Matt’s Big Breakfast —
They Use Real Butter
Yep. We Sent a Writer
Into the Wild w/a Baby
A San Pedro B&B That
Isn’t Just for the Birds
Wildflowers E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
+1O U0R A N N U A L P O R T F O L I O easy
w Behind the Scenes at
Arizona Highways TV
w The Godfather of
the Mother Road
14 IN FULL BLOOM
Every March we dedicate about a dozen pages to
desert wildflowers. This year, we’ve done it again.
Poppies, penstemon, primrose ... they’re all here, and
they’re all worth a look. If you’d like to go beyond the
two dimensions of our photography, we also offer
10 scenic hikes for surrounding yourself with wild-flowers
(page 25). BY KELLY KRAMER
26 ANCIENT CREEKS
There are some obvious reasons to go backpacking
in the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness — spectacular
scenery, perennial streams, rare wildlife, peace and
quiet. Less obvious is the water itself, which, accord-ing
to radiocarbon tests, is up to 15,000 years old.
BY CRAIG CHILDS
32 KING OF THE ROADS
Norman Wallace worked on railroads, bridges and
highways, including Route 66 and the Black Canyon
Highway. That was his day job. For the heck of it, he
took photographs. Thousands and thousands of
photographs. BY KATHLEEN WALKER
38 MADE FOR TV
For the past 84 years, Arizona Highways has been
showcasing the splendor of the Grand Canyon State
— in print, with paper and ink. Five years ago, former
news anchor Robin Sewell suggested a high-definition
version of the magazine — a television show that
picks up where the mother ship leaves off.
BY KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
◗ Backlighting illuminates the lovely sim-plicity
of a Mexican goldpoppy bloom.
photograph by colleen miniuk-sperry
FRONT COVER Clusters of birdcage evening
primrose add a patch of white to a carpet of
sand verbena at Pinta Sands in the Cabeza
Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Southwestern
Arizona. photograph by jack
BACK COVER The thick leaves of an American
century plant provide a dramatic backdrop
for a delicate Parry’s penstemon.
photograph by tim fitzharris
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
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.
2 EDITOR’S LETTER 3 CONTRIBUTORS4
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state, including a
look back at Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to a Japanese internment
camp on the Gila River; an unexpected B&B along the San
Pedro River; and a terrific breakfast place that throws health-consciousness
out the window.
44 SCENIC DRIVE
The Apache Trail: Teddy Roosevelt said of this route: It
offers “the most sublimely beautiful panorama nature has
ever created.” What more do you need to know?
46 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Rogers Canyon Trail: There are several ways to explore the
rugged Superstition Mountains. One of them is a hike into
Rogers Canyon, where the main attractions are ancient
ruins and stunning landscapes.
48 WHERE IS THIS?
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m
TALK TO US: In this month’s issue we feature a story about our extended
family at Arizona Highways Television. We’d love to know your thoughts
on the show. Do you watch it? How often? What’s your favorite part? That
kind of stuff. Shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET MORE ONLINE:
Get the latest information on where to see spring wildflowers by
visiting “Online Extras.”
Get details on some of this month’s biggest events, including Spring
Training baseball and Flagstaff’s art walk, in our “Events Calendar.”
Get professional advice on how to shoot wildflowers. See “Photo Tips.”
2 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
Writer and naturalist Craig Childs has traveled throughout the United
States — often solo — to explore both nature and solitude. But as
he ventured into Aravaipa Canyon (see Ancient Creeks, page 26), he
decided to travel with his young son, Jasper. “Besides his hand in mine
and the smell of his hair, I would say the best part of traveling with
Jasper is the way he slows me down, leaves me standing still in places I
would have moved away from, or the way he suddenly becomes a little
beast tearing around, reminding me of the animals we are,” Childs says.
Childs is a longtime contributor to Arizona Highways. He also writes for
Outside, Men’s Journal, Orion, The Sun, The New York Times and the Los
If writer Keridwen Cornelius were to host her own television show,
she’d focus it on “ ‘voluntourism’ and finding interesting ways to meet
local people and understand local issues, rather than seeing the typical
sights,” she says. Although she hasn’t quite come up with a working
title for her show, she did learn quite a bit about building a dream as
she shadowed Robin Sewell and Arizona Highways Television for Made
for TV (page 38). “I was surprised by how difficult it was for Robin to
create the show. Like many success stories, no one believed it would
work,” Cornelius says. In addition to Arizona Highways, Cornelius also
writes for National Geographic Adventure and The New York Times’ travel
A first-time contributor to Arizona
Highways and a self-proclaimed
cinnamon-spice pancake addict,
Maryal Miller was lucky enough
to eat her way through her first
assignment — breakfast at Matt’s
Big Breakfast (see The Journal, page
7). “Matt told me a story about a
regular he’s had since the day they
opened. The man noticed that
every morning Matt would have to
go get the ice and the papers and
lug them to the restaurant himself,”
Miller says. “Eventually, the man
offered to get the ice and papers for
Matt and bring them in. That pretty
much speaks to the kind of relation-ship
Matt has with his customers.
People who go to Matt’s on a
regular basis not only love the food,
they love the camaraderie.” Miller
is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite
School of Journalism at Arizona
8 0 0 -5 43 -5 432
a r i zona h i ghways .com
MA R C H 2 0 0 9 V O L . 8 5 , N O. 3
Director of Photography
BARBARA GLYNN DENNEY
Deputy Art Director
SONDA ANDERSSON PAPPAN
Design Production Assistant
VICTORI A J. SNOW
Director of Sales & Marketing
CINDY BORMANI S
Corporate or Trade Sales
Sponsorship Sales Representation
Letters to the Editor
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VICTOR M. MENDEZ
Arizona Transportation Board
ROBERT M. MONTOYA
FELIPE ANDRES ZUBIA, WILLIAM J.
FELDMEIER, BARBARA ANN LUNDSTROM,
VICTOR M. FLORES
International Regional Magazine Association
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MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
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PRODUCED IN THE USA
landscape photographers disappear in March. They drop out. Split. Vanish into
thin air. Just like that, they’re gone. It’s part of an annual migration into the So-noran
Desert, and nothing can stop it. Not the Final Four, not a Spring Training
game, not a horse with no name. Not even a Beatles’ reunion — if John and George
were to come back to life — could keep these obsessed shutterbugs from the lure
of the desert. Like molecular geneticists focused on the symbiotic interaction of
microbes, landscape photographers are in a zone this time of year. Right now, the
only thing they care about is shooting wildflowers.
Turns out, that’s a good thing for Arizona Highways, because every March we dedi-cate
about a dozen pages to the desert’s annual explosion of color. This year was no
exception. Mexican goldpoppies, owl clover, lupine … they’re all inside, courtesy of
some of our best and most resolute photographers — Jack Dykinga, Tim Fitzhar-ris,
Chuck Lawsen, Robert McDonald, Randy Prentice. As you’ll see, their work is
second-to-none. That said, even the best photography in the world is limited to the
two dimensions of this magazine. It’s great to look at while the kids are practicing
guitar, but if you’d rather explore the desert in person, you’ll want to check out our
wildflower hiking guide.
In all, we feature 10 of the state’s best trails for getting close enough to stop and
smell the lilies. And the larkspur. And all the rest. Most of the hikes are easy, and
most are an easy drive from either Phoenix or Tucson. Lost Dutchman State Park
and Picacho Peak State Park are among the more obvious places on our list, while the
Wind Cave Trail in the Usery Mountains is less familiar. That’s one of our favorites.
As you know, off-the-beaten-path is the direction we like to go in this magazine.
And so does Robin Sewell.
Robin, for those of you who live outside of Arizona, is the host and executive pro-ducer
of Arizona Highways Television. The show’s been on the air for five years, and in
that short time span, it’s won 15 Emmys and a slew of other accolades. None of that’s
surprising, though. Robin and her crew do an outstanding job of showcasing the
state, especially the hidden gems … the stories behind the stories. That’s what they’re
after. Coincidentally, we were looking for the same thing when we sent writer
Keridwen Cornelius on the road with our broadcasting sister. In Made for TV, you’ll
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 home page.
ROBERT STIEVE, editor
get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to
put together an award-winning television show.
Although the end product wins Emmys, the
process, as Keridwen illustrates, isn’t always so
glamorous. There are blundered lines, bad inter-views
and windblown hair. For our piece, we
didn’t leave anything out, including the hairnet
shot of Robin, which I know I’ll hear about later.
Fortunately, Robin’s a good sport, and will do
just about anything for the show — skydiving,
whitewater rafting, hairnets. The one thing she
won’t do is go backpacking for weeks at a time
with her daughter. Especially in a place like
If you’ve never been, Aravaipa Canyon is rug-ged
country, with a healthy population of moun-tain
lions. It’s about the last place you’d want
to take a child. That is, unless your last name is
Childs. As in Craig Childs, one of the most gifted
writers on our team. In addition to his flair for
writing, Craig is a nonconformist who didn’t
think twice about taking his young son, Jasper,
on a long trek along Aravaipa Creek and its many
In Ancient Creeks, he shares the adventure. In
particular, he discusses the water itself, which,
according to radiocarbon tests, is up to 15,000
years old. Chances are, it dates back to the last
ice age, when ancient water was stored deep
within the rocky cores of the mountains. No
doubt, that’s one of the reasons Craig traipsed
around the area for almost a month, but it’s big-ger
than that. The Arizona wilderness is an
intriguing place with an irresistible allure. It’s
the ultimate temptation. The kind of thing that
makes writers go backpacking with babies and
photographers disappear in March.
4 m a r c h 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
A PINCH OF SALT
In regard to the article Man vs. Wild
[November 2008] and all of the
good information it contained, the
one thing it didn’t cover was a most
important danger, hyponatremia.
Drinking too much water without
the addition of some form of electro-lyte
such as salt, potassium, etc. can
be deadly. My daughter, Nancy Kyme,
was within an hour of death because
of a lack of electrolytes.
MARLIN SCHMIDT, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA
SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS
Here’s an Arizona
story that you
might be inter-ested
in. I was
born at Fort
Defiance in 1913
when my father
was the Indian
Service doctor there. It had originally
been an Army fort and was converted
into a school for the Navajo children.
There were no facilities for the educa-tion
of the children of the staff, so
I was sent to the Indian school
for kindergarten. It was not a
success. The Indian kids must
have thought that if you were
the son of a medicine man you
couldn’t feel pain. I lasted one
day, after which, home teaching
took over. Decades later, my wife
and I were with a Smithsonian
group that was touring the
Navajo Reservation. We visited
the Navajo college at Tsaile on a day
when Carl Gorman was lecturing on
art. Someone in the group recognized
him as having been a Navajo Code
Talker [during World War II] and
asked him to tell us more about that
group. He complied, but had to make
it brief because of another appoint-ment.
Nonetheless, I intercepted
him as he was leaving, introduced
myself, and told him I’d been born
at Fort Defiance and that my father
was the doctor there. He told me that
he’d been born at Chinle and then
looked at me and asked if my father
had a limp. “Yes,” I replied, “one of his
legs was shorter than the other.” He
replied, “I remember him when I was
in kindergarten at Fort Defiance.” As
I later thought about that and real-ized
that Carl was close to my age, I
wondered if he’d been one of the kids
that picked on me, but I never had a
chance to ask him. What a great man
JOHN M. WIGGLESWORTH, CHESTER, MARYLAND
IN THE SAME BOAT
Your profile of Martin Litton [Against
the Current, November 2008] has made
me vow to be a lifetime subscriber.
By extensively quoting Martin’s own
words, you really drive home what an
important figure he’s been for con-servation
in Arizona and the West. I
hereby entreat you to profile another
noncompromiser, Edward Abbey.
March 14, 2009, will be the 20th
anniversary of his untimely death.
In fact, his journal accompanies the
outstanding photos in the book The
Hidden Canyon, a river journey down
the Colorado with Martin Litton.
Abbey’s words have inspired gen-erations
of nature and desert lovers,
writers, hikers and photographers
to protect Western lands from abuse
CRISTA WORTHY, LOS ANGELES
TRACKING THE DEPOTS
I loved the story on train stations
[Last Stop!, November 2008]. Train
stations from that era truly capture
the romance of the rails. I’m sur-prised,
however, that no one con-tacted
me about my depot, the Mayer
Depot. Unlike most of the stations
featured in your story, mine is one
of the oldest still in existence, hav-ing
been built in 1898. Also, mine is
an original redwood framed station,
contrary to your statement that the
Willcox station is the only remain-ing
original redwood framed station.
Perhaps more important, my station
has a provenance that includes a for-mer
editor of your publication, Don
Dedera, whose foresight and determi-nation
saved the depot from certain
WILLIAM F. AUTHER, PHOENIX
SUN OF A GUN
Regarding the Table of Contents
page photo in the November
2008 issue, if we are indeed look-ing
east toward the rising sun,
that would have to be a waning
moon. Waxing crescent moons
can only occur in the first few
hours after the sun sets.
JOHN J. GURNEY, DOUGLAS
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
John M. Wigglesworth
This surrealist still life could be titled
Snuffleupagus and the Teepees, since
that’s exactly what these weird,
wind- and water-whittled rocks are
named. You’ll find them at Coyote
Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion
Cliffs Wilderness. Information: 435-
688-3200 or blm.gov/az/st/en.html.
6 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 7
In today’s health-conscious climate, it takes some doing to find a place where the stock in
trade is serving straight-up, made-to-order comfort food. In a tiny building made of brick and
mortar, smack-dab in the middle of downtown Phoenix, one of those rare places exists. More
accurately, it thrives. Matt’s Big Breakfast is its name, and turning out simple, hearty breakfast
addictions … er, meals, is its game.
“I grew up in Kansas City, and in the Midwest, mom and pop diners are everywhere,” owner
Matt Pool explains. “I like that after four years, my wife and I both still wait tables. I think people
like that about us.”
The use of the word “like” is a modest description from a man who’s sublimely satisfied with
his success and his lifestyle. “The ‘it’ moment for me was probably the first day we had a wait
— a Sunday about a week after we opened. At the time, it was probably because of our slow
service, but that was the moment when I felt like we actually might make it here.”
The crowd of waiting patrons hovering at the front door — a congregation Matt sincerely
refers to as “friends” — doesn’t simply like his famous fluffed-to-per-fection
pancakes, fresh-cut, flavor-packed home fries and Wisconsin
cheese omelets ... in any language, the kind of following Matt’s has is
nothing short of love. The kind of love seen in prison visitation rooms
— sans criminals, of course — where the dutiful willingly travel across
town, the state or even the country just to indulge in a few minutes of
Making It Big
Don’t let the small space fool you. Matt’s Big Breakfast in Phoenix is
one of the most comfortable places in the city to enjoy homemade,
butter-drenched waffles, thick-cut bacon, eggs and more.
By MARYAL MILLER
EVERY SMALL TOWN HAS its characters, and often,
those characters embody the quirkiness of the town.
For Jerome, a 400-person hamlet that less than a cen-tury
ago was home to copper mines that generated bil-lions
of dollars and attracted Wild West
personalities in droves, the past has a huge
impact on the present.
Perhaps no one embodies that more than Tom Pitts,
the owner of Belgian Jennie’s Bordello Bistro & Pizze-ria,
and one of Jerome’s most outspoken characters. A
longtime radio personality and entrepreneur, Pitts, 67,
has come to fill many roles in
the town — most notably as
storyteller extraordinaire. His
favorite topic? Belgian Jennie,
one of Jerome’s wildest figures
and his restaurant’s namesake.
“Our small town has attitude,
that’s for sure,” Pitts says. “We
pride ourselves on attracting
self-made people and respecting
the individual, just like the old
days. Those were the kinds of
people that first made the town
what it is, and I’m hoping my
stories can help preserve that
Although he’s only lived in
Jerome for about three years,
Pitts has been in and out of the
area for the past five decades
— enough time to see some of
Arizona’s wonderful history dis-appear
before his eyes.
“For a long time people
seemed to not care about old
buildings or the stories,” Pitts
says. “I’m so pleased that lately
there seems to be a new energy
to work together and preserve
A similar energy and passion have motivated Pitts
to work extensively with the Jerome Historical Society
to get its mining museum in top shape. While doing
research, Pitts came across information concerning
one of his most famous story subjects, Jennie Bauters,
a wealthy, well-educated, trilingual immigrant more
popularly known as Belgian Jennie, the town’s most
“Jennie came here when Arizona was one of the only
places women were allowed to vote,” Pitts says. “She
was the one who put in the first concrete sidewalks
and was paying for the construction of two-story
buildings when other guys were still living in tents.
She was smart, and used that intelligence to make
something for herself and her son.”
Pitts admits that his interest in Jennie’s story stems
from the fact that despite her place in history, he’s
become a kindred spirit of the Wild West heroine.
“She was definitely an independent and entrepre-neurial
individual, with an energy I’ve tried to reflect
in my own life,” he says. “Age is a state of mind. The
learning process I’ve experienced in my research has
been amazing, but more importantly, sharing what I
learn is what’s keeping me young.”
purely blissful face time. The stay is short, but
the reward is sweet. Real-maple-syrup sweet,
Matt, his wife, Erenia, and their small, stead-fast
staff have made their living by returning
to some of the most basic cooking concepts,
where locally sourced menu items
such as jam, coffee and fresh pro-duce,
as well as premium items
like cage-free eggs and grain-fed natural Iowa
pork and beef are at the core of every dish.
The purity of those foundations provide
the requisite justification for a new generation
of über-selective foodies to enjoy the sinful,
morning meal staples of their youth. Think
homemade, butter-drenched waffles, thick-cut
bacon and eggs plated with pork chops,
and lunch items including the notorious Big
Butter Burger, whose name speaks volumes
about the punch it packs.
For those who question Matt’s imagina-tion,
therein lies the irony. Go ahead and
say it’s just another diner, but know that the
cleverness of all that is Matt’s is pure and
planned, and there aren’t any paper hats or
poodle skirts in sight.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is
located at 801 N. First
Street in Phoenix. For
more information, call
602-254-1074 or visit
THE JOURNAL > people THEJOURNAL > dining
P H O E N I X
If you were trying to
convince ESPN co-host
Tony Kornheiser that
Arizona is the best
place to live, where
would you take him?
Kornheiser has to be
wined and dined and
taken to stunning golf
courses, so I’d start at
The Golf Club Scotts-dale
for a round. Then
we’d have dinner at
at sunset and out on
the patio, to get the
full effect. The next
day we’d drive to Se-dona,
which I think is
the prettiest place in
the United States. If
he’s not convinced by
then, shame on him.
Favorite place to eat?
about it. It’s probably
tied with Ocean Club
and Tarbell’s at the
top of my list. If I want
to stay close to my
home in North Scotts-dale,
I go to Cart-wright’s
If you could have din-ner
with one Arizona
sports figure, who
would it be?
Well, I know pretty
much all of the Suns
already. Hmmm ...
OK, I’ve got it: I saw
Maria Sharapova at a
Suns game in Novem-ber,
and she told me
she’s doing her rehab
in Arizona, so that’s
it, Maria Sharapova.
Or, better yet, Grace
Park of the LPGA. I’ve
had a crush on her
for years. That’s my
answer. Grace Park.
— Dave Pratt is the author of
Behind the Mic: 30 Years in Radio.
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
J E R O M E
Belgian Jennie’s is located
at 412 Main Street in
Jerome. For information,
call 928-639-3141 or visit
The Tales of One City
Tom Pitts is into stories, particularly
those with a historical twist. That’s
why he’s working to preserve Jerome,
one tale at a time.
By KENDALL WRIGHT
8 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
Not Just for the Birds
Considering the area attracts 335 species of birds, you could visit Casa
de San Pedro for no other reason. But there’s more, including lush gardens,
a comfortable patio and some of the best food in Southern Arizona.
By JOBETH JAMISON
Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
and Huachuca Mountains, wearing out their
binoculars on a yellow-billed cuckoo, roaming
through the Casa’s labyrinth or butterfly gar-den,
or kicking back on the patio or by the pool.
But it’s not the feathered friends, eco ame-nities
and outdoor activities alone that draw
people to Casa de San Pedro. It’s the food.
And it’s not just the award-winning full break-fasts
made each morning, or the renowned
freshly home-baked pies, cookies and brown-ies
that warm the senses each afternoon. It’s
also the creations of “Cooking Light with Lark
Beaugureau” classes that turn the Casa into a
gastronomic delight. On the fourth Saturday
of each month, Lark, an aptly named cook-book
author and local caterer, presides over
themed, multicourse dinners that guests pre-pare
and enjoy together in the Casa’s kitchen
and window-studded dining room.
Whether you’re looking for rare birds,
romance, memorable meals, or simply a dia-mond
in the Southern Arizona lodging rough,
Casa de San Pedro is the perfect place to land.
CASA DE SAN PEDRO Bed and Breakfast has just 10 guestrooms, but the place is usually
hopping with more visitors than owners Karl Schmitt and Patrick Dome have the time or
fingers to count. That’s because the majority of the guests that flock to this remote getaway
are not people, they’re birds.
Nestled on 10 acres along the San Pedro River, 28 miles southeast of Sierra Vista, Casa de
San Pedro is the place for birders to see and be seen. The area’s dense canopies of cottonwoods,
willows and vital riparian habitats make it one of the most important avian
migratory corridors in the western United States, attracting more than 335 spe-cies
of resident and migrating birds each year, and countless humans as a result.
Season after season, they all land here for a little pampering, relaxation and keen observation.
Built in the budding tradition of eco-tourism in 1996, the Spanish-Moorish-style B&B was
conceived as a place where travelers could “take only pictures and leave only footprints.”
Schmitt and Dome, who bought the inn in 2002, have not only honored the concept, they’ve
continually strengthened the B&B’s environmentally friendly foundation by making eco
upgrades throughout the property.
Such changes include converting to all-native, low-water xeriscaping,
which still produces plenty of flowers for area pollinators, and switching
to energy-efficient appliances. All the while, the two have maintained a
sophisticated yet comfortable mix of Spanish and Mexican décor, along
with a laundry list of activities that would appeal to just about anybody.
Visitors can spend the day exploring the terrain of the neighboring San
Casa de San Pedro is
located at 8933 S. Yell
Lane, just off State Route
92, in Hereford. For
more information, call
520-366-1300 or visit
LET THERE BE LIGHT
In its most basic
is all about capturing
light. The very best
able to take advantage
of dramatic lighting
giving their work an
added dimension. It’s
not uncommon for
to monitor storm
fronts and seasonal
changes with their gear
always at the ready. In
the photo above, the
drove into a ditch
when he witnessed
the sun’s rays being
filtered through the
pine trees and dawn
mist. Although he
felt lucky to capture
the moment, he’d
always been on the
lookout for just such a
moment. As they say:
Luck favors the well
editor’s note: Look for
Arizona Highways Photog-raphy
Guide, available at
bookstores and arizona
Don’t Just Mimic the Masters
Although emulating great photographers is a
great way to learn the art, to become a professional,
you’ll have to develop your own style.
By JEFF KIDA, photo editor Since digital cameras have opened up the field
of photography to a wider population — and
e-mail made it easier to send photos — I’m
looking at more submissions to the magazine than ever
before. As both a photographer and photo editor, I’ve
had the opportunity to analyze photos from behind
the lens and behind the desk.
Like photography itself, the editorial process is
mostly intuitive. Basically, I’m looking to answer three
key questions. First, does the photo transport me out of
my office and make me think, “What would it be like
to be in that place and experience those surroundings?”
Second, does it share information, does it teach me
something, or does it help me to understand? And most
importantly, does the photograph stir up an emotion?
The obvious first step when trying to get your work
published in a magazine, this one included, is to study
it — pay close attention to style and content. Often-times,
photographers attempt to emulate the work of
those they see. Although copying successful people
is a great way to learn, there are thousands of other
people with the same
idea. As a result, we
receive a lot of photos
at Arizona Highways
that look very, very
similar. Many have
been taken from the
same overlooks at the
same time of day dur-ing
the same season.
That’s not what I’m
looking for. I’m look-ing
different. Trying to
replicate a photo
from the February
issue is like a writer
flipping through the
an article on “Iconic
Arizona,” and then
pitching an article
on “Iconic Arizona.”
Instead, use the mag-azine
as a jumping-off
Here’s what to do:
Drive to the estab-lished
locations, make the obvious photographs. And
then push yourself. Travel to less-frequented locations,
take a good tripod, shoot in low light and during
weather conditions when others have packed up.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. The important thing
is to work on your own vision. Ask yourself: Is there a
better way to see the subject? Can I recompose to tell
the story more directly? Can I simplify?
When I’m photographing, I feel my way through
situations more than I analyze them. While I’ll never
stop growing and being pleasantly surprised, I learned
the rules of composition many years ago and resurrect
them only when I teach. When you get behind the
wheel of your car, do you consciously think about the
gas and brake pedals? You don’t, and that’s what you
want from your photography — the freedom to create
without having to refer to textbooks.
Consider this. For many years I’ve followed the
work of David Muench. Compositionally, one of the
things that sets his photography apart is his extreme
placement of horizons. His narrow slivers of sky are
often located far
above and below the
traditional rule of
thirds. By adjust-ing
his horizons so
makes his images
and unique. When I
asked him about this,
he said he was a stu-dent
of Japanese art,
and in Japan, they see
the world differently
To create some-thing
unique in any
art form, it’s impor-tant
to study the
masters, learn the
rules, and sometimes
break them. Ask
Picasso, or the Japa-nese
artists, or David
Then ask yourself,
“How do I see the
THE JOURNAL > lodging THEJOURNAL > photography
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips and other informa-tion,
ways.com and click on
The horizon in this photo was purposely placed high in the frame. I wanted to
use the natural log roll created by years of erosion to tell the story of transfor-mation.
There was no reason to include any more sky.
H E R E F O R D
10 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
THE USS ARIZONA WAS sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was
the first of two historic World War II events linked to the Grand
Canyon State. The second began in February 1942.
That’s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed
Executive Order 9066, which ordered people of Japa-nese
descent living in the western United States to report to relo-cation
centers, better known as internment camps.
Arizona was home to two such camps: Gila River Relocation
Center and Poston Relocation Center. The Gila River camps (Butte
and Canal) opened in July 1942, and even though the center was
originally scheduled to hold 10,000 residents, the 15,000-acre camp
eventually became home to more than 13,000 people of Japanese
descent, and they stayed for three years. A 1942 Arizona Republic
story described the camp as Arizona’s “fourth largest city.”
Executive Order 9066
During World War II, Arizona was home to two
internment camps. Although President Roosevelt
signed the order, his wife disapproved, especially
after a visit to the Gila River Camp.
By SALLY BENFORD
Gila River’s infrastructure included
schools, hospitals, flower gardens, ball
fields, and even a gymnasium and audi-torium
built by the residents. Japanese
farmers at Gila River maintained large
vegetable gardens and, out of necessity,
the residents raised cattle, hogs and
chickens. This farm provided not only the Gila River mess halls
with fresh vegetables, milk, eggs and meat, but food was sent to
other relocation camps as well.
Gila River was said to be the most relaxed of all the camps;
some even described it as a showplace, which is why President
Roosevelt sent First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt there in April 1943
to check on conditions and report back. The president wanted to
know if the detainees were indeed “living like kings,” as some had
suggested. According to his wife, they were not.
In an essay for Colliers magazine following her visit, Mrs.
Roosevelt explained that conditions were far from ideal. Noting
the desert dust as one of the worst hardships, she wrote: “This
makes a high wind a pretty disagreeable experience as you are
enveloped in dust. It chokes you and brings about irritations of the
nose and throat.
“On the day I was at Gila there was no butter and no sugar on the
tables. The food was rice and fish and greens. Neither in the stock-rooms,
nor on the tables, did I notice any kind of extravagance.”
Camp problems included chronic water shortages, overcrowd-ing,
and heating and cooling issues.
The First Lady had been against the idea of Japanese internment
from the beginning, and what she witnessed at Gila River rein-forced
that opinion. “To undo a mistake is always harder than not to
create one originally,” she wrote. “But we seldom have the foresight.”
Chuckwallas are big and brightly
colored, but these shy and elusive
lizards are hard to find without
patience and a good pair of binocu-lars.
They’re even harder to catch. When
chuckwallas feel threatened, they wedge
themselves into the nearest rock crevice by
inflating with air, making it difficult for preda-tors
to extract them.
This self-defense mechanism, however,
was no match for the Shoshones, Paiutes
and other Indians who liked to eat chuckwal-las.
Using pointed sticks, they’d deflate the
swollen lizards, pull them out of the rocks and
serve them for dinner.
As the largest native
iguanid in the United
States — chuckwal-las
range from 11 to
16.5 inches in length
— they would have
made a hearty meal.
They’re colorful, too.
For example, the male chuckwallas on
Phoenix’s South Mountain boast black bodies
with vibrant carrot-orange tails, a trait exclu-sive
to this location. The bright color attracts
females and comes from the intermingled red
and yellow pigments found in the plants they
eat — ocotillo, desert lavender and little-leaf
Chuckwallas living south of the Salt and
Gila rivers have the same black bodies as the
South Mountain species, but their tails are
yellow. To the north, the Glen Canyon popu-lation
near Page features a tricolor pattern:
black head and limbs, a yellowish white tail
and orange bands around the torso.
Although chuckwallas are no longer
threatened by Indians, they’re now being
hunted by collectors looking to sell them as
pets. The chuckwallas on South Mountain
are especially desired for their distinctive
coloring. What’s more, public access to their
habitat creates greater vulnerability. The Ari-zona
Game and Fish Department banned the
removal of South Mountain chuckwallas in
1997, but illegal collecting continues.
Wresting the lizards from their hideouts
not only threatens the chuckwallas, but it also
causes habitat destruction, says Dr. Matthew
Kwiatkowski, an assistant professor of biology
at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas,
who studied chuckwallas in Arizona.
“What people will do is take a crowbar and
pry the crevice open and tear up the rock,” he
says. “Turns out, these rock crevices aren’t all
the same — some are good for chuckwallas
because they have the right temperature or a
little higher humidity.”
Adding to the threat is the fact that chuck-wallas,
which can live up to 20 years in captiv-ity,
produce limited offspring. In dry years when
food is scarce, females won’t reproduce at all,
“The South Moun-tain
chuckwalla is a
treasure,” he says.
“And like any trea-sure,
you want to
Puff Daddy Chuckwallas are colorful, but even more impressive
is their ability to inflate with air to fend off predators. By LEAH DURAN
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
THEJOURNAL > nature
Photography is a trademark of this maga-zine
— that’s why Ansel Adams was a regular
contributor. In March 1959, our color portfolio
featured wildlife from up and down the food
chain. In addition, photographer Willis Peter-son
offered tips for making high-quality nature
50 years ago
I N A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S
In Full Bloom
bursts of lilac and
on desert road-sides
lupines bloom. So
of its fuzzy stalk,
the lupine is a
which are drawn
to the plant’s
After a heavy
blanket the floor
of the Sonoran
THEJOURNAL > history
■ The Arizona Ter-ritorial
adopted the saguaro
blossom as Ari-zona’s
in March 1901.
■ On March 12,
1895, the Santa Fe,
Prescott and Phoe-nix
into the Phoenix
depot for the first
time. The route
linked Phoenix with
heading east or west
connected to the
Santa Fe route.
■ Seeking revenge
for the murder of
his brother Morgan,
Wyatt Earp alleg-edly
killed Curly Bill
Brocius on March
24, 1882, near Iron
Springs in South-eastern
If you witness the poach-ing
of a chuckwalla, call
the Operation Game
Thief hotline at 800-
352-0700. If possible,
note the location of the
activity, a description of
the poacher(s) and any
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY
Dillon Myer, National Director of the War
Relocation Authority, accompanies Eleanor
Roosevelt at the Gila River Relocation Center.
12 m a r c h 2 0 0 9
THEJOURNAL > things to do
Civil War Re-Enactment
MA RCH 2 0 -2 3 P ICACHO P E A K
Union and Confederate “soldiers” skirmish during a simulation of the
Battle of Picacho Pass, Arizona’s only Civil War battle. Enthusiasts
depicting cavalry soldiers and artillerymen demonstrate military tech-niques.
The event includes presentations of Civil War military drills,
band practice and
and a walk-through
of the soldiers’
is decked out with
period tents and
MA RCH 1 - 3 1 PHOENI X , TUCSON
Last year, the Cactus League set an atten-dance
record with more than 1.3 million fans.
This year, it welcomes two new teams — the
Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indi-ans.
In all, 14 teams compete at 11 ballparks
in Metro Phoenix and Tucson. Many games
sell out, so it’s best to order tickets in advance.
Discover the history, ecology and biology of the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria rivers
during the Tres Rios Nature and Earth Festival. The event, held at the Arizona
Game and Fish Department Wildlife Area on the Gila River, offers a great
opportunity to learn about the area’s unique ecosystem through nature walks,
canoe floats, fishing clinics, educational tours, bird-watching excursions, a chil-dren’s
area and hikes. Information: 623-204-2130 or tresriosnaturefestival.com.
M A R C H 2 0 - 2 1
AVONDA L E
MA RCH 1 3 - 1 5 CH AN DL ER
Celebrate Chandler’s ostrich-ranching
history, along with the world’s fastest
creature on two legs, during this one-of-
a-kind festival. A parade kicks off
the event, which includes ostrich races,
a carnival, live entertainment, more than
150 exhibitors displaying arts and crafts,
a history fair, food vendors and a Kids Zone
with face-painting, water tattoos and old-fashioned
games. Information: 480-963-4571
Capture the spirit of the Old West during our
Ghost Towns of the Southwest Photo Work-shop.
Travel to Vulture Mine, Castle Dome,
Ruby, Chloride and other haunts to photograph
the unique reminders of what were once some
of Arizona’s busiest towns. Information: 888-
790-7042 or friendsofazhighways.com.
MA RCH 4 F L AGS TA F F
Featuring more than 40 venues, the First Friday Art Walk in historic
downtown Flagstaff offers an opportunity to talk with artists in their
studios, and check out everything from oil paintings, ceramics and jew-elry
to hand-blown glass and photography. Afterward, enjoy dinner or
drinks at one of several downtown cafés. Information: 928-779-2300 or
culturalpartners.org. LES DAVID MANEVITZ
COURTESY ARIZONA STATE PARKS
PETER SCHWEPKER DAVID ZICKL
• Journey throughout Southern Arizona to enjoy its
varied breathtaking scenery (Feb. 25-March 1).
• Master digital workflow with the help of
Photoshop expert Steve Burger (Grand Canyon
Photoshop Seminar, Aug. 14-17; Sedona Fall
Photoshop Seminar, Oct. 23-26).
• Photograph amazing ruins in the Wild West’s
best ghost towns with lead photographer Kerrick
James (April 6-10).
• Enjoy the twisting interiors of some of Arizona’s
amazing slot canyons (April 24-28; Sept. 4-8).
• Get away to a local dude ranch to photograph
cowboys and cowgirls in action, as well as horse
drives, cattle penning, barrel racing and more
(Horses & Cowboys, April 29-May 3).
• Experience an exhilarating rafting adventure
through the Grand Canyon (April 29-May 10).
• Develop and refine photographic technique in
Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly (May
8-12; Oct. 27-31).
• Sample Northern Arizona’s premier landscapes,
including the Grand Canyon, the slot canyons,
Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and Sedona
(Best of the West, May 16-21).
• Select from several exciting workshops led by
Navajo photographer LeRoy DeJolie (Hunt’s Mesa
& Monument Valley, May 22-26; Slot Canyons,
Sept. 4-8; Spirits of the Navajo, Sept. 9-13).
• Photograph the Grand Canyon’s spectacular North
Rim at the height of fall color (Sept. 30-Oct. 4).
• Travel with Gary Ladd to breathtaking waterfalls,
reflective pools and amazing rock formations
(Preposterous Landscapes, Oct. 17-22; Lake
Powell by Houseboats, Nov. 14-18).
2009 Photo Workshops
E D U C A T E .
M O T I V A T E .
I N S P I R E .
These are just a few of the workshops we conduct throughout Arizona and the West.
To obtain a free color brochure containing all
2009 workshops and prices, visit us online at
www.friendsofazhighways.com, or call
When you participate in one of the many photography workshops sponsored by
Friends of Arizona Highways, you’ll learn from the best professional photographers
in the business while visiting some of the West’s most stunning landscapes.
Prasad Menon, participant
Ralph Lee Hopkins, instructor
Lana Shpiar, participant
Gary Ladd, instructor
IN FULL BLOOM
5Every March we dedicate about a dozen pages
to desert wildflowers. This year, we’ve done it
again. Poppies, penstemon, primrose ... they’re all
here, and they’re all worth a look. If you’d like to
go beyond the two dimensions of our photogra-phy,
we also offer 10 scenic hikes for surrounding
yourself with wildflowers. As you’ll see, there’s
nothing like springtime in the Sonoran Desert.
Imagine Dorothy on her way to see the wizard.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 15
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHUCK LAWSEN
16 m a r c h 2 0 0 9
Because Mother Nature has a mind
of her own, Arizona’s wildflower season
varies from year to year. Without winter
rain, an explosion of flowers in the spring
is usually a long shot. At press time, we
had no idea how much rain we’d get. By
the time you read this, though, we’ll have
a much better idea. That’s where our Web
site comes in. Visit arizonahighways.com,
click “Online Extras,” and we’ll give you
the latest on this year’s wildflower
season. For additional information, call
Desert Botanical Garden at 480-941-1225,
or visit dbg.org.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 17
Vivid blue lupines
rise above a carpet of
Mexican goldpoppies at
Picacho Peak State Park
in Southern Arizona.
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19 WILDFLOWERS 18 m a r c h 2 0 0 9
Patches of snowball sand
verbena and evening primrose
dot the sand dunes of Vermilion
Cliffs National Monument
(above), and sego lilies (right)
add a splash of pink to the
20 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
A blanket of purple
owl clover, bracketed by
yellow brittlebush, cloaks
the desert slopes leading
to the Superstition
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT MCDONALD
22 m a r c h 2 0 0 9
From May to July, scarlet-colored
claret cup cactus
blooms (left) are easy to spot in
Arizona’s high desert hillsides
and cliffs. A young Rufous hum-mingbird
pollinates a scarlet
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
24 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
» Lost Dutchman State Park
Whether you’re looking for legendary lost gold mines or Mexican goldpoppies, you’re
bound to find something bright and beautiful when hiking in Lost Dutchman State Park.
From Coulter’s lupine to brittlebrush and scorpionweed, plenty of spring blooms dot the
landscape, including the area around nearby Weavers Needle, where the Lost Dutchman
Gold Mine is rumored to be located.
Directions: From Phoenix, take U.S. Route 60 east to Tomahawk Road and turn left. Fol-low
Tomahawk Road for approximately 3.1 miles to N. Apache Trail/State Route 88, turn
right, and follow the signs to the park.
Information: 480-982-4485 or azstateparks.com/parks/lodu
» Sweetwater Trail
Saguaro National Park West
There are more than 165 miles of hiking trails in Saguaro National Park, which means
beginning trekkers and seasoned pros alike will find a walk that works. There’s only one,
however, that leads to Wasson Peak, the highest point in the Tucson Mountains. The
3.4-mile Sweetwater Trail plays host to dozens of wild blooms, including brittlebrush,
hedgehog cactus blooms, Esteve’s pincushion, desert rose mallow, larkspur and resur-rection
Directions: On the west side of Tucson, drive northwest on Silverbell Road to El Camino
del Cerro, which approaches the eastern side of Saguaro National Park West. Turn left
(west) and drive to the Sweetwater trailhead at the end of El Camino del Cerro.
Information: 520-733-5153 or nps.gov/sagu
» Go John Trail
Cave Creek Regional Park
This 4.8-mile loop hike is a favorite among Metro Phoenix residents looking to escape the
concrete jungle for a few hours, and for good reason — it’s close enough to the city to be
convenient, but once you’re on the trail, all of the hustle and bustle of city life disappears.
The Go John Trail begins as an easy walk, and then climbs gradually across washes and
Directions: From Phoenix, go north on Cave Creek Road to the Carefree Highway and
turn left. Turn right on 32nd Street and follow the signs to the Cave Creek Regional Park.
A minimal fee is required to enter the park.
Information: 623-465-0431 or maricopa.gov/parks/cave_creek
» Alamo Lake State Park
Tucked inside the Bill Williams River Valley, west of Phoenix, the 2,400-acre Alamo Lake
is a sanctuary for anglers, campers and hikers alike. In addition to countless water rec-reation
opportunities, the park also features miles of hiking trails that spotlight spring’s
most beautiful blooms, including bursts of bright orange desert globemallow and brilliant
Directions: From Phoenix, drive west on Interstate 10 for approximately 95 miles to New
Hope/Vicksburg, Exit 45. Turn right (north) onto Vicksburg Road and drive 6 miles to U.S.
Route 60 and turn right (east). Drive 14 miles to Wenden, turn left (north) onto Alamo
Road and follow for 33 miles to the park entrance.
Information: 928-669-2088 or azstateparks.com/parks/alla
» Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
After spending years in politics, millionaire engineer and war veteran Colonel William
Boyce Thompson decided to turn his attention to a home he was building — the Picket
Post House — in the Arizona mountains near Superior. When someone asked the colonel
how much land he owned, Thompson replied, “I own it all as far as the eye can see.”
Some of that land is now home to Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, which plays
host each spring to wildflowers as far as the eye can see, including scarlet pimpernel,
snapdragon, larkspur, desert lavender and Mariposa lily.
Directions: From Phoenix, go east on U.S. 60 for approximately 55 miles to Milepost 223
near Superior and follow the signs to the arboretum.
Information: 520-689-2811 or azstateparks.com/parks/both
» Wind Cave Trail
Usery Mountain Regional Park
With more than 29 miles of trails to explore on foot, horseback or mountain bike, Usery
Mountain Regional Park is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. A favorite trail among avid
hikers is the Wind Cave Trail, which provides access to the adjacent Tonto National
Forest, as well as the trail’s namesake: a wind-pummeled overhang known as the wind
cave. And, of course, you’ll see flowers — scorpionweed, brittlebrush, poppies and lupine
to name a few.
Directions: From Phoenix, go east on State Route 202 to McKellips Road and turn right.
Follow McKellips Road for approximately 12 miles to Ellsworth Road/Usery Park Road,
turn left, and follow the signs to the park.
Information: 480-984-0032 or maricopa.gov/parks/usery
» Siphon Draw Trail
This strenuous hike passes through Lost Dutchman State Park, then ventures into the
more rugged Superstition Wilderness, where the once well-marked dirt path evolves into
a rocky, less clearly defined trail. The scramble is worth it, though, especially as you arrive
at a large stone basin. There, a waterfall marks the official end of the Siphon Draw Trail
and makes a great place to take a breather among some of the season’s prettiest blooms.
Directions: From Phoenix, take U.S. 60 east to Tomahawk Road and turn left. Follow
Tomahawk Road for approximately 3.1 miles to N. Apache Trail/State Route 88, turn right,
and follow the signs to the park.
Information: 480-982-4485 or azstateparks.com/parks/lodu
» Picacho Peak State Park
Site of the only Civil War battle in Arizona, Picacho Peak State Park is a popular destina-tion
for both war buffs and hikers alike. In fact, every March, 200 Civil War re-enactors
descend on the park on horseback and foot to relive the less than two-hour battle. Even
if you’re not into history, you’ll be amazed by the park’s spectacular scenery, especially
when its trails are blanketed with Mexican goldpoppies. There’s something for all skill
levels, too, from the easy Children’s Cave Trail to the strenuous, experts-only Hunter Trail.
Directions: From Phoenix, go east on Interstate 10 for approximately 74 miles to Picacho
Peak Road (Exit 219), turn right, and follow the signs to the park.
Information: 520-466-3183 or azstateparks.com/parks/pipe
» Butterfly Trail
Santa Catalina Mountains
The Butterfly Trail is so named for good reason: Each spring, butterflies flock to the trail
to drink from the thousands of vibrant wildflowers that layer the Coronado National
Forest. This relatively easy trek also includes stunning views of Tucson, Alder Canyon
and the San Pedro Valley, as well as a great introduction to the area’s trees, including box
elder, bigtooth maple, Douglas fir and Arizona madrone.
Directions: In Tucson, go east on Grant Road for 8 miles to Tanque Verde Road. Continue
east on Tanque Verde for 3 miles to the Catalina Highway. From there, drive 4.2 miles to
the forest boundary, and continue 19 miles to the Palisades Visitor Information Center.
The trailhead is located at the north end of the parking lot.
Information: 520-749-8700 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado
» Phone Line Trail
This paved trail traverses a slope just south of Sabino Creek in Tucson’s popular Sabino
Canyon, and provides a fantastic opportunity to experience the Sonoran Desert’s amaz-ing
wildlife. Ample winter rainfall leads to impressive blooms along the trail this time of
year, and designated picnic areas in the park provide the perfect spots to sit back and
enjoy the views.
Directions: In Tucson, drive east on Grant Road for 8 miles to Tanque Verde Road, then
east on Tanque Verde Road for about three-quarters of a mile to Sabino Canyon Road.
Drive north on Sabino Canyon Road to the recreation area — just north of Sunrise Road.
The parking lot is on the right.
Information: 520-388-8300 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado
W H E R E T O H I T T H E T R A I L
◗ A prime wildflower-viewing
good years, Usery
Park offers hikers a
splendid spring show.
photograph by peter
B Y K E L L Y K R A M E R
26 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
A n c i e n tC reeks There are some obvious reasons
to go backpacking in the Aravaipa
Canyon Wilderness — spectacular
scenery, perennial streams, rare
wildlife, peace and quiet. Less
obvious is the water itself, which,
according to radiocarbon tests, is
up to 15,000 years old. Chances
are, it dates back to the last ice age,
when ancient water was stored deep
within the rocky cores of the moun-tains.
No wonder our writer was in
no hurry to get back to civilization.
By Cr a ig Chi lds
uiet conversations of water moved through
a forest. Words chattered across smooth, black stones as a clear stream
turned one way and then another, threading among jail bars of tree
roots. Where the sun reached through a canopy of sycamores and
alders, light etched the water, igniting stones at the bottom of the stream.
Aravaipa Creek is famous for scenes like this, but this was not Aravaipa. It was one
of Aravaipa’s numerous sisters, a small creek flowing out of the Galiuro Mountains in
Southeast Arizona, its water eventually bound for Aravaipa itself. This is one of the
nameless places, overgrown and heaped with boulders.
I walked along the stream with my young son, Jasper. He held my finger firmly, not
yet comfortable walking on his own. He used his other hand to part grass in front of
him. My wife and our friend had gone ahead to scout a side canyon in search of routes.
Waiting for their return, Jasper and I strolled along the stream,
following bends of moss and cobbles. I crouched under fallen
lances of alder trees, twisting around to keep my finger avail-able
as Jasper led me through green shade and toward the
mumble of water.
Places like this are secret and untroubled, like bits of legend
scattered across the desert. Each of the Sky Island mountain
ranges in Southeast Arizona, like the Galiuros, lets out veins
of streams, allowing life to flourish. A radiocarbon test of some
of this water revealed that it could be 15,000 years old. It’s
probably left over from the last ice age, ancient water stored
◗ Placid water in Hell’s
Half Acre Canyon re-flects
the sheer walls and
box elders. photograph
by jack dykinga
RIGHT: Turkey Creek Cliff
Dwelling is an ancient
and well-preserved rem-nant
of the Salado people
who lived in Aravaipa
Canyon more than 600
years ago. photograph
by randy prentice
• • •
• • •
28 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
deep within the rocky cores of mountains, slowly bubbling up into
My son and I passed beneath mansions of sycamore trees, their
leaves as big as hands. Branches of the larger trees cover half an acre of
ground, fleshy bark knobbed with orifices — folds of wood and bark
that looked like ears and nostrils, like fat-skinned wrinkles. Wild
grape vines coil up the trunks and hang from branches. Life piled on
life, a single organism of forest. Even alder trees toppled by floods had
sprouted again, their branches turning vertical, sending leaves toward
the meager skylight, and roots down through cobbles below, unable
to resist another chance at living.
For variety, I turned us away from the stream. We followed a spur
of a side drainage, its cobblestones damp with moss. Dark troops of
oak trees gathered around us. We slowly rose into a field of cliffs, a
huge canyon surrounding us, its walls weeping with springs. I hitched
Jasper onto my side and climbed a little higher, reaching for holds
through ferns and moss.
“Hold tight,” I said, and I felt Jasper’s arms instantly pinch at my
side, his little shoes digging like spurs into my waist.
Now we were in the forest canopy, edgewise to the half-acre
branches, able to see birds as they piped and warbled from their
perches — a yellow breast, one dashed with green, shoulders of red. I
stopped and swiped water off a rock with two fingers and brought my
fingers to my lips, wondering if this was rain or snow that had fallen
in Pleistocene times, my lips the first to touch it since then. Jasper
leaned his head out, reaching a curious hand, wanting me to touch
his lips, too. I did. He tasted spring water fresh out of the Earth with
a little grit of stone, the clean savor of ice long melted.
Jasper gave me a squeeze and a high-pitched utterance, reminding
me of his other needs. I pulled a strip of jerky from my pocket, chewed
off its tip and then passed a sweet plum of meat into his mouth. He
took it without response. If he felt gratitude, it showed only in the
way he continued to hold onto me. I put my fingers in the spring water
again and tapped them on his lips. He grinned. My small family and I had been traveling for
weeks in the area, rationing diapers, staying near
dependable water sources for drinking and bathing.
We set camps on canyon rims and along ridges. Our
friend Colin, another wilderness traveler, came along to help, know-ing
that travel with a baby was much more work.
Later that day we all regrouped, and Colin and I set off to see what
we could find. We were trying to grasp the lay of the immediate
country, seeking routes that could later be traveled with a baby in tow.
Colin was fast, and eventually I had to stop for a break. My feet were
bleeding. We were wearing sandals instead of boots. Sandals proved
better for making distance in this kind of country, getting in and out
of water, sinking into wet sand and climbing out the other side. But
they weren’t much good for protection.
I sat on a shelf of rock and pulled off one of my sandals. A splinter
of a twig stuck out of the soft skin of my sole. I
gripped it firmly between thumb and forefinger
and pulled it out, eliciting a quick barb of pain. I
hunkered down to a pool of fresh water, where I
cupped my hands and washed my feet, rubbing
dirt out of a score of minor wounds. I reached
◗ Ancient streams
trickle over volcanic
boulders in a side
canyon, filling pools
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
up and pinched off a leaf of lavender from a powder-blue-tinged plant
beside me. I rubbed the leaf until it was moist on my fingers and dabbed
it on the fresh, red abrasion on my right foot. I was ready to go again. We found the tributaries of Aravaipa
deeply incised, winding down through canyons
and cliffs, restricting the number of routes. Just
finding a way back to camp by dark was going to
be a challenge. Colin and I reached a ridge to get a view, well above the
forest. High desert vegetation surrounded us: agaves, mesquites,
prickly pears and beargrass shaded by gnarled thickets of scrub oak.
From there we saw down into the next canyon, and the one past that,
and one past that again. The sisters of Aravaipa are many. My heart
was drumming from the scramble, breath pushing in and out. I turned
and looked behind us, seeing the same as what we saw ahead —
bleached heads of stone standing up from canyons.
Colin and I trotted along the ridge until it gave out and embarked
downward, hoping to enter the right drainage, the one that would
lead toward our camp. We started running, taking advantage of the
steep terrain. White-tailed deer bolted in front of us, flashing out of
the brush and into sunlight. They sprinted along a slope beside us and
we kept pace with them, breaking this way and that as we sank into
the shadows of a new canyon, one we thought would take us home.
Cliffs rose around us, enormous passageways opening, leading us to
steep and rocky routes.
We moved quickly through the somber light of dusk. Gray tree
frogs clung to walls around us. Their long, high songs swelled into the
canyon. As we neared them, each frog jettisoned like tiny cliff divers
plunking down into pools of water collected in the scoured, bedrock
basins below. We climbed over the basins, and wedged ourselves
down along a tightening corridor. There were no trails, no signs. We
read the land carefully, but soon found ourselves trapped.
Our canyon had funneled into a plummet with cold, black holes of
water drilled into the floor. Colin took one last running leap, bounding
over several of these water tanks. He spanned the last one, and landed
on its dry lip, teetering for a moment, peering out.
“Does it go?” I asked, wondering if there was a route, or if we were
going to have to turn back. Colin looked straight down past the toes
of his sandals, his arms stretched to both sides as if he were standing
on a tightrope.
“Does it go?” I repeated.
“Dead end,” Colin said. He’d vaulted his way to a thin purchase of
rock over a free-fall canyon.
I quickly scanned up the walls around me, seeing a few ledges I
could use to climb out. Colin was an accomplished climber. I’d seen
him do things on rock I would have thought
physically impossible. He didn’t need my
“Good luck,” I told him. “I’ll see you
down below somewhere.”
I climbed ledge by ledge. From higher up,
I glanced at Colin still standing at an edge
below me. He was taking a few breaths to
consider his options. I could see now what
he was faced with. Balanced on a few inches
of bare stone with a pool of water as dark
as onyx behind him, he was looking a couple hundred feet into empty
space, the canyon dropping out from under him. Knowing he’d manage
just fine, I didn’t look back at him again.
After about 10 minutes of inching around wall after wall, I found a
slope of rock rubble. I skittered into a narrow crevasse, popping out
the other side not far above the canyon floor.
Just as I expected, Colin was already ahead of me. He’d found some
backdoor route and had beaten me down, no doubt losing some skin in
the process, his blood still hot with adrenalin. We slid and scratched
through sharp-edged rocks, setting some rolling, kicking up dust for 10,
20 feet. Toward the bottom, the rocks became boulders as big as wash-ing
machines. Below them were boulders the size of houses. We climbed
cracks between them, descending into a canopy of sycamores.
When we reached the bottom, daylight was nearly gone. We found
the stream where we’d started, and followed it, moving across beds
of moss and broken tree stumps. With no more exposed rock, no
more sudden falls, we walked with a lazy, exhausted stride, our feet
painted in leaf dirt and blood. Sycamore trees sank into darkness as
we felt our way along. We had headlamps in our packs but didn’t get
them out. A last trace of light remained to show the way, a vaporous
glow, as if a modicum of daylight had not been able to find its way out
of the canyon.
A baby’s cry lifted from the darkness ahead. It was the call of my
son’s hunger. It cried, comfort, warmth, need, echoing among trees, muted
by leaves and trunks. Just as quickly, the voice was quieted. In the night
beyond us, in a camp too far away for us to see, Jasper had been given
whatever he needed. My body relaxed; I was almost home.
There were no trails, no
signs. We read the land
carefully, but soon found
◗ Cattails line the banks of
Aravaipa Creek as it winds
through the surrounding
wilderness near Hell-hole
Canyon. photograph by
RIGHT: At the east end of
Aravaipa Canyon Wild-erness,
a rock formation
called The Chimney rises
above the canyon and tow-ers
over verdant stands of
cottonwood trees. photo-graph
by randy prentice
• • •
32 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
Photographs c ourtesy o f A rizona H istorical S ociet y
B y K a t h l e e n W a l k e r
King of the Roads
worked on railroads, bridges and
highways, including Route 66
and the Black Canyon Highway.
That was his day job. F or the
heck of it, he took photographs.
Thousands and thousands of
photographs. F orests, canyons,
missions, caves, ancient ruins–
he shot just about everything.
And along the way, he built an
amazing legacy of art and history.
LEFT: In 1932, Wallace
began work on
U.S. Route 66, shown
here winding its way
RIGHT: Norman Wallace
(far right) posed on
the other side of the
camera with fellow
crew members. The
man who spent most
of his life building roads
and bridges found
refuge in photography,
chronicling his work
with thousands of
34 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 35
good road can be a thing of beauty when
you’ve got someplace to go. And who
would discount the value of a bridge
when you’ve got something to cross? But
to see the world the way Norman Wallace
saw it — to travel from pre-revolution
Mexico to Arizona … well, that’s a trip.
In 1999, the Arizona History Museum in Tucson
began the process required to make the Wallace col-lection
available to researchers. What they found
in the 4l boxes of 5,000 images, albums, prints and
negatives was a treasure. Black and white might pre-dominate,
but the glow given off by this collection is
“It’s a major collection,” says Riva Dean, archives
director of the museum. What’s more, the majority of
these photos have never been seen before.
“He had a really good eye,” Dean says. “So, aestheti-cally,
they’re really amazing photographs.”
Wallace, who was born in Ohio, arrived in Tucson
in 1906, 20 years old and handsome as a movie-star
cowboy. He’d come west to work for the Southern
Pacific, building railroads in Mexico. And he brought
a friend along for the ride.
“I had a little bit of a camera,” he recalled almost
70 years later. “I think they call it 4-A, a Kodak box
camera.” One camera or another would be by his side
for the next 40 years.
Aw Wallace documented Arizona’s roads after they were com-pleted
(above) and during the initial building phase (below),
when draft horses provided some much-needed muscle.
RIGHT: Wallace was interested in many aspects of Arizona’s
new infrastructure in the 1930s, including the construction of
Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam).
36 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 37
way Department. Following his death in l983 at the
age of 98, his wife, Henrietta, gave an additional
3,000 images to the Arizona History Museum in
Tucson. The collection remained split until l999,
when the Arizona Highway Department donated
its portion to the museum. Now, along with the his-torians,
the general public can access the complete
collection simply by walking through the doors of
the museum’s reference library.
Just like that, they can travel with Wallace to the
Tucson of 1910, the mission of San Xavier, the lush
Sabino Canyon. They can visit the cowboys of 1913
Mexico. That same year, followers of Pancho Villa
lined up in Nogales for their own photographic
experience with Wallace. In the heady spirit of
revolution, they’d just finished looting a store.
Wallace’s study of the building of Route 66 might
cause some researchers to break out in song. In his
rendition, the kicks come from going west to east
— from Topock to Kingman to the Junction of U.S.
89. The roads have yet to be built in other photo-graphs,
but Wallace had marked their future routes
on the images.
“I think it is an important collection, because it
shows the growth of Arizona — 20th century Ari-zona,”
Dean says. But beyond the growth, the roads
and the bridges, Wallace saw something else. Most
days he would turn his camera toward the land, the
beauty of nature that reduced those paved roads of
modern life to insignificance. And with the heart of
a true photographer, Norman G. Wallace admired
He moved from railroading to bridge-building
to mining, from Mexico to Arizona. In l932, he
joined the Arizona Highway Department and
spent the next 23 years surveying and plotting the
routes of new highways. If you’ve ever driven in
Arizona, you know his work; he was the engineer
who carved the way.
His first assignment was on a little strip of road
across Northern Arizona, which would later roll
into the legendary Route 66. He also did the loca-tion
work for the Black Canyon Highway, which
runs from Phoenix to Flagstaff. He later described
it as “some of my hardest work.” The job began in
l945. He was 60 years old.
“I walked from the Arizona Canal [in North
Phoenix] ... to Flagstaff twice,” he recalled in a l975
interview. “Somebody had to find out where that
road was going.”
He also was well acquainted with the early years
of State Route 84, which then ran from Tucson
to Gila Bend, former U.S. Route 70 from Globe to
the New Mexico line, U.S. Route 89 up Mingus
Mountain, and old U.S. Route 80 (now State Route
80) running north of Bisbee. He knew a time when
mule teams were still being used to build those
roads, and he took the pictures.
He photographed the pastoral scenes of early
1900s Mexico, then the horrors of revolution that
followed. He captured the towns and land of Ari-zona
before statehood. Forests, canyons, Spanish
missions, caves, ancient ruins … all were fodder
for his camera.
As were the bridges, the dams and the roads,
always the roads. In l968, Wallace turned over an
estimated 2,000 of his images to the Arizona High-
to F lagstaff
had to find out
where that road
w While traveling around
the state, Wallace took time
to photograph many iconic
Arizona structures, such as
the interior and exterior
(left and above) of Mission
San Xavier del Bac.
RIGHT: Wallace recorded the
Bridge, which is now listed
on the National Register of
w Wallace photographed Hoover Dam’s
progress in June 1933 (left), shortly after
the first bucket of concrete was placed
into the lowest of the dam forms.
RIGHT: In 1927, standing on “A” Mountain,
Wallace made an image of the city of
Tucson, which then boasted a population
of approximately 25,000 people.
The Arizona History Museum is located at 949 E. Second
Street in Tucson. For more information, call 520-628-5774
or visit arizonahistoricalsociety.org.
38 m a r c h 2 0 0 9
For the past 84 years,
Arizona Highways has been show-casing
the splendor of the Grand
Canyon State — in print, with paper
and ink. Five years ago, former
news anchor ROBIN SEWEL L
suggested a high-definition version
of the magazine — a television
show that picks up where the
mother ship leaves off. Fifteen
Emmys later, Arizona Highways
Television is the highest-rated
locally produced show in Arizona.
We figured it was time you
learned a little more about our
Cornelius TV RIGHT: Host Robin Sewell
and crew shoot the breeze
at Grand Falls of the Little
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
40 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
s she delivers her
lines, the forklift operator low-ers
her slowly to the factory floor
of the Joy Cone Co., the largest
ice-cream cone company in the
world, located just outside of
Flagstaff. It’s not the first place
you’d expect Arizona Highways to
feature, but it certainly jibes with
the show’s goal of uncovering
lesser-known Arizona sites and
telling compelling stories about
the state’s people and places.
It’s a formula that works. Five
seasons in, Sewell and her small
crew have turned the show
nobody thought would succeed
into a ratings darling and 15-time
Emmy Award-winner. We shad-owed
the film crew for a day to
find out just how they do it.
Producer Kathy Clark and direc-tor
of photography Alex Mitchell
do a walk-through of the Joy Cone
factory, scouting out potential
shots. As part of their preparation,
they’ve already peppered the man-ager
with questions to get an idea
of what to expect, audiovisually.
What they see is a vast build-ing
of interconnected rooms the
size of aircraft hangars, filled
with the constant groan of ma-chines.
Scenery-wise, it offers
fluorescent-lit vistas of conveyor
belts and stacks of boxes. All of
this will present challenges to
More challenges. The plant man-ager
lays out the rules for visi-tors
with cameras. The crew
can shoot product labels but not
the machine that puts on those
labels. Hairnets must be worn
at all times. If someone sees hair
peeking out of a colleague’s net,
they are to inform them imme-diately.
With that, the five film crew-members,
all freelancers from
Arizona, don hairnets and wheel
their equipment into the factory.
Before Sewell arrives later in the
morning, the crew will shoot
interviews and B-roll (the foot-age
that plays with a voice-over).
As a clutch of curious employees
gathers around, the crew fits a
microphone onto plant man-ager
John Stanton, assuring him
that the questions will be easy.
Joe Bohannon, the audio mixer,
wears earphones and checks the
sound on a field audio kit so it
can be sent to the cameras for
recording. Clark leafs through
her notebook, reviewing an out-line,
interview questions and shot
list to make sure they get all the
“She’s the organized one,”
Sewell says later of Clark. “I’m al-ways
frustrating her by changing
things.” But organization is essen-tial.
The crew is on the road only
eight weeks a year shooting 26
episodes. During a typical week
they film 10 stories, so everything
needs to run smoothly.
Clark shouts her interview ques-tions
to John Stanton over the
clamor of the ice-cream cone
machines. Mitchell pauses film-ing
to ask a worker to move a gar-bage
can in the background.
“Alex, Robin and [crew] have
worked incredibly hard to main-tain
the integrity of the maga-zine,”
notes second photographer
Jim Hartman. “They don’t just
settle for any shot. Everything is
set up to match what the maga-zine
does. It’s a huge mantle we
carry. We’re Arizona Highways —
we’ve got to live up to it.”
While Clark conducts the
is 25 feet up in the air,
in a forklift carriage
above millions of ice
cream cones. It’s a
first for her — one
of a long list of firsts
while hosting Arizona
race car driving, ice
skating with Wayne
Gretzky, golfing with
Jack Nicklaus. It’s
also somewhat ironic,
given how much she
struggled to get the
show off the ground.
42 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
the show independently, which
means she and her company con-ceive
topics separately from the
magazine. But the magazine is
the model, both in substance and
Sewell’s background in jour-nalism
definitely influences the
show, in particular her desire to
be unbiased. “I know if you lose
your credibility, you have noth-ing,”
Sewell says. “We don’t charge
[people to be on the show], so it’s
pure and clean. I choose a story
because I think it’s a worthwhile
story to tell, and I think viewers
Clark informs Sewell she’ll be
on in 10 minutes. And she’s going
to have to wear a hairnet. Well, so
much for the blow-dry. Sewell runs
through her lines in a notebook
with her daughter’s picture on the
cover, changes out of her sweats,
and chats with Clark as they walk
toward the entrance. Before they
step inside, Sewell dashes into the
restroom to catch a glimpse of the
Sewell’s sense of humor about
herself and the self-conscious broad-cast
journalism world fits right in
with the film crew’s lighthearted
dynamic. There is always banter.
There are often bets, many of
which, well … the crew wouldn’t
want them printed here. There are
also the inevitable outtakes.
Sewell is in the forklift carriage,
delivering her closing lines as she
descends. But she fumbles the
word “tour.” So they start again
from the top, literally. This time
she says “plant” instead of “factory.”
“Oops. Do over,” someone says.
“That was a rare screw-up,”
Sewell jokes. “Rare.”
As they continue filming in the
factory, they do several takes of
each “stand-up,” even when every-thing
goes well. It’s always better
to have more footage.
It’s not just Sewell’s lines and
the camera angles that need to be
perfect; it’s the weather, the set-ting
and everyone else in the shot.
Which can be challenging, espe-cially
when filming at the next
location — The Basin, Arizona’s
first BMX bike park.
As the crew sets up, about a
dozen (helmet-less) teens and 20-
somethings whip around the
undulating cement structure, flip-ping,
jumping and spinning their
Sewell starts her stand-up: “If your
idea of bike riding is ...” A gust of
wind blows her hair across her
face. Do over.
“If your idea of bike riding is
just a leisurely stroll in the park,
then …” This time she bungles the
line. Do over.
Several more takes follow, halt-ed
by gusts of wind and questions
about phrasing. They debate wheth-
er Sewell should mention that
BMX racing is now an Olympic
sport, since this is BMX freestyle
and it might be misleading to
viewers. Accuracy is of the utmost
importance, and in the end they
decide to leave it out.
“If your idea of bike riding is
just a leisurely stroll in the park,
then prepare to be wowed by these
guys …” This time she delivers the
whole speech flawlessly, but just
at the end a biker launches himself
in the air and biffs it behind her.
A cement bike park frequented
by young daredevils isn’t typical
Arizona Highways fare, but in addi-tion
to classic standbys like the
Grand Canyon, the show throws
in some unexpected twists.
“We have to find stories that
appeal to a wide variety of people,”
Sewell says. “I’m hoping this story
will get more young people inter-ested
in the show. We want to get
people to get up and go out there.
Everybody wants to know about
their state, to get excited about
where they live.”
Sewell hopes that eventually,
it won’t just be Arizonans watch-ing.
“From the beginning, my vi-sion
was for it to be a national and
international show,” she says. “We’re
really in the perfect position to do
it now. We have 130-plus episodes
in the can. We’re one of the top-rated
shows. So our ability to sell
this is much better.”
From the start, Sewell and her
team have been forward-thinking.
For example, they have always shot
in high definition. “We’re the only
locally produced show in HD,”
Sewell notes. As of February 17, all
full-power stations in the United
States were required by law to
broadcast digitally, which means
that Sewell’s show is now giving
viewers even more spectacular
shots of Arizona scenery — and
The crew is nearly finished.
Sewell is sitting in the center of
The Basin delivering her clos-ing
lines. After several takes, the
bikers are pushing through their
exhaustion, zooming and spinning
around her in a sinuous — and
dangerous — figure eight.
It’s another first for Sewell and
her crew, and it won’t be the last.
“People ask if we’re going to run
out of ideas,” producer Clark says,
“but at the end of the season, our
list tends to be longer than at the
With so many people and places
to feature, they expect to be doing
this for a long time, inspiring fans
of Arizona to experience firsts of
interview, Hartman and camera-assistant
Travis Hamilton film
the cone-shaping machines and
factory employees for B-roll. They
work as wordlessly and confi-dently
as the assembly line work-ers
they’re filming, as if they’ve
done it thousands of times, which
they have — just not here.
It’s a wrap. Like clockwork, they
roll up the wires, put the cam-eras
back on the cart, fold up the
tripods, and head off to another
room for the next interview.
Because the narrow room is
dominated by gargantuan steel
vats filled with flour, the options
for camera angles are limited.
As they set up, Mitchell needs
to check the camera’s white bal-ance,
but there’s nothing white
in the room. So, with a laugh,
Hamilton pulls up his shirt, and
Mitchell adjusts the balance off
The instant Clark starts the inter-view,
a machine in the adjoining
room blasts on. Stop. Close door.
For the next half-hour, the crew
moves to predetermined locations
around the factory, shooting more
interviews and machines. Each
time, Mitchell seeks the perfect
shot and won’t begin filming
until he gets it. He waits for the
batter to rise to the right level
in the batter room. He climbs to
the balcony for an overhead shot,
instructing a factory employee to
wheel a cart down the aisle for
“Over the years, [Robin and
Alex] have gotten it down to a
science,” Hartman says. “They
don’t even have to talk. Robin
will show up and everything’s
been set up. They totally trust
Speaking of which …
Clark’s cell phone rings. Sewell
has arrived and is “putting her
face on” in one of the front offices.
A veteran broadcast journalist,
Sewell has 14 years under her belt
as a news anchor and reporter at
locations across the country. She
spent the last seven of those as a
main anchor in Phoenix. When
she left the anchor desk, she had a
strong desire to create a program
of her own, so she launched a
production company, Lonetree
Productions. Her ties to Arizona,
including Native American roots,
kept her thinking about ways to
share her beloved state. Her idea
to create an Arizona Highways-inspired
TV show was so terrific
she wondered why no one had
come up with it before. Turns
out, several others had.
“If I had a nickel for everyone
who wanted to do an Arizona
Highways TV show,” Arizona High-ways
publisher Win Holden told
Sewell when she pitched the con-cept,
“I’d be a rich man.”
Sewell was temporarily de-
flated. But she soon found out
that none of her predecessors
had backed up the idea with a
business plan or funding. That’s
where she separated herself.
It wasn’t easy. No one she talk-ed
to believed she could pull it
off. They dismissed her as just a
pretty face, just “the talent.” Every
film crew in the state laughed at
her. No one wants to watch local pro-gramming,
they scoffed. You’ll be
on at 3 a.m. with no sponsors. Going
national? Fuggedaboutit. Who outside
the state cares about Arizona?
“The more they told me it
couldn’t be done, the more I was
determined to do it,” Sewell says.
She finally found a willing Los
Angeles-based film crew for the
first season. After the show’s suc-cess,
she acquired an all-Arizona
crew, not to mention a list of con-verted
Sewell continues to produce
ABOVE: At the Joy Cone factory in
Flagstaff, Robin Sewell discusses
ice cream cone-making.
BELOW: A daredevil cyclist
circles around Sewell at
The Basin, a BMX bike
park in Flagstaff.
For more information, visit arizona
highways.com and click the Arizona
Highways Television icon at the bot-tom
of our home page.
44 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
the essence of Arizona is
bottled along State Route 88,
the Apache Trail. You’ll find all
of the state’s essential qualities
— desert, mountains, water,
sky, past, present and future
— here on Arizona’s first desig-nated
historic and scenic road.
The 47-mile trip from
Apache Junction to Roosevelt
Dam takes about two and a
half hours. The last 21 miles are
unpaved, but well-maintained.
Begin at the junction of
Idaho Road and State Route 88,
traveling north toward the Salt
River — the Apache Trail’s rai-son
d’être. For a thousand years,
native cultures roamed the
Salt River’s shoreline through
the Mazatzal Mountains, and
the surrounding valley’s fertile
soil enticed the first settlers
to restore canals built by the
Unfortunately, the unpre-dictable
hydrologic cycle of
drought and flood made the Salt
uncontrollable. In 1902, Presi-dent
Theodore Roosevelt signed
into law the National Reclama-tion
Act, which led to the dam-ming
of most of the West’s
major rivers, including the Salt.
To build the dam, they first
needed a road to transport men,
equipment and materials from
Phoenix. Road construction
began in 1904, and mule teams
started hauling freight wagons
a year later. Apache laborers
helped build the road, dubbed
the Apache Trail, and it’s as
scenic as it was practical.
The 5-mile stretch of the
Goldfield Mountains beginning
at the unmarked Apache Gap,
at Mile 4.6, has been called the
“Little Alps.” President Roos-evelt
said it best: “The Apache
Trail combines the grandeur of
the Alps, the glory of the Rock-ies,
and the magnificence of the
Grand Canyon, and then adds
an indefinable something that
none of the others has. To me it
is the most awe-inspiring and
most sublimely beautiful pan-orama
nature has ever created.”
At Canyon Lake Vista, Mile
6.6, you’ll encounter a spirit-lifting
view of Canyon Lake,
which formed as a result of the
Mormon Flat Dam in 1926.
At 11.3 miles, you’ll reach
Tortilla Flat, the first overnight
stop on the three-day wagon
trip from Mesa to the dam site.
Take the time to enjoy a snack
on the saddle stools in the
restaurant and ask about the
origin of the town’s name.
The paved road ends at 16.7
miles. At the Fish Creek Hill
Scenic Vista, uphill 2 more
miles, you can reflect on the
challenges faced by teamsters
moving freight along this road.
At Mile 24.5, you’ll glimpse
Apache Lake, created by Horse
Mesa Dam in 1927. The road
follows the gorge, rising and
falling with the contours of the
land, sometimes as close as 15
feet from the lake.
The Theodore Roosevelt
Dam looms into view at Mile
36.5. Dedicated by
its namesake on
March 18, 1911, the
dam rises 280 feet
and cost $10.3 mil-lion.
Arizona road trip
wouldn’t be com-plete
visit to the Tonto
National Monument, 4 miles
southeast of Roosevelt Dam on
State Route 188. The visitors
center displays artifacts of the
ancient agrarian Salado Indi-ans,
who occupied these pueb-los.
To reach the lower ruins
requires a half-mile uphill slog,
but the solitude and natural
beauty found there proves
worth the effort.
home to Weavers
Needle (far left)
under the craggy
cliffs of the
Roosevelt said of
this route: It offers
“the most sublime-ly
What more do you
need to know?
BY TOM CARPENTER
Note: Mileages are approximate.
directions: From Phoenix, go east on U.S. Route 60
to Exit 196 (Idaho Road), turn left, and go 2.2 miles
to State Route 88 (the Apache Trail). Turn right and
continue 47 miles to Roosevelt Dam. From there, con-tinue
4 miles on State Route 188 to Tonto National
vehicle requirements: A high-clearance vehicle is
recommended, but not required.
information: Tonto National Forest, 928-402-6200
Travelers in Arizona can visit az511.gov or dial 511 to
on road closures, construction,
weather and more.
editor’s note: For more scenic drives,
pick up a copy of our book, The Back Roads.
Now in its fifth edition, the book ($19.95)
features 40 of the state’s most scenic
drives. To order a copy, call 800-543-5432
or visit arizonahighways.com.
T O N T O
N A T I O N A L
M O N U M E N T
T O N T O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
M A Z A T Z A L M O U N T A I N S
S U P E R S T I T I O N M O U N T A I N S
S T A R T H E R E
46 m a r c h 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 47
month OF THE
the Superstition Wilderness contains more than 170
miles of trails, ranging in quality from pretty good
to practically nonexistent. It’s rugged country, and you’ll
want to get a USGS map before heading out. Here’s why:
Between 1920 and 1986, more than 25 people died some-where
in the mountain range. This is not a good place to
It was a spring Saturday when my boyfriend and I
headed out. Our journey began before sunrise, after we
nervously packed the car, unsure of what was in store.
For two hours after we left the pavement, our Suburban
ascended a narrow, one-lane dirt road up a mountain to
an elevation of 4,800 feet. Our tires rolled into foot-deep
crevices and frighteningly close to 1,000-foot drops. If
you’re cremnophobic (afraid of cliffs), this drive will push
you over the edge.
Eventually, we made it to the Rogers Canyon trailhead
and got rolling. We’d been hiking for almost an hour and
a half when I looked around and realized I couldn’t find
a sign to indicate we were heading in the right direction.
There are 3.8 million acres in the Tonto National Forest,
and my heart was beating as loudly as it was earlier, when
I’d gazed over the steep cliffs.
A level head got us back on track, and we descended
to an elevation of about 3,700 feet. Keep in mind, this 8.4-
mile round-trip trail is downhill on the way in, and uphill
on the way out, so save some energy. As we made our way
into the wilderness, I slipped, for the hundredth time,
on a pebble planted loosely in the path. My head jerked
back, causing me to look up. That’s when my eye caught
something on the other side of the canyon — something
that Mother Nature couldn’t have done herself. Stones
were piled neatly inside a cave that sat high in the canyon
walls. Cliff dwellings.
The Salado Indians constructed the cliff dwellings in
these mountains more than 600 years ago. Before they
were sought out as a hikers’ destination, the mud-and-stone
homes were well preserved. Today, all that remains
are the stone walls.
A recreation assistant for the Superstition Wilderness
Area piqued my interest when explaining that although
the trail’s main attraction has
always been the ruins, Forest
Service officials now encourage
hikers to keep away from the
dwellings because of preservation
concerns. That’s OK, though. The
ruins are just as impressive from a
With the main attraction
checked off our list, we hiked
down to a stream. The path
wasn’t easily distinguished, and
thoughts of lost hikers resonated
as we scanned the brush for an
empty clearing. The hike con-tinues
beyond the dwellings to
a spot called Angel Basin, which
is the most common turnaround
point. On our hike, we never even
made it that far. It was late, we
were tired, and the deepening
night sky, splashed with glim-mering
speckles of stars, said it
was time to head home and avoid
becoming a statistic.
length: 8.4 miles round-trip,
from the trailhead into Rogers
Canyon and back. The trail
links to other trails for longer
elevation: 4,600 to 3,700
vehicle requirements: Four-wheel-
drive is recommended
directions: From Phoenix,
go east on U.S. Route 60
toward Globe. Two miles past
Florence Junction, turn left on
Queen Valley Road, go 2 miles
to Forest Road 357 (Hewitt
Station Road) and turn right.
This road is hard to find, so
track your mileage. From
there, go 3 miles to Forest
Road 172, turn left, and go
9 miles to Forest Road 172A
(Rogers Trough Road). At
FR 172A, you’ll see a sign to
Rogers Trough. Turn right and
go 4 miles to where FR 172A
meets Forest Road 650. Stay
left at the junction and go a
quarter-mile to the trailhead.
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
• Be considerate of others.
w A narrow, steep road (left) leads to
the Rogers Canyon trailhead. The Salado
Indians occupied cliff dwellings (right)
in the canyon from a.d. 1150 to 1450.
ROGERS CANYON TRAIL
There are several ways to ex-plore
the rugged Superstition
Mountains. One of them is a
hike into Rogers Canyon, where
the main attractions are ancient
ruins and stunning landscapes.
BY JEN BONDESON
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit our “Hiking Guide” at arizonahighways.com.
MOREY K. MILBRADT
S U P E R S T I T I O N M O U N T A I N S
S U P E R S T I T I O N
W I L D E R N E S S
To Phoenix Superior
T R A I L H E A D
T O N T O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
48 m a r c h 2 0 0 9
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PHOTOGRAPH BY KERRICK JAMES
Answer: Canyon de
to our winner,
Jim Carlblom of San
Why do cristate saguaros form their odd-looking crests? No one knows. But they’re not the only
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Traveling by train
of your senses.
sense of adventur e.
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Verde Canyon Railroad
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