E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
Missing Rafters in the Canyon:
A Nagging Mystery Since 1928
The World’s Top Boot Maker?
The Name’s Bond ... Paul Bond
Willa Cather’s Life-Changing
Experience at Walnut Canyon
The First-Ever Bike Ride
Through Monument Valley —
and We Were There
An Intriguing Portfolio
GLEN CANYON, 1956
GLEN CANYON, 2010
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 1
Completed in 1959, this 690-foot-high steel arch bridge spans Glen Canyon. When
Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, it began forming Lake Powell, leading to
the establishment of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which encompasses
more than 1.2 million acres. The lake and the recreation area surrounding it are
among Arizona’s most popular tourist destinations.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
GLEN CANYON DAM PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
GLEN CANYON, 2010
◗ A Mount Graham red squirrel prepares for winter by
creating a midden, which it will fiercely defend against
intruders. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRUCE D. TAUBERT
BACK COVER Billowy clouds drift by a piñon pine that
clings to the edge of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim at
Monument Point. PHOTOGRAPH BY SUZANNE MATHIA
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
4 EDITOR’S LETTER
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
7 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from
around the state, including a
Grand Canyon mystery that
has baffled authorities since
1928; one of our favorite
Mexican restaurants in Camp
Verde; and the world’s most-renowned
boot maker. His
name is Bond ... Paul Bond.
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Route 66: There’s nostalgia
at every turn on the Mother
Road, but the section from
Kingman to Oatman is
more about scenery.
18 ARIZONA: THEN & NOW
When you’ve been around as long as we have — 85
years — you see a lot of changes. From the entrance
station at the Grand Canyon to the train station in
Douglas, things aren’t what they used to be. In some
cases, the differences are minimal, and in others, like
Glen Canyon, they’re monumental. Recently, we dug
up some “then” shots, shook our heads in wonder, and
thought you might like to see them, too, especially as
they compare to the “now.”
A PORTFOLIO EDITED BY JEFF KIDA & SALLY BENFORD
34 IN REHAB
Arizona isn’t exactly the center of the architectural
universe. Most of what exists isn’t very old or isn’t
very interesting. However, there are some amazing
structures around the state, and many of them are
being rehabilitated, including the iconic Mission San
Xavier del Bac near Tucson and a scattering of old
buildings in the warehouse district of Phoenix.
BY LAWRENCE W. CHEEK
40 O CANYONEERS!
Willa Cather is regarded as one of the great Ameri-can
novelists of the 20th century. Her talent was
innate, but it was an extended stay at Walnut Can-yon
that allowed the Nebraska native to discover
herself as both a writer and a person. The natural
beauty of the canyon had an effect, but it was a spiri-tual
connection to the ancient people who lived there
that changed her the most.
BY JANE BARNES
44 RIDING THE REZ
Throughout history, men and women have crossed
the Navajo Nation in a variety of ways — on horse-back,
in Jeeps and, most commonly, on foot. In Octo-ber
2009, a new approach was taken. That’s when a
group of 40 cyclists made the first-ever trek across
the reservation on mountain bikes. It wasn’t just for
the thrill of the ride, though. The Ride the Rez fund-raiser
generated more than $775,000 for charity,
including $110,000 for the Navajo people.
BY KARI REDFIELD
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF KIDA
Visit our website for details on week-end
getaways, hiking, lodging, dining,
photography workshops, slideshows
and more. Also, check out our blog
for daily posts on just about anything
related to travel in Arizona, including
road closures, environmental news,
festivals and other valuable informa-tion
we couldn’t fit in the magazine..
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GET MORE ONLINE
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.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Butterfly Trail: Despite a
fire that scorched the area
in 2003, this hike is still a
great way to experience
the Santa Catalinas.
56 WHERE IS THIS?
4 n o v e m 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
As a child (below), photographer Craig Smith was fascinated by
the photos he took with his instant camera, and that preoccupa-tion
eventually led him from the East Coast to the Southwest,
where he fell in love with
Arizona while pursuing a mas-ter’s
degree in photography
at Arizona State University.
About the art form he’s loved
for years, Smith says, “Today,
as a professional exhibiting
photographer, I’m still drawn
to the power and eloquence of
photography’s ability to reveal
beauty where it’s unexpected
and make what’s familiar,
unfamiliar.” In this month’s
cover story (see Arizona: Then
& Now, page 18), he applies
that power to some of the
state’s most familiar places.
LAWRENCE W. CHEEK
Writer Lawrence Cheek discovered his pas-sion
for architecture when he was reporting
on a story in Florence, Arizona, for the Tucson
Citizen. After a day’s exploration, Cheek had a
newfound respect for the history and culture
of the town’s architecture. “I love ‘reading’ a
building because it tells me about the people
in the town,” Cheek says. This month, he
showcases some of the state’s oldest and
most well-preserved historic buildings,
including the Arizona Ice and Cold Storage
Co. in Tucson, which was built in 1923 (see In Rehab, page 34). When Cheek’s not writ-ing
stories for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, he’s busy enjoying his other
passion — boat-building — on Whidbey Island off the Washington coast.
Minnesota-born writer Kari Redfield has been a jour-nalist
in Phoenix for 8 years and a bona fide cyclist for
6, racking up more than 6,000 miles in 2009 alone.
“Cycling is a sport where you get out of it what you
put into it,” she says. “You see an amazing gain in a
short period of time.” Redfield’s favorite story assign-ments
center on anything that gives her an adrena-line
rush, such as biking for 350 miles across the
Navajo Nation (see Riding the Rez, page 44). “It was
an amazing adventure with a group of people from
Rancho Feliz [a charitable foundation], who were
all about making it happen for the less fortunate,”
Redfield says. Redfield has written more than 1,000
articles, which have appeared in publications such as
Sedona Magazine, Tailwinds and American Fitness.
i missed all of the dam debate. But not by much. The final bucket of concrete was
poured on September 13, 1963, thus completing the construction of Glen Canyon
Dam. I was born the next day.
Although I missed most of the fireworks, I’ve studied both sides of the dispute:
the reclamation reasonings of Floyd Dominy and the conservation arguments of
David Brower. I’ve read the books, and I recently made a visit to our own archives —
I was curious about how Arizona Highways covered the controversial project.
The dam and its progeny — Lake Powell and the city of Page — were the focus
of our January 1964 issue. There were a handful of enthusiastic stories, including a
piece about the overall impact of the
710-foot-high barrier. Glen Canyon
Dam: An American Triumph was the
headline. Admittedly, I was a little
surprised by the praise, especially
since most of the images were shot
by legendary landscape photographer
Josef Muench. That said, there’s no
denying the engineering triumph of
the dam itself and the spectacular
beauty of the lake behind it. Like-wise,
whether you agree or disagree with the dam’s existence, there’s no arguing
that the landscape was changed dramatically as a result of its construction. Turns
out, that’s not the only thing that’s changed in Arizona.
From the entrance station at the Grand Canyon to the train station in Douglas,
things aren’t what they used to be. In some cases, the differences are minimal, and
in others, like Glen Canyon, they’re monumental. In Arizona: Then & Now, we take a
comparative look at some of the state’s evolving landmarks. It’s a fascinating portfo-lio
that’ll make you think, Holy Moly! They’re all eye-openers, but the most startling
comparison looks at the Babbitt Brothers building in downtown Flagstaff. Along
with Holy Moly! you’ll wonder, What on earth were they thinking?
The old stone building was eventually restored
to its original splendor, but that’s the exception.
Everything else in the portfolio has been altered
for good. Or bad, depending on your perspective.
One place that hasn’t changed — not even a little
— since the arrival of man is Monument Valley.
That’s why Gil Gillenwater was so excited about
getting permission to ride his bike into the iconic
I first met Gil in Mexico at a place called Ran-cho
Feliz. The community, which was conceived
and funded by Gil and his brother, Troy, includes
42 homes, a child-care facility and an education
center for the underprivileged. To raise funds for
the project, Gil, who lives in Scottsdale, organized
the first-ever mountain bike ride across
Monument Valley. To pull it off, he had to coor-dinate
with 12 chapters of the Navajo Nation,
the Navajo Park Service and the U.S. National
Park Service. He also had to secure a total of 11
permits. In addition, he had to round up 40 bik-ers
willing to ride 350 miles through inclement
weather and raise a minimum of $7,500 each. He
did all of the above, and in the process helped
generate more than $775,000 for charity, includ-ing
$110,000 for the Navajo people.
In Riding the Rez, writer Kari Redfield and
Photo Editor Jeff Kida document the epic tour.
It’s an interesting story with fantastic photogra-phy,
but the real payoff comes from the ride itself,
which will ultimately change lives, thanks to the
philanthropy of the Gillenwaters and the allure
of Monument Valley. It was a powerful combina-tion.
Not unlike the combination of Willa Cather
and Walnut Canyon.
Ms. Cather, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author
of My Àntonia and Death Comes for the Archbishop,
was a struggling writer in New York when she
ventured west for an extended stay at Walnut
Canyon. As Jane Barnes explains in O Canyoneers!,
her talent was innate, but it was the natural
beauty of the canyon and a spiritual connec-tion
to the ancient people who lived there that
allowed the novelist to discover herself as both a
writer and a person.
Although a visit to Walnut Canyon may not
help you win a Pulitzer or enhance your self-understanding,
it’s as scenic and spiritual as it
was when Ms. Cather arrived there in 1923. If it
were dramatically different, of course, it would
have joined Glen Canyon in this month’s cover
story. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
N OV EMB E R 2 0 1 0 V O L . 8 6 , N O. 1 1
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published month-ly
by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Subscrip-tion
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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.
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 7
letters to the editor
6 n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0
MUSIC TO THEIR EARS
In 1999, when I was 24 years
old and making a living selling
worthless thrift-store junk on
eBay, I came across a stack of
Arizona Highways magazines from
the early 1960s. I brought them
home, where they became coffee-table
reading for my roommates
and me. A year earlier we’d start-
ed a rock band called Tarantula
Hawk, which was named after the
New Mexico state insect. Much of
our relatively thematic instrumental
music was based on the life cycle of
said insect, as well as other pertinent
desert imagery and literature. The
band ran its course and played its
last show in 2005. From time to time,
Tarantula Hawk has been mentioned
in various music rags for one reason
or another. But when I received a call
a few weeks back from our drummer,
saying that we were referenced in the
newest issue of Arizona Highways [The
Sting, August 2010], I was elated. We
collectively agree that this must be
the coolest nod the band has ever got-ten,
coming from so far outside the
BRADEN DIOTTE, TARANTULA HAWK,
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
I was so happy to see your portfo-lio
[Green Miles] featuring Suzanne
Mathia in the July 2010 issue. I
became aware of her work while
paging through the December 2009
issue of Arizona Highways. Her picture
of “Crowning Glory” took my breath
away. I was so taken by it that my
husband secretly contacted Ms.
Mathia and ordered a print on canvas
for my Christmas gift. I picked it up
at her home in Scottsdale and lost my
breath again when I saw it “unveiled.”
I proudly display it as the focal point
on my living room wall.
JOAN BEERY, SUN LAKES, ARIZONA
The July 2010 issue of Arizona Highways
contains an article about the Boy
Scouts of America [Scouting Report].
The article points out that 2010
marks the 100th anniversary of the
BSA and goes on to state that scout-ing
has “been around in Arizona for
89 years [since 1921]. While it’s true
that the BSA was incorporated on
February 8, 1910, Scouting in Arizona
celebrated its 100th anniversary in
September 2010. The first two troops
in the Arizona Territory were orga-nized
in Prescott in September 1910
and in Tombstone at almost the
exact same time (Arizona Territorial
historian Sharlot Hall was an hon-orary
member of the Tombstone
troop). Scouting came to Phoenix in
the fall of 1910 and to Bisbee by early
1911. Harold Steele, principal of the
then new Tucson High School, orga-nized
the first Scout troop in Tucson
on April 20, 1911. Camp Lawton,
which is located at an eleva-tion
of approximately 7,800
feet in the Santa Catalina
Mountains, was started in
the summer of 1921 by what
is now the Catalina Council.
The Otis H. Chidester Scout
Museum of Southern Arizona
will host a special event on
April 23, 2011, to celebrate 100
years of Scouting in Tucson.
JAMES B. KLEIN, M.D., HISTORIAN,
CATALINA COUNCIL BSA, TUCSON
I read with interest the article
about Thunderbird Field [Home Field
Advantage, May 2010]. My three older
brothers were hired as civilian flight
instructors when the field opened,
and they taught American, Chinese
and British pilots until the war
ended and the fields closed. They
were the Robart brothers — Art,
E.A. “Dink,” and Paul. Dink was also
featured in the February 1938 issue
of Arizona Highways. He was a bronc
rider, and there were pictures in
that issue of him riding the broncs.
After World War II, Art was the
manager of Cessna Aircraft at Sky
Harbor for a time. Dink went back
to cattle-ranching, and Paul started
flight instruction in San Francisco.
In 1946, he was hit and killed by a
ground-looping plane. I thought this
information might be of interest to
those who lived in Arizona during
World War II.
ESTHER (ROBART) DALEY, CAMP VERDE, ARIZONA
Correction: In our story about photographer Jerry
Jacka (Jerry Duty, September 2010), we should
have credited Neil Koppes for taking the photo-graph
used on our January 1974 cover.
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
Wukoki Pueblo, which is located in Wupatki
National Monument, was once an important
trading center for Ancestral Puebloans. To-day,
it’s a place to learn about their ancient
history. On November 11, admission to the
Monument will be free to all visitors. Infor-mation:
928-526-1157 or www.nps.gov/wupa.
people > lodging > photography > history > dining > nature > things to do > > > > THE JOURNAL 11.10
8 n o v e m 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
THE JOURNAL > people
— Dave Pratt is the author of
Behind the Mic: 30 Years in Radio
SMELL A SWATCH OF leather and you’re
likely to experience some sort of olfactory
flashback — to the sleeves of a
letterman’s jacket, the saddle
on the back of your horse dur-ing
some long-ago dude ranch getaway, a
baseball glove. And when you’re standing
in the middle of Paul Bond Boots, those
same scent-memories will probably kick in
for a few minutes, at least until your eyes
take over and the awe sets in.
They’re red and royal blue; mottled,
mocha calfskin; soft, vampy swaths of
sharkskin. One pair is in the image of the
Arizona state flag. Another bears a bald-eagle
inlay. Still another boasts the bril-liant
pink petals of a thistle. All of them
— every single pair — are the brainchil-dren
of Paul Bond.
At 94, Bond might not be what you’d
expect. He plays golf at least once a week
and travels, on occasion, to Lake Mon-
The Name’s Bond … Paul Bond
Even without the sophisticated gadgetry of 007, Paul Bond is
a force to be reckoned with. Not as an international spy, but
as a 94-year-old boot maker — one of the best in the world.
By KELLY KRAMER
What are your favorite places in Arizona?
Mesa and Sedona. Mesa because I love the
weather and how you can drive two-and-a-half
hours and be in the snow. I love Sedona
because there’s something for everyone.
Where do you like to eat after a long trial?
We always have a ball when we go to Sushi
Kee and Café Boa Bistro in Mesa. They’re
What are you doing when you’re not settling
Mom stuff. I’ve got a kid on the track team. I
go to grocery stores a lot because I never do it
right the first time.
What’s your favorite Arizona season?
Fall — just as it’s starting to cool off in Sep-tember.
I sit outside in shorts and sandals, and
I call all of my family in Ohio to brag about the
If you were going to take Judge Judy out on
the town, where would you go?
I’d take her to Wrights at the Arizona Biltmore.
I always have a good time there. I love the
Paul Bond Boots is located at architecture.
915 W. Paul Bond Drive in No-gales.
For more information,
call 520-281-0512 or visit
tezuma for a tournament or two. He is
perfectly pressed. He wears a cowboy hat
the way a gentleman wears a cowboy hat,
and he tips it just a smidge when he greets
Slight but strong, he visits the shop
every day, overseeing the 12 employees
who lovingly refer to him as “Mr. B.” He’s
been making boots for 77 years, and he
likes to wear his with his pants tucked in
— because that’s how real cowboys wear
“I started making boots for someone
else when I was in high school,” Bond says.
“And I’ve been doing it ever since.”
For almost 60 of those 77 years, Bond
has been in Nogales, the town known for
its proximity to the Mexican border and
named in Spanish for the walnut trees
that once grew in abundance there. For a
stretch, the business was on the Mexican
side of the border, but in 1979, Bond moved
it to its current location — a massive,
barn-like structure that sits just off Mari-posa
Boulevard on the Arizona side.
Although he moved to Nogales from
Carlsbad, New Mexico, for the ease of
finding skilled, dedicated workers, he
stayed for the sky and the breeze and the
“I came to this little, out-of-the-way
place because the freeway was coming
through and the business boomed when
that happened,” he says. “But the climate is
absolutely the best there is.”
BOOT SHOPS ARE LIKE ice cream shops, at
least that’s the way Bond sees them. People
walk in happy and walk out even happier.
Roughly 2,000 pairs of Paul Bond Boots
leave the shop every year. That’s 2,000 fla-vors
and then some — custom-made and
handcrafted for regular Joes and celebri-ties
In fact, there’s been an endless string
of cowboys, country-music crooners and
movie stars who’ve come to Bond for
boots over the years. Think Gene Autry,
Baxter Black, Bart Skelton. Perhaps it’s
the cowboys to whom Bond best relates.
As a teenager, he lived and worked on a
ranch, breaking-in cavalry horses. Later,
he became a champion bareback and trick
rider in rodeos around the Southwest.
“Gee whiz, I liked to show off and I fig-ured
I could ride pretty good, so I went off
to the rodeo,” he says. “I made it all right
for a while, but it’s a rather short career as
life goes. I still get on a horse pretty regu-larly
these days — a nice, gentle horse. I
can play the part of a cowboy.”
Clint Eastwood has a pair of Paul
Bond boots, and so did Paul Newman —
not to mention Frank Sinatra and Steve
McQueen. Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and
alt-country musician Dwight Yoakam
have rocked a few pairs. Rodeo clown
Wes Curtis’ chimpanzee owned a pair of
Paul Bond boots, and judging from Bond’s
laugh, you get the feeling that measuring
those ape feet was an experience he hadn’t
thought of in a while.
More impressive than his knack for
simian sizing, however, is Bond’s ability to
remember the boot sizes of so many of his
clients. Take, for example, the Duke.
“John Wayne had a pretty good sized
foot,” Bond remembers. “An 11E. He used to
come down here quite a bit because he had
some property nearby, and he and his wife
had a lot of friends in the area. He’d always
leave with a bunch of boots on order.”
Johnny Cash was a half-size bigger.
It takes a lot of leather to make all those
boots, and Bond and his wife, Margaret,
take great pride in selecting it. They travel
to market in Boston to meet with tanners
from across the globe — from France to
Australia and beyond.
“Margaret has done a lot of design-ing,
and when we go to market, she’s
great with color and texture,” Bond says.
“Women see things differently. They have
a very critical eye.” Ultimately, Margaret’s
eye and Mr. B’s craftsmanship don’t just
create boots, they create art — wearable,
enviable, individual works of art.
When they’re not researching leather
or spending time in the shop, Paul and
Margaret Bond are on the road, traveling
between Nogales and their second home
“I enjoy making boots just about as much
as anything else, but we love to drive,” Bond
says. “We always drive the same roads, but,
each time, there’s something interesting on
them. No matter what, though, I’m always
so glad to get
That’s the best
part of the
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
THE JOURNAL > people
N O G A L E S
10 n o v e m 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 11
When shooting architecture, the best shot isn’t always obvious, but with
a little maneuvering and a few compositional tweaks, a seemingly
lackluster scene can turn into a photographer’s favorite photograph.
By JEFF KIDA, photo editor
VIRTUALLY ALL B&BS STRIVE to create a sense of hominess. Some succeed, but none
make it seem as effortless as Annabel Sclippa, a charming, vivacious woman with a smile
so radiant it makes the Cheshire cat look like a pallbearer.
“Feels like home” is the refrain echoed over and over by those who
have stayed at the Annabel Inn in Cottonwood, a cozy European-style
cottage tucked away in Old Town. Inn guestbooks are stuffed with photos and bubble with
sentiment and memories. It’s like thumbing through a beloved family album. Open only 3 years,
Feels Like Home
Guests often refer to the Annabel Inn in Old Town Cottonwood as “home
away from home.” It’s certainly cozy like home, but not many homes come
with gourmet French cooking that’s deliciously indulgent and healthy, too.
By ROGER NAYLOR
every week sees guests coming back for their
second, third or 10th visit. Many visitors even
book their next stay before checking out.
Now that they’ve discovered a home away
from home, they hang on tight.
Annabel Inn is a small three-bedroom
house that seems larger because the lush
front patio becomes an extension of the
quarters. Umbrella-covered tables line the
deck, which is bordered by containers burst-ing
with Annabel’s herbs and edible flowers.
Almond and pecan trees provide fresh nuts
and afternoon shade. The yard is swaddled
in greenery with reading chairs strategically
placed near a cheerful fountain.
Guests awaken to bed-emptying aromas
emanating from the kitchen. Annabel applies
her gourmet cooking skills, French heritage
and environmental awareness to create
culinary works of art that are both deliciously
indulgent and healthy. What she doesn’t
grow, she purchases locally. She also creates
many of the things you’ll see on the table, like
lavender honey and herb butter.
After countless requests for recipes,
Annabel finally put together a slender cook-book
titled, One Dozen Little French Breakfasts
and the Little Stories That Came With Them.
Included are favorites such as stuffed french
toast and a ratatouille omelet.
While Annabel cooks, guests flow in and
out of the kitchen, pouring coffee, fetching
juice from the fridge or carrying recyclables
out to the porch. Not many inns allow such
a complete run of the house, but at this B&B
it seems natural. Everybody wants to watch
Annabel work, or hear more of her stories, for
which there’s a lot of material.
Among other things, Annabel is toiling on
a couple of novels, she travels internation-ally,
she skydives, she takes horseback and
motorcycle rides, and she still finds time to
organize events in the Old Town galleries and
restaurants that are just outside her door. Oh,
and by the way, she manages this hectic life-style
from a wheelchair. Annabel has been
paralyzed from the waist down since an auto
accident in 1988, when she was 17.
The Annabel Inn draws a mix of interna-tional
visitors, eco-friendly travelers, chow-hounds,
bikers, girlfriends on getaways, wine
connoisseurs, birders and adventurers. But
they share a com-mon
trait. They like
to stay at a place
that feels like home.
Annabel Inn is located at 611
N. Seventh Street in Cotton-wood.
For more information,
call 928-649-3038 or visit
For people who like
to shoot images of
cityscapes, the most
important factor is
timing. Your best
results will often hap-pen
20 to 30 minutes
before sunrise or after
sunset. During that
there’s a brief
when faint daylight
balances with the
electrical grid. At sun-set,
try shooting just
as the sun goes down,
and then make a new
exposure every couple
of minutes thereafter.
Check your camera’s
LCD to get an overall
feel for your composi-tion,
and be sure to
check the histogram
for proper exposure.
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.
RICHARD MAACK HAD TO solve a few problems before capturing this image of the gallows at the Tombstone
courthouse. Working within the limited space of a walled courtyard and dealing with an uninspiring sky were
two of the obstacles he overcame in creating this image, which is one of his favorites. “I use this image as an
example in photo workshops, not only because of the physical difficulty of the shot, but because it illustrates
many visual and compositional techniques that I hold dear,” Maack says. “Shadows create drama. Diagonals
create motion. The eye will follow a diagonal. Framing devices help contain the eye, and the eye goes to the
brightest part of the scene. As photographers, these are some of the tools we can use to subliminally direct the
viewers while creating an image that’s not only interesting, but also enjoyable to look at. The net result is a pho-tograph
that takes the eyes on a little joyride, but always brings them back to the scene.”
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
PHOTOGRAPH BY RICHARD MAACK
C O T T O N W O O D
12 n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0
ON NOVEMBER 16, 1928, Emery Kolb opened the door of his pho-tography
studio, which sat — and still sits — on the literal edge of
the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, and met a young couple who had
just hiked up the Bright Angel Trail from the Colorado
River. Glen and Bessie Hyde were on their honeymoon,
and they’d sought out the most famous river runner in
the country to discuss their current adventure.
The Hydes talked about how they’d spent the past 26 days run-ning
the Colorado River in their homemade scow from Green River,
Neither Hyde nor Hair
There are many mysteries associated with
the Grand Canyon, including how it was
formed. One of the modern mysteries is the
disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde, an
adventurous couple who vanished while
running the river on their honeymoon in 1928.
By SALLY BENFORD
Cattle left a mark on our November 1960
issue. At the time, almost 13,000 different
brands were used to distinguish cattle own-ership
among the registered ranchers in the
state. The issue also included stories about
copper, Arizona’s not-so-hidden treasure,
and a mining bonanza that took place on the
state’s desert land.
50 years ago
I N A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S
THEJOURNAL > history THEJOURNAL > history
Utah, to the area near Phan-tom
Ranch. Impressed, Kolb
spent the day with the cou-ple,
having lunch, showing
them around the South Rim
and photographing them.
Glen and Bessie discussed
the few problems they’d had
on the first part of their trip,
and how they intended to
follow the river all the way
to Needles, California, mak-ing
Bessie the first woman to
raft the entire length of the
Canyon. They expected to
seek their fortune by writ-ing
a book based on Bessie’s
journal notes and photo-graphs,
and by discussing
their Grand Canyon experi-ence
on the lecture circuit.
On November 17, after
their time with Emery Kolb,
the couple left the South
Rim and spent the next
two days visiting Phantom
Ranch and negotiating Horn
Creek Rapid. On November 18, they stopped at Her-mit
Camp for lunch, after which they hiked a mile
back to the river and cast off toward Hermit Rapid at
Mile 95. It was the last time they’d ever be seen.
By December 12, when the couple hadn’t reached
their takeout point at Needles, Glen’s father, R.C.
Hyde, gathered a search party that included Emery
and Ellsworth Kolb. On Christmas Day, the Hydes’ scow, which
was filled with their supplies and Bessie’s journal, camera and
rolls of film, was found floating in an eddy on the river just above
Mile 237. The final entry in Bessie’s journal
read: “November 30, Ran 16 rapids today.”
Although it’s presumed that the Hydes
died along the river, their disappearance
remains a mystery.
To learn more about the
mystery, read Sunk With-out
a Sound: The Tragic
Colorado River Honey-
moon of Glen and Bessie
Hyde by Brad Dimock.
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY CLINE LIBRARY
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 13
Although he’s best known for
his exploration of the Sierra
Nevada, John Muir, founder of
the Sierra Club and one of
America’s great naturalists,
also logged some time in
Arizona. When he visited the
Petrified Forest (pictured) in
1905, he called it “a kaleido-scope
fashioned by God’s
hand.” By 1906, Muir con-vinced
his friend, President
Theodore Roosevelt, to protect
that kaleidoscope by creating
Petrified Forest National
Monument. Fifty-six years
later, the monument became a
national park. Information: 928-
524-6228 or www.nps.gov/pefo.
UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC LIBRARY
■ In November 1850,
U.S. Army Captain
Yuma to protect im-migrants
cross the Colorado
■ On November 10,
Lester Frank Ward
began a thorough
study of a petri-fied
of Holbrook. Ward
efforts be made to
preserve the region
■ Percival Lowell,
founder of Lowell
Flagstaff, died from
complications of a
stroke on November
12, 1916. He was
buried on Mars Hill
at the observatory.
G R A N D
C A N Y O N
14 n o v e m 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 15
THEJOURNAL > nature
FOUR YEARS AGO, CASA ANTIGUA opened its doors in a two-story building that once
served as a saloon and bordello, and later as the Montezuma Inn. The restaurant, of
course, wasn’t anything like a cathouse, but it was just as popular, and quickly became
known as a place where hungry patrons could enjoy delicious Mexican food at great
prices. Although the restaurant recently moved to new digs — a hideaway storefront at
the east end of the Bashas’ shopping center — the allure remains the same.
It all begins with owner Jose Rivas and his wife, Floridalma. They’re hands-on hosts.
In fact, don’t be surprised if Jose personally mixes you a margarita and serves you dinner.
“You don’t enjoy just the food, but the atmosphere,” he says. “It’s a good feeling in here.”
Rivas, who had never owned a business and has never set foot in Mexico, stumbled
upon the restaurant’s original location by chance while visiting a friend. Within a month,
he bought the property, moved from Chicago and revamped the menu. He also
changed the name. Casa Antigua, or “old house,” commemorates the original
restaurant’s history while also honoring a city (Antigua) in Rivas’ birthplace
of Guatemala, a country he regards as his “old home.”
As he did with the restaurant’s name, Rivas put a lot of thought into his menu. “For
every item we have, there are different tastes,” Rivas says. “You can tell right away, and I
think that’s authentic Mexican food.”
Start with the self-serve chips and salsa in an old-fashioned cart that trusts the cus-tomer
to “take only what you need.” The thick, golden crisps are fried on-site and pair per-
The Second Course
Although Casa Antigua has moved to a new location,
it remains a place where hungry patrons can enjoy
delicious Mexican food at equally palatable prices.
By LEAH DURAN
fectly with all three flavors of homemade
salsa. Wash them down with “the coldest
beer in Arizona” from a bottle wearing a
necklace of thick frost.
Casa Antigua features daily specials
like Taco Tuesday, when tacos cost $1.
Rivas labels himself as curious, which
might explain the potato taco, an uncanny
but satisfying mix of french fries, cheese,
tomatoes and lettuce. Other house favor-ites
include enchiladas and chimichangas.
(Psst: If you ask nicely, you can get the lat-ter
filled with fish, even though it’s not on
Rivas prides himself not only on service,
but also on freshly made dishes like the
Seven Seas Soup. This legendary hangover
cure includes a nutritious mix of scallops,
octopus and calamari sure to please your
palate and your wallet.
“My work is to make you happy,” Rivas
says. “I want to make
sure that every cus-tomer
here is going to come
Casa Antigua is located
at 422 Finnie Flat Road
in Camp Verde. For
more information, call
THEJOURNAL > dining
O N L I N E For more dining in Arizona, visit our “Dining Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
When it comes to fight or
flight in the face of danger,
the scaled quail will always
choose flight, but not in the way you might
imagine. Rather than taking wing away from
its predators, this chickenesque resident of
the Chihuahuan Desert prefers to use its
sturdy legs and run.
It’s an instinct that serves the quail well,
particularly as it darts in and out of its pre-ferred
habitat — the dry grasslands of South-eastern
Arizona, near the state’s borders with
Mexico and New Mexico. When searching
for a place to roost, the scaled quail has three
contradictory criteria: cover, concealment
and wide-open spaces. It’s drawn to areas
that contain plenty of mesquite, saltbush,
yucca and skunkbush. It’s also fond of native
bunchgrasses, like switchgrass, tobosa and
The quail uses the cover for foraging and
wintering, as well as a means of escape from
hungry predators. It roosts on the ground
and usually forages in the early morning and
late evening, searching for thistle, snakeweed,
mesquite, pigweed, flax and ragweed seeds.
In spring and summer, the quail likes a steady
diet of six-legged crawlers: ants, desert ter-mites
and beetles. It supplements that pro-tein
with plants, including Christmas cactus
and prickly pear fruit.
Even more impressive than its diverse
meal plan is the quail’s early aptitude. Within
hours of hatching, baby quails are up and
walking, following their parents. Hours
later, they can forage for themselves, scoot
away from predators and find their parents
with calls of paycos, paycos, paycos. Within a
month, the young quails are capable of flight.
As winter coveys form, family bonds are
broken and the quails begin to seek out
mates. Male members of the species pro-duce
a raspy mating call and effect a pretty
posture, complete with erect yellow-brown
feathers. Once a female answers the call, the
pair ventures off to nest, usually beneath
cactuses or dense brush. Breeding begins in
early spring and continues through Septem-ber,
but the quail produces only one brood
of five to 22 cream-colored, brown-speckled
eggs per year.
Eats Like a Bird The scaled quail has a diverse meal plan. In
the fall and winter, it forages for seeds like many other birds, but in spring
and summer, the chickenesque resident of the Chihuahuan Desert also
feeds on a steady diet of ants, desert termites and beetles. By KELLY KRAMER
It doesn’t take a
to figure out why
beetles are called
for their lengthy
beetles are com-mon
in Arizona —
and cactus borer
host plants. The
up to 6 inches in
length, feed on the
roots of distressed
trees and shrubs.
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
C A M P
V E R D E
16 n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0
GR AN D CAN YON
January at the Grand
Canyon is a great time to
capture the natural wonder
at its finest. Cool crisp air
provides crystalline light —
the kind that photographers
crave — and shorter day-light
hours create a lower
angle of the sun, meaning
there are more hours of that
sweet light. Join renowned
photographer Peter Ensen-berger
for our Winterscapes
workshop, which takes
place January 15-17. Informa-tion:
888-790-7042 or www.
THEJOURNAL > things to do
NOV EMB E R 7 TUCSON
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and
other celebrity guests, including actress
Patricia Clarkson, playwright Howard
Altmann and political cartoonist David
Fitzsimmons, will read their favorite poems
at Centennial Hall in celebration of The Uni-versity
of Arizona Poetry Center’s 50th anni-versary.
Information: 520-626-4310 or www.
N O V EMB E R 1 3
This annual fundraiser
sponsored by Phoenix Zoo
Volunteers features unique
holiday gifts, from pottery
and jewelry to dolls, home
decor, photography, wall
art, holiday cards and more.
Meet local artisans, pur-chase
raffle tickets, find a
good used book, or partici-pate
in the auction.
Fine Art & Wine
NOV EMB ER 1 9 -2 1 P HOENI X
Head to CityNorth for one of the best art fests in the country. This
annual event boasts more than 165 artists offering 5,000 original
works of art in various media, including sculptures, photography,
etchings, paintings and drawings, batiks, enamels, jewelry and more.
Sip fine wines as you peruse the artwork and listen to live music. Infor-mation:
480-837-5637 or www.thunderbirdartists.com.
NOVEMB ER 1 1 S TAT EWI DE
America’s best idea just got better. This
month, the National Park Service cele-brates
Veteran’s Day with free admission
at participating parks and monuments.
Take advantage of this fee-free day at
more than 15 locations throughout Ari-zona,
including Chiricahua National Mon-ument,
Saguaro National Park and Walnut
Canyon National Monument. Information:
Holiday Walking Tour
NOV EMB E R 2 7-2 8 PATAGONI A
Dozens of unique artists open their galleries on the weekend follow-ing
Thanksgiving for a walking tour and movable feast. Featured local
artists include toy makers, potters, gourd artists, weavers, painters,
watercolorists and quilters. Various local restaurants will also partici-pate,
and refreshments will be available. Information: 888-794-0030 or
HELP US ...
HELP OUr StatE ParkS!
Like every other state in the country,
Arizona is dealing with a budget crisis.
As a state-owned publication, Arizona
Highways has felt the impact, and so have
our Arizona State Parks. In an effort to
weather the storm, we’re teaming up with
our park colleagues to help ensure that
Arizona, through the pages of our magazine
and the state’s 30 parks, remains open and
accessible to residents and visitors alike.
Here’s How You Can Help:
For every $24 subscription (1 year) to Arizona Highways,
we’ll donate $5 to the Arizona State Parks Foundation!
It’s easy, and it will make a difference.
Slide Rock State Park in Sedona. Photograph by Derek von Briesen
For more information and park-specific
promo codes, call 800-543-5432 or visit
18 n o v e m 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
T H E N&N O W
A R I Z O N A
When you’ve been around as long as we have — 85
years — you see a lot of changes. From the entrance
station at the Grand Canyon to the train station in
Douglas, things aren’t what they used to be. In some
cases, the differences are minimal, and in others,
like Glen Canyon, they’re monumental. Recently,
we dug up some “then” shots, shook our heads in
wonder, and thought you might like to see them, too,
especially as they compare to the “now.”
A PORTFOLIO EDITED BY
JEFF KIDA & SALLY BENFORD
Part Swiss chalet and part Norwegian villa, the El Tovar Hotel has played
an important role at the Grand Canyon since it opened in 1905.
Constructed by the Santa Fe Railway to lure tourists to the Grand
Canyon, the building is reminiscent of an Old World hunting lodge, with
massive wood beams, stone fireplaces, mounted animal trophies and, of
course, incredible views of the Canyon. The El Tovar celebrated its 100th
anniversary with a $5 million renovation, and it’s one of only a handful of
historic Harvey House facilities still in operation today.
el tovar lodge,
south r im, grand canyon
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK MUSEUM COLLECTION
20 n o v e m 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 El Paso & Southwestern Railroad
Depot in Douglas illustrates early 1900s
railway building architecture. Named for
mining pioneer James Douglas, the town
was established in 1901 as a smelter site
for the Bisbee copper mines. Now used as
the Douglas police station, the former
depot is just one of this Southern Arizona
town’s 400 buildings that are listed on the
National Register of Historic Places.
Although a couple of Norwegian
brothers introduced snow-skiing
to Flagstaff in 1915, the sport’s
popularity really caught on with
the establishment of the Arizona
Snowbowl in the 1930s. Workers
with the Civilian Conservation
Corps constructed roads, ski runs
and lifts within the San Francisco
Peaks, and in 1941, a lodge open-ed.
The original lodge burned
down in 1952, but that’s not the
only change. Along with Snowbowl’s
modern amenities, you’ll
find both skiers and snowboard-ers
plowing down the popular ski
area’s powdery slopes.
El PASO & S outhwestern
Railroad Depot, douglas
snowbowl, flagstaff 1942
T H E N&N O W
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY CLINE LIBRARY
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
22 n o v e m 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
When Tempe’s Mill Avenue
Bridge was dedicated on
May 1, 1933, Valley residents
turned out in droves to cele-brate
the reliable automobile
bridge over the Salt River, which
replaced a smaller wagon bridge
on nearby Ash Avenue. Throughout
the years, when floodwaters
swelled the Salt River, wreaking
traffic havoc, the 1933 Mill
Avenue Bridge provided the most
dependable means to cross the
river. Today, the bridge spans
Tempe Town Lake, a popular
spot for recreational activities
and annual events.
1933 Named for the turn of a card in a game of poker, the town
of Show Low sits on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona’s White
a popular destination for outdoor enthusi-asts.
For years, U.S. Route 60 has carried travelers to the
area, and as the road enters town, it becomes Deuce of
Clubs Boulevard, recalling the famous card.
TEMPE HISTORY MUSEUM
COURTESY OF DALE SCHICKETANZ
24 n o v e m 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
From its headwaters near
Alpine, the San Francisco
River winds its way through
New Mexico and back into
Eastern Arizona, where the
Chiricahua Apache Indians
once roamed. In the 1870s,
a town sprang up along the
river’s banks and was
named for the high red-rock
cliffs that surround it.
Cliff Town, now known as
Clifton, is a starting point
for the Coronado Trail
The name Babbitt is practically
synonymous with the city of
Flagstaff. Since the late 1800s, the
family has operated businesses
and ranches in Northern Arizona,
including successful retail opera-tions.
In 1889, they established the
Babbitt Brothers Trading Co., and
opened a retail mercantile at the
corner of Aspen and San Francisco
streets. Although it’s had a few
facelifts over the years — the most
recent, a return to its original
façade — the building is still a
downtown Flagstaff landmark. san francisco r iver, clifton
T H E N&N O W
TOM BEAN TOM BEAN
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM IMAGES OF AMERICA: FLAGSTAFF BY JAMES E. BABBITT AND JOHN G. DEGRAFF III
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
26 n o v e m 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
Once little more than a scattering of mining claims, in 1911, the land surrounding the small
town of Ajo was on the verge of a major economic boom. Colonel John C. Greenway, along
with Mike Curley, developed the New Cornelia Copper Mine, turning Ajo into a company
town. The Curley School opened in 1919 to serve the miners’ children, and today, it’s the
pride of the town. The former school stands as the centerpiece of preservation efforts that
have transformed the abandoned Spanish Colonial building into a thriving artists’ enclave.
In the late 1800s, the Arizona Falls
along the Arizona Canal served as a
local getaway for Phoenix residents
to picnic and socialize. Nowadays,
this concrete park, situated along
Indian School Road between 56th
and 58th streets, combines history,
architecture and technology with
public art. The structure houses a
hydroelectric plant that doubles as
a neighborhood gathering place
where visitors can enjoy the cool
and soothing sounds of flowing
water in the middle of the desert.
curley school, ajo
on the a rizona canal,
T H E N&N O W
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
28 n o v e m 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
The dramatic red-rock landscapes of Sedona
make a perfect backdrop for a simple chapel
built on a hill. It was the dream of Marguerite
Brunswig Staude, who, in 1932, first envi-sioned
a cruciform-style cathedral in New
York City or Europe as a place to find God
through the arts. When she and her husband
purchased a ranch near Sedona in the early
1940s, Staude revised her idea, picturing a
chapel constructed among the region’s stun-ning
rock formations. Completed in 1956,
Chapel of the Holy Cross remains one of
Sedona’s most revered landmarks.
chapel of the
holy cross, sedona
There’s no mistaking the stately Classical Revival architecture of Yavapai County Courthouse
in downtown Prescott, once the Territorial capital. Yavapai was one of the original
four counties created by the first Territorial Legislature in 1864. In 1916, the granite court-house
was erected in the town plaza, and today it still anchors the town’s vibrant and his-toric
center. Prescott holds almost all community events — concerts, arts-and-crafts fairs,
exhibits, antique shows and seasonal celebrations, including the popular Christmas
Lighting Ceremony — at Courthouse Plaza, just as it has since its completion.
T H E N&N O W
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY CLINE LIBRARY
30 n o v e m 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
Prior to May 1915, if you wanted to cross the lower
Colorado River at Yuma, you had to take a ferry. The
first vehicle bridge to span the lower Colorado, the
336-foot-long structure provided a safe and reliable
means for vehicles to cross the river for the next 73
years, before it closed in 1988. In 2001, the bridge
was renovated and, in 2003, it received an award
from the Arizona Preservation Foundation. Since
then, the structure has been added to the National
Register of Historic Places.
ocean-to-ocean highway, Y uma
By 1940, Phoenix was home to a
bustling downtown business dis-trict,
as seen in this photograph
of Washington Street and Central
Avenue. In the decade
World War II, the population of
Phoenix nearly doubled, resulting
in the development of outlying
suburbs. Over the next several
the Valley’s population
exploded, and suburban sprawl
created growing problems with
air quality and gridlock. Enter
light rail. Today, Valley Metro
trains run through the heart of
downtown Phoenix, carrying pas-sengers
through the central corri-dor
T H E N&N O W
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
32 n o v e m 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
During the heydey of automobile travel, a stone monument near Williams and
U.S. Route 66 beckoned tourists to visit Arizona’ s No. 1 attraction: The Grand
Canyon. Possibly constructed by CCC workers in the 1930s, this sign pointed
the way to the South Rim. The sign was taken down when Interstate 40 diverted
traffic from Route 66, but visitors still flock to the national park through the
South Rim Entrance Station at the end of State Route 64.
In its third incarnation, the Pima County
Courthouse in Tucson offers a classic exam-ple
of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture,
which includes stucco, red-tiled roofs, arches
opening onto a central courtyard and a dome
covered with ceramic tile. Built in 1928, the
courthouse occupies land that was once part
of the old Tucson Presidio. Today, it func-tions
as a county office building. Visitors can
see both the courthouse and a reconstruc-tion
of the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson
along the Presidio Trail, a historic downtown
walking tour of the Old Pueblo.
South r im en trance,
T H E N&N O W
TOM BEAN ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 35
IN R EHAB
Arizona isn’t exactly the center of the architectural
universe. Most of what exists isn’t very old or isn’t
very interesting. However, there are some amazing
structures around the state, and many of them are
being rehabilitated, including the iconic Mission
San Xavier del Bac near Tucson and a scattering of
old buildings in the warehouse district of Phoenix.
by lawrence w. cheek 34 n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0
36 n o v e m 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 37
RReal craftsmanship, they say, belongs to the past. Fine detailing
by meticulous hands, especially in architecture, is a vanished art,
rendered obsolete by mass production and modern builders’ relentless
scramble for profitability.
If you believe that, look closely at the flouncy garland accenting
the lower west façade window of Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tuc-son’s
incomparable architectural treasure. A contemporary craftsman
named Danny Morales sculpted this baroque eyebrow from a putty of
lime and sand and cactus mucilage, using trowel and eye to re-create
the ancient ornament, the original nagged into ruin by two centuries
of rain and wind.
Real craftsmanship, in fact, is entirely alive and finding fresh ways
to preserve Arizona’s architectural heritage. Sometimes it’s applied
toward preserving the splendor of the past, as in San Xavier. At its
opposite pole, in Phoenix’s tattered warehouse district, it’s more the
craft of imagination, with startling makeovers generating new lives for
early 20th century buildings. In between lie many thorny challenges
and quiet success stories. Arizona has a richer architectural heritage
than many of its own residents realize.
“Most Arizonans have come from somewhere else, so their heritage
is somewhere else,” says Jim Garrison, the state’s historic preservation
officer. “Preservation has been kind of a tag-along to environmental
consciousness. We now think of preserving buildings as the greenest
thing you can do. There’s not as much impetus for preserving build-ings
for their cultural importance or beauty as there should be.”
There’s also not as much official aid now as there used to be. Since
1990, the state’s Heritage Fund had been handing out $1.7 million a
year in matching grants for preservation projects, but in 2010 that
fund was diverted to state parks operations. When the economy is
strapped, history has to compete with current needs, and history
may not seem as compelling — until you take a close look at a place
like San Xavier.
The mission, completed in 1797, has been assaulted by the elements
and good intentions throughout its long life. An early preservation
effort in 1898 sheathed the walls and roof in Portland cement. Eighty
years later, the roof got a layer of modern acrylic sealant. As well-meaning
as those efforts were, they were the wrong prescriptions. As
the building warmed in the sun and cooled at night, the new skin and
old fired-adobe brick underneath expanded and contracted at differ-ent
rates, inviting cracks that admitted seeping water. In the 1990s,
preservation architect Bob Vint discovered, to his alarm, live lichens
inside the walls. Whenever a building has organic materials thriving
within it, that means they’re eating it.
The fix turned out to be an ancient formula: a covering mortar of
lime, sand and prickly pear cactus juice. It was probably devised by the
Moors, and then transplanted to Mexico in the 17th or 18th century.
The juice — more precisely, mucilage — is extracted from the cactus
by boiling. It’s elastic, which allows the mortar to flex.
“You have to think of the structure of San Xavier as a living organ-ism,”
Vint says. “It needs to breathe.”
Vint has been overseeing the restoration for 20 years, substantially
longer than the 14 years the original construction took. It isn’t fin-ished
yet. A team of meticulous Italian art restorers spent 5 years
repairing and cleaning the dazzling cavalcade of statuary, paintings
and architectural ornament. The
west bell tower was finished in 2005
after another 5 years of work. Not
everything is as it was in 1797 — the
emphasis is on practical, not purist,
preservation. The pointy finials were
originally brick, then concrete, and
now fiberglass replicas, though you
can’t tell unless you rap them with
a knuckle. “We were worried about
concrete falling in an earthquake,”
Vint explains. Inside, in unfrequented
places like the tower stairwells, 19th
century graffiti endures. The idea, increasingly accepted in preserva-tion
circles today, is that a building forms a narrative of the culture that
uses it. If that use includes abuse, well, it’s part of the story.
Vint grew up in Tucson in the 1960s, an era when the city furiously
bulldozed its heritage so it could begin acting like a modern American
city with freeways and shopping malls. He says that’s part of the rea-son
he became an architect, stayed in his hometown and specialized
in preservation. He’s brought abandoned adobe and brick houses back
from the dead, designed a respectful addition for Linda Ronstadt’s
1928 Tucson house, and renovated parts of the 1941 train depot into
a restaurant. The east bell tower of San Xavier, now looking forlorn
next to its resplendent sister, is praying for a financial angel, and when
restoration funds appear, Vint will oversee that project, too.
About the danger of fatigue from the mission’s endless demands,
Vint says: “Oh, no. It’s meaningful work — what we all hope for in life.”
PRECEDING PANEL: Work to re-pair,
restore and preserve historic
Mission San Xavier del Bac has
been ongoing for 20 years.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RICHARD MAACK
LEFT: Scaffolding filled San Xavier
during a major interior preserva-tion
effort in the 1990s.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DON B. STEVENSON
ABOVE: An art conservator under-takes
the painstaking task of re-moving
the scars of time from a
painting inside San Xavier. Through
much of the 1990s, conservators
worked to return the mission’s art
to its original splendor.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DON B. STEVENSON
You have to think
of the structure of
San Xavier as a living
organism. It needs to
38 n o v e m 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 39
San Xavier is Arizona’s highest-profile
preservation project, but one
of the increasing pleasures of prowl-ing
the state is stumbling across fine
old buildings doing new work — in
unlikely places. Prescott’s lovely Vic-torian
core is rightly celebrated, but
check out Ajo, a retired mining town 120 miles west of Tucson. Its
downtown is an architectural delight designed along the principles
of the City Beautiful movement: a central plaza framed by a Spanish
Colonial arcade, with spoke-like streets radiating into the neighbor-hoods.
Curley School, the 1919 high school, was transformed into
30 live-work artists’ apartments, and in 2008 the project won the
Governor’s Heritage Preservation grand prize (see related story, Then
& Now, page 18).
“It was really an economic development effort,” says Tracy Taft, exec-utive
director of the International
Sonoran Desert Alliance, which pur-
chased the school and drove the
$9.6 million renovation. With min-ing
gone, Ajo needed an infusion of
working people, and, of course, art-ists
readily respond to the allure of
cheap rent. Curley School’s former
classrooms, now sunny apartments
ranging from 720 to 1,500 square feet,
go for $375 to $650 a month. Taft says
the school is full.
Aside from replacing the decayed
roof and windows, the Alliance
rightly left the building’s exterior
alone. It’s the Spanish Colonial
Revival in full cry, with a guardian
owl perched over a second-story por-tal
and a dome swirling with scrolls
and urns and decorative fandangos.
As with many of Arizona’s early 20th
century public buildings, it was a
way of investing the fledgling frontier
state with the veneer of sophistication
— and the imagined romance of the
Spanish Colonial life that had passed
through a century or two earlier.
Another surprising small town
stuffed with historic buildings is
Florence, far off to the side of the
arterial freeway linking Phoenix and
Tucson and, until recently, bypassed
by the mainstream economy. As pres-ervationists
know, this is typically
a quiet blessing for a town’s archi-tectural
heritage: Developers and
bulldozers aren’t lined up, itching to
knock things down and replace them
with big, bland and profitable mod-ern
Slowly but determinedly for 30 years, Florence has been plugging
away at rehabbing ruins and stripping mid-20th century remuddlings
off its 19th century downtown buildings, and now has some successes
to show off. The 1885 Clarke House, an intriguing architectural mon-grel
that grafted Victorian details onto a Sonoran adobe, had huddled
in ruin for decades. Now it serves as the local newspaper’s office. The
Brunenkant Bakery, a skinny brick box with a wistful echo of the
Italian Renaissance in its decorative lintels, now houses the town’s
visitors center. Compared to the exuberant 19th century architecture
of Boston or New Orleans, the details of these buildings seem modest
indeed. But you can read an entire culture’s history in them — the
story of a small desert town’s determined efforts to dress for success.
Florence has one building that’s more than aspirational, an example
of architectural dazzle that would have been right at home in the
New England of 1890 — and it’s in trouble. The Second Pinal County
Courthouse, a wonderful pile of Victorian extravagance built in 1891,
was vacated in 2005, and Pinal County is looking for an estimated
$5 million for a renovation. The decades haven’t treated it kindly.
There are holes in the plaster; the once-elegant wainscoting is gouged
and stained; too many coats of paint blunt the woodwork. An unused
building deteriorates rapidly, and Florence hasn’t figured out a new
use for this one yet.
Overlooking the state’s preservation efforts from his Phoenix
office, Garrison sees many successes despite difficult times. “We
often say poverty is one of the better forces for preservation,” he says,
and explains how a school district equalization law has led to several
excellent adaptations for old school buildings. The rule demanded
that all buildings within a district meet equal standards, and the cost
of renovating some old buildings prompted districts to close them —
which spurred recycling efforts. Florence’s 1916 high school became
the school district’s new headquarters. Casa Grande transformed its
high school into a proud-looking city hall, and Phoenix Union High
School became the Phoenix branch of the University of Arizona’s
College of Medicine.
Most of these renovations incorporate some new construction,
and there’s a sharp and obvious distinction between old and new.
Preservationists consider it dishonest to try to hide a renovation
by dressing additions in historic style. The best of all worlds is
to preserve the spirit of the original while boldly expressing its
Other success stories are, of all things, urban warehouses. It’s
a surprise because Arizona, never a heavy-industry state, doesn’t
have a great archive of 19th century industrial buildings. But one
of the wonders of preservation is in taking a type of building that
has gone unnoticed and neglected, and turning it into something
spectacularly useful and interesting.
Michael Levine is doing this, again and again. He arrived in
Phoenix a couple of decades back with a wildly scattered résumé
in design and contracting and welding, and a craving to create
large-scale metal sculpture. He chose Arizona because he dis-covered
that the two cities with the largest budgets for public
sculpture were Phoenix and Seattle, and “in Phoenix the art
In 1991 Levine bought the first in a string of dilapidated ware-houses
south of the tracks and downtown Phoenix — “bull-dozer
bait,” he calls them. Where other developers envisioned
parking lots for U.S. Airways Center and Chase Field, Levine
saw a cultural heritage that begged to be saved. He bought one
industrial building after another, peeled off paint and resealed
wood, converting them to surprising new uses — one became a
high-end art gallery — and manically dug into their histories as
“The only philosophy was to be true to the building and the
builders, and to find out what the occupants were doing with the
building, and try to do something that honored them,” he says.
That doesn’t mean returning the building to anything like
its original use or architectural form. Essentially, Levine and his
partner, Angela Paladino, hollowed out the shells, reinforced
structures where necessary, and crafted new spaces to accom-modate
21st century activities. And honored the ghosts. About
cleaning up the Karlson Machine Works building, which even-tually
won the Governor’s Heritage Preservation grand prize in
2007, Levine says, “We found all these beautifully machined aluminum
parts, pins and gears and hubs, just leftover pieces. So I made the
windows raw, nonanodized aluminum as my ode to Mr. Karlson.” The
building now accommodates an artists’ co-op, a wedding parapherna-lia
supplier and events. Levine isn’t picky about new uses. “I save the
buildings, first and foremost,” he says. “Build it and they will come.”
In Tucson, architect Rob Paulus has been not only repurposing
buildings, but also, with remarkable imagination, their pieces. When
he converted the 1923 Arizona Ice and Cold Storage Co. into condos,
the old refrigeration piping became the pool fence. Five lineal miles of
wooden boxcar siding enclosed the courtyard. Refrigeration machin-ery
has been left on display as industrial sculpture. Completed in 2005,
the project sold out almost before it was finished. Paulus thinks one
word explains that success: “authenticity.”
More than anything else, that’s the point of historic preservation
and reuse. Civilization is messy, inconsistent, forever in the throes of
change and adaptation. Our buildings rightly reflect that. The only
tragedy is throwing them away.
ABOVE: Residents of Florence
are working diligently to raise
the estimated $5 million required
to renovate the second Pinal
County Courthouse. PHOTOGRAPH
BY JEFF KIDA
OPPOSITE PAGE: Once the
Brunenkant Bakery, this stand-alone
building now serves as the
visitors center for the city of
Florence. PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF KIDA
40 n o v e m 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
“MY DEAR WILLA,” wrote author Sarah Orne Jewett in December
1908. “I cannot help saying what I think about your writing and its
being hindered by such incessant, important, responsible work as you
have in your hands now. ... When one’s first working power has spent
itself, nothing brings it back just the same, and I do wish in my heart
that the force of this very year could have gone into three or four stories.”
Jewett, an author from New England, touched a nerve in the
writer from Nebraska. Willa Cather was 34, living in New York City.
Though she had published a book of poetry and a handful of stories,
her demanding editorial job at McClure’s magazine left her little time
for her own work. She knew her fiction was not improving.
The fact that the distinguished older writer, then nearly 70, took the
time to tell her so gave Cather a motive to change. In her long response,
Cather wrote that Jewett’s reproof made her “willing to begin all over
again and try to be good,” the way whippings had when she was a
child. Slowly, over the next 4 years, Cather laid the groundwork for
her withdrawal from magazine editing.
She began by pushing herself to complete a novel in the midst of her
duties at McClure’s. In 1911, Alexander’s Bridge (set in London and New
York) was published as a three-part serial in the magazine and then
as a book. On the basis of this accomplishment, she went on extended
leave, first to rest and write in upstate New York, and then to vacation
with her younger brother, Douglass, who
was working for the railroad in Winslow,
Initially Cather found Winslow ugly and
complained about her brother’s roommates.
Willa Cather is regarded as one of the great American
novelists of the 20th century. Her talent was innate, but
it was an extended stay at Walnut Canyon that allowed
the Nebraska native to discover herself as both a writer
and a person. The natural beauty of the canyon had an
effect, but it was a spiritual connection to the ancient
people who lived there that changed her the most.
b y J a ne B a r ne s
The stunning backdrops
and vanished civilization
of Walnut Canyon inspired
writer Willa Cather during
a 1912 trip to Arizona.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM BEAN
42 n o v e m 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 43
But as things began to happen, she shed her defenses and became
astonishingly open to this new world. Though she never took notes,
the vivid impressions of the next few months provided her with
enough material for several novels.
Accident shaped her itinerary in Arizona, taking her to the Grand
Canyon, the Painted Desert and to the missions. Her travels culmi-nated
at Walnut Canyon (now a national monument), where she
signed in as “Miss Cather” on the visitors’ register on May 23, 1912.
The canyon is striking for its depth and elevation. Its life began mil-lions
of years ago when a small stream first started to flow through the
rock. The water took millions of years to carve out the first 200 feet of
the Kaibab limestone at the top of the canyon. It took millions more
years to cut through the layer of Coconino sandstone with its taffy
swirls and cross-bedded striations that form the lower walls. Gradu-ally,
wind, rain and snow worked on the bands of vulnerable sand-stone
and carved out a continuous line of caves suitable for human life.
Around a.d. 600, Puebloan Indians began to live on the top of the
canyon. Some 500 years later, possibly to extend their own farmlands,
possibly for defense, they moved down into the cliffs’ caves. And then,
after only another 200 years, they vanished. The surviving pieces of
their pottery indicate a high level of art in their everyday objects, as
well as a developed ceremonial relation to life and death.
Amid the ancient dwellings, Cather knew she had “got to a place
where she was out of the stream of meaningless activity and undi-rected
effort,” as she later wrote.
In 1912, a ranger’s cabin stood a couple of miles west of the current
visitors center. To reach it, visitors rode the train from Cliffs, and scram-bled
over fallen rocks to gain access to more dwellings than today’s
visitors see. For Cather, the tumbled rocks added to the purity of the
experience — the sense of being the first person to come into com-munion
with the vanished civilization, of being its direct modern heir.
And she was more modern than she liked. In spite of her forceful
pursuit of an education and a career at a time when it was unusual
for a woman, there was much she found confusing, even frighten-ing
in herself. In her novels and public statements, Cather gives the
impression of a stately monumentality — as if the irreducible forms of
cubism came to her effortlessly. Without her letters (from which her
will prohibits extensive quotation), we would not know how much
turmoil, anxiety and self-doubt she had to control.
In her reply to Jewett’s gentle challenge, for instance, Cather wrote
that magazine work made her feel “dis-possessed
and bereft” of herself. Unfor-tunately,
she was good at it. She was
better at learning what was needed at
the office than she was at learning how
to develop her own work. She was such
a good executive that her boss, the char-ismatic
S.S. McClure, told her to concen-trate
on that because she “would never
amount to much as a writer.”
After Cather arranged the Southwest-ern
trip, so that she could think about her
work, she panicked in another way. In
letters to her friend Elizabeth Sergeant,
Cather wrote with apprehension about
“the bigness of the West.” She swept Ari-zona
up into one great terrifying image of her home state of Nebraska
and described how she had always been afraid of “being swallowed
up by the distances.” She felt “paralyzed,” though she disparaged this
in herself as completely unsuitable for “a person who wanted to write
about the country.” By “country,” Cather meant America, but in her
malaise, she failed to distinguish between the Midwest of her youth,
where “the wind was a soporific,” where she had fears of “dying in a
cornfield,” and the Southwest, which was still unknown to her.
As it turned out, it was the place where she became known to her-self.
At Walnut Canyon, Cather finally found her own center. She was
surrounded by civilization, but free from its demands. She was alone in
a great space, but the cliff dwellers had domesticated it so she did not
feel overwhelmed. In Song of the Lark, a novel based directly on Cather’s
experience in Arizona, the heroine, Thea, stays at a nearby ranch and
visits the canyon by day. It’s not clear if Cather had a similar arrange-ment
or camped in the park with her brother. Thea is a singer in the
novel, but she reflects Cather’s own unfolding as an artist. “What I
cared about, and still care about, was the girl’s escape,” Cather wrote
in 1932. Both women found the fictional and the living means of their
escapes — their transformations, really — in a room in the long hori-zontal
groove of caves. “This was her old idea: a nest in a high cliff, full
of sun.” Within this niche in the “everlasting” rock, out of time and
perched above the world, these artists opened themselves to their gifts.
All her life she had been hurrying and sputtering, as if she had
been born behind time and had been trying to catch up. Now, she
reflected, it was as if she were waiting for something to catch up with
her. Willa’s determined, often anxious, ideas of what “art” should
be dissolved, allowing for a new spontaneous flow. As she let herself
expand in the solitude and silence at Walnut Canyon, Cather’s powers
bubbled up like a spring, fresh and full of delight.
Cather wrote this about her character, Thea, at Panther Cañon (the
fictional name she used for Walnut Canyon): “Her power to think
seemed converted into a power of sustained sensation. She could
become a mere receptacle for heat, or become a color, like the bright
lizards that darted about on the hot stones outside her door; or she
could become a continuous repetition of sound, like the cicadas.”
Cather associated her own self-discovery with specific aspects of
the Southwestern landscape: color, light and rock. Again and again,
as her descriptions developed in her novels Song of the Lark and Death
Comes for the Archbishop, these elements are associated with heightened
artistic consciousness. What was monotonous or
repetitious about the Southwest did not threaten
Cather the way the drowsy wind, rich earth and
greenness of Nebraska did. For her, the monotony
in the landscape was simplifying — like Indian
drums accenting basic rhythms.
While she did not actually hear drums, the
Indian presence was indistinguishable from the
physical experience of Walnut Canyon. Cather
could reach up and pick off the cave ceiling car-bon
flakes left by smoke from the Indians’ cook-ing
Pieces of pottery still littered the ground, intimately conveying
a sense of what she had previously known only from her reading.
Cather admired the mixture of modesty and aspiration in the Indian
artisans’ products that functioned both as common utensils and as
sacred vessels. Not surprisingly, she was alert to the fact that women
performed the potter’s most honored task. “All ... their religion went
back to water. The men provided the food, but water was the care of
the women. The stupid women carried water; the cleverer ones made
the vessels to hold it.”
One morning, as Thea bathes in the stream at the bottom of the
canyon, she is struck by a vision. “The stream and the broken pottery:
what was any art but an effort to make a sheath, a mould in which
to imprison for a moment the shining, elusive element which is life
itself — life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop,
too sweet to lose?” For Thea, a singer, the “sheath” or vessel is her voice.
For Cather, it was her writing. In this vision, the long perspectives
afforded by geology and vanished history collapse into urgencies of the
present moment. Relevance is brief, and the living artist must produce
while there is still time.
The insight galvanizes Thea, who soon decides to go abroad to
study, while the future author of O Pioneers!, My Antonia and
Death Comes for the Archbishop returned to New York City and
finally severed her ties with McClure’s, in order to write the
novels which would later bring her acclaim.
O Pioneers! was the first book she finished after she
returned from the Southwest. She described its creation
as effortless compared to that of Alexander’s Bridge, written
when she still thought an author had to be “interesting.”
O Pioneers! was something she wrote for herself, she said.
“But I did not in the least expect that other people would
see anything in ... a story concerned entirely with heavy
farming people, with cornfields and pasture lands and pig farms ... not
only about Nebraska farmers; the farmers were Swedes!”
Another way Cather’s meditation in the cliff dwellings clarified
her artistic aims was her discovery that she was not Henry James —
not a novelist of manners. She had something completely her own to
contribute to American literature, and the Indians of Walnut Canyon
furnished her with a simple model for it.
The Puebloans had come into the canyon for a time. The way they
lived and handled their necessities — what they created — were
direct results of their relationship to that particular landscape. The
meaning of the Indians’ experience would change for Cather over the
years, and she wrote about it differently at different times. But in 1912,
the ancient Indians helped her understand the pioneers of Nebraska.
How the pioneers lived and what they had created also directly
resulted from their relation to a particular landscape. Cather had
watched a generation of immigrants transform the frontier, yet she
hardly touched this material until she returned from the Southwest.
The distinct example of the Puebloans’ long history taught her to
appreciate the meaning of the pioneers’ short one. In Arizona, Cather
found the clarity to see not just where she wanted to go, but from
where she had come, as well.
OPPOSITE PAGE: With her
brother, Douglass, Willa
Cather sits near an
Ancestral Puebloan ruin in
a Walnut Canyon alcove.
PHOTOGRAPH FROM ARCHIVES
AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS,
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN
ABOVE: Today, visitors can
experience the ancient cliff
dwellings along the Island
Trail within Walnut Canyon
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM BEAN
RIDING THE REZ Throughout history, men and women have crossed the Navajo Nation
in a variety of ways — on horseback, in Jeeps and, most commonly,
on foot. In October 2009, a new approach was taken. That’s when a
group of 40 cyclists made the first-ever trek across the reservation
on mountain bikes. It wasn’t just for the thrill of the ride, though.
The Ride the Rez fundraiser generated more than $775,000 for charity,
including $110,000 for the Navajo people.
By Kari Redfield
Photographs by Jeff Kida
44 n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
46 n o v e m 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 47
They’d come so far for this charity ride, which
Gillenwater coordinated with 12 chapters of the
Navajo Tribe, the Navajo Park Service and the
National Park Service. In the process, he’d obtained
Many months of preparation and scouting had
brought them to this point — a pivotal moment
in the Ride the Rez fundraiser, which generated
a record $775,000 for Rancho Feliz, a charitable
foundation that does work in Mexico and donates
money to the Navajo Nation. Gil and his brother,
Troy, had driven and ridden hundreds of miles,
from the northern part of the Navajo Nation near
Mexican Hat, Utah, to the southern part of the res-ervation
near Winslow. This would be a historic
event — the first time the Navajo Nation would be
crossed on mountain bikes. Gil had made his deci-sion:
They’d descend into the canyon, even under
the threat of arrest.
Minutes later, a Navajo guide came galloping
up on horseback to deliver the news: Gillenwa-ter’s
friends, Redwing Ted Nez and Justin Tso, had
driven to the tribal capital in Window Rock, where
they’d met with Patrick Sandoval, the tribal chief of staff, who had
ordered that the permit be issued.
Relieved, Gillenwater led his group of riders down into the canyon.
They dropped 1,200 feet in elevation, carrying their bicycles every step
of the way as they tried to find footing on the rocky and narrow dirt
path that meandered to the canyon floor. The journey was well under
way, but it began long before that difficult moment.
In a sense, it started one impulsive Thanksgiving Day in 1987. Gil
and Troy felt compelled to celebrate the holiday by giving back, so
they drove from Scottsdale to Agua Prieta, Mexico, with a truckload
of food to be donated to those in need. After they crossed into Mex-ico,
the world changed. Just 200 miles from Scottsdale, cardboard-and-
pallet shacks with blankets for doors lined bumpy dirt roads.
The Gillenwaters pulled up in a new red Jeep Cherokee, and people
invited them in for coffee. The seed of inspiration for Rancho Feliz
By October 2009, when the volunteers, organizers and visionaries of
Rancho Feliz embarked on their bicycling adventure, the organization
had built an entire community and paid for 60 children to attend a
top private school in Agua Prieta. The effort had grown mightily, and
over the years, the organization took on more challenges. The Ride the
Rez fundraiser would pay for the education of the 60 children, and it
would also benefit other projects, both in Mexico and on
the Navajo Nation.
n Monday, October 19, 2009, the group of mountain-bikers
took off from Mexican Hat, Utah, and I felt
fortunate to be among them. All around was beauty
and sand, and off in the distance stood the backside of
Monument Valley. After 13 miles on sandy washboard
roads, the landscape changed into a world of dunes,
making our tire tracks barely visible. The thick sand made it impos-sible
to ride any longer, so we had to walk our bikes. With each step, I
sank in above my ankles. I stopped several times to empty sand from
my shoes, pull off my socks, and empty them as well. Two hours later,
walking the entire time, the sand eased and we came to a dirt road.
I rode with Dan Clasen, my new friend, into a 30 mph headwind.
Clasen was 41 and from Chicago. Having done very little cycling in his
life, he’d trained for three years for this ride and, like all of the riders,
raised at least $7,500 for the cause and had taken a week off to donate
his time, sweat and effort.
We took turns “pulling,” then riding right on the wheel of the front
cyclist, which, when done right, cuts the wind resistance considerably.
Clasen’s eyes stung from the sand that was being blown into them, and
he couldn’t see very well.
After 7 hours of riding the bike and walking it, I sat on the support
bus eating a snack, waiting for the other riders to catch up. I won-dered
what I’d gotten myself into. If a 43-mile day was this difficult and took
7 hours, how long would tomorrow’s 81 miles take?
At the end of that first day, we arrived at Monument Valley. One
rock mammoth after another stood hundreds of feet tall in an other-wise
flat and barren landscape. Film director John Ford made them
famous in Hollywood Westerns, and now the images are recognized
around the world.
As a kind of reward for a hard day’s work, Navajo guides James
On the third day of a grueling journey, Gil Gillenwater stood
at the edge of a cliff. Below him, Canyon de Chelly National Monument
beckoned. Waiting with him were 40 mountain-bikers, plus 30 support crew
and Navajo guides. Gillenwater didn’t have the necessary tribal permit.
O PRECEDING PANEL: Cyclists and Rancho Feliz co-founders Gil and Troy
Gillenwater ride past Monument Valley’s majestic stone spires.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Towering cliffs north of Monument Valley dwarf a group of
cyclists. Well-maintained dirt roads give way to deep, sandy washes dur-ing
this leg of the ride, prompting riders to name the stretch “Little Libya.”
BELOW: Troy Gillenwater climbs one of the many rocky hills in the Little
Painted Desert, north of Winslow on the Navajo Nation.
48 n o v e m 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 49
Goodman and Redwing Ted Nez drove me around the 17-mile Monu-ment
Valley loop and told stories as we traveled. Both men were inti-mately
familiar with this area — their grandfather Teddy Nez had
once been an interpreter for John Ford.
At the end of the loop, I stood for a long time near the visitors cen-ter
at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park looking at three famous
— and gigantic — rock formations: West Mitten, East Mitten and
Merrick Butte. Each rose more than 1,000 feet. Dozens of other massive
buttes rose from the ground. The starkness and flatness of the desert
floor made them even more breathtaking.
That night, a local medicine man — a friend of Redwing’s and the
man chosen to perform traditional prayers and rituals for his people
— blessed us and chanted for good weather. We stood in a circle and
listened. His words were a song, beautiful and soothing. And the
weather held for the rest of the ride.
uesday, our second day of riding, was an 81-mile day. Dan Clasen
rode up the blacktop highway, his knobby mountain-bike tires
making a rhythmic rubbery sound. His back, legs, neck and
wrists hurt. The highway stretched out in front of him, chal-lenging
him with a long climb and a headwind.
All of his hard work was about a child, a girl whose photo I
could see on a button pinned to the strap of Dan’s CamelBak.
Because of Clasen, she would now have an opportunity for an
education and a different life.
Just keep pedaling, Clasen told himself. If you can finish today, you can finish
the other days. Keep going.
Finally, the hill broke. Yippee! He crested it and shot downhill, hit-ting
more than 40 mph on that stretch of highway, tucking low against
the sting of the powerful crosswinds.
The route turned off the pavement and onto
dirt. We tried to imagine which parts of it
belonged to the original Santa Fe Trail, and how
this land had looked to the settlers. We pedaled
on, through a day that would burn about 5,000
calories and take 8 hours to complete.
At 7 a.m. Wednesday, the third day of the trek,
our group of endurance riders, dubbed Guard-ian
Warriors by the Rancho Feliz folks, ground their way uphill into
a strong headwind for 15 miles. The temperature had dropped and
continued to fall the farther we went. Cold numbed my gloved fingers.
At the top of the hill, we waited at a little grass turnout, not yet
knowing about the permit drama, shivering and clenching our teeth
in the 28-degree air. Finally, we rode to the edge of Canyon de Chelly
and carried our bikes down the rocky path. We descended the same
trail that a few hundred Navajos had used in 1864 to escape capture by
Kit Carson. As more and more of the canyon came into view, I stopped
and took in the sight of the canyon floor, hundreds of feet below. It was
huge at the bottom — one-eighth of a mile wide — and it sheltered a
prairie of grass, cottonwoods and a stream.
I began riding along a narrow dirt path amid long grasses and
40: Number of riders on the Ride the Rez fundraiser bike trip
30: Number of support members
2: Number of Navajo medicine men who blessed the trip
5: Number of ham-radio volunteers supporting the trip
350: Number of miles completed by the endurance riders
63: Age of Bennett Dorrance, the oldest rider to complete the
full 350 miles in 5 days
26: Age of Dan Wolski, the youngest rider to complete the full
350 miles in 5 days
$7,500: Minimum amount each rider had to raise (plus expenses)
$2,000: Minimum amount each crewmember had to raise (plus
$775,000: Funds generated by the Ride the Rez fundraiser
16,916: Feet of elevation climbed by the endurance riders through-out
4 a.m.: Hour that the support team members had to start setting
up supplies for the riders on the longest days
50: Number of children sponsored through public school
by Rancho Feliz
60: Number of children enrolled in a private school and
sponsored by Rancho Feliz
$28,800: Cost to put a child through 12 years of education at a
private school in Mexico
1st: Grade school year the kids learn to speak English
3rd: Grade school year the kids at the private school learn how to
$25,000: Funds raised to initiate the One Heart International,
Tarahumara Pregnancy & Village Outreach Program
in Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico
$100,000: Funds raised to establish the Educación sin Fronteras
(Education Without Borders) Educational Endowment
$110,000: Amount of revenue the ride generated for the Navajo Nation
$10 million: Donations raised by Rancho Feliz over the years
BY THE NUMBERS
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Staff and vol-unteers
greet a cyclist at the
Bitahochee Trading Post, one of
the key beneficiaries of the chari-ty
ride. A flat tire is no cause for
alarm as cyclists assist one anoth-er.
Riders congratulate each other
after a long stretch during the
mix with the greens
and golds of cotton-woods
to create a
color palette unique
to Canyon de
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crossed the water several times. Ahead was a downed tree. Beyond it
was a beautiful 60-foot-tall oak tree, golden in the October climate.
The horizontal branches grew toward the cliff. The leaves fluttered
in the sunlight.
Sheer cliffs hundreds of feet tall surrounded the canyon, some a
shale-gray-and-black with brownish streaks. Many were the color
of Zion’s walls, full of black and just as enormous. In some places,
Sedona-red dominated the walls’ colors. Dozens of golden trees
swayed in the distance, and up ahead, the walls enclosed the canyon,
narrowing it to 300 yards wide.
I listened quietly, feeling small and insignificant among the giant
cliffs, but full of peace and awe. “Seeing it will rebalance your life,” Gil
had promised the night before. “You can hear the whispers come off
of the canyon walls.”
As we rolled under arches made by cottonwoods along a narrow
wash, I thought I saw a coyote cross our path, far ahead. Around
every bend in the can-yon,
the cliffs themselves
changed. Some sloped
downward while others
bulged out and still others
stood straight up. The can-yon
opened up wider and
the vegetation changed to
grass, yellow sagebrush
and prickly pear cactus,
creating a montage of color
and texture. The wind
picked up and rustled the
We came upon some
cliff walls that held ruins.
There we picnicked, star-ing
high up the wall at the
city-stronghold known as
Mummy Cave. The dwell-ing
sits on top of a mound
of clay, dirt and rock that
juts out from the wall at
a slope. The structure is
believed to be the last
pueblo the ancestrals
occupied before leaving the canyon around A.D. 1300. Hidden from
our view was Massacre Cave, where the Spanish massacred Navajo
Indians in 1805. The petroglyphs and ruins remain.
Fellow traveler Highly Falkner, an excellent mountain-biker and
a great guy, advised me that I needed to lower the air pressure in my
tubeless tires to 8 psi to ride in the deep sand we now faced.
A couple of miles later, we spotted Antelope House Ruin. From
the other side of the canyon, we could glimpse the ancient dwellings
deep inside a massive cave. Spectacular sheer cliffs overwhelmed it,
all but obscuring the small city perched partway up a thousand-foot
wall of rock.
According to the Navajo Tribe, more than 2,700 archaeological sites
remain in Canyon de Chelly National Monument’s many side canyons,
though only 13 of the 700 standing ruins are stabilized and reinforced.
Highly and I finished the day’s ride together and exited the canyon
past the horse stable that belongs to Justin Tso, a Navajo who was born
in the canyon, and whose family has lived in it, or at its edge, for gen-erations.
He guides tours from the Chinle side of the canyon where he
lives with his children and 29 grandkids. That night, he and his family
hosted a barbecue with traditional foods — Indian tacos and frybread
— and shared stories about the canyon and his growing-up years.
hursday, our fourth day out, was a 93-miler. The first half was
a mix of rocky and sandy dirt roads that took us past the Hub-bell
Trading Post, a National Historic Site. On the right side of
the road, beautifully colored bluffs gave me a place to focus as
I concentrated on the quiet, on my pedal stroke and the joy of
riding with such an inspiring group of people.
The last 17 miles were washboardy. “Good thing I already
had kids,” Highly said as he dismounted his bike afterward.
The ride took us to the historic Bitahochee Trading Post, which
was built as an outpost in the 1800s for the U.S. Cavalry, and is now
very much in need of restoration — part of the funds raised by Ride
the Rez will do just that.
That night, the sky dazzled with millions of stars on a big, beautiful
suck-you-in black background. And the air. How pure and refreshing.
Looking up, I realized that the next day would be the last day of this
adventure, and I felt sad. I could truly call my adventure mates some of
my dearest friends. They inspired me, centered me and delighted me.
I didn’t want to stop riding through such beautiful land, and I didn’t
want to part from my newfound friends.
BY THE LAST DAY OF THE RIDE, the cumulative mileage had a tiring
effect on Troy Gillenwater. Friday’s first 17 miles to the “support-and-gear”
stop led him uphill on a comfortable stretch of pavement and
then onto more punishing washboard-like sandy roads.
It was challenging, but the next 24 miles through the Hidden
Painted Desert inspired him. Though his back and feet hurt, and the
first two hills required him to use his “granny” gear, it was the land-scape
that took his breath away. Troy could only describe it as “lunar,
painted all different hues of red.”
He rode up onto some of the hoodoos and watched his brother try
to go up a steeper one. Gil fell over backward on his bike, laughing.
As he took in another stunning vista of the sand hills in all directions,
Troy forgot his body’s exhaustion.
The riders and crew gathered for lunch and a celebration at the
Painted Desert overlook. Below, as far as the eye could see, miles of
multicolored ridges enthralled the onlookers. At lunch, there was
dancing, eating and face-painting, with Gil, his nephew Jay, and Kevin
Johansen, sporting new Mohawk haircuts. In full regalia, the group
then began the trip’s final segment, calling it the “Mojo Ride,” majesti-cally
conquering the last windy 17 miles into downtown Winslow.
In town, we regrouped for a victory ride. During the wait, our
eight Mexican riders donned their wrestling masks and entertained
the crowd. They’d ridden for their hometown of Obregón in Sonora,
Mexico, raising $61,000 for the construction of a safe-home dormitory
for Rancho Feliz’s college-bound students.
Friday’s 58 miles should have felt easier than the rest of the week,
but instead, Troy was glad to finally dismount his bike for the last
time during the trip. Emotions swept through him: relief, pleasure,
humility, kinship and much more. We’d done it. We’d traveled 350
miles by mountain bike and came away better for it, having raised
more than $775,000 dollars to educate children, build a community
and change lives.
“It is over,” Redwing said to the group. “It is done.”
Of course, we knew that so much more had only just begun.
■ For more information about Rancho Feliz, visit www.ranchofeliz.com.
Rancho Feliz is not about
welfare, says founder Gil Gil-lenwater.
It’s a redistribution of
“We should have oppor-tunity,”
he explains. “All of us.
That’s what we provide in our
The key is education. Putting
children into a school that’s
on par with the best schools in
Arizona provides a way out of
poverty for the kids, and their
kids, and their kids.
Part of it works because
of the community built by
Rancho Feliz. It’s made up of
42 homes, a child-care center
and an education center that
sit on 3.5 acres. The project,
which began in 1999 with
donated land, requires that
each resident pay $75 per
month for his or her home. In
addition, they must keep it up,
maintain jobs, send their kids
to school and perform 250
hours of volunteer work per
year. Some of the children liv-ing
in these homes are spon-sored
Agua Prieta is a city where
the average worker makes
just $250 a month, and where
many residents live in colonias
— neighborhoods that lack
proper electricity and are made
up of houses constructed of sal-vaged
corrugated metal, wood
pallets and cardboard. On the
border, food prices aren’t much
lower than they are elsewhere.
The day-care center has
implemented the learning
philosophies of the Phoenix-based
Institute. Approximately 150
children, from 43 days old to
4 years old, attend. The day-care
center employs 36 people
from five neighborhoods, and
it pays for itself.
As part of Rancho Feliz’s
Return to Reality program,
American student volunteers
stay in Mexico for a weekend.
They build homes and dis-tribute
food. There, they see
a world very different from
their own, and it changes their
ABOVE: Deep sand and aching muscles
prompt a rider to walk for a stretch in
Canyon de Chelly, while a Navajo guide on
horseback serves as a safety escort.
ABOVE, LEFT: Riders carefully navigate
Canyon del Muerto, which drops 1,200 feet
in less than a mile.
Predawn light illuminates a low-lying fog that hovers in the badlands south of Chinle.
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known as the “Main Street
of America,” Route 66
conjures up images of mom-and-
pop filling stations, diners
where the waitress calls you
“hon” and motel rooms shaped
like tee-pees. While all that
and more can still be found
along Historic Route 66 in Ari-zona,
there’s one section that
invokes less nostalgia and more
of a heady mix of soul-squeez-ing
scenery and heart-leaping
West of Kingman, Route 66
climbs from the desert floor
through the torturous Black
Mountains in a twisted spiral
of brake-searing curves with
views that roll all the way
across state lines.
Begin your journey at the
Powerhouse in Kingman. Built
in 1907, the hulking concrete
structure fueled the energy
needs of the town and sur-rounding
mines until being
eclipsed by Hoover Dam.
Today, the Powerhouse serves
as a visitors center and houses
the Route 66 Museum and the
Historic Route 66 Association
of Arizona. It’s a perfect place
to garner perspective on the
significance and history of
what John Steinbeck called the
Turn left out of the parking
lot and follow the signs toward
Oatman. You’ll curl through the
fringes of Kingman, parallel-ing
train tracks before crossing
under Interstate 40. A scatter-ing
of homes and ranchettes
dot the landscape, but soon are
a wisp in the rearview mirror
as the road streaks across an
expanse of creosote-dotted
At 20 miles, you’ll reach Cool
Springs, one of the joyous suc-cess
stories of Route 66 revival.
Perched on a bluff below
Thimble Butte, Cool Springs
was a gas station built in 1926
and later expanded to include
tourist cabins. Traffic dwindled
with the advent of interstates,
and in 1966 the camp burned
down, leaving only a stone
foundation. After decades of
neglect, Cool Springs was pur-chased
in 2001 and rebuilt in
strikingly precise detail atop
the original foundation. It oper-ates
as a gift shop, museum and
essential roadside attraction.
From there the road careens
up the mountainside in sharp-edged
switchbacks. The Black
Mountains are a convulsed jum-ble
of volcanic remains adorned
with Joshua trees and spiny
yuccas. As you climb toward
Sitgreaves Pass, toothy, broken
country shambles away in all
directions. This series of hair-pin
curves and steep drop-offs
so intimidated early travelers
that many hired locals to drive
their cars up the grade or have
them towed to the summit.
About a mile shy of the pass,
watch for a flight of ghost steps
carved from the rocky hillside.
These lead up to Shaffer Fish
Bowl Spring, a natural spring
that collects in a man-made
concrete bowl and is often
stocked with goldfish. It’s also
a popular watering spot for
Pull over at the pass to let
the blood rush back to your
white knuckles and to soak in
the views that stretch into
California and Nevada. The
road writhes down through
lava-capped hills for another
three miles into Oatman. The
former mining town — nestled
among craggy hills — has
reinvented itself as a quirky
destination where gunfighters
still shoot it out and wild bur-ros
mooch carrots, all to the
delight of tourists.
BELOW AND RIGHT:
66 still provides
at every turn on
the Mother Road,
but the section
from Kingman to
Oatman is more
BY ROGER NAYLOR
Note: Mileages are approximate.
LENGTH: 28 miles, one way, from Kingman to
DIRECTIONS: Begin the drive at the visitors
center in Kingman, which is housed in the old
Powerhouse at 120 W. Route 66, also known as
Andy Devine Avenue.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None; accessible by all.
Trailers over 40 feet long are not permitted.
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: Powerhouse Visitor Center, 866-
427-7866; or Historic Route 66 Association of
Arizona, 928-753-5001, www.azrt66.com
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov
or dial 511 to get information
on road closures,
delays, weather and more.
O N L I N E For more drives in Arizona, visit our “Scenic Drives Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
READING: For more
scenic drives, pick
up a copy of our
book, The Back
Roads. Now in its
fifth edition, the
features 40 of the
state’s most scenic
drives. To order
a copy, call 800-
543-5432 or visit
W A R M S P R I N G S
W I L D E R N E S S
M O U N T N U T T
W I L D E R N E S S
S T A R T H E R E
To Las Vegas
B L A C K M O U N T A I N S
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month OF THE
weldon Heald, a writer, artist and photographer,
coined the term “sky islands” in 1967. He was
referring to those mountain ranges that are isolated from
one another by vast expanses of desert and grassland
plains. There are approximately 40 sky islands in the
Southwest, and the Santa Catalina Range near Tucson,
which tops out at 9,157 feet, is the third highest. There are
numerous hikes in the Catalinas, and throwing a dart at
the map is as good a way as any of making a choice. How-ever,
when it comes to biological diversity, the Butterfly
Trail might outrank them all. It’s so diverse that a portion
of the trail has been designated a Research Natural Area.
There are two places to pick up the trail: the Palisade
Visitors Center or a trailhead 4 miles up the highway
near the access road that leads to Soldier Camp. Because
the facilities are better at Palisade, you’ll want to start
there. Among other things, the rangers stationed at the
visitors center can answer any questions and get you
pointed in the right direction.
The trail begins at the north end of the parking lot
across the road from the visitors center. You’ll see a sign
for the Bigelow Trail, which is where you begin — the
Bigelow overlaps the Butterfly for the first 15 minutes.
It’s a nice stretch through ponderosa pines and Douglas
firs. In some places, there are so many pine needles on the
ground they actually blur the trail. Pay attention. From
the point where the Butterfly and the Bigelow split, it’s 5.2
miles to the Butterfly’s upper trailhead. In between the
two points, you’ll be treated to not only evergreens, but
also box elders, bigtooth maples, alli-gator
junipers, various species of oaks
and even yuccas in the drier areas.
For the first hour or so, the trail
leads downhill and offers tremen-dous
panoramic views, both east
and west. Unfortunately, you’ll also
see the remnants of the Aspen Fire,
which ravaged tens of thousands of
acres in the Catalinas in 2003. The
trees are unliving proof of what can
happen when lightning strikes or
ignorant smokers toss their cigarette
butts out the window.
Eventually, about halfway through
the hike, you’ll start to head into a
valley thick with maples and oaks.
This is probably the most beauti-ful
part of the trail. It can be tricky to follow in places,
especially where it crosses a wash at the bottom — look
to your right for the retainer logs installed by the Forest
Service, and the cairn by the old barbed-wire fence. A
little farther along, you’ll hear a creek. The butterflies
for which the trail is named often congregate in clusters
within this moist ravine.
The rest of the route climbs gradually past an expansive
garden of ferns, one of the largest ponderosa pines you’ll ever
see — unfortunately, another victim of the fire — and an
intersection with the Crystal Springs Trail. About 3 hours
after you’ve started the hike, you’ll come to an old jeep road
that leads to the upper trailhead. From there, you can either
hike back the way you came, or follow the Catalina Highway
to the Palisade Visitors Center. Ironically, the latter option is
uphill most of the way, but it’s only 3 miles, compared to 5.7
miles on the trail. No one will fault you if you take the easy
road, but rest assured, Weldon Heald would have opted for
the woods. There’s much more diversity there.
LENGTH: 11.4 miles round-trip
ELEVATION: 6,505 to 8,263 feet
DIRECTIONS: From Tanque Verde Road in Tucson, drive
northeast on the Catalina Highway for 4.2 miles to the
Forest Service boundary and continue 19 miles to the
Palisade Visitors Center.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: A $5 day pass is required.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None; accessible by all vehicles
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes (on a leash)
USGS MAP: Mount Bigelow
INFORMATION: Santa Catalina Ranger District, 520-749-
8700 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado
• 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.
BUTTERFLY TRAIL Despite a
fire that scorched the area in
2003, this hike is still a great way
to experience the Santa Catalinas.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RANDY PRENTICE
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit our “Hiking Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
RIGHT: Cerro hawthorn
along the north
section of the
Butterfly Trail in
the Santa Cata-
vistas await along
the Butterfly Trail.
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 C A T A L I N A M O U N T A I N S
T R A I L H E A D
56 n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0
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posted in our January issue and online at www.arizonahighways.com beginning December 15.
to our winner, Krista
Barela of Glendale,
BY SALLY BENFORD
Although this isn’t your typical whistle-stop, if
you listen closely, you might hear a faint click-clack
along the tracks. The site, which debuted
in 1930 at an eye-popping cost of $2 million,
was shuttered 27 years later. Today, after exten-sive
restoration, it’s once again offering R&R to
road- and railroad-weary travelers.
Then & Now Extra
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
Use Code P0H5WL when ordering to take advantage
of this special offer. Offer expires December 31, 2010.
Order now and save $2
12” x 9” 13-month spiral-bound
calendar with 30 color photographs
#CLW11 was $10.99 Now $8.99!
After decades of doing scenic
landscape calendars, we figured
it was time to add something
new to the mix. Thus, our 2011
Wildlife Calendar, which fea-tures
classic Arizona Highways
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