E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
THE CONNOR HOTEL: Jerome’s
Most Popular Haunt in October
DIABLO BURGER IN FLAGSTAFF:
Much More Than Meats the Eye
THE OLD BALDY TRAIL: A Hike
That’ll Put Hair on Your Chest
+We Found Gold in the Superstitions
Hearing Voices in the Vermilion Cliffs
The Inspiring Story of Joseph Flies-Away
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 1
◗ The stillness of a pool in Oak
Creek allows the sun to cast the
shadow of a solitary maple leaf.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SUZANNE MATHIA
FRONT COVER Terry Flat Loop near
Escudilla Mountain makes a great
scenic drive in early October.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK BEREZENKO
BACK COVER Sunset light accentu-ates
the curious markings of Brain
Rocks in Vermilion Cliffs National
PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE STOCKING
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
2 EDITOR’S LETTER
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state, including a
Yarnell couple whose home is crawling with spiders, a haunted
hotel with the ghost of a dog, and a hamburger joint in Flagstaff
that might be one of the greenest restaurants in Arizona.
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Patagonia-Sonoita Scenic Road: This winding road in
Southern Arizona is cowboy country, plain and simple,
with miles of gorgeous grasslands and big sky.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Old Baldy Trail: Not to be confused with Mount Baldy, Old Baldy is the
highest point in the Santa Rita Mountains, and this trail takes you there.
56 WHERE IS THIS?
16 COLOR BY NUMBERS
State routes 188, 288 and 260, U.S. routes 180 and 191, Forest
roads 56, 70 and 300, Navajo routes 12, 33 and 64 ... there
are any number of numbered roads that’ll take you out of the
city and into autumn. Take your pick and take your camera. As
you’ll see in our cover story, Arizona is bursting with color.
EDITED BY KELLY KRAMER
30 WE FOUND GOLD IN
For generations, treasure hunters have been scouring the
Superstition Mountains for some trace of the Lost Dutchman’s
gold, and they’ve used everything from shovels and shamans
to find the fortune. Turns out, all anybody really needed was a
good camera, water and a pair of hiking boots.
A PORTFOLIO BY LON MCADAM
38 HEARING VOICES
Imagine a place where it’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop. A
place like the Vermilion Cliffs, where there’s a stillness that
allows enlightened visitors an opportunity to hear the three-century-
groan of a juniper growing from a crack in the rock, the
silver stream of people climbing up and down the cliffs over the
millennia ... the voices of the past.
BY CRAIG CHILDS
46 LOOKING FOR BALANCE
Judge Joseph Flies-Away has never taken the easy route. He
paid his own way to a private high school in Phoenix. He gradu-ated
from Stanford and Harvard. Even his approach to the legal
system is counterintuitive. For him, law is a spiritual matter. It’s
all about restoring connections, healing old wounds and find-ing
balance, which ultimately leads to peace.
BY KATHY MONTGOMERY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID ZICKL
Visit our website for details on weekend getaways, hiking,
lodging, dining, photography workshops, slideshows and
more. Also, check out our blog for regular posts on just
about anything related to travel in Arizona, including road
closures, environmental news, festivals and other valuable
information we couldn’t fit in the magazine.
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Photographic Prints Available Prints of some photographs in this issue are available for purchase. To view options, visit www.arizonahighwaysprints.com. For more information, call 866-962-1191.
2 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
In the early 1960s, pho-tographer
borrowed his father’s
35 mm Olympus cam-era
to take pictures at a
Beatles concert. He hasn’t
set the camera down
since. McAdam and his
wife moved from Califor-nia
to Apache Junction
in 1975 to capture the
vibrant Sonoran Desert.
“There’s so much diversity
in the desert — it makes
Arizona a great place for
landscape and nature
photographers like myself,”
McAdam says. On a
recent adventure with
his wife, McAdam photo-graphed
Mountains (see We Found
Gold in the Superstitions, page 30). McAdam’s work has appeared exclusively in Arizona
Highways since he submitted his first photograph in 1981.
As a portrait photographer, David
Zickl tries to capture his subjects in
a way that exposes both who they
are and what they believe. When
he photographed Hualapai Judge
Joseph Flies-Away (see Looking for
Balance, page 46), Zickl portrayed
the judge’s unique approach to law
— what he calls the “Spherituality
of Law.” When Zickl isn’t busy
making photographs, you’ll find him in the kitchen — he’s a graduate of the Arizona Culi-nary
Institute. In addition to Arizona Highways, Zickl’s work has appeared in Time, Forbes,
Business Week and Fortune.
NORA BURBA TRULSSON
Nora Burba Trulsson has been freelancing for 15 years, but
she’s been eating hamburgers since she was a little girl. In the
process, she’s traveled the state extensively, trying as many
mom-and-pop restaurants as she can. Although she praises
Diablo Burger (see page 12) for its one-of-kind flavor, her
favorite place to eat is in her own backyard. “I’m pretty fussy
about burgers,” she says. “I’m the queen of the backyard
grilled burger.” As a travel writer, Trulsson is a crusader for
eating at locally owned-and-operated restaurants because the money stays in the state.
“I love supporting someone’s dreams and passions firsthand,” she says. In addition to
Arizona Highways, Trulsson also writes for Sunset.
to see the difference, all you have to do is flip to page 24. That vista is what
makes autumn in Arizona unlike other places. It’s not better. It’s just differ-ent.
In Minnesota, Michigan and Maine, the trees are usually set against a
backdrop of other trees: maples against cedars, oaks against poplars, birch against
spruce. In Chinle Wash, which is located on the Navajo Nation and is featured on
page 24, the golden cottonwoods are backed up by the majestic red rocks of Canyon
de Chelly. It’s not better than the vistas in New England or the Midwest. It’s just dif-ferent.
It’s also pretty spectacular. The setting and the photo.
Every month when we’re putting together the magazine, I try to pick out a favor-ite
photograph. It isn’t easy — we’re fortunate to have some of the world’s most
talented photographers on our team. Still, there’s usually one image that stands out.
It’s not always the most technical or the most artistic photograph ... it’s usually more
about inspiration. This month it was Chuck Lawsen’s shot on page 24. The first time
I saw it, I thought: I want to be there when October comes around. I want to roll down the win-dows,
smell the fall air and see the cottonwoods.
I was inspired, and at some point this month, I’m going to hit the road. And
maybe you will, too. If so, a good place to start is our cover story — Color by Numbers.
In addition to the scenic route through Chinle Wash, we’ll tell you about fall drives
in the White Mountains, on the Mogollon Rim and through the Tonto National
Forest, as well as a gorgeous drive over the foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains.
There’s a lot of variety, but the common denominator is color. Fall color. It’s a theme
that even carries over to the Superstition Mountains.
As unlikely as it seems, the craggy wilderness east of metropolitan Phoenix —
a place best known for the Lost Dutchman’s gold — is another great place to see
autumn leaves. Cottonwoods, sycamores, willows and ash provide most of the color.
The trees are there year-round, of course, but because the landscape is dominated
by saguaros, ocotillos and other dramatic desert plants, few people think of the
Superstitions as an option for fall leaves. Photographer Lon McAdam is one of the
few. He spends a lot of time out there, and he always takes his camera. In We Found
Gold in the Superstitions, you’ll see what he captured on a recent excursion. As you look
at his photos, and start thinking about a trip of
your own, keep in mind that it’s dangerous in
the Supes. It’s remote, it’s unforgiving and you
should never venture out alone. The same warn-ing
applies to the Vermilion Cliffs. Especially if
you’re inspired to follow in the footsteps of Craig
If you’re a longtime reader of Arizona Highways,
you’re familiar with Craig. If not, there are a cou-ple
of things you need to know: 1) Craig’s writing
is so powerful that you will be inspired to follow
in his footsteps, and 2) he isn’t like everybody
else. He lives off the grid, literally, and when
he’s out in the backcountry, he makes Jeremiah
Johnson look like Jerry Seinfeld. The point is, it’s
just about impossible for anyone to retrace his
steps, so don’t even try. Instead, live vicariously
through his writing. Because of his talent, you’ll
feel as if you’re right there with him anyway.
That’s certainly the case with Hearing Voices, his
excellent essay about the Vermilion Cliffs.
Like the Superstitions, the Cliffs are remote
and rugged, and where most people see and
hear nothing, Craig sees and hears everything,
including “the three-century-groan of a juniper
growing from a crack in the rock” and “the silver
stream of people climbing up and down the cliffs
over the millennia.” Not many writers can make
a place like the Vermilion Cliffs come alive, but
Craig makes it look easy. You’ll see. All you have
to do is flip to page 38, and when you’re done, flip
back to page 24. That setting and that photo are
WE’VE GONE WILD!
After decades of producing landscape calen-dars,
we figured it was time to add something
new to the mix. Thus, our 2011 Wildlife Calen-dar,
which features some incredible photos of
the state’s most interesting birds and mammals
— the best images are in March and August. For
more information about our calendars, call 800-
543-5432 or visit www.arizonahighways.com.
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 0 V O L . 8 6 , N O. 1 0
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published
monthly by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Subscription price: $24 a year in the U.S., $44 outside the
U.S. Single copy: $3.99 U.S. Call 800-543-5432. Subscrip-tion
and change of address information:
Arizona Highways, P.O. Box 433124, Palm Coast, FL 32143-
3124. Periodical postage paid at Phoenix, AZ, and at ad-ditional
mailing office. CANADA POST INTERNATIONAL
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SALES AGREEMENT NO. 41220511. SEND RETURNS
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Send address changes to Arizona
Highways, P.O. Box 433124, Palm Coast, FL 32143-3124.
© 2010 by the Arizona
Department of Transportation.
in whole or in part without
is prohibited. The magazine does not accept and
is not responsible for unsolicited
PRODUCED IN THE USA
BARBARA GLYNN DENNEY
Deputy Art Director
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Letters to the Editor
2039 W. Lewis Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
JANICE K. BREWER
Director, Department of Transportation
JOHN S. HALIKOWSKI
Arizona Transportation Board
ROBERT M. MONTOYA
WILLIAM J. FELDMEIER
FELIPE ANDRES ZUBIA
BARBARA ANN LUNDSTROM
VICTOR M. FLORES
STEPHEN W. CHRISTY
KELLY O. ANDERSON
ROBERT STIEVE, editor
If you like what you see in this
magazine every month, check out
Arizona Highways Television,
an Emmy Award-winning pro-gram
hosted by former news
anchor Robin Sewell. For broad-cast
times, visit our website,
click the Arizona Highways Televi-sion
link on our home page.
ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/azhighways.
4 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 5
letters to the editor
DEREK VON BRIESEN
BRUSH WITH GREATNESS
I was very interested in your article
on the Widforss Trail [Hike of the
Month, July 2010]. As children grow-ing
up at the Grand Canyon, my
sister, our friend and I used to spend
many happy hours up on the rim.
Many times Gunnar Widforss would
be up there with his easel painting
a canvas of the Canyon. He would
let us watch him paint as long as we
were quiet and didn’t disturb him.
At that time, as an artist, he was not
too well known, and in the back seat
of his old sedan were many finished,
but unframed, paintings. In my esti-mation,
his work was some of the
very finest and became priceless after
his death. Having been a subscriber
of Arizona Highways for many years, I
look forward to each new issue and
the many articles it contains.
ETHEL COLE, COTTONWOOD, ARIZONA
I hope photographer Kerrick James
realizes that camping on top of
Humphreys Peak isn’t allowed [Outta
Sight, July 2010], so his “next adven-ture”
would be illegal.
KELLY WRIGHT, PHOENIX
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the note, Kelly. Yes.
Kerrick is well aware of the restrictions. It’s just a
dream of his. Some people dream of retiring on an
island in the South Pacific; Kerrick dreams of camp-ing
on Humphreys Peak.
The beautiful photo of the greater
short horned lizard [The Journal, July
2010], along with the nicely written
article by Kelly Kramer, reaffirms
the “little kid” in me. While driving
up to a restaurant in the Tortolita
Mountains recently, the very same
type of lizard scooted across the
winding road in front of the car. I
stopped to get a better view while
it made its way into the rocks, also
attempting to show it to my exas-perated
wife. Alas, it disappeared.
However, thanks to Arizona Highways,
Pam can see it up close. I have an
appreciation for all of Arizona’s
unique wildlife, especially the reptile
critters. Please continue the nature
highlights — they’re a terrific educa-tional
ERNEST PAZMANY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA
SUNS GREAT PLAYING POLITICS
I know that Arizona Highways stays out
of politics, but concerning the Q&A
[The Journal, July 2010], I thought you
should know that Kevin Johnson,
mayor of Sacramento, and the City
Council recently voted to boycott
Arizona over the new immigration
law. As a visitor and researcher in
Arizona over the last 50 years, I was
deeply disappointed in their action.
Arizona is a magnificent state. I look
forward to many more visits. Keep
your wonderful publication going
RICK POLLACK, LOOMIS, CALIFORNIA
The photo of the Rainbow Bridge on
page 5 of the May 2010 issue is, all by
itself, worth every penny of the cost
of the subscription. My compliments
to Gary Ladd, the photographer.
BARBARA YOUNG, GREEN VALLEY, ARIZONA
THE PLACES I’VE BEEN
I’ve never lived in Arizona, but in
1970 it was part of my territory.
Over the past 40 years, I’ve traveled
the state extensively, including the
last 10 years with my brother on our
Harleys. I’ve been a subscriber to
your magazine for most of those 10
years, and a reader for most of the
rest of that period. I sat down with
the magazine today, read it cover to
cover, and was astonished by how
many of the places I’ve been to. It
really brings back pleasant memories.
I enjoy the photography, especially
the shot on pages 34 and 35 [July
2010]. Bruce Taubert was somehow
able to “stop” that hummingbird. I’m
FRED FINKE, CANYONVILLE, OREGON
A REAL IMPRESSION
Nick Berezenko’s photo on page 25 of
your July 2010 issue is so beautiful —
it reminds me of a Monet painting —
that I’d love to have a blown-up copy
of it hanging in my house. All your
photography is of museum quality,
which is why we subscribe.
MARGARET CURTIS, ATLANTA
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
Along with Halloween costumes and
Charlie Brown cartoons, visiting a pumpkin
patch is an October tradition. There are
several options in Arizona, including this
field, which is located between Willcox
and Bonita. For more information on pump-kin
patches and fall festivals around the
state, visit www.arizonahighways.com.
people > lodging > photography > history > dining > nature > things to do > > > > THE JOURNAL 10.10
6 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 7
THE JOURNAL > people THE JOURNAL > people
— Dave Pratt is the author of
Behind the Mic: 30 Years in Radio
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
Y A R N E L L
ANITA KRISTENSEN’S HOUSE IS crawling
with bugs — about 50,000 spiders, scor-pions
and centipedes fill every nook and
cranny. Most people would move. Anita
feeds them. Seven days a
week. It’s just part of the daily
grind at Spider Pharm Inc.
(fine arachnologicals and more) in Yarnell,
recognized as one of the wackiest home-based
businesses in the country.
How did she get involved in this work?
“I met my husband,” Anita deadpans. That
was more than 20 years ago.
Chuck Kristensen originally studied
zoology. He was interested in animal
behavior, but quit school when he dis-covered
there were few jobs in his area
of interest. Later, Chuck got a degree in
chemistry and went on to graduate school,
where he discovered the nascent research
on spider venom. Little had been done at
the time, mainly because there was no one
dedicated to supplying the venom. Chuck
had been fascinated by spiders, mostly
from a behavioral standpoint, but consid-ered
it a hobby. Now he saw an opportu-nity
to profit from his passion and quit
grad school to pursue it.
An industrial chemist by day, Chuck
labored at night in his garage on Spider
Pharm. Part of the problem with getting
venom for research was that it involved
killing the hosts. Chuck thought he could
develop a method to milk the venom from
live spiders. He eventually did, but it took
more than 2 years to work out the bugs. In
1983, he quit his day job to operate Spider
Pharm full time.
The company has since been a boon to
researchers who have discovered a wealth
of therapeutic compounds in venoms,
including treatments for pain, cardiac
arrhythmias and stroke. Researcher Rob
in research that
earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize for
chemistry in 2003.
The work is not glamorous — Chuck
and Anita were recently featured on a
segment of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty
Jobs — but it has brought a measure of
recognition, and a gig as consultants on
the movie Arachnophobia. Less welcome was
the attention brought by a Time magazine
article that got them evicted because home
businesses were unwelcome.
Nor is it particularly lucrative. Chuck
once calculated that it takes about a ton of
dog food (which is used to raise the mag-gots
that feed the spiders) to produce a
tenth of a gram of venom. And he describes
the business model as “suicidal.” Once an
effective compound is identified, it is syn-thesized
So, these days, the Kristensens are
working on educational products. Spiders
and other insects are often children’s first
contact with nature, Chuck says. The ulti-mate
goal is to get kids to notice what’s
in their homes. Though — one hopes — in
Chuck and Anita Kristensen’s home crawls with spiders
(and centipedes and scorpions). It might sound like the set of
Arachnophobia, but it’s not. It’s all in a day’s work at Spider
Pharm in Yarnell.
By KATHY MONTGOMERY
The Weather Channel
What was the biggest storm you ever reported
on in Arizona?
I remember the torrential rains in the winter of
1993. Days of flooding on the Salt River piled
debris on the new Mill Avenue bridge that was
being constructed in Tempe. I was in the studio
as that bridge creaked and groaned and then
collapsed into the water right before our eyes!
Also, it’s not a storm, but I’ll never forget doing
live shots on June 26, 1990, when we hit 122
degrees. It was so hot they had to shut down Sky
Harbor International Airport.
Talk about the summer monsoons.
I saw the most strikes at about 4 a.m. on my way
to work. The lightning displays in the mornings
became my wake-up call. Some mornings I’d
literally witness hundreds of strikes.
If you were trying to convince Jim Cantore that
Arizona is one of the most beautiful places in the
U.S., where would you take him?
Sedona, hands down. Is there any natural won-der
that’s more gorgeous? And when monsoon
storms fire up above those red rocks … the
combination is breathtaking! Jim would agree,
Your career really took off at Channel 3 in Phoe-nix.
What do you miss most about the station?
The people and the camaraderie. At one time,
we really were Arizona’s Family ... sometimes
dysfunctional, but always there for each other.
What’s your favorite road trip in Arizona?
Driving through Show Low and Pinetop to ski at
Sunrise Resort. We’d always stop for doughnuts
in Pinetop. Oh, they were the best. And the ski-ing
at Sunrise is surprisingly good.
Five words to describe an Arizona sunset.
Kaleidoscope of color and clouds.
Spider Pharm is located in
Yarnell. For more information,
call 928-427-6589 or visit
M A Y E R
BRUCE MCDONALD IS A troublemaker.
And he has been for 85 years. Growing up
in Mayer, Arizona, he had a reputation as
a hooligan and, apparently,
his five siblings shared the
“People would say, ‘Don’t let your kids
play with those McDonald kids if you
want them to live,’ ” McDonald says. “But
as young kids, we had the best life you
could have. We rode burros and cattle
when nobody was looking. It was fun.
People were different than [they are] today.
I started milking cows when I was 7 years
old. Today, kids that age can barely blow
their own noses.”
The adventurous, rough-and-tumble
upbringing came at a price. When he was
2, McDonald and his 3-year-old neighbor
were playing with the ornamental brown
glass beer bottles that lined
the path to the neighbor
girl’s home. One of the
bottles shattered, sending
glass flying through the air
and injuring McDonald’s
right eye — ultimately, he
lost his sight in that eye.
“I boxed, played fast-pitch
softball and went off
to the service,” he says. “I
only had one eye, but I had
two arms. Nobody picked
During the summer of
1940, McDonald began
working at a place he’d call
home, off and on, for the
next 4 decades: the Orme
Ranch Camp, a 26,000-
acre working ranch that’s
regarded as the West’s
leading independent col-lege
“Back in the early days,
I made $5 or $7 a day butchering chickens
and turkeys that we sold to the Biltmore
Hotel,” McDonald says. But his responsi-bilities
went beyond those of pure physical
labor — he took on the role of teacher, men-tor
and even hero to many of the students
and campers who attended the school. “I
only ever had a problem with one boy,” he
remembers. “But he came back 30 years later
to thank me for what I had taught him.”
McDonald’s theory about the “things in
life” — the things in life that you can’t take
with you when you’re dead — is just as
simple as his lifestyle. “Being happy is bet-ter
than being rich,” he says.
With two marriages under his belt, it’s
safe to say that McDonald’s theories on love
aren’t as cut and dry. “There’s nothing like
a good marriage … and nothing worse than
a bad one,” he warns.
Today, McDonald lives alone. He cuts
his own wood for his wood-burning stove.
He walks a mile a day, cooks his own meals
and hand-washes his clothes. And, as far as
he’s concerned, he’ll keep up that routine
for as long as he can.
“My mother lived to 99,” he says. “She just
died 2 years ago. My heart doctor recently
told me, ‘You know, you won’t live forever.’
And I said, ‘Well, that remains to be seen.’ ”
Growing up in Mayer, Bruce
McDonald was a little hellion,
but he eventually grew up,
settled down and became a
mentor to kids at the Orme
By JILL SCHILDHOUSE
8 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
It’s always good to have a plan when you’re out on a
photo shoot, but sometimes the best shots are where
you least expect them. Like right in front of you.
By JEFF KIDA, photo editor
THE MOST FAMOUS GHOST CITY in Arizona clings to a crumbling shoulder of Cleopa-tra
Hill, a mile in the air. Jerome is a former mining town that nearly went belly up, then
revived, mid-swoon. It’s picturesque during the day, but the old dame really
dazzles at twilight. The azure afternoon sky deepens and darkens, shadows
stretch across the valley floor and the whole town glimmers under shy stars
and soft streetlamps.
As day-trippers stream down the mountain, the wonder and mystery of Jerome are revealed.
It’s not the most famous “mile-high city” in the country, but in Arizona,
Jerome is the best-known place for seeing ghosts, including the apparition
of a dog at the Connor Hotel, which ranks as one of the best hotels in town.
By ROGER NAYLOR
After all, a ghost town isn’t ghostly at noon.
You’ll have to spend a night at the Connor
Hotel to experience the character-rich, his-toric
heart of Jerome.
Built in 1898, with 20 rooms and a bar
upstairs, and billiard tables and card rooms
on the ground floor, the Connor Hotel pro-vided
luxury lodging and entertainment for
the booming burg. When the mines faltered,
so did the Connor.
With the flowering counterculture of the
1960s, the town slowly stirred to life and wel-comed
a trickle of tourists. The bar inside the
Connor was christened the Spirit Room in
’61 and would evolve into a legendary saloon.
A few years later, the hotel reopened as an
unabashed flophouse. Hardcore partiers
could enjoy a night of freewheeling indul-gence
without facing a twisting mountain
As Jerome reinvented itself as an artist
haven, the Connor Hotel did the same. Today,
luxury is back. The Connor offers a dozen
splendidly restored rooms with large win-dows,
high ceilings and tiled bathrooms. The
décor combines comfortable Victorian style
with modern amenities and plenty of artistic
flourishes. The town teems with things to
see and do, but it requires tremendous self-discipline
to ever leave the hotel. Plop into
an overstuffed chair, throw open the sash
windows and let high-country breezes wash
over you. Conveniences include flat-screen
televisions, microwaves, minifridges and free
Wi-Fi. And who needs a wallet-gouging mini-bar
when you’ve got a rollicking waterhole
waiting at the bottom of the stairs?
Like all respectable lodging facilities in
Jerome, the Connor has a few ghosts moan-ing
about the premises, including a mysteri-ous
ghost dog. But once you crawl into the
luxurious beds, once you’re being caressed
by high-thread-count sheets as you fluff up a
cocoon of down comforters, even Fido from
beyond the grave won’t be able to rouse you.
Let the friendly staff know what kind of get-away
you want and they can steer you toward
or away from rooms favored by restless spirits
and their pooches. A couple of rooms perch
above the bar, so rockers can saw logs in time
with wailing guitars. Guests who don’t want
a rhythm section with their repose can snag
the other end of
Connor Hotel is located at 164
Main Street in Jerome. For more
information, call 800-523-3554
or visit www.connorhotel.com.
One of the most
effective ways to
draw attention to a
photograph is through
the use of contrast.
There are two types:
tonal and color. Tonal
contrast is defined as
shades in a
photo, while color con-trast
is the dynamic
between similar or
opposite colors as
they appear on a color
contrast allows you to
orchestrate the types
of photos you want to
make in any lighting
situation. If you’re
shooting for a serene
look, compose your
image using similar
colors, like blues and
violets. For an atten-tion
grabber, use op-posite
colors like red
and green. This will
create instant interest
under the gloomiest
Look for our book, Arizona
Guide, available at book-stores
THEJOURNAL > photography
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips and other informa-tion,
highways.com and click
THE JOURNAL > lodging
O N L I N E For more lodging in Arizona, visit our “Lodging Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
ONE DAY WHILE SHOOTING at Christopher Creek, photographer Claire Curran got frus-trated.
“I was walking all around and couldn’t find a way back to this spot that I wanted
to shoot,” she says. That’s when she noticed the odd color of the rocks around her. “There
were all these interesting purple rocks that had lichen growing on them,” she says. Daylight
was running out, so she decided it was a good time to use the subjects around her instead of
looking for the other spot. “I love shooting color, and especially anything that has contrast-ing
colors,” she says. Focusing on a large purple rock to anchor the image, she set up the shot
to include the smaller rocks, as well as some cactuses. “I like close-up subjects, and texture
is important. It really brings your eye into the photo.” Although she made this image with
a 4x5 camera, Curran notes, “You can also capture texture in a subject when you’re using
DSLR, but it’s important to use a macro lens.”
Rocks with lichen at Christopher Creek
PHOTOGRAPH BY CLAIRE CURRAN
J E R O M E
10 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0
AL CAPONE AND BUGS MORAN weren’t the only ones who profited
from bootlegging in the days of Prohibition. Arizona ranchers and
farmers got into the game as well. In fact, in the early 20th century,
making moonshine was pretty common in hard-scrabble
places like Payson, Winslow and Flagstaff.
Nevertheless, when Prohibition outlawed liquor, even
more stills — hundreds of them — started popping up in the heav-ily
wooded canyons of Northern Arizona and the Mogollon Rim.
Even before Prohibition, making moonshine
had been fairly common in rural Arizona.
However, after the law went into effect in 1920,
illegal stills started springing up everywhere,
especially in the rugged canyons near Payson,
Winslow and Flagstaff.
By SALLY BENFORD
■ Union Station in
on October 1, 1923,
and served both the
and Santa Fe rail-roads.
30,000 people at-tended
■ On October 12,
1872, General O.O.
Howard finalized a
peace treaty with
Cochise, chief of the
ending years of
war between the
and white settlers
Arizona. The treaty
was short-lived, and
Wars lasted another
14 years, until
■ Amid controversy
over damming the
at Glen Canyon
Dam on October
15, 1956. The dam
created Lake Powell,
a popular Arizona
The October 1960 issue of Arizona Highways
celebrated 75 years of higher education in
Arizona, with a focus on the accomplish-ments
of Arizona State University and the
University of Arizona. In addition, Willis
Peterson explored the protein-packed
fungi sprouting in Arizona’s high-country
50 years ago
I N A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S
THEJOURNAL > history THEJOURNAL > history
According to an August 2009 story by
Stan Brown in the Payson Roundup, when
Prohibition went into effect on January
17, 1920, the Payson area was poised to
experience an “economic boon.” Payson
was known for the quality of its forbid-den
brew, which was called “Payson Dew.”
Brown reports that at a time when cash
was scarce, bootlegging increased the
personal income of many Mogollon Rim
residents. Prices of moonshine shot up
from $5 a gallon to as much as $30. One
local hangout was a speak-easy called The
Dive, where the owner sold candy in the
front and illegal liquor in the back.
Payson wasn’t the only town where
banned booze had an impact. Flagstaff, Prescott and Winslow
were also bootlegging hotspots. Prescott, which had become
famous for its saloon-crowded street known as Whiskey Row, was
especially affected. There, everything was moved below ground —
literally — to basements in the downtown area. The Gold Mine
was one of many underground establishments.
Although Prohibition was repealed in 1933, for many years
afterward, remnants of secret stills could be found scattered
throughout the state’s rocky ravines. To
learn more about Arizona’s bootlegging
past, visit the exhibits at the Rim Coun-try
Museum in Payson and the Old Trails
Museum in Winslow.
Information: Rim Country
Museum, 928-474-3483 or
com; Old Trails Museum,
928-289-5861 or www.
oldtrailsmuseum.org. NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY CLINE LIBRARY
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
Frank Luke Jr., who was born in Phoenix in 1897, was a World War I flying
ace — he ranked second only to Eddie Rickenbacker in terms of aerial victo-ries
against the Germans. In all, he shot down 18 enemy aircraft, including
14 observation balloons and four airplanes. In the short time he flew mis-sions
— just 17 days, from September 12-29, 1918 — he became known as
the “Arizona Balloon Buster.” He was killed in action on his last flight, when
he was shot down near Murvaux, France. Shortly before he left for the war,
Luke posed in Phoenix for this eerie double-exposed photograph. He was
posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, and Luke Air Force Base in
Phoenix was named in his honor.
Federal officials confiscate a still near Flagstaff.
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES
12 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 13
Had you been living in Europe at the start
of the 20th century, you might have
encountered ladies of leisure gallivant-ing
around with ducks on their heads. It wasn’t so
much a case of it raining cats, dogs and ducks, but
rather a peculiar case of fashion à la mode.
Ducks, you see — and wood ducks in particu-lar
— were a favorite among hat makers across the
continent for their festive iridescent plumage. In
particular, the males were favored for their vibrant
purple and green around-the-eye feathers, as well
as the multicolored plumes that adorn their wings.
The feather market, along with a loss of habitat and
an increase in hunting, eventually led to a decline
of the wood duck population across Europe.
A century later, on this side of the pond, wood
ducks are doing fairly well, especially in Arizona,
where they enjoy the temperate winter weather,
and the wooded and watery areas in the eastern
half of the state.
Because natural nesting areas for wood ducks
are scarce, the fowl rely on nesting boxes provided
by friendly naturalists. In them, females lay their
eggs, but if the boxes are too close together, anx-ious
mamas will “dump” their eggs into the nests
of neighbors, sometimes resulting in up to 40 eggs
Once the fuzzy little ducklings hatch, they’re
on their own, leaping from the nesting boxes and
making their way toward water. In some docu-mented
cases, wood ducklings have jumped from
heights of nearly 300 feet. Although mothers will
call their children back to them, they won’t help
them survive in any way.
Eventually — through a diet of seeds, fruit and
aquatic invertebrates — the ducks will grow to
between 19 and 21 inches in length with a maxi-mum
weight of approximately 30 ounces. To spot
a male, look for a long, green and purple crest with
a thin white line extending from the bill over the
eye and to the back of the crest. Females are more
neutral, with gray and bronze heads and cheeks,
and olive gray underparts.
Once the weather warms, the ducks will com-monly
flock back to their summer range, which
runs from southern Canada to Cuba.
In Full Plume Peacocks and parrots are colorful, but you’re not likely to see any of those in
the Arizona wilderness. If you look in the right place, however, you will see wood ducks, and they’re
pretty dazzling in their own right. By KELLY KRAMER
THEJOURNAL > nature
FIVE YEARS AGO, DERRICK Widmark was a writer and a commercial filmmaker, living
a comfortable urban life in Manhattan. Today, he’s running a burger joint in downtown
Flagstaff. Yes, this is a success story, both for Widmark and his hungry patrons.
Widmark opened Diablo Burger last year, and, almost instantly, foodies began lining
up for his gourmet twists on an American classic, ordering the Vitamin B, a burger topped
with bacon, beets and blue cheese, or a DB House, which comes layered
with homemade pesto and an egg over-easy. All of the burgers are served on
English muffins branded with the Diablo Burger logo and a side of Belgian-style
frites. What burger eaters might appreciate most about the restaurant, however, is
that everything is served on a bed of sustainability. Widmark’s vision is to make Diablo
Burger one of the greenest restaurants in Arizona.
The road to sustainable gourmet burgers began in 1993, when Widmark traveled to Ari-zona.
“I came through Flagstaff and remarked that I could see myself living here someday,”
he recalls, “words I never uttered anywhere else.” By 2006, he was looking for a greener
More Than Meats the Eye
Flagstaff has always been a meat-and-potatoes town, so the
arrival of Diablo Burger was no surprise. It’s the restaurant’s
way of doing business that’ll turn your head.
By NORA BURBA TRULSSON
lifestyle and began searching for jobs in the
Southwest. He landed a position as com-munications
director for Flagstaff’s Diablo
Trust, a collaborative land management
group spearheaded by two historic North-ern
Arizona ranches, the Flying M and the
Bar T Bar.
Not long into his new job, it occurred to
him that the open-range, antibiotic- and
hormone-free beef raised on those ranches
wasn’t being served locally. A light bulb
went off, and Diablo Burger was born.
Armed with the motto, “All About
Local,” and a desire to consider eco-friendliness
in all decisions, Widmark
found a pocket-sized space in downtown’s
Heritage Square and set about refurbishing
it. The 30-foot diameter, cylindrical space
once supported the old J.C. Penney’s park-ing
garage. “Our walls are made of 16-inch,
rebar-enforced concrete,” Widmark says.
“More than a few of our customers have
joked that should we ever get bombed,
they’d like to reserve a seat in our restau-rant.”
With copper-topped tables, a cozy,
curving bar and walls decorated with
vintage concert posters, the small space
encourages conversations between groups
With Diablo Trust beef as the center-piece
of the eight-burger menu, green also
colors just about everything else at the
restaurant. Lettuce and vegetables for the
house salad come from local farms, as does
the bacon for burger toppings. Wine comes
from Verde Valley wineries. Used french-fry
oil gets recycled as biodiesel fuel. And,
keeping an eye on the West’s most precious
resource, water, Widmark skipped the
dishwasher and instead uses recyclable/
compostable cutlery, cups and paper goods.
Even the payment method is green — cash
only, which Widmark notes keeps costs
down and money in the community.
Eco-friendliness aside, it’s the burgers —
like The Blake, topped with Hatch chile
mayo, more green chiles and cheddar cheese
— that keep ’em coming back for more,
especially on weekend nights. “Come early or
come late on those nights to get a seat inside,”
Widmark recommends. Or, try the green-est
way to enjoy a
Diablo Burger: Get
it to go and enjoy
it in Flagstaff’s
Diablo Burger is located at
120 N. Leroux Street in Flag-staff.
For more information,
call 928-774-3274 or visit
THEJOURNAL > dining
O N L I N E For more dining in Arizona, visit our “Dining Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
F L A G S T A F F
Black widow spiders are com-mon
in Arizona — they love the
bone-dry heat of the desert.
Equivalent in size to a large
paperclip, black widows pack
a poisonous punch. In fact,
their venom is believed to be
15 times more toxic than that
of a rattlesnake, making black
widows the most venomous
arachnids in North America.
14 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0
OC TOB ER 1 5 - 1 7 T OMB S TONE
This festival features the most authentic Old West re-enactments
of 1880s Tombstone. Celebrate the infamous days of the Wild West
with gunfight performances, street shows, a parade, a carnival, live
music and food. Information: www.helldoradodays.com.
OC TOB E R 2 2-2 5 S EDONA
Make plans to attend this 3-day workshop, which offers the best of both worlds: the beauty
of fall color in Sedona and instruction on how to maximize the impact of your photographs.
Taught by professional photographer Colleen Miniuk-Sperry and Photoshop expert Steve
Burger, you’ll make images of some of Sedona’s most scenic vistas during the height of fall
color, and then learn how to improve those images during lab time in a casual classroom set-ting.
Information: 888-790-7042 or www.friendsofazhighways.com.
THEJOURNAL > things to do
Round up the troops and head to this historic
state park in Camp Verde for the annual Fort
Verde Days celebration. Travel back in time
as you learn about military life in 19th century
Arizona. The event includes living-history
presentations, cavalry drills, re-enactments
with the famous Buffalo Soldiers, a vintage
baseball game, a fashion show and more.
Information: 928-567-3275 or www.azstate
OC TOB ER 3 1 G LOB E
Celebrate Halloween with this spine-tingling
walking tour of 12 haunted buildings in
Globe, one of Arizona’s most historic mining
towns. Planned with adults and teens in
mind, this tour begins at the old Gila County
Jail and continues along Broad Street. You’ll
hear ghost stories, folklore and interesting
tales about Globe’s fascinating past. Infor-mation:
928-425-9340 or www.globemiami
OC TOB ER 8 - 1 0 P HOENI X
Opa! Holy Trinity Greek
Orthodox Cathedral hosts this
popular annual event that cel-ebrates
all things Greek. Enjoy
live music, Greek dances, arts-and-crafts, cathedral tours, beer, wine
and authentic Greek food, including spanakopita, dolmades, gyros,
baklava and more. Information: 602-264-2791 or www.holytrinityphx.org.
Gem & Mineral Show
OC TOB E R 9 - 1 0 PAYSON
Head to Rim Country for this annual show, which features Arizona
gems, minerals and fossils. You’ll find both raw and polished stones,
cut gems, fluorescents, jewelry, books, displays, lapidary equipment,
a spinning wheel, and a kids’ corner with free pocket rocks. Informa-tion:
928-476-3513 or www.rimcountrychamber.com.
Read Arizona Highways anywhere,
anytime, on your iPad, Mac and PC.
our world in pixels.
O C T O B E R 8 - 1 0
CAMP V ER DE
16 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0
State routes 188, 288 and 260, U.S. routes 180 and 191, Forest roads 56, 70 and 300,
Navajo routes 12, 33 and 64 ... there are any number of numbered roads that’ll take
you out of the city and into autumn. Take your pick and take your camera. Arizona
is bursting with color. It looks great on paper — check out the next 16 pages — but
to get a splash of the real thing, you’ll want to hop in the car and hit the road.
Color b y Numbers edited by k elly kr amer
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 17
18 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19
Terry Flat Loop
Scenic back roads are just a turn signal away in the
White Mountains, and the farther east you drive, the
more likely you are to have the back road all to yourself.
This trip goes to Terry Flat Loop and the Escudilla Wil-derness
from the mountain village of Alpine.
Situated at an altitude of 8,050 feet,
Alpine is surrounded by a forest of
ponderosa pines, spruce, fir and aspens.
It’s a hub of outdoor recreation, includ-
ing hiking, mountain-biking, horse-back-
riding, camping, fishing, hunt-ing,
birding, wildlife photography and
just plain looking.
Begin at the Alpine Ranger Station on the west side
of town. From there, travel north on U.S. Route 180/191
for 5.5 miles to its intersection with Forest Road 56 and
head eastward. From Hulsey Lake, 2 miles up the road,
you’ll drive through a dry, overgrown forest of Engel-mann
spruce, Douglas fir and golden aspens. On the
south side of the road, loose talus slopes drop steeply to
a narrow draw far below.
From Hulsey’s 8,600-foot elevation, you’ll gain nearly
1,000 feet in the 2.5 miles to the Escudilla Trailhead.
From there, you can take a 6-mile narrow dirt road that
loops around Terry Flat clockwise or counterclockwise.
Ringed by forest, the rolling meadow holds little islands
of bent trees that huddle together against the wind. This
time of year, when the aspens are in full color, Escudilla
is crowned with gold.
GETTING THERE: From the Alpine Ranger Station, go north
on U.S. Route 180/191 for approximately 5.5 miles to
Forest Road 56 and turn right. Drive 2 miles on FR 56 to
Hulsey Lake, and then continue for another 2.5 miles to a
fork. Go left at the fork and drive 0.5 miles to the Escudilla
Trailhead. You can continue on Terry Flat Loop clockwise
around the meadow, or go back to the fork and take the road
counterclockwise. It’s a 6-mile loop either way.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible to all vehicles, but a high-clearance
vehicle is always recommended on back roads.
INFORMATION: 928-339-5000 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/
PRECEDING PANEL: Eastern Arizona
offers plenty of fall color, espe-cially
along Terry Flat Loop,
where there’s also a good chance
of seeing elk.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MOREY MILBRADT
LEFT: The Escudilla Wilderness
offers opportunities for hiking,
biking and horseback-riding in
the White Mountains.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT MCDONALD
RIGHT: In early October, golden
aspen trees cling to the sheer
cliffsides of Escudilla Mountain.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK BEREZENKO
20 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
The Road to Young
Today, Pleasant Valley is aptly named. More than 100 years
ago, however, it was a different story. Then, it was the hotbed
of the Pleasant Valley War, starring the Grahams, the Tewks-burys
and a lot of stolen cattle. Luckily,
there’s no feuding in the area these days.
In fact, the journey from the Globe-Miami
area to Pleasant Valley and Young is now
one of the state’s most enjoyable excursions.
It meanders through a natural paradise of
sparkling desert and towering cliffs, and
offers some good options for hiking, camping, bird-watching
or loafing around. Most of the route is in the Tonto National
Begin this trip by heading east from the Central Arizona
copper-mining town of Miami, and then head north on State
Route 188 toward Roosevelt Lake. You’ll get your first view
of the huge lake as you come over a hill 12 miles north of
the junction of U.S. Route 60 and SR 188. At the junction of
State Route 288, turn right. The road to Young, as it’s known,
begins as a paved highway and crosses the Salt River near
Klondike Butte. From there, it winds northward until the
pavement ends near Willow Springs.
At Parker Creek, the vegetation changes abruptly from
desert scrub to a thick forest. This is where you’ll find the
fall color, thanks to the gray-flecked sycamore trees and huge
oaks that rise from a carpet of graceful ferns. Just beyond
Parker Creek, it’s possible to set up camp or have a picnic,
although you’ll do so in the pines at an elevation of 5,400
feet. The other option is to continue to Young. The road is
paved for 7 miles through the town. If you continue north for
another 23 miles (once again on dirt), you’ll reach State Route
260 on the Mogollon Rim, where more fall color abounds.
GETTING THERE: From Miami, travel east on U.S. Route 60 for
approximately 2.5 miles to State Route 188 and turn left. Follow
SR 188 for approximately 15 miles to its junction with State Route
288 (the Globe-Young Highway) and turn right. Continue for
approximately 23 miles to Young.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible to all vehicles, but a high-clearance
vehicle is always recommended on back roads.
INFORMATION: 602-225-5200 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/
LEFT: Autumn leaves pep-per
Workman Creek in the
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL GILL
RIGHT: Fall color surrounds
water cascading from
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL GILL
22 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
LEFT: Fremont cotton-wood
trees line the
floor of Canyon de
Chelly, while White
House Ruin occupies
an alcove in the tower-ing
RIGHT: Colorful cotton-woods
The Window at
Canyon de Chelly.
Chinle to Cove
If you look at an old map of the Navajo Nation, the
prospects of getting from Chinle to Cove don’t look good.
Until 1999, there was no convenient way to get through the
Lukachukai Mountains. The dirt road that went through
the community of Lukachukai northward over the moun-tains
was unpredictable. Then, the Navajos paved the road,
and now you can drive it in a car with just a little bit of
From the Canyon de Chelly National
Monument visitors center, head north-east
on Navajo Route 64, which skirts the
north rim of the canyon. “Rim” is just the
right word for this strip of land. Visitors
can drive to various pullouts that appear
perched on the edge of an enormous oblong-shaped bowl.
At the bottom of the bowl, the Rio de Chelly, also known
as Chinle Wash, has carved a route through massive terracotta
walls that were occupied by Ancestral Puebloans for
roughly 1,000 years.
A little more than 25 miles from the visitors center,
you’ll see the orange-and-gold aspen-lined cliffs of the
Lukachukai or Chuska Mountains (they blend together
in this area) on your right. As you pass through the com-munity
of Lukachukai and wind over Buffalo Pass, you
enter the heart of Navajo red-rock country, an extraordi-narily
scenic area dominated by formations of Wingate
sandstone that stretches from Rock Point southeast to the
vicinity of Cove, which is where you’ll be headed once you
drive over the pass from Lukachukai. You’ll also be treated
to stellar views of Shiprock in New Mexico.
GETTING THERE: From the Canyon de Chelly National
Monument visitors center in Chinle, travel northeast on Navajo
Route 64 for 23 miles to its junction with Navajo Route 12. Turn
left onto NR 12 and drive for 7 miles to Navajo Route 13. Turn
right onto NR 13 and continue through Lukachukai to Red Rock.
From the Red Rock Trading Post, continue north on NR 13 to
Navajo Route 33 and turn left. Continue on NR 33 for 10 miles
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible to all vehicles, but a high-clearance
vehicle is always recommended on back roads.
INFORMATION: 928-674-5500 or www.nps.gov/cach
24 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
26 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
PRECEDING PANEL: Arrayed in
various degrees of fall color,
cottonwood trees wind
through Canyon de Chelly
along Chinle Wash.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHUCK LAWSEN
LEFT: On the Mogollon Rim, a
scarlet maple leaf stands out
against its moss-covered
PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK BEREZENKO
RIGHT: Crimson and gold maple
trees surround a lone Douglas
fir near East Miller Canyon
along Forest Road 300.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL GILL
Forest Road 300
After the Grand Canyon, the Mogollon Rim is the most strik-ing
geological feature in Arizona. Measured in thousands of feet
and hundreds of miles, it begins near the New Mexico border
and stretches diagonally across the eastern
half of the state. Through the lens of a camera,
binoculars or your own baby blues, the views
from the Rim are unbelievable, uninterrupted
Going from east to west, Forest Road 300,
which is a well-graded gravel road, is suitable
for everything from a Prius to a conversion van. It kicks off near
Woods Canyon Lake and winds along the Rim past the turn-offs
to Bear Canyon Lake, Knoll Lake and several other small
lakes, before striking pavement at State Route 87, just north of
Sometimes referred to as the General Crook Trail, the road
was a tactical military supply route surveyed by the famed com-mander
in 1871 during his campaign against the Apaches. Along
the way, you’ll encounter Gentry Lookout, a Forest Service fire
tower. If it’s open, you might be able to climb to the stoop for
some stunning views. To the north is the sinuous green body of
Black Canyon Lake; west is Baker Butte, the highest point on
the Rim; southwest you can see Four Peaks, a guardian of met-ropolitan
Phoenix; south lies the vast Fort Apache Reservation;
and beyond it is the summit spire of Mount Turnbull on the San
Carlos Apache Nation.
GETTING THERE: From Payson, drive east on State Route 260 past
Kohl’s Ranch to where the road tops out on the Mogollon Rim. Turn
left toward Woods Canyon Lake and continue for about a mile to
Forest Road 300.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible to all vehicles, but a high-clearance vehicle
is always recommended on back roads.
INFORMATION: 928-477-2255 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino; 928-
333-4301 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf
28 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
Box Canyon Road
The Santa Rita Mountains are a birder’s paradise, thanks
to Madera Canyon, a major attraction for migrating species.
Although Madera gets most of the attention
in the region, its little brother, Box Canyon, is
worthy of a little love as well.
You’ll get there via Box Canyon Road, a
graveled route that heads east off the road
to Madera Canyon. It meanders through the
grassy Santa Rita Experimental Range to the
Coronado National Forest boundary, where it crosses Little
Box Canyon Creek and begins climbing into the Santa Ritas.
Although the forest there isn’t dense — because the mountains
are low, they’re covered with expanses of grass instead — you
will get glimpses into Box Canyon on your left. The gorge is
loaded with cottonwoods and sycamores, which make for a
color explosion come autumn.
The narrow, winding road climaxes in an area of broad pas-tures,
where views of the Mustang, Whetstone and Huachuca
mountains abound. From there, it’s possible to wind to the
road’s junction with State Route 83, just north of Sonoita, or
turn south to visit what’s left of Kentucky Camp, an early 20th
century gold-mining hub.
GETTING THERE: From Tucson, travel south on Interstate 19 to the
Continental Road Exit (63) at Green Valley. Leave the interstate and
travel 1 mile east to Whitehouse Canyon Road (Forest Road 62),
where signs point to Madera Canyon. Follow FR 62 to the Madera
Canyon/Forest Road 70 turnoff. Turn east onto the dirt portion of
FR 62 and travel east through Box Canyon to State Route 83, a few
miles north of Sonoita.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible to all vehicles, but a high-clearance
vehicle is always recommended on back roads.
INFORMATION: 520-281-2296 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado/
OPPOSITE PAGE AND LEFT:
In autumn, sycamore
leaves dominate the
ground cover near Box
Canyon Road in
30 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
For generations, treasure hunters have been scouring the Superstition
Mountains for some trace of the Lost Dutchman’s gold. As legend
would have it, there’s a mother lode out there just waiting to be dis-covered.
That’s why prospectors from around the world have used
everything from shovels and shamans to sound waves and satellites
to find the fortune. Turns out, all anybody really needed was a good
camera, water and a pair of hiking boots.
W e Found Gold in theSuperstitions
A Portfolio by Lon McAdam
32 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
Within Fish Creek Canyon in the Su-perstition
Mountains, a cluster of sunlit
saguaros stand out against blazing
orange and gold sycamore trees.
Fall leaves float on a serene boulder-strewn
pool in Fish Creek.
Near the Apache Trail, craggy canyons
fill with the colors of autumn as syca-more
and ash trees dot the hillsides.
A Portfolio by Lon McAdam
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Willow and ash trees offer vivid fall
color against a brilliant blue sky.
Granite boulders line the streambeds
of the Superstition Mountains.
A Portfolio by Lon McAdam
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After a recent rain, ribbons of water
flow down the cliffs of Fish Creek
Canyon, which is decorated with cot-tonwood
trees and catclaw acacia.
Proof of a steady water supply, bands
of ash and cottonwood trees line the
banks of creeks that flow along the can-yon
floors within the Superstitions.
A Portfolio by Lon McAdam
38 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0
H E A R I N G V O I C E S
Imagine a place where it’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Now imagine a place that’s even quieter than
that. A place like the Vermilion Cliffs, where there’s a stillness that allows enlightened visitors an
opportunity to hear the three-century-groan of a juniper growing from a crack in the rock, the silver
stream of people climbing up and down the cliffs over the millennia ... the voices of the past.
By Craig Childs
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
40 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
I stand and brush an ant off my ear.
A warm wind is blowing up the cliffs, pushing into the encircling shade
of my hat brim. My view is straight down, red sheen of the Vermilion
Cliffs bright in the sun. Boulders gather at the bottom where they have
fallen. Big as bedrooms, from here they look small as salt grains.
Usually people see the Vermilion Cliffs from the bottom, necks
craned as they stare up. I like coming to the top, too. From below you
peer up at the shadowed undersides of ravens and turkey vultures.
From the top you are looking down on their backs, and the birds are
so struck with sunlight they are turned white.
It is a different view entirely from here. Not better. Just a good
change of pace. I have been coming to the Vermilion Cliffs every year
or two, honing my senses. Part of my honeymoon was spent at these
cliffs, and I have visited with children and bombastic wilderness
enthusiasts. I have come alone, walked in winter snow, sweated in
the glare of summer sun.
From where I stand, at the very edge, cliffs fall beneath me like a
red, solidified Niagara Falls. Crevices and breaks shoot down hun-dreds
of feet into the ground. When I look out at the farther distance,
I see another echoing line of cliffs, the opposite bookend to the Ver-milion
Cliffs. Those cliffs mark the other side of a gorge so magnificent
that people in the bottom do not even realize they are inside a gorge.
Dust devils the size of office towers roam the space between here
and there, ghostly plumes of sand wobbling about. Their dance hap-pens
every afternoon. This is why I try to get up here in the afternoon.
Heat rises off the ground and pushes holes into the atmosphere, accel-erating
updrafts. Columns of air go swirling upward, sucking and
spinning off the ground.
I am here with a companion and a few days’ worth of gear we
brought in on our backs. A simple outing — we do not carry a stove
or anything to cook, just chocolate, nuts, jerky and food bars wrapped
in shiny foil packaging, even more delicious than the bars themselves.
We stay as light as we can, moving swiftly across the land.
My companion is bearded, and has the rumpled look of a man who
has not showered in some time, and who never irons his clothes. He
turns from the edge of the cliff and I follow. There is no need to speak
up here. We are old companions in this desert, moving easily in each
We walk back from the edge into humps and cracks of sandstone
that cover the top of the Vermilion Cliffs. It is like walking on a roof of
red clouds. Between each cloud is a silver circle of rainwater from the
last thunderstorm that rolled through only a week ago. Moving among
these water holes, my companion crouches. “Sign,” he says.
I come to his side. He has found a flake of gray, glassy stone left from
someone making a tool sometime between the second millennium b.c.
and 700 years ago. It is another sound you are likely to hear, the voices
of the Ancestral Puebloan people.
Finding one piece, we go looking for others, and soon count well
over a hundred. And, after that, a thousand. We are coming onto an
ancient route, a trail in the desert where people had stopped, camped,
sharpened tools. Even a quick glance reveals many different kinds of
rocks that were used, all brought here from somewhere else — milky
chalcedony, blood-red jasper, sugar-stone chert.
I bend over, fleck up a bite-sized potsherd, a piece broken from a
gray ceramic vessel. It had been cookware from the 10th century a.d.
or thereabouts. The piece leads to more pottery. Like prizes, we hold
up sherds painted with snippets of spirals and lines. Some we identify
as Doghozi wares, and guess about an association with the prehistoric
Kayenta people from around Black Mesa and Navajo Mountain. I walk
among their remains, nodding to them. Glad to meet you.
The land is full of voices. An especially good place to
hear them is the desert, the air rarified and clear. The Vermilion
Cliffs, in particular, have a starkness about them that allows your
senses to ring like a tuning fork. Stand on the crest, the very top,
if you can get there. Listen with great attention and you will hear
the three-century-groan of a juniper growing from a crack in the
rock beside you like a gnarled sentinel. And there, a little quieter,
is the straining of the cliffs themselves, like the taut sound of
bridge cables. You can almost detect the rumbling of the Colo-rado
River far below, out of sight, where it sloshes and roils
through the limestone chute of Marble Canyon. If your ear is now
tuned properly, get down on hands and knees, put your head to
the ground. You will hear the ants: their tinkering footfalls; the
clutching of sand grains in chitinous jaws; the shush of antennae
brushing along narrow tunnels. One at a time, red ants will emerge
into the sunlight from a hole, touring onto your hand, up your
arm. You will hear one’s whispering steps all the way to your ear-lobe,
upon which it will perch like a person on a cliff.
PRECEDING PANEL: Sunrise paints the sandstone walls of the Vermilion
Cliffs a translucent red as the Colorado River begins its journey into
the Grand Canyon below Lee’s Ferry. PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
THIS PAGE: Pockets of water dot the striated rock of the Vermilion
Cliffs. PHOTOGRAPH B [Continued on page 44] Y GEORGE STOCKING
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
Surrounded by a slick-rock wilderness, a tranquil pool of
water reflects the morning sky. PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
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Voices are everywhere on days like this.
You follow from one to the next, as if being led by the tip of your nose.
As we walk, we count breadcrumbs of fallen artifacts: a perfect blue
arrowhead; a desiccated corncob preserved in a shelter. I pick up a bit
of pottery. It is painted as red as a watermelon with a layer of designs
in black pigment, a sign of a 14th century polychrome.
This means they could have been walking up here the day Spanish
horses and lance-bearers arrived in Arizona. I am sure if I looked hard
enough, I would find a rare sherd of Hopi yellow ware the color of egg
yolk. I have found the style up here before, dating to prehistoric times.
For a long time, this place has been a destination. People must have
preferred the tops of the cliffs for their water, setting routes that have
lasted for thousands of years.
This route of broken artifacts brings us back to the edge of the
Vermilion Cliffs. From there it goes right over and down. We poke
the ground a short distance off the cliff, and are not surprised to find
more broken pottery and flaked pieces of stone left on ledges on the
façade of the Vermilion Cliffs. What had previously looked like an
impenetrable face of rock reveals itself as a route. We both peer down
where rungs of cracks and natural ledges continue. There was a way
down — and not just a clean freefall.
The land instantly changes for us. It does not change by much, not
like an earthquake, or even a boulder loosening by an inch. I begin
hearing things differently, a slightly altered tone in the hot breeze.
Hardly audible, quieter even than the Colorado River flowing many
miles away in the belly of Marble Canyon, I hear a silver stream of
people climbing up and down this cliff over the millennia.
I wonder what voice might next add itself to my awareness of this
place. I must return next season, and again after that. It is the trick of
the Vermilion Cliffs. They always offer a temptation, another voice to
hear. I might as well just stay, sit up here forever, my ear pressed to the
rock atop voluminous folds of sandstone, listening to the Earth sing.
Dramatic sandstone “teepees” dominate the landscape of Vermilion
Cliffs National Monument. PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE STOCKING
[Continued from page 40]
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 47
Judge Joseph Flies-Away has never taken the
easy route. He paid his own way to a private high
school in Phoenix. He graduated from Stanford
and Harvard. He was the first member of the
Hualapai Tribe to get a law degree. Even his
approach to the legal system is counterintuitive.
For him, law is a spiritual matter. It’s all about
restoring connections, healing old wounds and
finding balance, which ultimately leads to peace.
By Kathy Montgomery
Photographs by David Zickl
46 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0
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udge Joseph Flies-Away takes a break in his bed-room
office of a modest home on a quiet street in
north Phoenix. The single-story stucco house has
been Flies-Away’s home off and on since he was
5 years old. Shelves stacked neatly with books
containing everything from legal theory to Best
American Short Stories fill two walls, yet the office
retains the feel of a childhood bedroom.
Flies-Away, wearing a red T-shirt and blue
shorts, reclines on a quilt-clad daybed. Nearby, a teddy bear nestles
a boom box. A long folding table serves as a desk. The scene is so
humble, it’s easy to forget that the man at the center of it is a graduate
of Stanford, Harvard and Arizona State universities, and a nationally
renowned expert on American Indian law.
The first member of the Hualapai Tribe to graduate from law school,
Flies-Away has served on the Hualapai Tribal Council, worked as the
tribe’s planner and as its chief judge. But while much of his work has
centered on the sprawling Northwest Arizona reservation, Flies-
Away’s influence has had a much larger reach. He’s taught at Stanford
and Arizona State University, and has consulted with tribes all over
the United States and Canada. Now, having resigned his third term
as chief judge of the Hualapai Tribe, Flies-Away is in the process of
reinventing his life.
At the center of the makeshift desk sits a small, quartz globe that
represents Flies-Away’s approach to law, which he considers spiritual.
“Spirituality is how individuals are related to each other, how they are
connected,” he explains. “Law tells us how we should be connected
to each other.”
In a binder, Flies-Away carries a two-dimensional representation of
what he calls “the sphere.” It contains four axes he has labeled E, L, D,
R. Earth, labeled E, represents the sphere itself. In terms of the law, it is
the act. L stands for lightning, the mental state. D represents dream, the
spiritual. The R is rain, emotion. And at the center is balance, or peace.
Flies-Away believes law should take all of these elements into con-sideration.
“Anglo law stops at the E and the L,” he says. “I think full
law would go to the D and the R. You have to consider how they feel
about it. When I’m talking to people, I try to find connections. I try to
see all these elements here, how we can move to the center.
“What I do is try to reach peace.”
Not far from the sphere, occupying the top shelf to signify its
importance, is a collection of writings based on the principles of the
sphere that Flies-Away hopes to expand into a book. In the past, he
called it his “someday text,” because he never had time to work on it.
Now, Flies-Away hopes the time has come.
lies-Away is a small man, unusually light-boned and
thin given his Hualapai heritage, with prominent
cheekbones and a heavy brow. His lineage is mixed.
From his father, he inherited Pima, Mescalero Apache
and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo blood, as well as Spanish
and Basque. But Flies-Away considers himself a Hual-apai,
like his mother, and is an enrolled member of the small tribe.
Born Joseph William Thomas Jr., Flies-Away divided his childhood
between this home in Phoenix and his aunts’ homes in the tribal
capital of Peach Springs, about 50 miles from Kingman. These days,
the Hualapai are known for their cultural destination, Grand Can-yon
West, where the Skywalk viewing platform opened with much
fanfare in 2007. The tribe also operates Hualapai River Runners, the
only Native American-owned rafting company on the Colorado River.
Historic Route 66 runs through Peach Springs, where the tribe-owned
Hualapai Lodge and Diamond Creek Restaurant are located. All of
those are tribal businesses Flies-Away helped to develop while he was
a councilman and tribal planner.
Attending school in Peach Springs in the sixth grade, Flies-Away
began to understand his connection to the Hualapai. “I used to go up
there all the time and see all these people, but then I realized they’re
my relatives,” he says. “We were related by blood. It was a powerful
feeling. I didn’t want to leave.”
Flies-Away attended Kingman and Sunnyslope high schools before
transferring to St. Mary’s in Phoenix, where he paid his own tuition by
working at Safeway. At the encouragement of his teachers, he applied
to Stanford and was accepted.
In college, Flies-Away struggled. Six of the 12 Native students in his
freshman class left after the first semester. “I was going to be one of
them,” he admits. “But I just kept trying.” Flies-Away knows now that
he suffered from an undiagnosed learning disability. “I felt I wasn’t
smart enough,” he says. “Now I know why. It’s big on me to know I
still did it.”
Flies-Away never planned to study law. His first major was pre-med,
but he couldn’t master calculus or chemistry. “Then I got this grant, a
Mellon education fellowship to pay for part of my school and I could
go into teaching,” he recalls. “But you had to major in English, math
or social studies.”
Flies-Away liked writing, so he changed his major to English lit-erature.
He legally changed his name to Flies-Away when he began to
publish poetry in college literary journals, thinking Joseph Thomas
sounded too Anglo-American. Flies-Away was an old family name. It
belonged to the brother of his great-great-grandfather until the staff
at Carlisle Indian School changed it.
After graduating from Stanford, Flies-Away returned to the Huala-pai
Reservation to teach seventh grade. Eventually, he got involved in
tribal politics, becoming the youngest member to serve on the tribal
council. He was serving on the council and working as the tribe’s
planner when the council asked him to go to law school.
“I was the one able to read all the things they were getting from the
government,” Flies-Away says. “They basically said, ‘You have to go.’
I thought about it, and after working there for 3 or 4 years, I went.”
But Flies-Away found law school difficult. “I didn’t really under-stand,”
he says. Then, after his first year, his cousin called to say that
some of the tribal members wanted him to apply for the position of
judge. “I said, ‘Why? I’ve just been in law school one year!’ ” he recalls.
His cousin answered, “Well, no one has ever gone to law school.”
“I left law school, which was probably better,” Flies-Away says. “My
grades were not that good. But I brought my books with me, and I
would read them as I did cases, and then I started getting it.”
PRECEDING PANEL: Judge Joseph Flies-Away
surveys the landscape of the Hualapai Reservation
from the shallows of Diamond Creek.
LEFT: Flies-Away contemplates a sphere that,
for him, symbolizes the spirituality of the law.
50 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 51
s a judge, Flies-Away became discouraged by the
Anglo-based legal system that had been imposed
on the tribe, as well as the pervasive alcoholism
he saw as the source of most crimes he adju-dicated.
Watching tribal members get stuck
in the revolving door of repeated alcohol-related arrests and releases
convinced him that the system wasn’t working.
The courts did nothing to address the root causes of the problem,
which Flies-Away believes stems from a disconnectedness with the
Hualapai people’s traditional way of life. Some call it historical trauma.
The history of the Hualapai included forced relocation and compulsory
boarding schools. Yet the pattern was not unique to the Hualapai. As
a consultant, Flies-Away saw it repeated on reservations all over the
“They were trying to make Natives civilized, and in that process
turned them into dependent people,” Flies-Away says. “And in losing
what was known, they became confused, lost, disconnected. We’re
stuck in that loss.”
Like Marley’s ghost in A Christmas Carol, Flies-Away says: “We’re all
carrying our past. And we carry the past of our ancestors. I tell [Native
people] in my talks, I say, ‘You’re going to have your own chains. Don’t
bring the historic ones with you.’ But we tend to do that. I think all
people do. Ours is just more recent. We just remember it more.”
Flies-Away began to see himself as a transitional figure. He didn’t
share the traumatic memories of earlier generations. Instead, he looked
to the future and saw hope.
It was the 1990s, and a nationwide restorative justice movement
was giving rise to drug courts that offered treatment rather than
punishment. The Hualapai were awarded a federal grant to establish a
drug court, which became one of four model courts in Indian country.
At a national planning session, Flies-Away recognized the concept as
something ancient and familiar.
“I recall standing up in that hotel banquet room telling the repre-sentatives
from different tribes that it is in our blood, our tradition
and culture to work this way with our relatives, to work together in
teams, to try to figure out what is wrong; to talk together about the
issue and come to some conclusions and remedies for it,” he wrote
about his experience. “I think I even said something like, ‘This way of
thinking isn’t new to us.’ ”
But the term “drug court” didn’t speak to the biggest problem of the
Hualapai people, which was alcohol. And it didn’t reflect the healing
nature of the process. So the Hualapai adopted the term “wellness
court” and incorporated talking circles, sweat lodges and ceremonies.
Flies-Away threw himself into the work, presiding over the Huala-pai
Wellness Court for 2 years before leaving to go to Harvard to earn
a master’s degree in public administration. A postmortem review
conducted by the Department of Justice in 2005 found that after Flies-
Away left, the court foundered. Without a tribal advocate, Wellness
Court died when the grant ran out.
After completing his law degree at ASU, Flies-Away returned as
chief judge to an expanded court staff — the tribe took over funding
for positions — but the court had reverted back to a mostly Anglo-style
system. “Every day we were doing criminal court like ‘outside’
courts,” Flies-Away says. “Guilty, you go to jail, you pay a fine, you
serve. But we were not getting to the underlying issue.”
Eventually, Flies-Away became overwhelmed by the size and inertia
of the problem. He could still envision a court system that was more in
keeping with Native traditions, but the Anglo-style system had become
the norm. The staff resisted change. His father died and, for a while,
Flies-Away lost heart. “It’s hard to judge your own people,” he said.
Flies-Away resigned in the middle of his third term.
n order to have a vision for your future, Flies-Away believes
it’s important to know who you are and where you’ve come
from. Surveying his home office, Flies-Away leans back on
blue pillows. Since resigning his position in June 2009, he’s
been at work putting the past in its place, sorting books, letters and
writings. He’s kept mementos from as far back as the fifth grade, even
old movie ticket stubs.
To pay the bills, Flies-Away has served as judge pro tem for the Fort
Mojave Tribal Court and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. He continues to
work as a consultant, providing technical assistance to tribes around
the country that want to develop their own wellness courts. But he’s
also taken time for the important tasks of cleaning and organizing.
Flies-Away has kept every college textbook he ever owned. Now
they’re all categorized and sorted: English literature; law; government
and nation-building; myths, dreams and Native traditions. Flies-Away
has also organized his writings into color-coded binders and plastic
bins. It’s part of the process of moving forward, and cleaning house
emotionally, as well as physically. As with so many things in his life,
Flies-Away thinks of the process as spiritual. It’s ceremony.
It’s also preparation for what Flies-Away believes is his true call-ing.
Someone told him once that he would bring a gift to the world.
She envisioned him pushing forward a large book that would teach
people. Flies-Away believes that gift has to do with his “someday text.”
It begins with the law but transcends it, just as it transcends his work
with the Hualapai people.
“It’s not judging. It’s not the law. It’s more the sphere,” he says. “An
element of that is justice, but that’s not the whole thing. It’s about
being human in the world. Not just Native people. It’s being a com-munity
nation-builder in the world and how to do that, how each
person can do that in their community, whoever you are in your own
place. That’s what I want to do. I think that’s why I’ve kept all this
knowledge. I have to connect all that. I just happen to be Hualapai. I
was born into that. But I think it’s a bigger thing. The sphere brings it
all together. It’s about balance. That’s what brings peace. Then, when
I push that book out, I think I could just die.”
Flies-Away’s sphere lights
up the interior of a petro-glyph-
filled cave, combining
old symbols with new.
52 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 53
the Patagonia-Sonoita Scenic Road
meanders through a stretch of
Southeastern Arizona that reaffirms
many of our long-held notions about
the Old West. It’s cowboy country,
plain and simple, offering up desolate
desert stretches, knee-high grama
grass and big sky, which explains
why parts of Oklahoma! were filmed
in this part of the state.
Called The Mountain Empire
because it’s surrounded by some of
the country’s most beautiful sky
islands (the forested Patagonia and
Santa Rita Mountains, surrounded
by “seas” of desert and grasslands),
the area is rich in biodiversity.
There are a couple ways to
approach this drive. You can either
breeze through the 52.5-mile route
in an hour or spend a couple of days
meandering. There’s a lot to do —
particularly if you’re into fishing,
bird-watching or checking out the
local art scene.
Heading northeast from Nogales
on State Route 82, you’ll quickly leave
behind the tiny hilltop houses of the
town as you descend to the desert
floor of the Santa Cruz Valley. At
Mile Marker 12, you’ll see Patagonia
Lake Road on your left, the turnoff
that takes you 4 miles up a curv-ing
paved road through rolling hills
studded with scrub oak, yucca and
ocotillo to Patagonia Lake. If you
want to camp, picnic, boat, fish, bird-watch
or hike, you’ll have to pay a fee
to enter the park. But this 265-acre,
man-made lake is a glittering little
jewel, lush with shade trees, plunked
down in the middle of the desert.
Birders flock to it, as do anglers, who
drop their lines for catfish, crappie,
bluegill, bass and stocked trout.
Back on SR 82, you’ll continue
north and after about 5 miles you’ll
arrive in Patagonia, a quaint artists’
community and international bird-ing
destination with a grassy strip
of park running the length of it. It’s
a great place to poke around. The
town offers a small, well-stocked
bookstore, charming galleries featur-ing
the fine art and hand-made crafts
of local artists and artisans, and
interesting shops filled with Native
American jewelry, instruments and
In addition to tourists, hundreds of
butterfly species migrate to the area in
the warm months — Patagonia boasts
a butterfly garden to attract them.
Meanwhile, bird fanciers the world
over flock to The Nature Conservan-cy’s
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve,
a lush riparian habitat for more than
300 species of birds, including the
gray hawk, green kingfisher, thick-billed
kingbird, violet-crowned hum-mingbird
and rose-throated becard.
Continuing northeast on SR 82,
you’ll soon see horses and cattle graz-ing
among the rolling hills and grass-lands
of Sonoita. However, cowboy
country is slowly giving way to wine
country. If you’re interested, make a
detour at the junction of SR 82 and
State Route 83, head southeast (turn-ing
right onto SR 83 and left onto
Elgin Road) and make a quick loop
past a handful of the state’s popular
Otherwise, turn left onto SR 83,
flanked by the Santa Ritas and the
Las Cienegas National Conservation
Area, home to pronghorns, deer, jave-linas
and coatimundi. As grasslands
give way to cactus-studded desert
again, you return to Interstate 10,
leaving behind a beautiful pocket of
Roads in Southern
boast scenic vis-tas
San Rafael Valley
SCENIC ROAD This
winding road in South-
ern Arizona is cowboy
country, plain and
simple, with miles of
and big sky.
BY NIKKI BUCHANAN
PHOTOGRAPH BY RANDY PRENTICE
Note: Mileages are approximate.
LENGTH: 52.5 miles one way
DIRECTIONS: From Tucson, travel south on Interstate 19
to Nogales, turn left (north) onto State Route 82 and
continue for 27.5 miles to State Route 83 in Sonoita.
From there, turn left (north) onto SR 83 and drive 25
miles back to Interstate 10.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None; accessible by all
WARNING: Back-road travel can be hazardous, so be
aware of weather and road conditions. Carry plenty of
water. Don’t travel alone and let someone know where
you are going and when you plan to return.
INFORMATION: Patagonia Lake State Park, 520-287-
6965 or www.azstateparks.com; Coronado National
Forest, 520-281-2296 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov or dial
511 to get information
on road closures, construction,
delays, weather and more.
O N L I N E For more drives in Arizona, visit our “Scenic Drives Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
ADDITIONAL READING: 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 www.arizonahigh
C O R O N A D O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
L A S C I E N E G A S
N A T I O N A L
C O N S E R V A T I O N
A R E A
C O R O N A D O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
A R I Z O N A
M E X I C O
Santa Cruz River
Santa Rita Mountains
To Tucson To Tucson
S T A R T H E R E
54 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 55
month OF THE
the first thing that’ll come to mind when you catch
your first glimpse of Mount Wrightson is, HOLY
MOLY! Your second thought will be, There’s no way! It’s
only 5.4 miles away on foot, but it’s way up there. And
it looks even farther than that — at 9,453 feet, Mount
Wrightson, also known as Old Baldy, is the highest point
in the Santa Rita Mountains.
The trail begins at the end of Madera Canyon. Even
if you’re not a bird-watcher, you have to appreciate the
unique nature of this place. Birders come from all around
the world hoping to spot an elegant trogon, a broad-tailed
hummingbird or a yellow-billed cuckoo. Hikers
come for the rocks and the trees and the challenge of
reaching the summit.
From the trailhead, you’ll start to feel the incline
immediately, and it won’t let up until you’re on your
way down. Within about 10 minutes, the groves of trees
change from sycamores to ponderosas. Also, this is where
that first view of Mount Wrightson comes in. As you
continue climbing, the forest gets thicker, shaggy almost,
and after an hour or so, you’ll come to a spectacular slope
covered with ferns. There’s something about ferns that
seems out of place in Arizona, but there they are.
Beyond the ferns, the ponderosas start getting taller,
and they’re mixed with silverleaf oaks and Apache
pines. They’re beautiful. Equally impressive is the Jose-phine
Saddle, which sits at 7,080 feet, 2.2 miles from the
trailhead. There are some great views off to the east, but
what will really catch your attention is a wooden memo-rial.
On November 15, 1958, three young Boy Scouts, ages
12-16, died at this spot when they were caught in a sudden
snowstorm. It’s a good reminder that whenever you’re
hiking in Arizona, you need to check the forecast before
you leave the house.
From the saddle, the trail gets noticeably steeper and
includes some challenging switchbacks. It’s beautiful
every step of the way, with brilliant green everywhere,
but your legs and your lungs won’t really appreciate it.
That said, if you’re not breathing too hard, keep your eyes
peeled for white-tailed deer, black bears and some very fat
squirrels, especially around Bellows Spring, which you’ll
pass along the way.
After about 3 hours, you’ll finally arrive at Baldy Saddle,
an almost treeless place that’s used as a campsite by back-packers.
The summit is still about a mile away, and in
places, the trail is better suited for mountain goats than
day-hikers. It’s steep and rocky, and one misstep could
ruin an otherwise perfect day. At the top of the mountain
are the remains of a fire tower that was built in 1928, and
remained in use until the 1950s.
Today, all that’s left of the tower is a section of its foun-dation,
but the views are still the same. On a clear day,
you can see Sierra San José in Mexico, as well as several
surrounding mountain ranges, including the Rincons, the
Galiuros and the Chiricahuas. Also, to the west, you’ll
see the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory,
which looks like a misplaced igloo at the top of Mount
Hopkins. To some observers, the telescope is an eyesore.
To others, it’s a scientific marvel. To the hikers who make
it to the top of Mount Wrightson, it’s just one more thing
to look down on as they think to themselves, HOLY MOLY,
I made it to the top.
LENGTH: 10.8 miles round-trip
ELEVATION: 5,400 to 9,453 feet
DIRECTIONS: From Tucson, take Interstate 19 south to
the Continental Road/Madera Canyon Exit. Go east
and follow the signs to Madera Canyon Recreation Area
and continue to the Roundup Picnic Area.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None; accessible by all
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes (on a leash)
USGS MAP: Mount Wrightson
INFORMATION: Nogales Ranger District, 520-281-2296
• Plan ahead and be prepared.
• Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
• Dispose of waste properly and pack
out your trash.
• Leave what you find.
• Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
• Be considerate of others.
Trekking along Josephine Saddle on Old Baldy Trail,
hiker Alexis Mills checks out the scenic views.
OLD BALDY TRAIL Not to be
confused with Mount Baldy, Old
Baldy is the highest point in the
Santa Rita Mountains, and this
trail takes you there.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER NOEBELS
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit our “Hiking Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
S A N T A R I T A M O U N T A I N S
Madera Canyon Road
Roundup Picnic Area
Whitehouse Canyon Road
C O R O N A D O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
S A N T A R I T A
E X P E R I M E N T A L R A N G E
M O U N T W R I G H T S O N
W I L D E R N E S S
Santa Cruz River
T R A I L H E A D
56 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 0
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