
for entertaining guests. Not too far away, former Mormon Church
leader and Territorial legislator Jesse N. Smith and his five wives
occupied another section of the same town. Each woman had her
own house, although only one of the homes still remains. That
structure, with separate rooms representing each of Smith’s wives,
is part of the Snowflake Historic Homes Tour. There are more than
100 historic buildings on the walking tour; eight are open to the
public and serve as examples of early pioneer culture. Information:
928-536-4881 or ci.snowflake.az.us.
G R AND C ANYON
AU DI O R ANG E R
Personal tour guides are now available
at the South Rim of the Grand
Canyon. Sort of. Because only one
in 1,000 visitors gets a chance to
interact with a ranger, the Grand
Canyon Association is now offering
a professionally produced audio
tour, which is available on reloadable
MP3 players at GCA outlets
throughout the park. “The easier
you’re able to get the information
about a place you want, the
more likely you are to connect to
that place and really get the most
out of it,” says Helen Thompson,
a spokesperson for the GCA. The
tour covers everything from the
park’s geology and human history
to wildlife and natural history, and
it’s presented by park rangers and
locals. Thompson says the audio
tour was made possible by a grant
from the National Endowment for
the Humanities, and a partnership
with Arizona State University and
the GCA. For pre-trip planners,
Thompson says downloadable files
of the tour are available at the GCA
Web site, where the information is
transferrable to as many MP3 players
and iPods as desired. The cost
is $5.95. The other option is to buy
the tour at the park. The kit, which
includes an MP3 player, is $19.95.
“This really isn’t a moneymaker,”
Thompson says. “We just look at
it as a way to connect visitors in as
many ways as we can.”
— Kendall Wright
Butterfly Lodge Museum
DAVID H. SMITH
JONATHAN L. PEIFFER
James Flake Pioneer home
18 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19
78 9 10
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Marguerite Brunswig Staude traveled all over Europe and the
United States before finding the perfect place to build her
dream church, and she couldn’t have chosen a better spot.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross sits atop the red rocks of Sedona
with views that are tough to emulate. Even the structure itself
is something of a miracle. Wedged between two rocks more
than 200 feet above the ground, a large cross provides a
stark contrast to the blue sky and the burnt sienna founda-tion.
Marguerite’s goal was to inspire people to worship with-out
distraction, which explains the church’s spartan interior.
Information: 928-282-4069 or chapeloftheholycross.com.
Black Rock Ranch
T H ATCH E R
It’s not a vacation until you learn how to lasso a steer and see a branding. That’s the
motto at Black Rock Ranch. This wilderness retreat has been family-owned since the
1890s, serving not only as a place to relax but also to get a taste of Old West history
in the form of a working cattle ranch. Guests learn how to shoot a 12-gauge shotgun
and cook a meal over a campfire with a Dutch oven. There are also horseshoes and
hikes. Evenings, an open-air ramada provides the perfect place to stargaze by a fire
before heading into your log cabin for the night. Keep in mind, the rough roads to the
ranch require a high-clearance vehicle. Information: 928-428-6481 or blackrockranch.com.
J E ROME
Imagine downtown Phoenix’s First
Fridays with fewer trendy teenagers,
less walking and more variety. That’s
Jerome’s monthly art festival. With more
than 20 participating galleries and stu-dios,
Jerome’s First Saturday Art Walk
is one of the town’s main attractions.
Visitors can check out the largest col-lection
of kaleidoscopes in the United
States at Nellie Bly Gallery, then head
over to the Old Jerome High School and
walk through the 15 studios and galler-ies
housed inside. Like First Fridays,
Jerome’s art walk features live music,
food and wine. Information: 928-649-
2277 or jeromeartwalk.com.
CORNVI L L E
Even though the unincorporated town of Cornville
isn’t famous for corn, don’t write it off — its vine-yards
and wineries have gained national attention.
Grapes thrive in the area’s moderate temperatures
and volcanic soil, and while all three of the town’s
major vineyards offer a diversity of varietals, the
Page Springs area is known for its Zinfandels and
other red wines. Javelina Leap Vineyard & Winery
won top honors at the 2007 Zinfandel Advocates
and Producers Festival; Page Springs Vineyards
& Cellars has been perfecting its Syrahs; and Oak
Creek Vineyards and Winery continues to add to
its wide variety. All three vineyards are located on
Page Springs Road, and they’re close enough to one
another to walk if you overindulge during tastings.
FORT APACHE INDIAN
The Apache Indians had a
love-hate relationship with
Arizona settlers. While
some Apaches launched
violent raids, many were
peaceful. In 1870, one year
after General E.O.C. Ord
reported a friendly encounter
between Captain John Berry
and a group of Apaches at
their White Mountain vil-lage,
the U.S. government
established a military post
nearby. Initially called Camp
Ord, its purpose was to quell
attacks by rogue Apache
leaders — notably Geronimo
and Cochise. Camp Ord’s
name changed several times,
and the camp finally became
Fort Apache in 1879, nearly
a decade after construction
first began. After Geromino’s
surrender in 1886, peace was
restored to the region. Today,
visitors can tour the 288-
acre area that includes the
Fort Apache Cultural Center
and Museum. Information:
928-338-1230 or www.wmonline.
20 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
Route 66 Museum
Over the years, millions of people have gotten their kicks on Route 66 as
they traveled through Arizona on what John Steinbeck called the “mother
road.” Kingman was one of many stops, but it wasn’t just another roadside
city. Kingman broke up the highway’s longest uninterrupted stretch in
Arizona, and was a welcome rest stop for weary travelers. Its importance
died down when Interstate 40 bypassed Kingman completely in 1981.
Luckily, the road’s role in the city’s past is kept alive at the Route 66
Museum, which features photos, old cars, murals and other memorabilia.
Of course, you’ll have to take a scenic drive down the road to get the full
effect. Information: 928-753-9889 or kingmantourism.org.
Years after being kidnapped by Indians
and forced to work as a slave, Olive
Oatman was released in 1856 at Fort
Yuma. Although the town named for
Olive may have gotten off to a rocky start,
things got better. Clark Gable fell in love
with the area and spent the first night
of his honeymoon with Carole Lombard
at the Oatman Hotel. Today, the hotel is
one of many stops for history buffs and
ghost hunters along Historic Route 66.
You can’t spend the night anymore, but
the staff at the Oatman Hotel is happy
to serve up an authentic buffalo burger
and some homemade burro ears (don’t
worry, they’re potato chips). Real burros,
ears intact, panhandle outside on the
street. Jerry Love, owner of Classy Ass
Gifts, boasts that the town has “a whole
lot of jackasses … the four-legged kind.”
Information: 928-768-4408 or 928-768-6222.
on the Beach
L AK E H AVAS U C I T Y
It’s not Santa Monica, but Bluegrass
on the Beach music festival has
all the right elements — and it’s
seaweed-free. The three-day event
(March 6-8) features award-win-ning
bands from all over the coun-try.
This year, Dailey & Vincent,
Cherryholmes and the United States
Navy Band’s “Country Current” are
among the artists scheduled to per-form.
Everything you could need
is provided for on site — includ-ing
a shuttle bus, food, water and
showers — which comes in handy
for those who choose to camp out
for the weekend. Single-day tickets
are also available. Either way, you
can expect some of the best blue-grass
in the country and a beautiful
backdrop to boot. Information: 209-
785-4693 or landspromotions.com.
It’s hard to imagine Yuma as an important
river port, but before the railroad came
into the city in 1877, it was. Supplies from
the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Depot
were ferried across waterways or taken
by mule to their destinations through-out
the Southwest until Fort Lowell in
Tucson took over operations in 1880.
After sending most of the major equip-ment
there, not much was left at Yuma,
and the depot was closed a decade later.
Fortunately, five of the original buildings
still remain. There’s a museum and gift
shop, too, and a picnic area for visitors
who take their own supplies in the form
of a food-filled basket. Information: 928-329-
0471 or azstateparks.com/Parks/Yuqa.
Cocopah Museum & Cultural Center
SOME R TON
The Kwapa tribe, known more commonly as the Cocopah, has lived along the Colorado River
for as long as anyone can remember. It makes sense, considering Kwapa means “river people.”
Nobody is sure of the exact history of the tribe, however, because for centuries it had no writ-ten
language — records were kept through the telling of stories. While some of their history
can never be revived, the Cocopahs constructed a museum more than a decade ago. Part of the
museum features life-size statues of Cocopah Indians, as well as other aspects of Cocopah life,
including traditional clothing and musical instruments. Many of their customs are still carried
on, like beading and doll making, and some arts and crafts are for sale at the museum’s gift shop.
Information: 928-627-1992 or cocopah.com.
Normally, food and drinks aren’t associated with the Phoenix Art Museum, which is home to
hundreds of priceless works of art. However, the museum is hosting the 5th Annual West of
Western Culinary Festival during the second weekend in March. The food stays outside, of
course, but the Dorrance Sculpture Garden makes for an amazing restaurant. More than 50
chefs from some of Phoenix’s best restaurants stop by, and their dishes go perfectly with the
more than 100 wines and spirits that are also available. They call it “The Grand Tasting,” and
it’s just that. Experts offer cooking classes, demos and wine tips throughout the day with live
music in the background. Information: 602-262-5652 or westofwestern.com.
QUE E N CR E E K
Last fall they carved Muhammad Ali’s likeness into a cornfield. Think
crop circles, only better. When they’re not using their vegetables for giant
portraits, the folks at Schnepf Farms invite visitors to come and pick them.
Available November through June, the “U-pick Garden & Orchards” offer
a variety of pickings, from peaches and plums to sweet peas and pickling
cucumbers. For $1.50 per pound, you can fill up on fresh, organic fruits
and vegetables until your arms hurt. Afterward, stop by the Fresh From
the Farm restaurant for a delicious home-cooked meal. The entire Schnepf
family is known to roam around inside, with Carrie in the kitchen making
garlic mashed potatoes and pot roast, while the rest of the family socializes
with guests. You won’t get service like that at the local grocery store.
Information: 480-987-3100 or schnepffarms.com.
MET RO P O LITAN
PHOENI X & T UCSON
As you probably know, the boys of sum-mer
spend their spring in Arizona. In all,
the state hosts 14 teams. The first games
came to town in 1946 after racial ten-
sions in Florida forced Cleveland Indians
player Larry Doby, the American League’s
first black player, to sleep in a separate
hotel room. Indians owner Bill Veeck
vowed to move his team to Tucson if
Horace Stoneham, then owner of the
New York Giants, promised to go to
Phoenix. Both came, and you can’t blame
them. There aren’t many other places in
the country that average more than 300
days of sun each year. So, instead of tak-ing
a sweater and umbrella, baseball fans
at Cactus League Spring Training games
take sunblock, blankets and bathing
suits. Information: cactusleague.com.
People say that when you rub the leaves
of a creosote bush together, it smells ex-
actly like the desert after it rains. Find out
for yourself at Desert Botanical Garden.
The 50-acre garden showcases some
20,000 different desert plants from all
over the world, 139 of which are consid-ered
rare, threatened or endangered.
That’s no small feat, especially when you
take into account that Desert Botanical
Garden also features a variety of events
and exhibits, including flashlight tours,
photography, art and even live musi-cal
performances. And there’s more.
Classes are available for everyone from
preschoolers to adults on just about any
topic under the sun, including gardening
and botanical art. Information: 480-941-
1225 or dbg.org.
Kay El Bar Ranch
In 1925, a room at the Kay el Bar Ranch
went for just $8 a night. Today, it’ll run you
a little more. What hasn’t changed is its
status as an official Arizona dude ranch,
complete with a game of horseshoes and
cowboy poetry readings at night. Every
day except Sundays and holidays, the
main activities center on horseback rid-ing,
whether it’s learning how to ride or
enjoying the trails on the property. There
are horses for people of all skill levels, les-sons
for first-timers and even a chance
at cattle sorting. When guests aren’t out
and about, there’s plenty to do back at
the ranch, including birdwatching — more
than 150 different species of birds have
been identified in the area. Information:
928-684-7593 or kayelbar.com.
13 14 18
11 West of Western Culinary Festival
DAVID H. SMITH
22 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
Bisbee Mining &
B I S B E E
In its glory days, Bisbee was one of the copper mining capitals of the world.
Some estimates put the amount of copper extracted at about 8 billion
pounds — enough, according to the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, to
construct a 3/4-inch pipe from the town to the moon more than three times.
Mining ceased in the ’70s, but thanks to some help from the Smithsonian
Institution, the museum features a state-of-the-art mining exhibit called
“Digging In,” which is a replica of an underground mine. For those who want
a more authentic experience, the Queen Mine Tour — on which guests wear
hard hats and explore the real deal — is just a short walk away. Information:
520-432-7071 or bisbeemuseum.org.
DR AGOON MOUNTA INS
The phrase, “But it’s a dry heat!” takes on
a different meaning when used around the
Amerind Foundation Museum. Director John
Ware doesn’t try to convince people the
weather there isn’t that bad; instead, he uses
it to explain why so many Indian artifacts were
preserved in the desert. Moisture destroys
things like pottery, but that’s not much of
an issue in Southern Arizona. In addition
to an impressive collection of artifacts, the
Amerind Foundation also has an art museum.
Visitors are invited to pack a lunch and take
advantage of the picnic area, which features
great views of the surrounding mountains.
Information: 520-586-3666 or amerind.org.
84th Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
“The pioneer spirit lives. Heroic memories never die,” wrote
Tucson Annual Rodeo Committee Chairman Leighton
Kramer in the program for the very first La Fiesta de los
Vaqueros rodeo in 1925. It’s never just been about the rodeo,
though. The event wouldn’t be complete without a mas-sive
parade, and this one, scheduled for February 26, is
about as big as they get. Among other things, the organiz-ers
of La Fiesta de los Vaqueros have exclusive bragging
rights for being the largest nonmotorized parade in the
United States, as well as one of the largest winter rodeos.
Today, attendees have a few advantages over those who saw
the inaugural rodeo — mainly the ability to drink beer.
Because the fiesta began during Prohibition, alcohol was
outlawed. Information: 520-294-1280 or tucsonrodeoparade.com. Empire
At one point, Nova Scotia native
Walter Vail practically owned
Southeastern Arizona — he ac-
quired more than 1 million acres
in about 20 years. The Vail fam-ily
sold the Empire Ranch in 1928,
a half-century after Walter first
bought it, and over the next 70
years, the land was used for
raising cattle, mining and mov-ies.
Some of the more notable
films shot around the property
include the original 3:10 to Yuma
and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Eventually, the ranch ended up
in the hands of the government,
which declared it a national con-servation
area. Since then, the
Empire Ranch Foundation has
attempted to maintain and restore
the grounds as a testament to
the difficulties of frontier life.
Information: 888-364-2829 or empire
23 Scope Out
K I T T P E AK
OBS E RVATORY
It’s no secret that Southern Arizona is one of
the best places in the world for astronomy,
and Kitt Peak is no exception. Located about
90 minutes southwest of Tucson, the observa-tory
at Kitt Peak provides opportunities for
the public to experience the sky. Tours are
offered daily, and special programs through-out
the year showcase planets and other celes-tial
bodies. “Scope Out Saturn” happens every
year in early March, when Saturn becomes
visible. Guests view the ringed planet through
telescopes at the visitors center and get a copy
of an image captured that night on a CD.
Pack a jacket — temperatures that time of
year average around freezing — and plan on
spending the night at a Tucson hotel because
many activities at Kitt Peak conclude after
midnight. Information: 520-318-8726 or www.noao.
Queen Mine Tour
DAVID H. SMITH
H O P I N A T I O N
G R A N D C A N Y O N
N A T I O N A L P A R K
Lake Havasu City
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
It was Newton who first
demonstrated that white light
consists of a roughly equal mixture
of all visible wavelengths, which
can be separated to yield the colors
of the spectrum. George Stocking
isn’t Sir Isaac Newton, but as you’ll
see in this month’s portfolio, he’s
an aficionado when it comes to
using natural light in landscape
photography. You might even call
him the master.
The last light of day intensifies hues of coral, rose, laven-der
and sapphire that saturate the Arizona sky above Wukoki
Ruin in the Wupatki National Monument, north of Flagstaff.
The monument is home to several ancient pueblos built by
the Sinaguan people during the 12th century.
the Light of Day
24 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9
26 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
A cerulean sky and a bank of cirrocumulus clouds provide a dra-matic
backdrop for the balancing act of a massive boulder along
the Echo Park Trail in Southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua National
Monument (above). Sunset illuminates teddy bear chollas that dot
the rocky hillsides of Phoenix’s South Mountain Park (right).
28 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
MORNING HAS BROKEN
Mist rises from Black Canyon Lake as day dawns on the
Mogollon Rim. The sunrise tints delicate clouds a brilliant
orange above the lake’s still surface, which offers a mirror
image of the surrounding ponderosa pine-covered hills.
30 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
STRAWBERRY FALLS FOREVER
Along Northern Arizona’s Little Colorado River, a brilliant
sunset transforms the silt-laden, brown water of Grand
Falls into strawberry-colored streams.
32 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
SONGS OF THE SOUTHWEST
A dusty haze permeates the long rays of sunset breaking through
clouds drifting over a landscape of saguaro and teddy bear cholla
cactuses in South Mountain Park (left). A patch of sneezeweed adds
a golden glow to a misty meadow situated beneath the San
Francisco Peaks (below) near Flagstaff.
34 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9
Telescopes on Mount Graham, snowmaking machines in the San Francisco
Peaks, a highway through South Mountain … these are just some of the con-flicts
brewing over sacred native lands and the uses that 21st century America
has in mind for them. The New York Times calls it “a new kind of Indian war,”
with Arizona as its ground zero.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 35
w A cross petroglyph, etched
by prehistoric Hohokams as a
symbol representing Venus,
echoes the planet itself shining
above the horizon at South
Mountain Park in Phoenix.
photograph by frank zullo
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 37
window in the lobby of the
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass
Resort & Spa dramatically cra-dles
a view of Vii Kwxas on the hori-zon,
5 miles away. Any number of Arizona
mountains would practically fill this window, but
modest Vii Kwxas — known as South Mountain to the more
than 4 million residents of Metropolitan Phoenix — rises only 2,690
feet, a long, low geologic baguette with the usual plunging canyons and
spiky ridges kneaded mostly into gentle creases. By Arizona standards,
it’s practically a throwaway mountain.
But these are not the standards of the Gila River Indian Community
people, whose ancestors lived here for a millennium before a place
named “Arizona” came to exist, and who still view the mountain as
a sacred place. Deeper than sacred, actually: Indians deploy the word
because it’s the best approximation English can muster, but a sacred
mountain is more than a church or consecrated ground. It’s seen as a
living thing, a vital organ in the tribe’s history, culture, ecology and
“We don’t idolize it, we don’t worship it,” says Tribal Councilman
Anthony Villareal Sr. “But it has such a close connection to us that we
are a part of it.”
We’re talking in the Sheraton’s lobby, where we enjoy a prime view
of the mountain, and of something that might strike non-native Ameri-cans
as wryly ironic. The Gila River tribes own this luxury resort,
along with three casinos, three golf courses and an industrial park.
This development has dramatically ratcheted up the community’s
prosperity, thanks largely to the proximity
of booming Phoenix. (Sky Harbor Interna-tional
Airport is only 11 miles away.) Phoenix
wants to complete a freeway loop by string-ing
a segment of the South Mountain Free-way
across tribal land or over the mountain.
The tribes have firmly said no to both.
“When you destroy a piece of the moun-tain,
you destroy a piece of us,” Villareal tells
me. “It’s like cutting off a piece of my finger because it’s in your way.”
South Mountain is one in a spreading series of knotty conflicts
between off-reservation sacred lands and the uses that 21st century
America has in mind for these same places — roads, resource extrac-tion,
recreation and even scientific research. The New York Times has
called it “a new kind of Indian war” and reported on Arizona as its
ground zero. One reason is the state’s rich quilt of native peoples; 21
federally recognized tribes reside here. Another reason might be the
character of the powerfully etched and sculpted landscape itself. It
doesn’t seem like a vast leap from feeling awed and inspired, as mod-
ern non-Indians do, to vesting a mountain with a spiritual dimension.
Since 1988, the White Mountain and San Carlos Apaches have
protested the use of Mount Graham as a site for observatories. There
are now three on the mountain’s 10,472-foot Emerald Peak summit,
including the 2004 Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, touted as
the world’s most powerful. But Mount Graham is also home to the gaan,
four benevolent spirits who long ago instructed the Apaches that they
must not be disturbed. The mountain is a traditional place of prayer
and a repository of natural resources used in spiritual ceremonies.
The Forest Service’s lease expires in April; the Apaches continue to op-
pose its renewal.
In 2004, Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff’s 70-year-old downhill ski
area, floated an expansion plan that included using treated munici-pal
effluent for making snow on the San Francisco Peaks. In 2005, 13
tribes filed suit to block both the expansion and snowmaking
scheme. The Indians lost the first round in U.S. District Court, won
the first appellate hearing before a three-judge panel, and then
lost again in August 2008 when the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
made its ruling. The case could go to the Supreme Court.
The San Francisco Peaks, Arizona’s highest range at 12,633 feet, are
sacred to several tribes. The Hopis believe their Katsinam, or deities,
reside there. The Katsinam are vital mediators between the physical
and spiritual worlds, bringing life-giving rain to the crops. To the
Navajos, the peaks are among the four sacred mountain ranges that
define the tribe’s homeland — and, at an even deeper level, its identity.
“Like the human body, the mountain can tolerate some level of con-tamination,”
Navajo activist Robert Tohe tells me at a coffeehouse in
downtown Flagstaff. “People should have the enjoyment of the moun-tain.
Skiing, hiking, camping … these have taken place for a long time,
and not in a contentious way. But the Snowbowl development did not
bring tribal perspectives to the table.”
The use of reclaimed water is the hottest button, and it’s deeper than
the gesture of symbolically peeing on the sacred slope. Navajos assidu-ously
avoid contact with the dead, and Flagstaff’s municipal water is,
of course, used in mortuaries. In spiritual terms, no degree of chemical
treatment can remove that contamination.
The Snowbowl expansion advocates contend that science has de-clared
the treated effluent to be absolutely safe, and that the snow-making
serves a broad constituency. In drought years, the winter
playground struggles to survive; in the 2001-02 season, it was open
only four days. “There’s room for quality recreation on the San Fran-cisco
Peaks,” J.R. Murray, Snowbowl’s general manager, said in a state-ment.
“The peaks are very special to everyone in Northern Arizona, not
just the tribes. Skiers have been very patient and loyal. They deserve
better facilities and a better skiing experience, like at other ski areas
located on public land.”
w On the summer solstice,
viewed from what was likely
a prehistoric Hohokam
sun-watching site, the sun
peeks between Four Peaks,
a location sacred to the ancient
tribe. photograph by
38 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
The dispute has polarized Flagstaff, whose population is 10 percent
Native American. At first there was a breakout of pro-Indian “Save
the Peaks” bumper stickers, quickly followed by “Reclaim the Peaks”
retorts, and finally the parody, “Pave the Peaks.” Mayor Sara Presler-
Hoefle chooses her words carefully, trying to weigh the competing
interests: “This is much more complex than any single issue. We must
balance the phenomenal experience and religious culture of the Native
American community with the economic priorities of cities, states and
the nation. It’s a real challenge, but I don’t see it as an impossibility.”
Attorney Laura Berglan, who represents the tribes, drills right to
the heart of the issue. “It’s very difficult for Anglo-Americans to wrap
their minds around the Indian concept of sacredness in the land,”
she says. “I think the real problem is not being connected enough to
nature to grasp the effect that the introduction of reclaimed water
“Maybe you can understand it if you look in poetic terms,”
Tohe says. He doesn’t specifically mention his sister, but I’ve already
read some of Laura Tohe’s poetry in one of her books, Tséyi’, Deep in the
Rock: Reflections on Canyon de Chelly. She teaches English and American
Indian literature at Arizona State University, and frequently addresses
her Navajo homeland in her work, as here:
I happily step over into existence,
into our canyons,
It’s a powerful concept, and not really so abstract. Tohe is writing
that apart from nature, she is nothing. And this is the core idea in
the Indian relationship with Earth, weather, plants and animals: All
nature is connected, and all things, animate or not, must show respect
for each other. When they don’t, the intricate web of Creation fails.
What’s intriguing — almost uncanny — is that Aldo Leopold, the
Wisconsin ecologist whose 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, helped
trigger the environmental movement, said essentially the same thing.
In fact, Robert A. Williams, a Lumbee tribal member who teaches law
and American Indian studies at the University of Arizona, assigns
his students to read Leopold. “I like Leopold because he talks like an
Indian,” Williams says. “He shows that these worlds are bridgeable
The human species, Leopold wrote, needs to abandon its view of
itself as master of nature and learn to live instead as a respectful citi-zen.
His most frequent quotation sums up his philosophy precisely:
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.
When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin
to use it with love and respect.”
Even more intriguingly, when, in the 1990s, assorted historians and
technology gurus began talking about the phenomenon of unintended
consequences, many of the examples seemed to mesh with traditional
Indian thinking about nature. The epidemic of forest fires, cited in
Edward Tenner’s 1996 book, Why
Things Bite Back: Technology and the
Revenge of Unintended Consequences,
forms a perfect example. A century
of suppressing natural fires, along
with people settling in scenic lands
at the fringe of fire-prone forests,
has dramatically escalated the dan-ger
and destructiveness of fires.
Native American spiritual phi-
losophy has eerily anticipated sci-ence.
The idea that all living crea-
tures and even inanimate things,
such as rocks and weather, are inter-
probably arose many
centuries before Leopold. The idea
that one could harm the environ-ment
through spiritual pollution
is a prelude to the modern under-standing
of chemical pollution.
Many of the decisions ancient peo-ple
made about where and how to
live may have had their foundations
in religious practice, but they seem
altogether logical in light of what
we know today.
For example, the O’odham people
— which include the Gila River
tribes today and their likely ances-tors,
the prehistoric Hohokam peo-ple
— traditionally believed that
human illness was caused by cer-emonial
lapses or the ill will of animals. That
might be one reason South Mountain was a
ceremonial center, not a homesite. Believing
that their own health pivoted on nature, the
ancient people did what they could to preserve
the integrity of the animals’ environments.
They made mistakes, of course: The Hohokam
and Ancestral Pueblo civilizations probably collapsed because they
expanded beyond the natural resources — including small game and
wood for fire and shelter — available to support them. But they instinc-tively
understood the interdependent weave of nature, and constructed
an elaborate religious system to try to preserve it.
“Respect is the bottom line,” says Jennifer Allison-Ray, lieutenant
governor of the modern Gila River Indian Community. “Respect for
nature, respect for all religions, and respect for the Creator, whatever
he or she may be called.”
There’s unlikely to be any ready resolution to the spreading
rash of disputes over traditional sacred lands. Williams says there’s “a
whole matrix of machinery” now in place that gives the tribes tools
to challenge new uses of their traditional sites, even when they’re far
off-reservation. First among these is the Religious Freedom Restora-tion
Act of 1993, which says that governments may not “substantially
burden religious exercise without compelling justification.” Thanks to
casino and resort income, many tribes now have the resources to hire
lawyers and pursue expensive legal action. And Williams has noted an
interesting phenomenon: “The tribes that have been most successful at
gaming operations are the same ones that have been most committed to
culture and language preservation. It’s no different from the non-Indian
world: Culture and religion always require subsidies.”
But a positive benefit for non-Indian cultures might be a reappraisal
of the way we relate to nature. Leopold has pointed the direction: Let
us quit thinking about land and the biotic community in terms of eco-nomic
value, he wrote. Assume that everything has value and a right
to exist. Only then can humans avoid destroying some vital link in the
web that we don’t yet understand.
Essayist Scott Russell Sanders, another white man who might be
accused of thinking like an Indian, has written that sacred stories in
all cultures “arise from our intuition that beneath the flow of Creation
there is order.”
After my conversation with Villareal and Allison-Ray at the Sheraton,
I drive a few miles to the South Mountain foothills and park,
where I walk for a mile or two along an arroyo bed. A bit of the arroyo
has been professionally landscaped for the benefit of the nearby sub-urban
development. The banks are lined with staked mesquite and
paloverde trees; the riverbed has been raked clean and dotted with
strategic boulders to discourage off-roaders.
After a few hundred feet, the landscaping yields to the scruffy chaos
of nature. As a creature of civilization, I instinctively feel more com-fortable
in the tended landscape. But it’s the other one — the scruffy,
unkempt wrinkle in the desert — where the true underlying order
resides, because it will maintain itself without intervention. That is the
truly sacred, the place where we go to try to understand Creation.
w Mount Graham offers
astronomers ideal viewing
conditions, but the
White Mountain and San
Carlos Apaches protest
the telescopes disturbing
their sacred sky island.
“Respect for nature, respect for all religions, and respect
for the Creator, whatever he or she may be called.„
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
◗ Bill Brooks, John Wayne’s
longtime friend and pilot,
wears the Duke’s jacket and
cowboy hat outside the 26
Bar Ranch. photograph by
ryan b. stevenson
By Keridwen Cornelius
40 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9
Bill Brooks isn’t your everyday Arizonan. Not because he’s a judo master.
There are plenty of those. And not because he once hosted a cooking
show, trained as an astronaut and acted as an extra in B-Westerns.
No, Bill Brooks stands out because of his longtime role as sidekick
and personal pilot for John Wayne. It's a story more
improbable than any Hollywood movie plot.
42 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
He arrived at the airport announcing, “I’m here to pick up J.W.” A
6-foot-4-inch man in a floppy hat turned around. It was John Wayne.
When Brooks respectfully addressed him as “Mr. Wayne,” the actor
set him straight. “The name’s Duke,” he said, removing his hat to reveal
a toupee-less bald patch. And that, as they say in Hollywood, was the
beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Just how Bill Brooks, a Phoenix native with ranch roots, became
not only the personal pilot for John Wayne and a coterie of celebri-ties,
but also hosted his own cooking show, became a judo master
and even trained as an astronaut is a story more improbable than any
Born in 1931, Brooks was raised by his maternal grandpar-ents
in Phoenix but spent much of his time at his paternal
grandparents’ ranch near Sulphur Springs. There, his
grandmother, a Comanche Indian, taught young Brooks
how to cook Mexican food for the ranch hands, who were
all Mexican cowboys. His prowess with picante sauce would change
his life. So would Barry Goldwater.
One day, the future U.S. senator — who happened to be Brooks’
scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts — invited Brooks to help him deliver
watermelons in his private plane to Prescott. After they gained alti-tude,
Goldwater turned the controls over to the 14-year-old, who flew
the plane for a half-hour. Brooks was bitten by the aviation bug.
On his 16th birthday, he earned two licenses: a driver’s and a pilot’s,
the latter funded by his somewhat skeptical stepfather. No one but his
grandmother had the chutzpah to fly with the teenaged aviation sen-sation.
So, he fitted her with a leather helmet, put her in the backseat
of an old biplane, and they took off from Phoenix’s Air Haven Airport
to soar over the vast patchwork of farmland and citrus groves. “After
that,” Brooks boasts, “I was mighty popular with the girls.”
As a teenager, the ranch-bred boy also embraced the role of wran-gler.
With his skill on horseback and his uniform of Levi’s, boots and
a Stetson, he applied and was quickly hired as an extra in “a whole
bunch of those cheap B-Westerns filmed in Sedona and the Granite
Dells near Prescott,” he says.
Brooks’ cinematic résumé reads like the marquee at a John Wayne
movie marathon: Angel and the Bad Man, filmed
in Sedona; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, set in Monu-ment
Valley; Rio Grande, shot in Moab, Utah;
and several more. It was during these summers
that Brooks first met the Duke, who wasn’t
above partying with the entire crew, including
wide-eyed young extras.
As the boy became a man, he traded biplanes
for B-29 bombers in the Air Force during the
Korean War. “Young boys in those days wanted
to be soldiers or pilots,” Brooks reminisces.
Because his general believed all crewmembers
should be able to defend themselves, Brooks
learned judo at the Kodo-kan
School in Tokyo, earning his black belt.
But he got “mighty lonesome” overseas, so while
on leave he asked his sweetheart, Martha, to marry
him. He finished his duty at home with the Phoe-nix
The 1950s and ’60s were busy decades for Bill
and Martha Brooks. Bill held a steady job as an
engineer for the Mountain States Telephone Co.
He became chief judo instructor at the Phoenix
YMCA, coaching Martha to black-belt status and
a national women’s judo championship title.
The couple had two daughters, Paige and Gail,
and a son, William T. Brooks IV. “Every time we
stopped at an air base, we had another kid,” Bill
jokes. “Nobody ever told us what was making it
Brooks also published a cookbook, If You Like
w John Wayne’s
personal Colt .45
holster used in the
movie The Shootist
are some of the
owned by Bill
by ryan b. stevenson
RIGHT: Visitors to 26
Bar Ranch, west of
Eagar, are greeted by
friendly horses and a
sign. photograph by
ryan b. stevenson
Bill Brooks’ instructions were cryptic: “Fly to Orange County, California, pick up ‘J.W.’ and fly
him to ‘Pop’s ranch.’ ” But since the instructions came from William Randolph Hearst Jr., son of the
billionaire publishing mogul, and “Pop’s ranch” was Hearst Castle, Brooks didn’t ask any questions.
44 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
It Hot, featuring the Mexican-food recipes his
grandmother taught him. He competed on the
chili-cooking circuit, which earned him the nick-name
“Chili Bill” and took him to such far-flung,
non-chili-eating locales as Hawaii, Cancun and
Tokyo. “It’s like playing professional golf, only
you’re cooking chili,” explains Brooks, who even-tually
became a chili champion. His secret? “Only
meat, no beans.” Plus, he cooked a Southwestern
chili like his grandmother taught him, which means spicy. “A lot
of Eastern people … their chili was more like a spaghetti sauce,” he
After 15 years, Brooks felt that his engineer career was stagnating.
Then, in 1966 an opportunity arose in the form of pancakes. Brooks’
father and a business partner had bought the Golden Carriage Pan-cake
House in San Simeon, California, but spent more time bickering
than baking. The father wanted out and offered to sell the business
to Bill for $10,000.
“I was never the kind who could settle down to one thing,” Brooks
says. So he and Martha sold their house in Chandler and moved to San
Simeon, at the foot of Hearst Castle.
Despite all the pancakes, two very lean years followed, as the castle
had not caught on yet as a tourist destination. When it did become a
tourist site, “We got so many customers we didn’t know what to do,”
Brooks recalls. “We hired every kid in high school.”
The tourism boom brought the Brookses enough cash to build an
adjacent 50-unit motel — the Golden Carriage Inn — and eventually
buy the Paso Robles Flying Service at nearby Paso Robles Municipal
Airport. Through the flying service, he signed a gem of a contract: to
fly the Hearst family, which he would do for nearly 10 years.
“We became pretty good friends,” says Brooks of William Randolph
Hearst Jr., who invited the Brookses to weekends at his mansions. The
couple hobnobbed with international tycoons, marveled at the gold-plated
bathroom fixtures and slept in a bed once graced by John F.
Kennedy. Though Martha was concerned that she and Bill were out of
their league, the two became an instant hit with the crowds of celebri-ties,
none of whom were airplane-flying, chili-cooking judo masters.
Brooks soon launched a small commuter airline, Golden Carriage
Air, and two judo schools, recruiting instructors from his former
school in Japan. He and Martha also sponsored a stock car dubbed
“Golden Carriage,” which led Brooks to a first-place win in an owners’
and mechanics’ race.
The Golden Carriage businesses became a family affair: Martha
worked the cash register, Bill Jr. washed dishes, Paige and Gail served
pancakes, and Bill flew the planes. Through his connection with the
Hearsts, Bill piloted celebs Loretta Young, Jane Russell, Irene Dunn
and, of course, John Wayne.
J ohn Wayne didn’t remember Bill Brooks as a B-Western
actor, but their friendship grew at 6,000 feet as they flew
between California and Wayne’s Arizona ranches — Red
River Ranch near Casa Grande and 26 Bar Ranch near
Eagar. Brooks’ chili recipe, which he dubbed “Duke’s
Chili,” became Wayne’s favorite (though Wayne liked to spike it with
three shots of tequila). When Wayne was filming Brannigan in
London, he phoned Brooks and asked him to send 5 gallons of his chili
for a cast and crew party. Bill and Martha cooked up a batch and flew
it to San Francisco, where it boarded a London-bound plane. It was so
popular with the Brits that Wayne’s secretary and lover, Pat Stacy, had
to hide a bowl so the Duke could have some.
As the years passed, John Wayne’s health began to fade. “He got to
where he couldn’t breathe in the airplane without oxygen,” Brooks
recalls. But the prideful Duke didn’t like people seeing him sucking
on oxygen, so Brooks helped him hide his secret.
In return, Wayne nudged Brooks into showbiz. Literally.
Brooks, Wayne and Hearst were flying back from a VIP-packed
soiree when Hearst mentioned he wanted to launch a Western cook-ing
show on television. He asked Brooks if he knew anyone who could
host it, but the pilot said he didn’t. At that point Duke jabbed Brooks
three times in the ribs, cuing Hearst to say, “Well, how about you,
Chili Bill? You’ve done just about everything else.” Brooks was dumb-founded.
“Give it a try,” Wayne urged. “You might just like showbiz.”
Brooks later learned it was the Duke’s idea.
And so Bill Brooks went from Western movie extra to Western
cooking show star, hosting 150 episodes of Chili Bill’s Kitchen. The show
was shot mostly in Sedona at the well-known Coffeepot Restaurant,
then owned by actress Jane Russell. Brooks went on to produce and
direct two documentaries — one about gunfighters of the West, the
other about the Hearsts.
In 1979, John Wayne died, but he remained central to Brooks’ life.
At Wayne’s posthumous 75th birthday, Brooks offered Wayne’s son
Michael $5,000 for part of his collection of
the Duke’s memorabilia. It would become
much more than a personal collection.
During the ’80s and ’90s, a series of
start-ups stopped short for the Brookses.
They returned to Arizona, opening a res-taurant
and then a gas turbine jet-engine
company. Both were shuttered. Bill applied
for astronaut training under NASA’s new
Senior Astronaut Program, but after
beginning his training, the Space Shuttle
Columbia exploded, putting the program
on hold. Then, in 2000, Martha, Bill’s wife
of 50 years, passed away.
Now 77, Brooks
remains the con-summate
cowboy. He wears
aviator suits as he
lounges in his Corn-ville
home, which is adorned with model airplanes, John Wayne’s film
props and some of Brooks’ own artwork. (Yes, he paints, too.) From
his window, he can gaze at Sedona, where so many of his teenaged
movie-making memories transpired, and at House Mountain, where
Martha’s ashes are scattered.
A few years ago, Brooks discovered John Wayne fan Web sites,
where he could relive old times making movies and flying with the
Duke. He returned to 26 Bar Ranch near Eagar, bought the foreman’s
house, and converted it into a John Wayne museum filled with the
memorabilia he bought from Michael Wayne. Last summer, the mem-orabilia
— including Wayne’s ’73 pickup truck — was moved to the
Territorial Museum at Wild West Junction in Williams.
Now Brooks gives museum tours to people around the world. “You
can’t believe that after all these years there are still that many John
Wayne nuts around,” he says. But he’s happy to oblige, regaling fans
with personal tales about his friend, the Duke. Like the time Wayne
accidentally walked into the swimming pool at a party, or the day he
saved an old woman from losing her house in Eagar.
After meeting him, no doubt many of these John Wayne fans
become Bill Brooks fans, too. He might not be a silver-screen icon, but
as he says, “I’ve lived one helluva life.”
w Still able to pass his
at 77, Brooks would
rather fly his single-engine
drive in a car. photo-graph
by jeff kida
He signed a gem of a contract: to fly the Hearst family,
which he would do for nearly 10 years. “We became pretty good
friends,” says Brooks of William Randolph Hearst Jr.
w Bill Brooks
bought the foreman’s
house at 26
Bar Ranch, where
John Wayne raised
with his partner,
Louis Johnson, in
the 1960s and ‘70s.
ryan b. stevenson
For more information on Bill Brooks’ collection of John Wayne memorabilia in
the Territorial Museum at Wild West Junction, call 928-635-4512 or visit wild
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 47
w A cowgirl caravan of gussied-up
vintage trailers makes camp in
ABOVE: Nancy Springer (left)
and co-founder Maurrie Sussman
pose with Sussman’s 1958
46 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9
What started as a girls weekend for two sisters from Phoenix has grown into an all-women
travel brigade with more than 1,000 adopted “sisters.” Fly-fishing, horseback
riding, whitewater rafting … that’s how they spend their
days. At night, they crash in their vintage Airstreams, et al.
It’s not that these women have anything against men, per se;
they’d just rather hit the road without them.
by JoBeth Jamison
48 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 49
A fierce wind blows across Monument
Valley Navajo Tribal Park,
where a strange and shiny pa-
rade has commenced along its
sacred earthen avenues. One by
one, more than 30 cars and trucks emerge through a dense
cloud of sand on the western horizon. Countless families
descend on this place every year, but it’s clear by the puzzled
looks on the faces of the locals and visitors who stop to watch
them pass that no one has ever seen a family vacation quite
like this before.
All but a few of these vehicles are pulling small trailers
— mostly vintage sleepers — each colorfully decorated with
painted murals, names, stickers or at least a number. What
looks like the circus is actually the cowgirl caravan, a vacation
posse better known as Sisters on the Fly.
“See that?” A giddy woman’s voice broadcasts over a chain
of two-way radios. Her finger defies the sandblasting gusts
from the window of an SUV and points to the Three Sisters
rock formation. “That’s us!” she squeals. “The sisters!”
“You bet,” replies another female voice, this one from a
behemoth black pickup in the lead. “Just as long as I’m the
The voice and the truck belong to Maurrie Sussman, also
known as Sister No. 1, the convivial co-creator of this all-women
A decade ago, Sussman and her real sister, Becky Clarke
(Sister No. 2), were adventuring in Montana. With wine in
hand after an empowering day of fly-fishing, the two talked
about how more women should experience this type of get-away
— the kind typically enjoyed by men. So, they began
extending invitations for fly-fishing adventures to fellow
“sisters,” and Sisters on the Fly was born. Since that day in
1999, the group has grown from two sisters to more than
1,000 — all by word of mouth.
The trailers, or the cowgirl caravan, began tagging along
when the ladies realized that hauling their fannies and fish-ing
gear all over the country would be a lot more enjoyable if
they were hauling some of the comforts of home with them
— like their bedrooms. Since husbands, kids and pets weren’t
allowed on the trips, they wouldn’t need much, just enough
space for a bed, a table and maybe a place to powder their
noses and take shelter from the elements. If a small wine rack
were to fit in there somewhere, even better.
Based out of Sussman’s home in
Phoenix, SOTF (not exactly “soft”)
started as a fly-fishing group,
but as the numbers grew, so did
the ideas for adventure. In addi-tion
to fishing trips, the Sisters have assembled for vineyard
tours, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, classes at Cow-girl
College (which is exactly what it sounds like) and, now,
for sightseeing in Monument Valley.
This particular trip has been orchestrated entirely by Suss-man,
whose close friendship with the Yazzies, one of the
area’s oldest families, has made possible not only an intimate
look at the Navajo way of life, but a special Diné blessing cer-emony
to be conducted for one of the Sisters who’s been seek-ing
reconnection with her lost Native American heritage.
Renowned Navajo rug weaver Susie Yazzie, a 2005 Arizona
Culture Keeper who is now 96 and still lives in Monument
Valley, has graciously agreed to host the ladies on her vast
expanse of land, while her son, Lonnie Yazzie (who recently
passed away), has offered to guide them across it. He and his
young nephew, Nez, lead the caravan past the Yazzie home-stead
to Lamb Canyon, on the south side of Saddle Rock.
This isn’t their first rodeo — the Sisters move in like clock-work,
knowing just how much space to take for themselves
and how much to leave for the rig behind them, creating a
perfect circle of horsepower and carriages.
Immediately, they go to work. Sussman’s cousin, Laura La
Chance (Sister No. 66), sets up the kitchen and communal
eating area. Molly Westgate and Kati Weingartner (Sister
No. 190), of Mesa, set up an old dryer basin and a custom-welded
stand for the campfire and help unload two truckbeds
filled to the brim with pet and livestock food, which Sussman
requested everyone take along as an offering of gratitude for
the Yazzies. There’s never a lack of volunteers for the com-munity
duties, but looking out at the cul-de-sac of trailers, it’s
easy to see which task is everyone’s favorite: setting up their
own personal homesteads, all of which are as unique and full
of character as the Sisters themselves.
What began as a practical travel solution turned into a
challenging hobby. Now, finding and restoring 12- to 24-foot
vintage trailers is the signature element of the sisterhood and
one of its primary membership draws. SOTF trailers date
back to the early 1950s and include rare models made by Holi-day,
Shasta, Aljoa, Scotsman, Aloha, Fireball and Airstream.
Where do they find them?
“In people’s yards,” says Tammy Phillips (Sister No. 345), of
Salt Lake City. “You drive by and notice them, then you keep
driving by, and one day you knock and say, ‘I noticed this has
been sitting here,’ then you make them an offer.”
Elaine Block (Sister No. 151) talked the Forest Service into
selling “Sassy Sister,” her 1952 Boles Aero trailer.
Leora Hunsaker (Sister No. 52), who joined SOTF after one
of the members brought a trailer to her sign shop in Globe
and asked her to “put a cowgirl Betty Boop” on it, says that
her 1966 Jet, “Lazy Ass Ranch,” was a “hunting shack fixer-upper.”
Others found their rigs online through various trailer-enthusiast
clubs and Web sites.
Once acquired, the trailers become the equivalent of mus-cle
cars for men — an outlet of creative energy and personal
expression. The Sisters obsess over every detail to make them
strictly their own, to impress the others and, in many cases,
to top them.
LEFT: Like many
of the sisters,
she rebuilt and
ABOVE: The sisters
with an exuberant
John Ford Point,
named for the
50 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 51
Sussman bought “Lucy,” a 1958 Holiday — easily identified
by the hand-painted red Pegasus, the cowgirl dressed in black
and the Sisters on the Fly logo — for $400, but she estimates
that she’s put about $10,000 into it. Edith Berry paid about the
same for her 1961 Serro Scotty trailer, and rebuilt it from the
wheels up. She estimates it’s now worth about $70,000. But
these ladies aren’t in it for the money.
“At this age, it’s like starting over again,” says Sister No.
295 of her rebuilt Serro. “I had great fun doing the trailer
because no one told me I couldn’t. I never did anything like
this. There’s no amount of money that can compare to the
sense of accomplishment.”
In creating their mobile spaces, some seek a haven from the
chaos and clutter of their daily lives and keep their trailers
clean and simple. But the majority of them see the aluminum,
fiberglass and steel as a blank canvas for creating alter egos;
most of them are cowgirls. Then there are those like Vicky
Kimling (Sister No. 94), of Scottsdale, whose playful pink and
black trailer, “Floozy,” is fashioned after an Old West bordello
— right down to the pink satin bedding, the dangling fishnet
stockings and the smell of cheap perfume.
Regardless of the trailers’ individual flavors, the common
thread of sisterhood ties them all together. No matter who
signs on, they’re welcomed as part of the estrogen-rich family.
Walk through the “neighborhood” and you’ll likely be gone
a long while, just taking in everyone’s hospitality — a cup
of coffee here, a gin and tonic next door, a fresh loaf of bread
down the way, or a jacket if you forgot to pack your own. You
can even come away with a full tutorial on welding frames or
overhauling a propane stove.
Very few of the Sisters come aboard knowing anything
about camping, trailers, trucks or towing safety. The experi-ence
and lessons are passed on from one generation of Sisters
to the next, a tradition they’re now invited to witness in the
It’s not every day that Navajo families sac-rifice
one of their sheep for a meal, but the
Yazzies, like the Sisters, see this as a spe-cial
occasion. Cousins, friends, nieces, neph-
ews, granddaughters and grandsons are all
on hand to help prepare the feast and teach the Sisters how
everything is done. They all know their roles. Not a single part
of the mutton is wasted, not even the bodily waste. Every-thing
can be either stewed, grilled, dried, woven, carved or
fed to the dogs, which are only too happy to do their part.
There’s an art to this life, to this culture, and as the Sisters
make their way back to camp after dinner, Sussman is beam-ing.
She’s happy that the Sisters are absorbing it respectfully
and with the same enthusiasm that she has.
Sussman, who has a background in anthropology, met the
Yazzies while working on irrigation projects on the reserva-tion
in the early ’90s. Although, it would appear, from their
spirited laughter and genuine admiration for one another, that
Sussman was born into this family.
The idea of bringing her extended families together to
experience one another appealed to her long before this
weekend, but it also made her nervous. While new Sisters
are always welcome, not everyone knows Sussman or what it
means to have the trust and respect of the Yazzies, and what
a truly special opportunity this is. After talking it over with
Lonnie Yazzie again and again, she was encouraged to pick a
weekend to see how it would go.
Prior to the trips, Sussman politely warns participants to
“behave.” In person, she’ll tell you that means: “No bitching,
proselytizing, preaching or pushing your wares or agenda.”
There might be a time and place for all of that, she says, but
this is not it.
When all eyes open to a morn-ing
of snow and rain, it’s ques-tionable
as to whether this is
the time to explore Monument
Valley. Lamb Canyon has be-
come a mud rink, consumed by wind, a steady drizzle of rain
and intermittent snow flurries. But after a hearty meal of fresh
fruit, Monte Cristo breakfast sandwiches and hot coffee with a
little Bailey’s Irish Cream, the show goes on with Lonnie and
Nez acting as narrators and, on occasion, stand-up comedians.
Four-wheel-drive and a sense of adventure are being put
to good use now as the Sisters, unhitched from their trail-ers,
climb up and over the rock-and-mud hillsides where the
dramatic weather turns out to be a scenic gift. The neighbor-ing
Totem Pole formation looks like a bony finger dipping
into a dark, thick cream of clouds. Just down the road, rain
drains through Big Hogan arch, creating a small waterfall that
echoes lightly through the natural amphitheater.
Farther along the path, Ear of the Wind lives up to its name
as spirited gusts pass through the natural rock window, ruf-fling
the surrounding wild rhubarb and white-blooming
desert primrose. Through the ear, Hunts Mesa looks like
a sugary treat after a light dusting of fresh snow. Heading
toward Goulding’s Trading Post, Lonnie and Nez make sure
the Sisters stop to enjoy north-facing views of Elephant Butte
and the famous Mittens. And no trip to Monument Valley
would be complete without a photo op at John Ford Point.
Upon the group’s return, it’s time for another Navajo feast
and the special Blessing Way ceremony that Sussman has
arranged with the Yazzies for Patti Kopf (Sister No. 408), of
Flagstaff. After dinner, Kopf is led to the warm confines of
Susie Yazzie’s hogan, where she’s dressed in a traditional vel-veteen
blouse and gathered skirt, and where Susie Yazzie
herself gently combs Kopf’s long black hair into a customary
knot with a long brush made of buffalo grass.
Susie Yazzie, often called the “Grandmother of Monument
Valley,” made famous the practice of depicting ceremonial
sandpaintings in the Navajo rugs she began weaving at the
age of 14 to support her six siblings after her mother died.
According to Lonnie, who was her oldest son, these rugs show
how everyone is the same.
Night has fallen. Their bellies full from Navajo tacos and
ice cream with warm apples, the Sisters gather around the
fire with the Yazzie family and friends to watch as Kopf is
put back on track with her ancestors. Those who are familiar
with Navajo history find this ceremony particularly remark-able,
because Kopf’s ancestry is Apache — traditional enemies
of the Navajo. Lonnie acknowledges this, but kindly assures
that both tribes descend from the Athabascan people, and
are the only two Indian tribes south of Canada that share
the Athabascan language. He explains the importance of
clanship and ceremonies, and finding balance between the
different aspects of nature, and reminds everyone that, like
the sandpaintings show, “we are the same.”
The Sisters smile knowingly at each other. Each one of
them is different, but their desire and willingness to connect
as a clan in this circle of wisdom makes them the same. It’s
what makes them want to share their lives and experiences.
It’s what will keep them coming back for more weekends like
this. It’s what makes them not just Sisters on the Fly, but fam-ily.
Then, like hitches to trailers, they all lock arms and dance
in a circle into the night.
For more information, visit sistersonthefly.w The gang gathcom.
ers in renowned
to learn the
Navajo rug making.
a laugh with
He explains the importance
of clanship and ceremonies,
and finding balance between
the different aspects of nature.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 53
pick up a course catalog for
Northern Arizona Univer-sity,
and you’ll find the usual
list of electives: history, geol-ogy,
archaeology. It’s not rocket
science, but if you want to learn
about yesteryear, volcanoes and
artifacts, NAU is a great place
Another option is a Sunday
drive through Sunset Crater and
Wupatki national monuments.
History, geology and archaeol-ogy,
as well as many other olo-gies,
are part of the education
you’ll get on this 70-mile scenic
loop. Of course, if you’d rather
just sit back and enjoy the ride,
you can do that, too.
The paved loop begins near
Bonito Park Campground,
which sits in the shadow of Sun-set
Crater. Before you take off,
take a look around. Virtually
every mountain you’ll see is vol-canic
— in all, there are 600 vol-canoes
in the area. Sunset Crater
is the youngest, and like its
many siblings, it’s dormant. In
a.d. 1040, though, it blew its top.
The eruptions continued, on and
off, for almost 200 years, eventu-ally
creating the 1,000-foot cin-der
cone we see today. Even
that, however, was almost lost.
In 1928, the crater was in
the crosshairs when a movie
production company wanting
to film a landslide proposed
blowing up the cinder cone.
Fortunately, the locals weren’t
crazy about the idea and
pushed for the crater’s protec-tion,
which it received on May
26, 1930, when President Her-bert
Hoover established Sunset
Crater National Monument.
The word “Volcano” was added
to the name in 1990, and today,
the park occupies 3,040 acres
surrounded by the Coconino
The crater itself is the main
attraction in the monument,
and one of the best places to
see it is from the fire lookout
road that meanders up O’Leary
Peak — the turnoff is just
before the visitors center. A few
miles farther is the Bonito Lava
Flow. If you’ve never been to the
moon, this is what it looks like.
In fact, it’s so lunar-like, NASA
had its Apollo astronauts
(including Neil Armstrong)
train here in the 1960s.
Heading north from the
higher elevations near Sunset
Crater National Monument
to the desert grasslands of
Wupatki National Monument,
you’ll eventually come upon the
abandoned ruins of the Sinagua
The Sinaguans were farmers
who were forced north by the
eruption and learned to use the
dark ash as a kind of mulch,
which conserved the area’s
scarce moisture longer than
the native soil. Drought even-tually
pushed the Sinaguans
out, but in their wake, they left
behind a series of magnificent
structures. The largest of these
pueblos — Wukoki, Lomaki
and Wupatki — are open
to the public. In its heyday,
Wupatki contained more than
100 rooms, and things stayed
mostly intact until the 1880s,
when sheepherders used the
ruins as a camp.
From the ruins, the rest of
the loop winds for about 10
miles back to U.S. Route 89.
It’s a peaceful drive, and with
all the history, geology and
archaeology out of the way, it’s
the perfect time to sit back and
enjoy the ride.
200 years before
cone resting there
Pueblo is one of
ruins situated in
the fertile volcanic
editor’s note: For more scenic drives, pick Monument.
up a copy of our book, The Back Roads. Now
in its fifth edition, the book ($19.95) fea-tures
40 of the state’s most scenic drives.
To order a copy, call 800-543-5432 or visit
& RUINS LOOP
different: a Sunday
drive that’ll take
you to the moon,
sort of, and then
back in time — all
within 70 miles.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
Wupatki Pueblo Wukoki Pueblo
S T A R T H E R E
Little Colorado River
C O C O N I N O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
S U N S E T C R A T E R V O L C A N O
N A T I O N A L M O N U M E N T
W U P A T K I N A T I O N A L
M O N U M E N T
Note: Mileages are approximate.
Directions: From Flagstaff, go north on U.S. Route 89
for 12 miles to the Sunset Crater-Wupatki National
Monument turnoff (Forest Road 545) and go east
(right) to the visitors center. The loop begins at the
visitors center and continues for approximately 50
miles, returning to U.S. 89.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: Sunset Crater, 928-714-0565 or nps.gov/
sucr; Wupatki National Monument, 928-679-2349 or
Travelers in Arizona can visit az511.gov or dial 511 to
on road closures, construction,
weather and more.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 55
month OF THE
this is one of those trails the locals like to keep to
themselves for fear it’ll be inundated by city mice
searching for a dose of the great
outdoors. However, unlike the
Colonel’s recipe, the secret’s out.
It’s been out. Nevertheless, this
trail is never too crowded. You
won’t be alone, but you won’t be
stuck in a conga line of neophytes,
The trailhead is located a stone’s
throw from Sedona Exit 298 off of
Interstate 17. There are two main
trails in the area — Apache Maid
and Bell — and both take off from
the Bruce Brockett Trailhead,
which is named for the late poet,
politician and cattleman who owned the surrounding V
Bar V Ranch. As you look around, you’ll see why he sank
his roots in this vibrant red dirt. It’s spectacular.
Like many of the trails around Sedona, the Bell Trail is
doable any time of year. In the summer, Wet Beaver Creek,
which parallels the trail, offers a respite from the heat.
During the other three seasons, including winter, the
creek is just another carrot at the end of the stick — with
or without the water, this trek is one of the best.
The trail kicks off in a field of rocks and prickly pear
cactuses. Watch your step. These things hate people.
After about a mile or so, you’ll come to a cattle gate, fol-lowed
by a series of switchbacks that lead toward the
creek. Although the Bell Trail doesn’t intersect the creek
until Bells Crossing, there are a number of side trails
that’ll take you down to the water, which runs year-round
and is home to smallmouth bass and trout.
At the end of the switchbacks, you’ll see a large dead
cottonwood. Just beyond the tree, look up to the left at
the hillside of prickly pears. If the sun is shining, the
cactuses will appear as if they’ve been rigged with fiber
optics. You won’t see anything like this in Michigan.
After another mile or so of meandering, the trail leads
to the boundary of Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness Area,
which was established in 1984 and encompasses 6,000
acres. The Weir Trail veers to the right at this point; the
Bell Trail continues east. As you head that way, look up,
down, left or right and you’ll get an eyeful. Eventually, the
trail climbs to a narrow bench that runs along the can-yon’s
north wall. It’s the perfect place to kick back, listen
to the creek and eat a Zone bar.
From there, the path drops down to the canyon bot-tom,
where it finally fords the creek at Bells Crossing.
Although the trail continues for another 1.5 miles to the
south rim, this is the obvious turnaround point. In the
summer, this is where you’ll take your shoes off. In Janu-ary,
it’s simply another dose of the great outdoors — the
carrot at the end of the stick.
length: 6.6 miles round-trip (to Bells
elevation gain: 3,820 to 4,100 feet
directions: From Phoenix, take Inter-state
17 north to Sedona Exit 298 and
turn right onto Forest Road 618. Take FR
618 for 1.5 miles to the old Beaver Creek
Ranger Station turnoff, turn left, and
continue a quarter-mile to the trailhead
information: 928-282-4119 or www.
leave no trace ethics:
• Plan ahead and be prepared.
• Travel and camp on durable
• Dispose of waste properly and pack
out your trash.
• Leave what you find.
• Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
• Be considerate of others.
w Water rushes
and right) on
BELL TRAIL If you’ve had too
much eggnog and holiday cheer
recently, this scenic route near
Sedona is the perfect way to get
back on track.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RANDY PRENTICE
C O C O N I N O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
W E T B E A V E R C R E E K
W I L D E R N E S S A R E A
V E R D E V A L L E Y
Wet Beaver Cree k
T R A I L H E A D
To Sedona To Flagstaff
trail guide F
54 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit our "Hiking Guide" at arizonahighways.com.
56 j a n u a r y 2 0 0 9
Win a collection of our most popular books! To enter, correctly identify the location featured above and e-mail your answer to
firstname.lastname@example.org — type “Where Is This?” in the subject line. Entries can also be sent to 2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix,
AZ 85009. Please include your name, address and phone number. One winner will be chosen in a random drawing of qualified
entries. Entries must be postmarked by January 15, 2009. Only the winner will be notified. The correct answer will be posted in our
March issue and online at arizonahighways.com beginning February 1.
our winner, Jersy
DePonty of Tempe.
With more than 800 archaeological sites, this location is Arizona’s Egypt. One philosopher com-pared
its antiquarian ambience to that of the Nile Valley, while another heralded it as the most
sacred place on Earth. The area is rife with mythology, and though you won’t find sphinxes, there
is talk of Spider Woman. Unfortunately, this gorgeous setting’s past is blotted with massacre,
imprisonment and famine. Still, its people live on today, continuing 2,000 years of rich history.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LARRY LINDAHL
Ah, there it is. You’ve found that perfect feeling somewhere
between warm sunlight and cool waters. And here’s the best
part. It won’t towel off – so sit back and let it all soak in.
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