E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
Just Like Dad: Silas Aiken’s
Odd Life in the Grand Canyon
New Year’s Resolution No. 77:
Explore Bill Williams River Rd.
Craig Childs’ Mysterious
Encounter in the Dark Woods
of the Weirdest Things
You’ll See Along the Road
UNDER THE WEATHER:
We Sent a Photographer Into
the Outdoors on a Cloudy Day
Our Favorite Ways to Explore
the State’s Lakes, Rivers, Canyons,
Wild Blue Yonder and More !
◗ A black-necked stilt keeps its feet dry at Water Ranch’s
Riparian Preserve in Gilbert. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRUCE TAUBERT
FRONT COVER For more than 16 years, Red Rock Biplane Tours
has treated visitors to aerial views of the striking landscapes
of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF KIDA
BACK COVER Sunlight illuminates the delicate form of a prickly
pear blossom. PHOTOGRAPH BY SUZANNE MATHIA
Black Canyon City
Upper Salt River
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
2 EDITOR’S LETTER
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from
around the state, including a
profile of Silas Aiken, the man
who lives in the Grand Canyon
(just like his parents did); the
new order at an old lodge in
Paradise Valley; and a taste of
the Old West in Wickenburg.
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Bill Williams River Road:
Along with your other New
Year’s resolutions, make a
plan to visit this scenic drive
along the Colorado River.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Bog Springs/Kent Springs
Loop: Overeat over the
holidays? This trail is a great
way to shake off the cookies
and mashed potatoes.
56 WHERE IS THIS?
Visit our website for details on weekend getaways,
hiking, lodging, dining, photography workshops,
slideshows and more. Also, check out our blog for
regular posts on just about anything related to travel
in Arizona, including road closures, environmental
news, festivals and other valuable infomation we
couldn’t fit in the magazine.
Like us on Facebook and get a behind-the-scenes look
at Arizona Highways, along with exclusive photos,
trivia contests, quirky news and more.
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.
16 WEEKEND GETAWAYS
Unless you’re agoraphobic or tied to the couch, literally,
there’s no good reason not to explore Arizona. The Grand
Canyon State is bursting with adventure ops, and there’s
something for everyone, including houseboating on Lake
Powell, whitewater-rafting on the Salt River and horseback-riding
in Cold Water Canyon. If none of those get you going,
we’ve got more.
EDITED BY KELLY KRAMER
30 UNDER THE WEATHER
The sun shines a lot in Arizona — about 90 percent of the
year, compared to 30 percent in Juneau, Alaska. Although
most Arizonans will tell you they love the sun, there’s a uni-versal
vibe of excitement and relief when the clouds roll in.
Because it happens so rarely, we sent a photographer into
the outdoors during a recent wave of inclement weather.
We thought it would come in handy the next time you’re
sick of the sun.
A PORTFOLIO BY LARRY LINDAHL
40 SHEDDING SOME LIGHT
Archaeoastronomy is the study of prehistoric sites where
ancient people once aligned rock art to celestial events.
There are places like this all over the Southwest — places
that intentionally catch sunrise on crucial mornings such as
the solstice or equinox, or are aligned with the long rhythms
of the moon. On a recent morning on the Mogollon Rim, our
intrepid essayist stumbled upon some archaeoastronomers
BY CRAIG CHILDS
44 OUT THERE!
Odd, quirky, outlandish, strange ... there are plenty of
adjectives to describe some of the stuff you’ll see along the
road in rural Arizona. Bizarre, weird and wacky will work, as
well. This month we feature 10 of our favorite peculiarities,
but it’s just the beginning.
BY JACKIE DISHNER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARK LIPCZYNSKI
Bill Williams River
2 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
Photographer Larry Lin-dahl
loves the Southwest.
After moving to Sedona in
1993, he knew he’d finally
found his home. “The
landscape here made
me want to get into pho-tography,”
In this month’s portfolio
(Under the Weather, page
30), Lindahl showcases that landscape in a way that’s rarely seen on postcards. “I found
a story based on what most people would consider bad weather,” he says. Risking
his equipment in torrential rain, he captured the famous red rocks in a different light.
“Weather can reshape the landscape incrementally,” he says. “There’s a primordial
energy to storms.” In addition to Arizona Highways, Lindahl’s work has appeared in
Outdoor Photography, American Archaeology, Western Horseman and Southwest Art.
— Interviewed by Allison Oswalt
The ability to tell someone’s story and
tell it well is a practiced craft. For writer
Maryal Miller, the craft has allowed her to
experience many amazing things. “I feel
very lucky because the only thing I’ve ever
really been sure about is that I was put on
this Earth to write,” she says. A daredevil
at heart, Miller took writing to new heights
for this month’s cover story (Weekend Get-aways,
page 16). “Flying over Sedona in a
biplane gave me a totally different way of
seeing the area,” she says. “I’ve been there
a million times, but I’ve never seen it from above, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.” On nor-mal
days, when her two feet are safely planted on the ground, Miller dives into movies
and music. “I love movies almost as much as I love my Yorkiepoo, Hamlet — and that’s a
serious statement.” Miller is a frequent contributor to Arizona Highways.
Photographer Mark Lipczynski has a knack for
the eccentric. “Any way you look at it, odd things
are appealing to me,” he says. That penchant for
the out of the ordinary made him our first choice
to shoot Out There! (page 44), a story about the
state’s quirky roadside attractions. Growing up
in an industrial part of northeastern Ohio, Mark,
his brother and his amateur-photographer father
spent a lot of time chasing and photographing
trains. “I suppose on a subconscious level I con-tinue
doing photography because it keeps me con-nected
with those memories,” he says. “Arizona
is an extraordinary place filled with an intense
geological and cultural history and prehistory,” he
says of his other passion, history. “One doesn’t
have to look hard to see how Arizona has evolved.”
on the Upper Salt River, you want to get Scratchy. Not in the form of an
adjective — that could ruin your day. Instead, you want the proper noun.
Uppercase Scratchy. The comical river guide whose personality is a combi-nation
of Dennis the Menace and Huckleberry Finn. Scratchy, like dozens of other
free-spirited college-age kids, spends every spring in the back of a rubber raft filled
with people like Kelly Kramer, Jeff Kida and me. All of the guides are dependable,
but Scratchy’s the guide you want. He’s a riot.
Scratchy works for an outfitter called Canyon Rio Rafting, and it’s his job to
safely guide average Joes — people who couldn’t float a rubber duck in a mud
puddle, much less run a Class V rapid on their own — down what is arguably one of
the most scenic rivers in North America. Our trip on the Upper Salt took place last
spring, after one of the snowiest winters in decades. At one point in early 2010, the
river ran at a rate of 65,000 cubic feet per second. That means if you were to pick a
spot on the riverbank, the equivalent of 65,000 basketballs would fly past that spot
in a single second. WHOOSH!
It was a little slower the day Kelly, Jeff and I launched, but the river was still rag-ing,
and Scratchy still ordered us around as if he were Patton: “Forward two!” “Back
one!” “Stop!” Although I never asked Scratchy about his impish nickname — with
river runners, some things are better left unsaid — I can tell you he was all busi-ness
when he needed to be. On the river and on the beach, where he flipped burgers,
roasted hot dogs and fueled us up for the final set of rapids. “Forward two!” “Back
Rafting the Salt River is one of several weekend getaways in this month’s cover
story, along with backpacking in the Grand Canyon, horseback-riding in Cold
Water Canyon, house-boating on Lake Powell, chilling out in Tubac, exploring the
Hopi Reservation and screaming through the skies of Sedona in an open-cockpit
biplane. Maryal Miller made that trip. Her text to me just before she left: “Leavin’ on
a biplane, don’t know when I’ll be back again ... no, seriously, this could end badly.”
She’d never been in a biplane before — who has? —
and she was a little apprehensive. Nevertheless,
she made it back down without throwing up.
What’s more, she landed with a swagger in her
step, and now she wants a biplane of her own. If
that tells you anything.
Open cockpits and whitewater rafts are excit-ing
ways to get your motor runnin’, but they’re
not for everyone. If you’d prefer something more
lead-footed, something quirky that can be done
from the front seat of
a Subaru, you might
get a kick out of Out
There!, our story about
the outlandish things
you’ll see along the
roads of rural Arizona.
It’s a weird collection,
and most of the stuff
is BIG: the largest
Tiki head, the tallest
cowboy, the biggest
ball of stickers. None
of those things are on
anybody’s bucket list,
but sleeping under the
stars on the Mogol-lon
Rim probably is. I
know it was on Craig
As an intrepid
spent many nights
up on the Rim, but a
recent trip was different. It was the first time
he’d heard strange voices: “It was just before
dawn,” he writes in Shedding Some Light. “An
inkling of light touched the sky outside the tent.
Wind belted through a surrounding copse of
juniper trees and piñon pines. I could barely hear
them, men talking, coming closer.” You’ll have to
read his excellent essay to learn more about the
mystery men. All I can tell you is that it wasn’t
Scratchy. I don’t know where he was that night,
but it wasn’t anyplace quiet. Wherever Scratchy
goes, things get wild.
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.
JA N UA R Y 2 0 1 1 V O L . 8 7, N O. 1
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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
Get Your Motor Runnin’
AND THE WINNER IS ...
In case you hadn’t heard,
Arizona Highways was
recently named Magazine of
the Year by the International
Regional Magazine Associa-tion
— we finished first
among magazines with a
circulation of more than
40,000. In addition, AH won
a dozen other awards for
writing, design and photography.
(For a complete list
of winners, visit our blog:
press.com.) Hats off to our
staff and contributors, and
also to our colleagues at Okla-homa
Today, which was
named Magazine of the Year
for publications with a circu-lation
of less than 40,000.
4 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 5
letters to the editor
I found the article in the August
2010 issue [Old Schools] interest-ing.
I’ve seen all of them. Also,
I attended Bullion Plaza school
in Miami [Arizona] from 1953
to 1955. You mentioned that it
was for Hispanic and Native
American students. When I was
there, it was open to all of us who
lived in Miami, regardless
STEVE GILBERT, VAIL, ARIZONA
What gorgeous Hopi photos in the
September 2010 issue [All Dressed Up].
Thanks for the inclusion of the Hopi
names, which gives a nice touch to
the presentation. However, I think
there is a small error in the Hopi
name for “moisture-drinking boy.” I
think you’ll find that “boy” in Hopi
is “tiyo,” and that his name in Hopi
would thus be “Palhikwtiyo.”
KEN GARY, SAN DIEGO
I happily renewed my subscription
after one year of service. The pho-tography
is excellent, and all I have
to do is visualize a scene of the San
Francisco Peaks to take me to
a happy place. The most inspiring
article I have ever read was the story
on Judge Joseph Flies-Away [Looking
for Balance, October 2010]. I had to
re-read it many times over. I hope to
be first in line to receive a personally
autographed copy of his book when
MARY LOHR, ESCONDIDO, CALIFORNIA
PLUCKED OUT OF THIN AIR
The article on the wood duck [In Full
Plume, October 2010] was great, but
it’s worth noting that besides the
fashion industry, fly fishermen and
women utilized the plumage for mul-tiple
dry and wet flies. As mentioned
in the article, the early 20th century
decline of the wood duck population
was due to the hat/fashion industry.
However, the feathers of choice were
the 8-10 large dorsal feathers located
on each side on an adult male. These
black- and white-tipped gold nuptial
feathers would begin emerging at 90
days post-molt (early summer), and
would continue with the replace-ment
of juvenile feathers for the next
55 days. The primary, secondary and
various covert feathers of the wood
ducks’ wings are generally dark with
only an iridescent quality and
would have been of little inter-est
to the fashion industry. The
spring hunting of these birds
as food and for their outstand-ing
plumage was detrimental
to their viable population.
PHIL PETERSON, REEDSBURG, WISCONSIN
A PLACE IN THE SUN
The October issue of Arizona Highways
displays a powerful visual feast. The
first thing I did when the magazine
arrived was sit outside on the patio
where bright sunlight made the
photographs really pop. Especially
awesome are Morey Milbradt’s scene
of aspens along Terry Flat Loop,
Tom Danielsen’s view of White
House Ruin, Chuck Lawson’s pan-orama
of Chinle Wash in Canyon de
Chelly, Lon McAdam’s Superstition
Mountains portfolio, and George
Stocking’s shot of Vermilion Cliffs
sandstone “teepees.” If you haven’t
looked at works of art like these in
the sunshine, you really should.
RUSS BUTCHER, OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA
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
One of the most unusual
sites along Historic Route
66 is Grand Canyon
Caverns & Inn, which is
located between Seligman
and Peach Springs. The
natural limestone cavern
sits 210 feet underground,
and is home to the world’s
largest, deepest, oldest
and quietest hotel room
(see Out There!, page 44).
people > lodging > photography > history > dining > nature > things to do > > > > THE JOURNAL 01.11
U.S. Postal Service
STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, AND CIRCULATION
Title of Publication: Arizona Highways Publisher: Win Holden
Publication No.: ISSN 0004-1521 Editor: Robert Stieve
Date of Filing: September 28, 2010 Managing Editor: Kelly Kramer;
Frequency of issues: Monthly Complete mailing address
Number of issues of known office of publication:
published annually: Twelve 2039 W. Lewis Ave., Phoenix,
Annual subscription price: (Maricopa) AZ 85009-2893
$24.00 U.S. one year
Owner: State of Arizona
206 S. 17th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding
1 percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None
The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt
status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during preceding 12 months.
ISSUE DATE FOR CIRCULATION DATA BELOW:
EXTENT AND NATURE OF CIRCULATION
A. Total number copies printed 165,346 160,408
B. Paid circulation
1. Outside-county, mail subscriptions 127,543 125,789
2. In-county subscriptions -- --
3. Sales through dealers, carriers,
street vendors, counter sales and
USPS paid distribution 13,904 14,325
4. Other classes mailed through the USPS 4,275 4,136
C. Total paid circulation 145,723 144,250
D. Free distribution by mail
1. Outside-county 197 151
2. In-county -- --
3. Other classes mailed through the USPS -- --
4. Free distribution outside the mail 5,522 1,682
E. Total free distribution 5,719 1,833
F. Total distribution 151,442 146,083
G. Copies not distributed 13,904 14,325
H. Total 165,346 160,408
I. Percent paid circulation 96.2% 98.7%
I certify that the statements made by me are correct and complete.
Win Holden, Publisher
Nov. ’09-Oct. ’10
to filing date
6 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 7
THE JOURNAL > people
— Dave Pratt is the author of
Behind the Mic: 30 Years in Radio
SILAS AIKEN INTRODUCES HIMSELF to a
group of hikers who have stopped to rest at
a picnic table near his ranger station.
“Where are you from?” Silas asks.
“San Diego,” answers one hiker.
“Here, actually,” Silas says.
The hiker nods, assuming, perhaps, that
Silas means that he’s from Arizona. But
when Silas says he’s from here, he means
it literally. He grew up inside the Grand
Canyon, just a few feet from this very spot.
The house that now serves as Silas’ ranger
station, 5.5 miles from the North Rim of
the Grand Canyon, also happens to be his
Silas’ parents, Bruce and Mary Aiken,
moved into the Grand Canyon 5 years
before Silas was born. Bruce, now well-known
for his Canyon paintings, worked
for the Park Service as caretaker of the
pump house at Roaring Springs, which
supplies water to the facilities in the
national park. For 33 years, Bruce spent
every April through November in what
was the caretaker’s home until he retired in
2006. Silas is the youngest of the three kids
Bruce and Mary raised there.
These days, the pump is automated, and
the house is the part-time residence of two
park rangers who work alternating weeks
to oversee the house, a nearby campground
and the steady stream of hikers who stop
by to fill up on water.
On this August day, the hikers arrive
in a wave. Most are headed to Phantom
Ranch along the river, having traveled that
morning to the North Rim via shuttle. Silas
pushes sunglasses up over dark, curly hair
and answers questions with the ease of
someone who grew up there.
The banter feels easygoing, but serves a
serious purpose. It’s what the Park Service
calls P-SAR, preventive search and rescue.
By far, the most common injuries in the
Canyon are heat-related. It’s part of Silas’
job to help prevent those injuries. The ban-ter
merely serves as prelude to the message
he delivers like an evangelist: “Drink plenty
of fluids and try not to hike during the
hottest part of the day,” he says. “That’s the
most important thing.”
“See you next time,” he says, and heads
back to the house, moving with the long,
loose strides of the high-school basketball
player he was. On his way back to the ranger
station, he passes the basketball hoop he
and his dad installed in 1994. He hasn’t used
it for a while. His “court,” a cottonwood-shaded
clearing, needs work. “Some mules
came through here,” he says, smiling.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think
about basketball. As head basketball coach
of Grand Canyon High School, Silas admits
that some days, it’s all he thinks about.
Back at the ranger station, Silas dons a
wide-brimmed straw hat and begins to cut
the lawn with an electric Weed Eater.
“It’s either this or a dull push mower,” he
says with a shrug, adding that he’s pretty
sure it’s the same mower he’s seen in a
photo he thinks dates to the 1950s. “Down
Artist Bruce Aiken is a legend at the Grand Canyon. His
paintings brought him acclaim, and so did his 33-year tenure
as caretaker of the Roaring Springs pump house. Although he
retired in 2006, his son, Silas, is carrying on the family tradition.
By KATHY MONTGOMERY
How has Arizona influenced your music?
One time I wrote a song about living out in
the boondocks with cactuses, because when
I first moved to North Scottsdale, there was
nothing up there. Now it’s developing so fast.
I love coming back here after traveling around
the world because it’s one of the only places I
can really come back to and write new songs,
record and just focus on music. Most of my
new album, Heartstrings, was written and
Which Arizona landmark would you vote for
as the next American Idol?
I’d say Pinnacle Peak. Whenever I have a day
off, I love hiking it to get some exercise. It’s
great to get out in the open air and get above
the city. The diversity of hiking in Arizona is
something you can’t experience anywhere else.
If you were trying to impress Simon Cowell,
where would you take him for lunch?
I’d take him to Greasewood Flat in Scottsdale,
and give him a taste of some real Arizona
How do Arizonans compare to the people
you’ve met while traveling with American Idol?
They’re amazing. There’s quite a spirit of
enthusiasm when it comes to music, whether
it’s the jazz scene or the local celebrity scene.
I always feel the most welcome here. I look
forward to performing many more concerts
here it’s a different world, you know? You
can’t just go to The Home Depot.”
Bruce planted the grass Silas is cutting
in 1979 after the current house was built.
The helicopters that delivered supplies
created so much wind that the dirt was
forever blowing into the house. The lawn
provided dust control. But gardening
was also Bruce’s passion. He manicured
box elders along the helipad and planted
Virginia creeper along the porch. A hedge
of irises he transplanted from the original
caretaker’s house, since demolished, still
blooms bright yellow in spring. A yucca
Bruce planted from a seed now stands
taller than the house.
For a time, the house sat unoccupied.
When Bruce and Silas came back to visit
for a couple of days in June 2009, they
found the whole yard overgrown.
“We ended up doing yard work the
whole time,” Silas says. “I realized that
someone needs to be here. That’s when the
clouds kind of parted and I realized this is
where I’m supposed to be.”
Silas took a leave of absence from the
job he held for 7 years as a physical educa-tion
teacher in Mesa and asked to volun-teer
at the house. He served as a volunteer
for one summer. The Park Service hired
him the following year.
With forgotten memories lurking
around every corner, Silas says working in
his childhood home is “weird and surreal
and good.” He describes his childhood as
“like Huck Finn’s,” but with cool parents.
Mostly home-schooled until he was in
the fifth grade, Silas spent days swim-ming
in Bright Angel Creek and catching
trout with his hands, listening to Dodgers
games on an AM radio and playing base-ball
with his dad. He inherited his dad’s
love of the game, and took up basketball
by default after he outgrew the only base-ball
offerings on the South Rim.
At night, the family played cards or
invented games. There was a lot of music.
To this day, all three Aiken kids are musi-cal.
The family also entertained a steady
string of guests, a mix of friends and dis-tressed
hikers. The conditions created a
close-knit, gregarious clan.
Back at the picnic table, groups of hik-ers
assemble and reassemble.
One remembers “the guy who lived here
a long time.”
“I never met him,” he says. “But I met
“That was me,” Silas says.
“Really? That was you? No kidding,” the
hiker says, brightening. “What was it you
were selling? Gatorade?”
“Lemonade,” Silas answers.
“Right, lemonade. I do miss the lemonade.”
“I miss the lemonade myself,” Silas says.
Later, a hiker asks Silas about his
schedule. Silas explains that he lives here
8 days before hiking out for 6.
“It’s almost like your place then,” he says.
“Yes,” Silas agrees. “Almost.”
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
THE JOURNAL > people
G R A N D
C A N Y O N
In the 1980s, Silas Aiken enjoyed swimming near his boyhood home in the Grand Canyon.
8 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
Weather or Not
Winter is a great time to make photos in Arizona, but the skies
are capricious and careful planning is necessary. Do your homework,
though, and your images can be as beautiful as the landscape.
By JEFF KIDA, photo editor
Because of the highly
reflective nature of
snow, shooting winter
scenes can present a
number of challenges.
The most common are
exposure and white
balance. If you’re
out in the field and
see that your winter
whites are looking
more like dingy grays,
try using the exposure
(+/-) on your camera
and set it to overex-pose
by at least
one f-stop (+1).
You might need to
fine-tune this, so check
your histogram. Snow
around it, including
the blue sky. The best
way to correct color
is to shoot in RAW,
but if you’re locked
into JPEG capture, try
setting your white bal-ance
to “open shade”
or “cloudy.” Either of
these will help get the
Look for our book, Arizona
Guide, available at book-stores
THEJOURNAL > photography
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips, visit www.arizona
THE JOURNAL > lodging
O N L I N E For more lodging in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/lodging.
DEREK VON BRIESEN LIKES to work in challenging conditions. “Winter conveys a sense of peace and
quiet,” the photographer says. “In Arizona, winter weather is capricious, and you have to shoot during a
storm or shortly thereafter. You have a very short window, so you have to previsualize the image.” From
studying weather forecasts to deciding where to park, von Briesen takes everything into consideration.
“You have to think about keeping yourself and your batteries warm, you have to make sure you use a
waterproof camera pack and have some kind of traction on your shoes.” But he believes the outcome is
worth the extra effort. “Winter scenes possess a lot of emotional content that’s very compelling. The
solitude, starkness, isolation ... there’s a certain mystery and melancholy,” he says. “I think the images
speak to people about their own experiences of winter.”
The West Fork of Oak Creek near Sedona.
DEREK VON BRIESEN
THERE ARE ENTIRE MUSEUMS dedicated to Arizona’s mining history, and then there’s
Robson’s Guest Ranch. It’s part antique treasure trove and part dude ranch, but all of Rob-son’s
is a tribute to the industry that helped build the state.
Nestled in the hills of the Sonoran Desert 20 miles west of Wickenburg, Robson’s occupies
a former mining camp that shut down at the start of World War II.
The Robson family purchased it in 1979, complete with all of the origi-nal
mining equipment. They re-created the camp, adding their own
impressive collection of antiques, gathered from travels around the world. Fifty years after the
mining operations ceased, Robson’s Mining World opened to the public for tours in 1992.
When Western Destinations took over in fall 2009, they began implementing a new vision.
While the museum-quality artifacts and antiques weren’t touched, they transformed this for-mer
day-trip destination into a complete guest-ranch experience — an experience that gives
visitors an inexplicable desire to rush into town for a pair of cowboy boots.
The 26-room lodge offers basic, comfortable rooms free from modern distractions like tele-phones
and televisions. An upgrade to one of four suites rewards guests with private balconies
that feature unobstructed views of the cholla “teddy bear” cactuses that dominate the desert
landscape. For guests with technology withdrawals, there is a common room stocked with
games, movies and a pool table.
Even those who believe they’re averse to the lure of antiques will be engaged by the self-guided
tour of the artifact-filled buildings. Most items are out and begging to be touched,
What’s Mine Is Yours
Everything you ever wanted to know about mining is yours
to explore at Robson’s Guest Ranch near Wickenburg. There
are horses, too, but this isn’t your typical dude ranch.
By JACKI MIELER
making Robson’s more like grandma’s house
than a stuffy museum. Highlights include the
original miners’ cabins and a mercantile filled
with midcentury clothes, shoes, food and
other everyday items.
Hitting the trail on horseback seems
the most natural way to explore the scenic
hills surrounding Robson’s. Guided tours
on friendly horses meander past desert
flora, which blooms in all its glory in the
spring. Swiss military Pinzgauer vehicles
take guests on off-road adventures, offering
glimpses of the mine shafts in the hills and an
opportunity for visitors to try their hands at
skeet-shooting. Those who prefer to remain
on their own two feet have access to miles of
trails starting right on property.
You can learn about Arizona’s mining history
in a museum, or you
can put on your new
cowboy boots and
live the mining expe-rience
Robson’s Guest Ranch is
located at Mile Marker
90 on Rural Route 1 near
Wickenburg. For more
information, visit www.
W I C K E N B U R G
10 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1
DESERTS AND CAMELS ARE a likely pair, but in the mid-1800s,
the humpbacked mammals were as foreign to the Arizona desert
as humpbacked whales. That is, until the United States Army
decided to experiment.
Before the Civil War, westward expansion was a challenge in terms
of travel and transporting goods. Back then, horses
and mules were the main beasts of burden, and
watering holes were few and far between, meaning
that transport by horse- and mule-drawn wagons was slow going.
But in 1856, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis came up with a
novel solution: camels. Under Davis’ orders, two shipments of
camels traveled from the Middle East to the American Southwest.
Although horses and mules carried most of the
load in the Old West, there was a time, in the
mid-1800s, when camels were used as well, and
the man in charge was a guy named Hi Jolly.
By SALLY BENFORD
In anticipation of spring, our January
1961 issue focused on the beauty of
desert wildflowers. The colorful portfolio
was accompanied by a story about The
Orpheus Club of Phoenix, one of the
country’s most-respected male chorale
50 years ago
I N A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S
THEJOURNAL > history THEJOURNAL > history
Along with the
Ali, who became
known in the
United States as
same time, Army
appointed to lead
a survey team and
build a wagon
to the Colorado
River along the
Beale used 25
camels as trans-port
animals while building the 1,000-mile-long
road, and Hi Jolly served as the camels’
chief handler. During the expedition, Beale
was impressed with Hi Jolly, and also with
the camels’ ability to carry much heavier
loads than horses or mules. What’s more,
they could travel farther with less food and
water. In his official report, Beale wrote,
“My admiration for the camels increases
daily with my experience of them.”
But not everyone was enamored with
the animals. The horses and mules were
terrified of the camels, and the soldiers didn’t know how to handle
the unfamiliar beasts that would kick and spit their cud with
exceptional accuracy. Still, the outfit dubbed the “Camel Corps”
was deemed successful, thanks to the camel-whispering skills of
handlers like Hi Jolly.
By 1861, with the Civil War looming, the camel experiment
essentially died, and in 1864, the Army auctioned off the remaining
camels to zoos and circuses. For a few years, Hi Jolly cared for some
of the camels, and he worked with the Army as a mule packer, guide
and scout until he settled in Quartzsite, where he prospected until
his death in 1902.
Lost to history for many years, the legend of Hi Jolly and his
camels was resurrected in 1934, when the Arizona Department
of Transportation erected a monument over the herder’s grave in
Quartzsite. This month, visitors can pay
tribute to one of the Old West’s most col-orful
pioneers during the town’s Hi Jolly
For more information
about Hi Jolly Daze, call
928-927-6159 or visit www.
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
For more than 60 years, the sign along State Route 89A read: “Don Hoel’s Cabins. In the Heart of Oak Creek.” In 1945,
Don and Nita Hoel purchased a small group of tourist cabins in Oak Creek Canyon and welcomed visitors to vacation
beside the creek. In addition to running the cabins, the couple began collecting kachinas, baskets, rugs and jewelry
crafted by Navajo, Hopi and Zuni Indians, and eventually opened a shop near their resort. Over the years, thousands
of families have stayed at Hoel’s while fishing, hiking and exploring the area. Although the cabins closed in 2006,
Hoel’s Indian Shop still offers visitors fine Indian arts and crafts, as well as a glimpse at the past. Information: 928-282-
3925 or www.hoelsindianshop.com.
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY CLINE LIBRARY
photo flashback This month
■ The January 7,
1891, edition of the
called for a railroad
to be built through
allowing the mines
in the area, such
as the Crown King
Mine, to operate
■ A strong earth-quake
Apache County on
January 16, 1950,
cracks in the ground
near the small town
of Ganado. The
cracks, a half-inch
wide and almost 12
feet long, extended
in a north-south
direction near the
■ On January
25, 1934, Tucson
managed to do
what federal agents
John Dillinger after
a fire broke out at
the Hotel Congress,
where he and his
gang members were
Q U A R T Z S I T E
Descendants of the Camel Corps were said to have roamed
the Southern Arizona deserts until the early 20th century.
12 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 13
THEJOURNAL > nature
IN THE EVER-EXPANDING METROPOLIS of Phoenix, Arizona, traces of the state’s storied
past are often overlooked and rarely preserved. This writer even came close to download-ing
Rawhide on iTunes and hijacking a kid’s stick-horse just to feel an authentic link to
long ago. Thanks to El Chorro Lodge, which was recently revamped and reopened, that
wasn’t necessary. The restaurant is getting rave reviews, and best of all, despite the recent
overhaul, the rustic refuge hasn’t lost an ounce of its stylish, Southwestern charm. Or its
famous sticky buns.
Shortly after being sold to Valley philanthropist Jacquie Dorrance by longtime owners
Joe and Evie Miller, El Chorro was handed over to celebrated architect Mark Candelaria.
That was in June 2009. In February 2010, he handed it back with a refreshed
look and a new chef. “Visiting El Chorro is like coming home again,” Dor-rance
says. “We didn’t want to change that feeling by unveiling an entirely
new menu. Instead, we infused the menu with some unique new dishes.”
Translation: Gone are some ultravintage menu mainstays such as shad roe and cha-teaubriand,
but still around are the ever-so-tender mesquite-grilled rack of lamb (a cus-tomer
favorite) and Australian lobster tail, in addition to fresh, contemporary dishes like
tomato-and-burrata salad and Santa Fe chicken enchiladas.
If you’re a longtime regular, don’t let the changes keep you away. The lodge still houses
the famed Classroom Bar, an abundance of hair-on-cowhide rugs and leather club chairs,
and many original art pieces, fireplaces and light fixtures. Of course, a few modern
enhancements were made — c’mon, the place became an eatery 73 years ago, decades
before The Food Network was born and Americans started worrying about cholesterol.
Lodge Between the Past and Present
When it comes to iconic restaurants in Arizona, El Chorro Lodge
ranks right up there. Recently, the old adobe got a facelift, and
things are better than ever. Including the sticky buns.
By MARYAL MILLER
Among the changes, the blue-embla-zoned
patio with its stunning views of
adjacent Camelback and Mummy moun-tains
was expanded to almost three times
its original size. A new boccie lawn and
organic vegetable garden were created. The
Classroom Bar now houses plasma-screen
TVs. And an airy new indoor/outdoor bar
was added to the entryway. In addition, El
Chorro is in the process of becoming LEED
Gold certified, complete with solar panels.
Yes, El Chorro has gone green!
Regardless of the brick, mortar and menu,
what makes this adobe landmark so special
is the people who pass — and have passed
— through the door. People like Jacquie
Dorrance, who is dedicated to preserving El
Chorro’s history. People like Clark, Milton,
Barry and the Phoenix 40 who sipped scotch
and socialized in El Chorro’s dimly lit cor-ners.
People like Steve Nash, who charmed a
Sports Illustrated reporter at the bar during a
hometown interview. And the people yet to
come — future generations of families cel-ebrating
and toasting with
signature El Chorro
Sunrises in hand.
El Chorro is located at
5550 E. Lincoln Drive in
Paradise Valley. For more
information, call 480-
948-5170 or visit www.
THEJOURNAL > dining
O N L I N E For more dining in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/dining.
It’s hard to think for too long about cot-tontails
without Here Comes Peter Cottontail
popping into your head. That is, if you grew
up with a mother whose musical taste runs
from Gene Autry to Gene Simmons, but
that’s beside the point.
In the Southwest, desert cottontails can
be seen hopping down a bunch of bunny
trails, particularly in near-desert grasslands
and, occasionally, in piñon or juniper forests.
You might even see them at sunrise and sun-set
in your very own yard, nibbling on grasses,
as well as a variety of other plants, including
some cactuses. Interestingly, desert cot-tontails
don’t require much water and often
survive on quick drinks of morning dew or
water from the plants they eat.
Indeed, their vegetarian diet keeps des-ert
cottontails relatively small, although
they can grow up to 17 inches in length and
weigh up to 3 pounds. Ears and feet make
up much of their petite frames, with ears
measuring around 4 inches long and feet
registering at 3 inches in length. Female
cottontails are typically bigger than their
male counterparts, an uncommon charac-teristic
among other species.
Such a small stature helps the rabbits
avoid predators — a very good thing, con-sidering
they have many. From bobcats and
coyotes to big birds of prey, it seems that
something’s always picking up a cottontail.
Or, rather, something’s always “trying” to pick
one up. Thanks to zigzag running patterns
and top speeds of 19 mph, rabbits do have a
fleeting chance. If running away doesn’t do
the trick, they’ve also been known to pummel
their predators with a series of kicks.
When it comes to making baby bunnies,
cottontails can produce several litters a year,
especially if their food supply is abundant
and the climate is cooperative. Young rabbits
are born aboveground or in shallow bur-rows
and are completely helpless. In most
cases, they won’t leave the nest until they’re
3 weeks old. As they mature, desert cotton-tails
tend away from social burrow networks,
which is common among many other rab-bit
breeds. That’s not to say, however, that
they’re antisocial — you’ll commonly see
desert cottontails getting hippity-hoppity
with one or two other rabbits.
Hop, Skip & Jumpers
The Easter Bunny and Roger Rabbit aren’t the only interesting leporidae around. Meet Sylvilagus
audubonii, the desert cottontail. He’s part cunning, part cute and plenty fluffy.
By KELLY KRAMER
With lemon-yellow bodies and black
wings, Scotts orioles are easy to spot on
desert hillsides across the Southwestern
United States and Mexico. In fact, you’ll
often find them where you’ll find yuccas,
as the pretty songbirds drink nectar from
the plant’s flowers, forage for insects on
its leaves and weave nests from its fibers
— all while whistling happy, high-pitched
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
P A R A D I S E
V A L L E Y
14 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1
THEJOURNAL > things to do
JA N UA RY 1 7-2 3 SCOT T SDA L E
Each January, the world’s top car collectors
call Scottsdale home during the Barrett-
Jackson Collector Car Auction, which cel-ebrates
its 40th anniversary this year. The
2010 event featured nearly 1,200 collector
vehicles that went on the block during the
weeklong auction, bringing in $68 million.
This year, high rollers, celebrities and car
buffs will cruise the grounds of WestWorld to
bid on more than 1,000 rare and unique vehi-cles.
Cooking demonstrations, fashion shows,
wine tastings and gourmet food offerings are
also included. Information: 480-421-6694 or
JANUA RY 1 , 8 , 1 5 , 2 2 , 2 9 F L AGS TA F F
Each Saturday, as part of the Weekend Guided Tours program, get an
in-depth look at the Museum of Northern Arizona’s collection of arti-facts
focused on the Colorado Plateau and the people who live there.
The museum houses nearly 5 million objects in its anthropology, biol-ogy,
fine art and geology collections, all of which are featured on the
tours. Information: 928-774-5213 or www.musnaz.org.
DEGRAZIA GALLERY IN THE SUN
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
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:
January is a great time to photograph the Grand Canyon. The cool,
crisp air provides crystalline light, and shorter daylight hours create
longer shadows, which can lead to dramatic images. Snow may blan-ket
the stunning landscapes of the Canyon, and the opportunities to
photograph wildlife are optimal. Join photographer Peter Ensenberger
for the “Winterscapes at the Grand Canyon” photo workshop, Janu-ary
15-17. Information: 888-790-7042 or www.friendsofazhighways.com.
JANUA RY 2 1 - 3 1 TUCSON
Artist Ted DeGrazia had dual passions for music and art. A year-long exhibition at DeGrazia
Gallery in the Sun features his paintings of musicians, as well as the complete collection of oil
paintings from his 1945 University of Arizona Master of Arts thesis that explored the relation of
music and color. Visitors will also see sketches and photographs of the artist. Information: 520-
299-9191 or www.degrazia.org.
Jesse Monongye Exhibition
J ANUA RY 1 - 3 1 PHOENI X
Jesse Monongye’s complex jewelry
expresses traditional elements from his
Navajo and Hopi heritage in contempo-rary
gold and silver. The Heard Museum
exhibition, Jesse Monongye: Opal Bears
and Lapis Skies, features more than 200
pieces by the artist and his principal
mentors, father Preston Monongye and
famed Hopi jeweler Charles Loloma. Best
known for his inlaid bears, Monongye’s
work also captures the celestial night
skies and other imagery. Information:
602-251-0213 or www.heard.org.
Wings Over Willcox
JANUA RY 1 2- 1 6 W I L LCOX
This 4-day birding and nature festival in Southeastern Arizona draws
visitors from around the world. The event includes a nature expo,
photo and birding workshops, bird-watching, geology and history
tours, and free seminars on birding, astronomy and more. This year’s
keynote speaker is Scott Waldensaul, who will present Of a Feather:
A (Brief) History of American Birding. Participants should register in
advance. Information: 800-200-2272 or www.wingsoverwillcox.com.
16 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1
WEEKEND GETAWAYS Unless you’re agoraphobic or tied to the couch, literally, there’s
no good reason not to explore Arizona. The Grand Canyon State
is bursting with adventure ops, and there’s something for every-one,
including houseboating on Lake Powell, whitewater-rafting
on the Salt River and horseback-riding in Cold Water Canyon.
If none of those get you going, keep reading, we’ve got more.
BY JODI CISMAN, JoBETH JAMISON, KELLY KRAMER, MARYAL MILLER,
KATHY MONTGOMERY & ROBERT STIEVE
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 17
18 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19
There was a time, not so long ago,
when getting from Point A to Point B
in Black Canyon required a long day,
a sturdy horse and a well-stocked
saddlebag. Today, it takes about 20
minutes in the driver’s seat of a Toy-ota
Sequoia. One option isn’t better
than the other, but if you subscribe
to the gospel of Will Rogers, who
once said, “There is nothing better
for the inside of a man than the out-side
of a horse,” you’ll want to park
the Toyota at Canyon Creek Ranch.
The ranch, which sits on 130
acres in nearby Cold Water Canyon,
is located about 20 miles north of
Phoenix. It’s close, but not too close.
More importantly, it’s surrounded
by the spectacular topography —
rugged hills, volcanic rock, des-ert
flora — of Agua Fria National
Monument. As a whole, the area is
one of the least-visited and most-spectacular
areas in Arizona.
Like the early days, the only sen-sible
way to explore the canyon is
on foot or on the back of a horse.
If you’re tired of walking, the wran-glers
at Canyon Creek can set you
up with a number of different guided
horseback tours, which are suitable
for just about everyone — including
6-year-old nieces named Ava.
“I loved it,” Ava told her uncle.
“And I wasn’t scared one bit, not
even when we crossed the river. All
I could think was, ‘This is very fun.’ ”
The horses, which follow the lead
of the wrangler, take riders from the
corral into the lush Sonoran Desert,
where the trail winds past saguaros,
paloverdes and mesquite trees, and
over the Agua Fria River. Although
there are several other horseback
outfitters in Arizona, this one gets
high marks because the entire ride
takes place out in the wilderness —
there’s no urbanization in sight.
Another thing that sets Canyon
Creek Ranch apart is its Old West
town, which is a replica of what
you might have seen in episodes of
Bonanza or Gunsmoke. In addition
to gunfights and other Wild West
entertainment, the town features a
saloon, complete with cowboy grub
and cold drinks, as well as hands-on
activities such as ax-throwing,
pistol-shooting and steer-roping.
(If you’re a vegetarian, don’t worry,
there aren’t any heavy-breathing
bovines in town. Instead, the steer-roping
is done with a good-sized
hay bale that sports a well-worn set
The cowboy kitsch is great for
kids, especially kids who spend
most of their time watching DVDs
in the backseat of a Toyota Sequoia,
but the best part of the adventure is
the trail ride itself. The desert land-scape
is beautiful, the wranglers
are entertaining and there’s noth-ing
better for the inside of a man —
or a niece — than the outside of a
horse. — Robert Stieve
at its peak in the spring of 2010. That means if
you were to pick a point on the river’s bank, the
equivalent of 65,000 basketballs would bounce
past that point in a single second.
Heed the rowing commands of your guide
and you won’t have to worry about becoming a
basketball yourself. “Forward two,” “back one,”
“stop.” The commands are that simple. Pretty
soon, you’ll be amazed by how quickly you’re
bounding through the water, encountering rap-ids
with names like Grumman, so-called for the
famed boat manufacturer. Some rapids are big-ger
and choppier than others, and some are a bit
calmer, inspiring only mild gasps and plenty of
opportunities to enjoy the amazing scenery that
Mid-trip, you’ll disembark at the guides’
camp — a funny, modern-hippie slice of rugged
habitation — where you’ll be treated to lunch à la
Scratchy and crew, including hamburgers, veggie
burgers, hot dogs and all the fixings. After you get
your fill, it’s back into the raft for the remainder of
the trip, and that might include a little bit of surf-ing.
It’s not surfing in the headed-to-Malibu-in-my-
vintage-Woody sense of the word. Rather,
you’ll help turn the raft against the current, then
sideways, resulting in the sensation of surfing. It’s
exciting, just like the rest of the trip, and a fabu-lous
end to your whitewater journey. Or maybe
it’s just the beginning.
— Kelly Kramer
Information: Canyon Rio Rafting,
800-272-3353 or www.canyon
In the Neighborhood: Irene’s
Real Mexican Food, Globe, 928-
425-7904; Show Low Historical
Society Museum, 928-532-7115
Park, Globe, 928-425-0320
Upper Salt River
Whitewater-rafting is not for the faint of heart.
Nor is it for people who hear the phrase “Splash
Zone” at Sea World and run screaming for the car.
Nor is it for people who care more about their hair
and makeup than they do about anything else.
In other words, hair-sprayed, freaked-out people
need not apply.
Whitewater-rafting is for people who like a
little bit of speed, a surge of adrenaline and water.
Lots of water. Canyon Rio Rafting is staffed by
people who fit that criteria. People like “Scratchy,”
a guide who’s part comedian and part rugged
boatman. The company’s one-day whitewater
tours of the Upper Salt River Canyon are geared
to people who fit that bill, too.
When you arrive at Canyon Rio’s Salt River
hub — a trailer located in a parking lot shared
with other outfitters just past the Salt River Can-yon
bridge, northeast of Globe — you’ll meet your
guides and fellow adventurers, then get fitted for
a wetsuit and personal flotation device. You might
think you look like a sausage in a floatie, but you’ll
be grateful for the suit once the first rush of water
smacks you in the chest. After a safety briefing,
you’re ready to hit the water.
Flanked by cactus-and-brush-covered granite
cliffs, the river runs between the San Carlos and
Fort Apache reservations, and, depending on the
melting White Mountains’ snowpack that feeds
the river, rapids range between Class III and Class
V. After a particularly wet and snowy winter, the
river ran at a rate of 65,000 cubic feet per second
Canyon Creek Ranch, Black Canyon City
Canyon Creek Ranch’s horseback
tours provide up-close views of the
Sonoran Desert. PHOTOGRAPH BY J2
PRECEDING PANEL AND BELOW: Rafters navigate Class III rapids on the Upper Salt River, taking advantage of spring runoff. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF KIDA PHOTO PRODUCTIONS
Information: Canyon Creek Ranch, 623-374-5245 or www.westerndestinations.com
In the Neighborhood: Rock Springs Café, 623-374-5794 or www.rockspringscafe.com; Agua Fria National Monument, 623-580-5500 or www.blm.gov/az;
Arcosanti, 928-632-7135 or www.arcosanti.org
20 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
“Lake Powell: America’s Newest Playground.”
That was the headline on the cover of the Janu-ary
1964 issue of Arizona Highways. It was the first
of many times the great lake would be featured in
this prestigious magazine. In that first occurrence,
Editor Raymond Carlson, the godfather of Arizona
Highways, wrote: “Glen Canyon! Remote, lonely
and hauntingly beautiful, was known to ancient
people, to the Navajos, to a few early day explor-ers,
and then in modern times to a few hardy and
adventuresome river enthusiasts. The mighty river
flowed on and on through the silent canyon. To
harness the strength of that river, a dam was built
in Glen Canyon, and just last spring a lake began to
form behind the dam.”
That “playground,” now almost 50 years old, has
become one of Arizona’s most popular destinations,
and for good reason: It’s gorgeous. From the tower-ing
red-rock sandstone cliffs and picturesque can-yons
to the brilliant blue-green water and beautiful
sandy beaches, Lake Powell is a panoramic post-card.
Although Glen Canyon was regarded as one of
the most amazing canyons in the Southwest, Lake
Powell is astounding as well, and it’s the epitome
of a weekend getaway.
ake Powell had been on the drawing
board for years, but it was born on Octo-ber
1, 1956. That’s when President Dwight
D. Eisenhower pushed the button that
ignited the first charge of dynamite used
in the construction of Glen Canyon Dam.
With that one simple act, the once quiet wilderness
now known as “the place no one knew” became a
24-hour construction zone dominated by cranes
and concrete and Brobdingnagian Tonka trucks.
It would stay that way until March 13, 1963,
when high-pressure gates in the left diversion tun-nel
were partially closed and the Colorado River
began backing up, thus forming the first few drops
of Lake Powell. Of course, it wasn’t much of a lake
in the beginning. In fact, it would be another 17
Lake Powell Resorts
& Marinas, Lake Powell
The 75-foot Excursion sits anchored in Kane Wash Canyon,
near Cookie Jar Butte. PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
ADDITIONAL READING: For information
on our newest book, Lake Powell, pick up
your smart phone and scan this code. If
you haven’t used 2D bar code technol-ogy,
here’s how to get started:
1. On your iPhone, download the appli-cation
called Quickmark (for the Droid,
2. Launch the application and position
the barcode within the viewfinder on
your phone — it’ll automatically connect
you to more information about our book.
22 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
years before the lake would hit its high-water mark
on June 22, 1980. Even today, that mark (3,700 feet
above sea level) is considered “full pool,” which isn’t
likely to occur again anytime soon.
Because of the drought that’s plagued the West
for more than a decade, the lake is a lot lower than
most people would like. At press time, according to
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Lake Powell was
down approximately 62 feet from the high-water
mark. Prior to the drought, which began in Sep-tember
1999, the lake was at 97 percent of capacity.
That number, however, dropped all the way to 33
percent in April 2005.
A few wet winters have helped reverse the trend,
at least temporarily, and now Lake Powell is at 64
percent of capacity. Even though that’s a long way
from full, there’s plenty of water to keep a house-boat
afloat, and, in case you’ve never been, a house-boat
is the ultimate way to experience Arizona’s
world-famous water park.
A Site for Sore Eyes Although Lake Powell is best explored from the
upper deck of a houseboat, day trips are an option as well — Lake Powell Resorts &
Marinas rents powerboats, Jet Skis, kayaks and other water toys. If you go that route,
you’ll need to crash at Wahweap Marina, which means staying at the Lake Powell
Resort or securing a site at the adjacent campground. If you’re pulling an RV, there
are 139 full hookup sites and 60 pull-through spaces. Each site includes a picnic
table, charcoal grill and/or fire pit, among other things. There’s even free Wi-Fi. In
addition, Wahweap RV Park & Campground offers 112 tent/self-contained RV sites.
With the lake as a backdrop, there aren’t any bad sites, but the best bet is site No. 26.
Situated at the top of a hill overlooking the bay, the views are second-to-none — it’s
definitely a site for sore eyes. Information: Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, 888-896-
3829 or www.lakepowell.com
Anytime is a good time to be on Lake Pow-ell.
The summer is prime time, but spring
is great too because the crowds are thin-ner
and the daytime highs are like those
in San Diego — in April, the average
high is 71 with lows in the mid-40s.
Naturally, the water’s a little too cold that time of
year for anything other than getting your feet wet,
but you’ll have the lake to yourself. Figuratively.
Whenever you go, winter, spring, summer or fall,
getting to the lake is easy.
From Flagstaff, the route heads north
across the Navajo Nation, hops over Glen
Canyon Dam just past Page, and ends at
Wahweap Marina, which is where you’ll
pick up your houseboat and probably
spend the first night — although it’s not
necessary, it’s a good idea to crash at Lake
Powell Resort when you get there, that
way you can get an early start the next
day. Another option is the Wahweap RV
Park & Campground (see sidebar, above).
Before you roll in, though, you’re going
to want to stock up on the four basic food
groups, along with cold beverages, paper
towels, Oreos, more cold beverages, sev-eral
bags of Cheetos ... whatever floats
your boat. If you forget something, the
marinas on the lake have some limited
supplies, but nothing like what you’ll find
at Trader Joe’s or Safeway. If a grocery list
for a week on a houseboat seems a little
overwhelming, don’t worry, the folks
at ARAMARK, the concessionaire that
manages Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas
(and also rents the houseboats), will give
you a list of what to pack. You’ll be glad
they did, because it’s easy to forget things
like garbage bags, bug spray, extra blan-kets
and bottle openers.
Once you’re at Wahweap, the south-ernmost
of the five marinas on the lake,
you’ll be given an hour-long lesson on
how to operate the boat, and what to do
if things go wrong. Despite the tutorial,
you’ll probably walk away thinking: That’s
it? I’m pretty sure I know less about boating than
Gilligan, and yet they’re giving me the wheel to a
15-ton monster that makes the one in Loch Ness
look like Flipper. Did he even tell me which side is
starboard? How do I turn this thing on? Oh god!
Nevertheless, that’s how it works. You
load your booty onto the boat, climb into
the captain’s chair and start chugging
upstream. By the way, because Lake Pow-ell
is fed by the Colorado River, there is
a current, which, if you’re not properly
anchored, would eventually drag you to
the top of the 710-foot Glen Canyon Dam.
It’s not likely, but you should keep that
in mind. Of course, if you do start drift-ing,
you’ll have plenty of time to get things
turned around — the lake is big and so
are the houseboats.
They range in size from the 46-foot
Expedition to the 75-foot Excursion, with
a handful of other sizes in between. Any
one of them will work, but if “roughing
it” goes against your better judgment, the
Excursion is the way to go.
With five staterooms, this 928-square-foot
luxury liner comfortably sleeps 12.
ABOVE: Sunset at Lake Powell
paints shades of scarlet on
Gunsight Butte at Padre Bay.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
ARAMARK PARKS AND DESTINATIONS
“Stuff your eyes with wonder ... live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
— RAY BRADBURY
24 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
There are three things you’ll learn about Tubac
when you visit: 1) It’s a real place, not just a dot on
a map; 2) it’s the epitome of an artist’s town; and
3) there’s a little something for everyone, whether
you like to eat, shop or explore art galleries.
If you’ve never been, Tubac is an easy place to
pass when you’re driving up or down Interstate 19,
but if you have some time to spare, you won’t regret
a stop. Better yet, make it a destination — with only
three meals in a day, you’ll want more time to try
every restaurant, bistro and café on the town map.
There’s plenty to choose from. Cafés and delis
line the streets. If you’re looking for a light meal,
grab a hot dog or panini at The Snack Bar Gallery
and eat while surrounded by amazing local art.
Or, enjoy free Wi-Fi, a cup of joe and freshly made
pizza at the Tubac Deli & Coffee Co. If Mexican
When you’re not in the land of Nod, there are all kinds of amenities
onboard to make you feel at home, including a hot tub, a fireplace, a
waterslide, a wide-screen TV and home theater system, two barbecue
grills, an auto-tracking satellite system, and a wine cooler that holds
up to 24 bottles of Cabernet, or whatever wine suits your fancy. Cen-tral
air and a full kitchen make the Excursion feel even more like home.
That is, until you look out the window — the combination of Mother
Nature and more than 21 million acre-feet of water makes Lake Powell
one of the most visually intoxicating places on Earth.
he Glen Canyon National Recreation Area was established
in 1972 to protect hundreds of thousands of acres straddling
Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. The centerpiece of the
national park is Lake Powell, which is named for John Wes-ley
Powell, the one-armed Civil War veteran who explored
the Colorado River back in 1869. Long before he showed up,
though — about 11,000 years earlier — native tribes known as Desert
Archaic people roamed the canyon. They liked it there, and stuck
around for a while. Then, several millennia later, around a.d. 1050, the
Anasazis moved in and built their marvelous cliff dwellings, most of
which were submerged with the creation of the lake.
Although the Spaniards and Mormons also explored the area, it
was J.W. Powell who shared Glen Canyon’s beauty with the rest of the
world. Of course, he wouldn’t recognize it today, with the exception
of Rainbow Bridge, which stands as the largest natural bridge in the
world. Like everything else associated with the lake, Rainbow Bridge
is big. Very big.
In all, it rises 290 feet above the riverbed below — about the same
height as the Statue of Liberty — and spans 275 feet across. When the
lake is full, boats can cruise almost to the base of the bridge. When
it’s not, a short hike (1.5 miles round-trip) is required. It’s worth it,
though. As you’ll see, Rainbow Bridge is the lake’s premier sideshow,
but it’s not the only site worth seeing.
In fact, one of the best things about Powell is exploring the lake’s
1,900 miles of shoreline and 96 side canyons. But you don’t want to use
the houseboat for that. Instead, you’ll want to dock the big boat on a
beach somewhere and use a powerboat for cruising around. They’re
faster, cheaper and much easier to maneuver — the houseboats go less
than 10 mph and guzzle about 1.5 gallons of gas per mile. Powerboats,
along with Jet Skis, kayaks and other water toys, are available for rent
at Wahweap, and can easily be towed behind the mother ship.
It’s a good system, and it’s the way you’ll spend most of your time
on Lake Powell. Like the man for whom the lake is named, explora-tion
is the real reason you’re there. As you head out, however, remem-ber
that even though there are five marinas, there’s a lot of lake in
between them, and no matter how beautiful the red rocks and blue-green
water can be, the last thing you want to do is run out of gas in
the middle of nowhere. And there’s a lot of nowhere on Lake Powell,
which makes it an ideal “playground” for anyone wanting to hop
off the grid. Nevertheless, being nowhere with no gas would be a
real drag. Plan ahead, have a safe trip and don’t forget the Cheetos.
— Robert Stieve
A yawning alcove looms over Lake Powell in
Willow Canyon. PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
The Country Shop in Tubac offers a
wide selection of Mexican pottery.
PHOTOGRAPH BY EDWARD MCCAIN
is your cuisine of choice, head to Wisdom’s Café, which is run by three generations of
the Wisdom family. Don’t be fooled by the giant chicken statues that stand guard at the
entrance; the food is anything but foolish — even if you only order an original, mango or
strawberry margarita, which the menu promises will “knock your socks off.” And don’t
forget a devilish seasonal fruit burrito à la mode.
When you aren’t wiping the drool from your chin, explore the more than 30 art gal-leries
in Tubac. The artwork ranges from Southwestern (Hal Empie Studio) to pottery
(Clay Hands Gallery & Studio) to wrought-iron sculptures (Karin Newby Gallery &
Sculpture Garden). In Tubac, you not only have a chance to purchase original artwork,
but you can also watch the artists hard at work on their masterpieces, and they’re more
than willing to answer any questions you might have about the pieces in their studios.
In addition to burritos and pottery, another option in Tubac is a game of golf at the
Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. The historic Otero Ranch sits on 500 acres and features 98
guestrooms, a 27-hole championship golf course, spa, salon and restaurant that is
“great for couples, singles and families,” according to Cristella Lopez, the resort’s groups
coordinator. By the way, movie fans might recognize the resort as the primary setting for
the Kevin Costner film Tin Cup. After spending a weekend in Tubac, you’ll be able to tell
your friends and family that it is, in fact, a real place, not just a dot on the Arizona map.
And your impression of the tiny town will evolve from “that easily missed place along
the highway” to an enormous, living, breathing piece of communal art that has been
carefully crafted over the decades by one-of-a-kind people who bring truth to the town’s
tagline: “Where Art and History Meet.” — Jodi Cisman
Information: Tubac Chamber of Commerce, 520-398-2704 or www.tubacaz.com
In the Neighborhood: Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, 1 Avenue de Otero, 520-398-2211 or www.
tubacgolfresort.com; The Snack Bar Gallery, 2221 E. Frontage Road, Suite E102, 520-370-1556
or www.laentradadetubac.com; Tubac Deli & Coffee Co., 6 Plaza Road, 520-398-3330 or
www.tubacdeli.com; Wisdom’s Café, 1931 E. Frontage Road, 520-398-2397 or www.wisdoms
cafe.com; Hal Empie Studio, 33 Tubac Road, 520-398-2811 or www.halempiestudio-gallery.
com; Clay Hands Gallery & Studio, 5 Camino Otero, 520-398-2885 or www.clayhands.com;
Karin Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 19 Tubac Road, 520-398-9662 or www.karin
Lodging: Lake Powell Resort at Wahweap Marina offers 350 rooms, and
Wahweap RV Park & Campground offers 139 full hookup sites and 60
pull-through spaces, as well as 112 tent/self-contained RV sites. Lodging
facilities are also available at Hite, Halls Crossing and Bullfrog marinas. For
more information, call 888-896-3829 or visit www.lakepowell.com.
Houseboat Rentals: Houseboat rentals vary in price depending on boat
size and length of stay. The 46-foot Expedition, for example, runs $1,698
for 5 days, while the 75-foot Excursion is $10,595 for 7 days. Powerboats
and other water toys can be rented by the hour, day or week. For specific
prices and special rates, call 888-896-3829.
Information: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, 928-608-6404 or
www.nps.gov/glca; Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, 888-896-3829 or
www.lakepowell.com; Rainbow Bridge National Monument, 928-608-
6200 or www.nps.gov/rabr
26 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1
Standing at sunset on the edge
of Plateau Point, past and pres-ent
stretch out before me. Trilo-bite
tracks, formed 525 million
years ago, lay imprinted in the
Tapeats sandstone beneath
my feet. During this introduc-tory
backpacking class, my
classmates and I have, in a way,
stepped back in time.
Nowhere do the layers of time
stand more exposed than here
at the Grand Canyon. Yet the
Canyon retains some mysteries.
Time twists in unexpected ways.
There are unexplained gaps in
the geologic memory.
“Right above is the Super-group,”
explains “Slim” Wood-ruff,
our Grand Canyon Field
Institute instructor. “The older
rock is above the Tapeats.
That’s called an unconformity.”
Tomorrow, we’ll rest our
backpacks on the Great Uncon-formity,
in which a billion years
of geologic time is missing.
“There’s Zoroaster,” Slim
says, pointing out her favorite
formation. At nearly every stop
during our 3-day trek, Slim
places the formation like a navi-gational
From there, we can also
see our immediate past and
future. Lights from the South
Rim, which we left this morn-ing,
twinkle above us. Below us
lies the Devil’s Corkscrew, an
imposing bit of trail we’ll tackle
tomorrow. Farther below, the
Colorado River, normally green,
appears to be the color of
After hiking 4.5 miles with a
full pack, I feel almost giddy. My
classmates chatter happily and
take turns snapping photos of
“Give me some attitude,”
Marty goads from behind a
Elaine, watching a cliff swal-low
dive and swoop, jokes, “He
wouldn’t be so spry if he had to
walk down here.”
As the sun slides below the
Canyon rim, I wander off to sit
by myself. Taking in the layers
of geologic time, I wonder how I
will stack up.
We silently reassemble as
the stars begin to emerge. Lying
on our backs, we pick out the
Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, Scorpio.
The Milky Way stretches over-head
like a veil.
Finally, as if on cue, we rouse
tired bodies and head back to
camp, our headlamps winking
in the dark like a secret code.
Over the course of 3 days,
we hike 22 miles between the
South Rim and Phantom Ranch,
camping for 2 nights at Indian
Garden. Slim teaches us a little
of everything: backpacking, his-tory,
archaeology, geology. We
ford cottonwood-shaded creeks
and traverse a slot canyon lined
with evening primroses and
monkeyflowers. We pass mines
and visit historical structures.
We play on a sandy beach.
Along the way, we glimpse
mule deer, a comically defen-sive
baby kingsnake, the tail
end of a bighorn sheep. Slowly,
I begin to understand the pull of
“It was worth any effort to
get here,” says Ron, who has
already decided to come back.
Hiking out on the last day,
photographer Larry Lindahl
and I debate formations and
geologic layers, and what our
favorites say about us. A kind
of “which tree would you be?”
I considered the possi-bilities.
Would I be strong as
Vishnu schist? Permeable as
Kaibab limestone? Graceful as
Coconino sandstone? In the
end, I can’t decide. And maybe I
don’t need to. My own path has
yet to be set in stone.
— Kathy Montgomery
Grand Canyon Field Institute, South Rim
BACKPACKING THE CANYON
Information: Grand Canyon Field Institute, 866-471-4435 or www.grand
In the Neighborhood: El Tovar, 888-297-2757 or www.grandcanyon
lodges.com; Cruisers 66 Café, Williams, 928-635-2445 or www.cruisers
66.com; Grand Canyon Caverns, Seligman, 928-422-4565 or www.gccav
Information: Great Ventures Tours, 928-282-4451
Travel Advisory: While bargaining is acceptable,
Hopi crafts still fetch a handsome fee. There are a
couple of accredited stores that take credit cards,
but home and street vendors do not, so cash is
highly recommended if you’re there to buy. Kachinas
and pottery vary in quality and craftsmanship for
the price, so shop around. Be respectful of the cul-ture
and observe all signs and rules.
In the Neighborhood: Standin’ on the Corner Park,
Winslow, www.standinonthecornerpark.com; La
Posada Hotel & Gardens, Winslow, 928-289-4366
or www.laposada.org; Clear Creek, Winslow, 928-
First, Second & Third Mesas
While on my tour of the Hopi Reservation, also known as a Hopi Lands Tour, our group was taken to
a small house on First Mesa to buy piki bread (traditional, pastry-thin sheets of blue-corn
and wood-ash batter cooked over a hot fire). I giddily bought one of the few remaining
Souvenir mission: Accomplished.
“You’re lucky,” said a fellow traveler, eyeing my bluish burrito-looking find. “You live
here. You can always come back for more.”
My face went red, like the countless locals at a Phoenix travel expo who confessed that
they’d never been to the Grand Canyon. Yes, but I haven’t been here since I was 8 years old! This
was almost as rare an adventure for me as it was for someone from Ohio or California.
And like all great adventures that I’ve ever put off, I wish I’d done it sooner.
Surrounded by the Navajo Nation, the scenic Hopi Reservation consists of three mesas,
which house several different pueblo-style villages, including Orayvi (also known as Old
Oraibi) and Walpi, two of the oldest continuously inhabited villages in North America.
While the Hopis may share access roads and some modern-day symbiosis, their pre-dominantly
patriarchal, clan-oriented culture and heritage is very different from that of
their Navajo neighbors. The Hopis are so old school, they’re ahead of the new global curve.
They live minimally, some without running water or plumbing. In protest of hovering
power lines, some villages have very happily gone solar. And instead of using irrigation
systems, the Hopis are dry-farmers who rely on the seasonal rains to water such crops as
squash, melons and corn, a very important cultural staple.
The Hopi mesas are the land of kachinas — spirit dolls hand-carved from the roots of
cottonwood trees. Authentic kachinas can be purchased from reputable dealers around
the state, but there’s nothing quite like meeting the artist in person as he (or she, if you’re
on First Mesa) puts on the finishing touches and warmheartedly offers the meaning
behind each intricate detail, sometimes right from their own home. The Hopis are also
known for their impeccably handcrafted baskets, pottery and dawas (suns), as well as
their elaborate Katsina costumes, which are worn during special events and celebrations.
While there are several Hopi events that are open to the public — seasonal ceremonies
that are usually held on Second Mesa — the Hopis are very protective of their culture
and tribal land. Photography is prohibited and, in some places, even sketching and note-taking
are not permitted. Certain areas are not accessible to the public without a certified
native guide, while other areas are not accessible at all. Unless you are Hopi, self-guided
tours are ill-advised. Your best bet for the full experience is a guided tour with a reputable
company. — JoBeth Jamison
ABOVE AND BELOW: Backpackers make
their way along the Grand Canyon’s
Bright Angel Trail. PHOTOGRAPHS BY
LARRY LINDAHL Hopi Village of Walpi, First Mesa. PHOTOGRAPH BY JERRY JACKA
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
28 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
his is how they used to do it in the good old
days,” James, your trusty pilot, yells over his
shoulder as you exit the terminal and walk
toward the big red biplane that awaits on the
Sedona Airport tarmac. It’s a typical begin-ning
to one of Red Rock Biplane Tours’ biplane
After strapping on a soft, vintage flying hel-met,
you’ll step up onto the wing and climb
into the front seat. Although you might be
contemplating an escape, James is as cool as Top
Gun’s Maverick pulling a 3-G negative dive in a thun-derstorm
at night. That said, if heights give you the
hives, you might want to ride the pine on this one.
As you weave down the runway in the single-engine,
open-cockpit biplane, memories of the steep
ascent you trekked to reach the U.S.S. Sedona (the
nickname Sedona Airport picked up for its long,
narrow battleship shape as seen from the air) will
undoubtedly re-enter your consciousness. The air-port
sits atop a towering mesa that overlooks the
city, and you’re about to fly straight off the end of
its runway into the wild blue yonder. At some point,
logic prevails. Planes fly in and out of there all day,
every day, and as James assures you via the head-phones
in your helmet: You’re about to embark on
the aviation adventure of a lifetime.
Once you’re airborne, James narrates with a con-tinuous
stream of landmark identification. For the
first half of the 20-minute flight, you’ll listen anx-iously
as you pass over Cathedral Rock, Courthouse
Butte, the lush Coconino National Forest, colorful
Oak Creek Canyon and the Mogollon Rim. You’ll
spot Thunder Mountain and catch a rare glimpse of
the sprawling Enchantment Resort hidden inside
Boynton Canyon. But as the ride begins to steady
and your nerves settle, calm consumes you and the
euphoria of gliding freely above the red rocks tem-porarily
puts James’ voice on mute. Relax and enjoy
the ethereal breeze and the warm sun on your face
— peace this perfect is hard to come by with two
feet on the ground.
One of the most exquisite sightings on your
journey, one that only a bird’s-eye view like this can
showcase properly, is an impressive outcropping of
red rocks just past Lee Mountain called the “Merry-
Go-Round,” so named for its circular configuration.
Simply put, the view from above is extraordinary.
Then, as you zoom tightly between, and fly shoul-der-
to-shoulder with Sedona’s highest ridges, you’ll
learn that sharks’ teeth can be found on many of the
plateaus in the area — the daggers were left behind
by an ocean that covered the area some 320 million
All too soon, it’s time to return from whence
you came. But this time you’ll strut across the tar-mac
with some swagger in your step and the hum
of Danger Zone running through your brain.
— Maryal Miller
Information: Red Rock Biplane
Tours, 888-866-7433 or www.
In the Neighborhood: Enchant-ment
Resort, 800-826-4180 or
Palatki Heritage Site, 928-282-
4119 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/
Red Rock Biplane Tours’
plane soars over the Red
Wilderness. PHOTOGRAPH BY
“ T “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” — AMELIA EARHART
Under the Weather
The sun shines a lot in Arizona
— about 90 percent of the year,
compared to 30 percent in Juneau,
Alaska. Although most Arizonans
will tell you they love the sun,
there’s a universal vibe of excite-ment
and relief when the clouds
roll in. Because it happens so rarely,
we sent a photographer into the
outdoors during a recent wave of
inclement weather. We thought it
would come in handy the next time
you’re sick of the sun.
a p o r t fo l i o b y l a r ry l i n da h l
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
32 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
a p o r t f o l i o b y l a r r y l i n da h l
Preceding panel : Threatening clouds hover above
Schnebly Hill and the brilliant red rocks
of Mitten Ridge near Sedona.
Right: Snow covers the landscape and fog shrouds
soaring rock formations as water flows through Bear
Wallow Creek in the Coconino National Forest.
Below: Icicles hang from ponderosa
pine boughs in the upper reaches of Boynton Canyon.
“From wonder into wonder existence opens.” — LAO TZU
34 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 35
a p o r t f o l i o b y l a r r y l i n da h l
Mist, caused by storm-fed
runoff, obscures Oak Creek
as it rushes over boulders
along its course through
“Observe the wonders
as they occur around
you. Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving
through and be silent.”
— JALAL AD-DIN RUMI
36 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 37
a p o r t f o l i o b y l a r r y l i n da h l
Left: Capitol Butte seems to play a game of
hide-and-seek with passing clouds after a
snowstorm in Coconino National Forest.
Below: An ephemeral stream turns into a
lovely waterfall as it flows over slickrock
during a late-season winter storm.
“Nature is full of genius,
full of the divinity;
so that not a snowflake
escapes its fashioning hand.”
— HENRY DAVID THOREAU
38 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
a p o r t f o l i o b y l a r r y l i n da h l
Crimson cliff ledges offer
a display of icicles and
snow during winter in
“When one tugs at a
single thing in nature,
he finds it attached to
the rest of the world.”
— JOHN MUIR
40 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
I heard voices and I woke.
It was just before dawn. An inkling of light
touched the sky outside the tent. Wind belted
through a surrounding copse of juniper trees
and piñon pines. I could barely hear them, men
talking, coming closer.
I was camped with my wife and baby son in
the sea-green forests just north of the Mogol-lon
Rim in the central part of Arizona. The
dry lands of the Colorado Plateau end there
and a dense wave of pines blankets an eighth
of the state from there south. No one but us
should have been there on that morning, miles
from the nearest paved road.
“Did you hear that?” Regan whispered.
“Yeah,” I whispered back. “Someone’s here.”
“Three of them,” Regan said.
I immediately slipped into my clothes,
pulled socks on, then boots. Warm hat.
Gloves. We were at nearly 7,000 feet in eleva-tion,
the morning brisk. The voices were start-ing
to fade, heading off the other way. I laced
my boots faster.
“Archaeoastronomers,” I whispered to
Regan. It was the only thing I could imag-ine,
perhaps an odd conclusion, but the first
thing that came to mind. Archaeoastronomy
is the study of ancient sites where people once
aligned rock art or architecture to celestial
events. Such sites are all over the Southwest,
places that intentionally catch sunrise on
crucial mornings like the solstice or equinox,
or are aligned with the long rhythms of the
moon. We had found a rock art panel nearby
in the forest the day before, and it struck me
as one that might have archaeological signifi-cance.
It was in the direction the men’s voices
were heading. Maybe they were coming up
to check the sunrise, to see how its first light
interacted with rock art figures. Why else
would someone be there before dawn?
“I’ll follow them,” I hushed, zipping open
the tent door. “I’ll be back.”
“Or they’re pothunters,” Regan said.
“Yeah, I thought about that,” I said. That
was another option. There are ruined pueb-los
all over this area, fields of broken, pre-
Columbian pottery. They might have come
with shovels and screens, maybe guns. Dig-gers
looking for artifacts to sell on the black
market. But somehow it seemed more likely
that they were archaeoastronomers, judging
by the exact hour of their arrival.
“I’ll just see what they’re up to,” I said, and I
zipped the door closed behind me.
The three voices had gotten well ahead of
me in the chill wind. The men knew exactly
where they were going, no pausing or looking
for directions. They had been there before. I
took off after them.
In the first light, pieces of pottery began
appearing up the slope, remains of people
from the 14th century, black-on-whites, black-on-
reds, yellow wares. People had been liv-ing
in settlements all around there. When I
neared the top of the mesa, I stopped in shad-ows
where I could see two of the three men
above me. One carried camera equipment.
Their movements were informal, unaware
someone had followed them, that anyone else
was out there at all. Their shoulders were
jacked up against the wind, their heads down
Archaeoastronomy is the study of prehistoric
sites where ancient people once aligned rock art
to celestial events. There are places like this all
over the Southwest — places that intentionally
catch sunrise on crucial mornings such as the
solstice or equinox, or are aligned with the long
rhythms of the moon. On a recent morning on
the Mogollon Rim, our intrepid essayist stumbled
upon some archaeoastronomers at work.
By Craig Childs
Comet Hale-Bopp (right) streaked across the sky over Arizona’s high country in March 1997. PHOTOGRAPH BY FRANK ZULLO
“Mystery creates wonder
and wonder is the basis of man’s
desire to understand.”
— NEIL ARMSTRONG
42 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
as they unloaded gear in an upheaval of large basalt boulders. The
boulders were covered with rock art.
I looked for shovels, screens, perhaps a weapon that might identify
these men as pothunters. Nothing of the sort. They had a sole purpose.
They had come for sunrise. The two men sank down in front of a tall
block of a boulder black as charcoal, taking shelter, their gloved hands
tucked into their coats. I approached through the trees, slowly, my
hands at my sides.
The man with the camera saw me first, a clean-shaven face caught
suddenly at the sight of a stranger out of the woods. The slightly older
man with a trim gray beard saw me next, and both of their faces went
half-blank with confusion. I could see in their eyes that this site was
not public knowledge.
I opened a hand, unarmed, friendly. I had to shout over the wind,
asking if they were there for an alignment. The photographer did not
move. The bearded man stood up and he seemed to be thinking there
are enough oddities and coincidences in the world, why not a man
appearing from the woods who knows these ancient maps?
The photographer rose behind him. We peeled off gloves to shake
hands. They introduced themselves, both from the Museum of North-ern
Arizona in Flagstaff, a photo archivist and a bearded archaeologist.
They were there for sunrise. “And the third man?” I asked.
“He’s the steward for this site,” the photographer said. “He’s working
with the Forest Service, and he’s kind of old, so it’s taking him awhile
to get up here.”
“And you’ve come for an alignment?” I asked again.
The archaeologist, Jerry Snow, told me that the rock art panels there
seem to be a kind of calendar. He had been coming for years charting
different sunrises, documenting the way first light strikes various
images carved in the rock.
I explained that my wife, our son and I were camped down lower,
that we heard them come through, figured it could mean only one
thing. They laughed. Snow said there aren’t many of us in the world. I
nodded, even though I was not one of them, not an archaeoastronomer.
I was at least in on the secret, peeping into this subculture of people
who document signs of prehistoric astronomy.
The third man approached with some difficulty, poking a thick
walking stick ahead of him. He came out from around black boul-ders,
his peaked hood protecting his ears from the wind. When he
approached me and stopped, his body was like a truck lurching to
a halt, swaying against its brakes. I could not read the age of his face
under his hood, 70 years old, 80 maybe, but his expression was at least
serene, not at all surprised to see someone there this morning. He intro-duced
himself as Joe, the steward for this place, assigned by the Forest
Service. With a handshake, I felt his large hands, a working man. He
overlapped both his hands on the knob of his wooden staff.
Meeting Joe, I thought there had probably been stewards there for
generations, for centuries, wizards and eccentric, dawdling rubes
waving their sticks in the air, plodding up there to make sure light was
still coming on schedule. Joe smiled under the shadow of his hood, his
shoulders heavy over his walking stick.
Snow, the archaeoastronomer, took me aside to point out various
facets of the rock art panel. He toured me through tightly scrolled
spirals and distinct but hardly identifiable symbols.
“Most of the activity seems to be based around this central spiral,” he
said, circling his hand around an east-facing plane of basalt decorated
with numerous carved figures. He explained that just before the sum-mer
solstice, a perfect sliver of light comes across the large spiral in
the middle, and its tip touches the very center like the point of a knife.
The same kind of spiral is found on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon,
arranged like a clock face so that daggers of light form intentional pat-terns
on the winter solstice, the summer solstice, and the spring and
autumnal equinoxes. The same spiral-and-dagger arrangement can be
found at numerous sites across the Colorado Plateau (other renditions
of this have also been documented in Texas).
On this morning, Snow did not know what the sun would do.
We were partway between the spring equinox and summer solstice,
and he had come, documenting every increment of seasons he could
“Of course you’re welcome to be here and watch the event,” Jerry
“Thank you,” I said, finding his choice of words curious. The event.
Not 3 minutes later the sun lifted in the east, a luminous orange
turtle. The photographer swung out his tripod, though it would still
take some time for light to thread through these boulders and touch
the appropriate spiral.
“What time you got?” Snow asked.
The photographer pushed back the sleeve of his coat and said, “5:53.”
The sun lifted through a haze of blown dust some 60 miles away in the
Painted Desert. There was enough dust in the air between us and the sun
that I could look straight at the sun’s ball for a second or two at a time. I
was amazed at its roundness, a perfect globe formed above the horizon.
I now saw why people had carved their images in this location. The
full distance of light was visible from this knuckle of a mesa, no roof-tops
or heads of trees to block the view. Sunlight came directly from
the other side of the planet, striking a gallery of symbols positioned on
the line where the desert to the north gives way to forest in the south.
“What time you got?”
The sun began beating back the dust storm, its light becoming too
brilliant to face. We shielded our eyes and turned away, feeling warmth
soak into our bodies.
“What time you got?”
Shadows cataracted across boulders around us, lining up with vari-ous
etchings. Ducking my head, moving lower, I made sure my shadow
did not cross any of these images. Keys were turning all around me,
locks opening as light passed over lesser spirals and figures of animals.
Snow lifted his hand and watched the shadows of his fingers, playing
with the light, seeing how many seconds remained before it reached
the central spiral. He pulled out his tape measure and took quick mea-surements.
Joe stood back watching, a gnome with a peaked hood and
“What time?” Snow asked.
Light rolled quickly down the spiral and within a minute it severed
the image exactly in half, one side in light, the other in shadow. The
photographer moved from place to place, crawling over the rock, tak-ing
pictures from different angles as the clock face revealed itself. The
straightedge formed between light and shadow cantilevered across the
boulder, one-by-one touching other images carved on the rock. As each
figure came into alignment, they seemed to be coordinates, as if on a
Cartesian chart; the abscissa of the shadow line, the ordinate of stone.
“This is what I was hoping to see,” Snow said, and he began describ-ing
each figure, telling me how they fit in certain houses of the sun,
how they are addressed by the light in orderly, annual sequences. Basi-cally,
Snow was describing a form of astrology, perhaps used in its old-est
and most original definition: a scientific study of celestial motion.
The light show ended when all the carved figures were fully illumi-nated.
We moved down off these boulders into a bit of shelter below
where we sat, shoulder to shoulder, as if we had known each other
for years. Joe kneaded the handle of his walking stick. The light kept
coming, falling across pine forests the color of mint, showing the way
to the Mogollon Rim.
Archaeoastronomers study ancient rock art that marks large boulders scattered across the Mogollon Rim. PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK BEREZENKO Phil Garn measures a possible solar alignment with a spiral petroglyph
at Chavez Pass. PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK BEREZENKO
44 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
Odd, quirky, outlandish, strange ... there are plenty
of adjectives to describe some of the stuff you’ll see along
the road in rural Arizona. Bizarre, weird and wacky
will work, as well. What follows are 10 of our favorite
peculiarities, but this is just the beginning.
ARIZONA’S BIGGEST TIKI HEAD
Giganticus Headicus, Kozy Corner Mobile Home & RV Park, Kingman
If you’ve driven it before, you expect to see roadside oddities on Historic Route 66 — or at least things that make you
turn your head and then stop the car for a photo. The giant Tiki head at the Kozy Corner Trailer Park, located 15 miles east of
the Kingman airport, is one of those head-turners. The 7-year-old sculpture, painted green, is officially known as Giganticus
Headicus. It’s an oddity, for sure, one that even attracted the attention of Hollywood — G.H. was photographed for the
2007 television show Space Pirates. Owner Gregg Arnold, originally from New Jersey, says he imagined something
larger than 14 feet, “but that’s the largest two-by-four I could get without special delivery.” It was also the first
time Arnold had worked with stucco, Styrofoam and chicken wire. “I couldn’t get any help from the guys
at Home Depot,” he says. “They thought I was nuts.” Tourists might beg to differ. From the girls
who stopped by to pose topless to annual visits from David Childress, who hosts Ancient Alien
Technology on TV, the giant head has some serious fans.
Information: 928-681-4298 or www.giantheadonroute66.com
46 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 47
TALLEST COWBOY IN ARIZONA
B.J. the Giant Cowboy (a.k.a. Muffler Man or Big Johnson), Prescott
You won’t be able to get much information out of this cowboy, whose owners have left the building.
You can, however, take a good look at him, just standing there in front of what used to be Johnson
Realty on Fair Street in Prescott. According to the locals, the big fiberglass fella has been overlooking
the street since the 1970s. His only hiatus was a month in March 2009 when he was hit by a car. The
20-foot-tall cowboy suffered a broken leg and scratched fiberglass, but Brackman’s Paint & Body
came to the rescue, sending him home with a new pair of bluejeans and a freshly painted orange
shirt. The folks at the body shop didn’t work on B.J.’s cowboy hat, though — his former owner
reportedly said it needed to maintain its worn character.
Information: The Giant Cowboy is located at 947 Fair Street in Prescott.
LARGEST LOG CABIN
Museum Club, Flagstaff
It’s been a museum, a home to a couple who died
there and a roadhouse. The bar has served celebrities
and college students alike. The place even picked up a
nickname, “The Zoo,” during its 95-year-history. Some
people even say it’s haunted. The one thing that hasn’t
changed since Dean Eldredge, the original founder of
Arizona’s largest log cabin, decided to house an odd
collection of taxidermy there in 1915 is its front door.
You still enter through the pine branch that’s shaped like
a wishbone. An icon on Historic Route 66, you probably
can’t find a graduate of Northern Arizona University who
hasn’t bought a beer or two at the Museum Club, which
is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To
see more of its quirks, step inside. There you’ll find a fire-place
with lava formations and petrified wood embed-ded
in the mantle, several antler chandeliers, pine trees
on the dance floor and plenty of stuffed buffalo heads.
Bands play live music every weekend, and customers
come from all over the world for a chance to hang out at
this quirky old bar.
Information: 928-526-9434 or www.museumclub.com
The Roadside Baby, Goodyear
Although he’s now almost 12 years old, the big baby
sitting in the middle of a field on the north side of Inter-state
10 and playing with a yellow tractor hasn’t grown
an inch. At 20 feet, he’s just as tall as he was when he
first started playing out there in 1998. And consider
him lucky — he wasn’t supposed to live this long. That’s
because he’s made of plywood and painted in acrylics. In
fact, John Cerney, the California-based mural artist who
created the big baby, didn’t expect him to last more than
5 years. If you’re not looking, you might miss the cute
blond kid in blue-and-white-striped overalls near the
Cotton Lane exit, despite the baby’s height. Modeled
after Jaymee Lawton, a 13-year-old Goodyear resident
whose grandmother worked at Duncan Family Farms, the
baby was commissioned to be a marker to call attention
to the farm’s exit. The 2,000-acre farm offered you-pick
vegetable fields, a play area and a petting zoo. At one
time, there were several other plywood cutouts that
played in the field with the big baby, including one that
must have been his mother. Today, only the baby and the
tractor are left, and the farm is closed.
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
— HUNTER S. THOMPSON
48 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 49
STRANGEST SIGHT TO SEE
IN A SERVICE STATION
Giant Ball of Tire Stickers, Eddie’s Tire Shop, Williams
In addition to filling up your gas tank, purchasing a new tire or having your windows
washed, you can also stop for a photo-op at Eddie’s Tire Shop in Williams, home of the
“Giant Ball of Stickers.” Owner Eddie Sandoval, who was born along Historic Route 66,
began constructing the ball 3 years ago. “I used to put the stickers on the wall, but then
just decided to make a ball. I should have done it years ago,” he says. Why? “Because
that giant ball of stickers sure gets a lot of attention.” People from across the United
States stop by for a look at the 50-pound, beach ball-sized creation every day. Ask the
71-year-old why he started it, and he’ll tell you, “I’m just that way.”
A PRETTY BIG SUNDIAL
In terms of giant time-tellers, Carefree’s famed sun-dial
might not rival Big Ben, but it does boast the title
of “America’s Largest Sundial.” A plaque on the famous
dial reports that a solar engineer named John Yellot and
architect Joe Wong designed the sundial for K.T. Palmer,
one of the town’s founders, in 1959. At the time, it was
the largest sundial in the world. One built in India has
since claimed the title. Whatever its title, it is big — it
stretches 62 feet and has its own motto: “Marking time
by day and the North Star at night.” Located at the cor-ner
of Easy Street and Sundial Circle, the dial was once
used to help heat a solar-powered business behind it by
piping water to the business and back. Today, it’s simply
used to tell time. The colored-glass starburst that once
hung from the gnomon, the stationary arm that casts the
time-telling shadow on the ground, is now on display at
the Cave Creek Museum.
Rosetree Museum, Tombstone
You’ll see her when you reach the corner of Fourth
and Toughnut streets — the largest rosebush in the
world. Called Lady Banksia, the plant now covers 8,400
square feet and is held up by an arbor made of galva-nized
piping and patio posts. Last August, landscapers
added another row to the arbor on her west side to make
room for continued growth. The rosebush, which was
planted from the root of a bush that came from Scotland
in 1885, is watered about once a week and pruned once
a year. The original root was planted by Mary Gee at her
Tombstone boardinghouse. The best time to visit is in
April, when the miniature white petals on this rambling
rose are in full bloom.
“I used to put the
stickers on the
wall, but then just
decided to make a
ball. I should have
done it years ago.”
“Be who you are and say what
you feel because those who mind
don’t matter and those who
matter don’t mind.” — DR. SEUSS
50 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 51
WORLD’S LARGEST KOKOPELLI
Krazy Kokopelli, Camp Verde
With the power to bring rain to dry lands, this giant being, modeled in the Hopi Indian tradition,
appears to be dancing while playing the flute near the intersection of Interstate 17 and State Route
260 in Camp Verde. According to Hopi legend, Kokopelli only appears during the first half of the
year, but this version dances year-round. The 32-foot-tall steel structure stands in sharp contrast to
traditional kachinas, which are commonly carved from cottonwood roots. In Arizona, the Kokopelli
has become a popular trading-post staple. Icon or eyesore, this giant perches atop a pedestal next
to the Starbucks sign in front of the Crazy Kokopelli Trading Post, and was commissioned by a man
whose business on Finnie Flats Road is now closed.
Valley of the Moon, Tucson
They call it 2.7 acres of wonderland, but it’s
actually George Phar Legler’s idea of a place
where children’s imaginations can work over-time.
Legler, an Indiana native who moved out
West, conjured up Valley of the Moon in the
1920s. Built from concrete, metal, wire, river rock
and whatever other items Legler could recycle,
reuse or find someplace else, Valley of the Moon
features castles, towers, rock cliffs, caves, pools,
gardens, gnomes and fairy houses in the middle
of the desert. The landscape was designated an
Arizona Historic Place in 1975 and represents
Legler’s idea that “kindness to all is the golden
key to happiness.” For 40 years, he hosted
free tours in costume, acting as the characters
dreamed up by his favorite childhood authors,
including Robert Lewis Stevenson, C.S. Lewis
and Lewis Carroll. Today, volunteers continue
to operate Valley of the Moon. The tours are
still free and offered the first Saturday of every
month. Local actors now perform the interpre-tive
walks through the park, which last less than
Information: 520-323-1331 or
LARGEST, OLDEST, DEEPEST,
DARKEST, QUIETEST MOTEL
ROOM IN THE WORLD
Grand Canyon Caverns Suite, Historic Route 66
Think you could spend the night in a 65 million-year-old cavern, 220 feet
below ground? The first people to attempt it — a mother and her young-adult
daughter — didn’t want to leave the furnished hideaway. For $700 a night, who
would? In the cave, you’re assigned a personal attendant, so you know you can
leave by elevator at any time, day or night. You can play the vintage record
player or old-fashioned board games. You’ll get a private tour to see parts of
the cave the average touring guest won’t. After that, you can order champagne,
the bottle delivered to your very own 400-foot-long underworld. Since the
Grand Canyon Caverns opened its new “suite” — tucked within the so-called
largest deposit of selenite crystals in the world — to guests last January, the
operators have accepted 10 reservations. The suite sleeps six.
Information: 928-422-4565 or www.grandcanyoncaverns.com
52 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 53
bill Williams was a legendary
mountain man whose
name graces landmarks across
Arizona. Of those, it’s the
scenic desert river that truly
embodies old Bill’s adventurous
spirit as it tumbles across wild,
Bill Williams River carves a
verdant slash across an otherwise
soothing the sun-scarred
crossroads where the Sonoran
and Mohave deserts collide.
It’s one of only two tributaries
to the Colorado River below
the Grand Canyon. Established
in 1941 to protect this vital
waterway, the Bill Williams
River National Wildlife Refuge
covers 6,105 acres and stretches
from the marshy confluence at
Lake Havasu back through the
lush river valley.
The highlight of any visit to
the refuge is making the short,
sweet drive down Bill Williams
River Road. The dirt road
enters the river valley on the
hilly shoulder of desert upland,
overlooking the forested oasis.
Cattails cradle the spreading
marsh and saguaros stretch
down the slopes as if ambling
toward the welcome shade of
The refuge contains one of
the last stands of
in the Lower
for a variety of
wildlife. A century
for miles. That
began to change
during the era of
as crews cut
to fuel the big
Dam was built,
dams over the
As the river
backed up into
a series of lakes,
Today, an eight-agency
partnership works with the
Army Corps of Engineers
to manage water flow from
Alamo Dam as part of a habitat
restoration project along Bill
Williams River. The comprehensive
approach has paid off.
More than 360 species of birds
have been identified within
the sanctuary, including the
endangered Yuma clapper rail
and the southwestern willow
flycatcher. The refuge supports
34 species of butterflies,
many of which are absent or
extremely rare elsewhere along
the Colorado. Native fish such
as the endangered razorback
suckers and bonytail chubs are
raised and reintroduced from
The road brushes past high
volcanic cliffs harboring a
population of desert bighorn
sheep, and across riparian flats
echoing with a chorus of birdsong.
Virtually nowhere else in
the world can you stroll among
a cluster of saguaros intermingled
with cattails or stand with
one foot in a marsh and the
other in the Mohave. Watch for
a small slot canyon on your left
about 1.5 miles in. It’s worth
exploring if rain clouds aren’t
sagging overhead. To preserve
the primitive character of the
area, no developed trails exist
in this section of the refuge,
but plenty of paths traverse the
open country and penetrate the
woodlands around it. The road
ends at a gate 3.5 miles from the
Get out and walk. Find a
tree to sit under. Listen to the
splash of water and lilting
harmonies wafting from the
branches. Count butterflies
wobbling past. Savor a moment
of genuine tranquility — the
kind you only find far from
civilization. Old Bill Williams
would have wanted it that way.
BELOW AND RIGHT:
As it winds
offers wildlife a
in a harsh desert
Along with your
other New Year’s
a plan to visit this
scenic drive along
the Colorado River.
BY ROGER NAYLOR
Note: Mileages are approximate.
LENGTH: 3.5 miles
DIRECTIONS: Bill Williams River National Wildlife
Refuge is located 17 miles north of Parker along
State Route 95 between mileposts 160 and 161.
Bill Williams River Road is located 0.3 miles north
of the visitors center, between mileposts 161 and
162. Watch for a small sign displaying binoculars.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None
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: Bill Williams River National
Wildlife Refuge, 928-667-4144 or www.fws.gov/
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 scenic drives in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/scenicdrives.
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
B U C K S K I N M O U N T A I N S
L A K E H A V A S U
S T A T E P A R K
C O L O R A D O R I V E R
I N D I A N R E S E R V A T I O N
Bill Willia m s River
S T A R T H E R E
B I L L W I L L I A M S R I V E R
N A T I O N A L W I L D L I F E R E F U G E
C A L I F O R N I A
A R I Z O N A
54 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 55
month OF THE
elegant trogons are rare. In fact, Sasquatch has probably
been spotted more often than the trogon, a colorful
bird that migrates from Mexico to Madera Canyon in the
spring. For bird-watchers in Arizona, the elegant trogon is
the Holy Grail. It’s related to the quetzal, and if you see one,
consider yourself lucky. If you don’t, don’t worry. Your trip
to Madera Canyon and the surrounding Mount Wrightson
Wilderness Area won’t be without reward. That’s because
this is one of the most beautiful places in the Southwest.
In addition to the elegant trogon — and 199 other species
of birds — the area is home to black bears, mountain lions,
deer, coatimundis, coyotes, bubbling springs, green grasses,
big trees and panoramic views. There are hiking trails, too,
including the Bog Springs/Kent Springs Loop, which offers
a quick and easy introduction to the area.
The trail begins in the Bog Springs Campground
at site No. 13. The parking area, however, is located
around the corner at the upper end of the camp-ground.
It’s a short walk from one point to the other.
From the trailhead, you’ll follow an old road lined
with yuccas and junipers for about 20 minutes to
the intersection of the two trails. Bog Springs goes
left; Kent Springs goes right. You can go either way,
but you’ll be happier going clockwise. Not because
of the Coriolis effect, but because the Kent Springs
Trail is steep in places, and you might prefer doing that sec-tion
as a downhill, rather than as an uphill. It’s up to you.
Veering left, the Bog Springs Trail follows a shallow
basin cut into the western slopes of the Santa Rita Moun-tains.
A forest of silverleaf oaks and ponderosa pines shades
the trail as it meanders between springs sheltered by
gnarled Arizona sycamores. After about 40 minutes, you’ll
come to a second intersection with the Kent Springs Trail,
which heads right. To the left is a short spur (0.1 miles)
to Bog Springs. Before continuing the loop, head to the
springs, where communities of moisture-loving plants
cluster around the reliable water source, including Arizona
bamboo, Arizona walnuts and colorful clumps of wildflow-ers.
It’s a nice diversion, and a great place to stop for a snack.
Also, if you happen to have a Yorkiepoo in tow, it’s an oppor-tunity
for man’s best friend to get something to drink.
From Bog Springs, head back to the nearby intersection
with the Kent Springs Trail and continue the loop. As you
head southward you’ll climb gradually, with a few switch-backs
thrown in. In all, you’ll gain about 800 feet, and
along the way the trees will open up from time to time,
offering great views of Mount Wrightson and Madera
Canyon. On clear days, the panoramas stretch all the way
to Kitt Peak Observatory.
After another half-hour or so, you’ll come to Kent
Springs, which is the highest point on the hike and another
great place to refuel. When you’re ready to leave, don’t be
confused by the trail that continues uphill. Instead, take
the Kent Springs Trail, which drops sharply to the right
and follows an old jeep road that winds around to the trail-head.
Heading back, if you’re lucky, you’ll see water run-ning
in the adjacent streambed. And if you’re really lucky,
you’ll see an elegant trogon. But don’t hold your breath.
Your chances of seeing Sasquatch are probably better.
LENGTH: 5 miles round-trip
ELEVATION: 4,820 to 6,620 feet
DIRECTIONS: From Tucson, take Interstate 19
south to the Continental Road/Madera Canyon
exit (Exit 63). Go east and follow the signs
to Madera Canyon Recreation Area and the
Bog Springs Campground. Turn left into the
campground and drive around the loop to the
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes (on a leash)
USGS MAP: Mount Wrightson
INFORMATION: Nogales Ranger District, 520-
281-2296 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.
A view of Mount
Hopkins and the
gnarled trunks of
interest to the
BOG SPRINGS/KENT SPRINGS
LOOP Overeat over the holidays?
This trail is a great way to shake off
the cookies and mashed potatoes.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RANDY PRENTICE
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/hiking.
trail guide F
S A N T A R I T A M O U N T A I N S
Madera Canyon Road
Whitehouse Canyon Road
C O R O N A D O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
S A N T A R I T A
E X P E R I M E N T A L R A N G E
M O U N T W R I G H T S O N
W I L D E R N E S S A R E A
Santa Cruz River
T R A I L H E A D
56 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 1
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email@example.com — type “Where Is This?” in the subject line. Entries can also be sent to 2039 W. Lewis Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85009 (write “Where Is This?” on the envelope). Please include your name, address and phone number. One winner
will be chosen in a random drawing of qualified entries. Entries must be postmarked by January 15, 2011. Only the winner will be
notified. The correct answer will be posted in our March issue and online at www.arizonahighways.com beginning February 15.
Answer: La Posada
to our winner, Jill
Lacy of Grand
BY SALLY BENFORD
Like any good mystery,
these crumbling walls
offer a clue. Built for
practical purposes, as
opposed to architec-tural,
suffered years of abuse
from blasting and
drilling. In fact, it was
that sort of activity that
caused this building’s
downhill slide — much
to the delight of its
residents at the time.
Today, the town sur-rounding
this building is
a popular getaway,
especially on weekends.
Answer: Twin Arrows.
our winner, Angela
Meixell of Waimaualo,
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