www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 1
WOOLLY MAMMALS ON THE
THEY SPENT 136 DAYS
IN THE GRAND CANYON
A FAMILIAR VOICE FROM
A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION
E SCAP E . EXP LOR E . EXPE R I ENCE
State Route 89 from Prescott to Stanton
You want fall leaves?
OF COURSE WE HAVE
FALL LEAVES SEE PAGE 32
Good news: Some of the
best views in Arizona can
be seen from a car window.
It’s time to hit the road.
2 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 1
◗ An approaching storm adds to the drama of this already wild sunset
as seen from Mescal Road, north of Interstate 10, east of Tucson.
| MOREY MILBRADT
FRONT COVER Not exactly off the beaten path, State Route 89 winds
southwest from Prescott toward Stanton. | MOREY MILBRADT
BACK COVER A stair-stepped cascade is covered in brightly colored
golden maple leaves. | CLAIRE CURRAN
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
Photographic Prints Available Prints of some photographs in this issue are available for purchase. To view options, visit www.arizonahighwaysprints.com. For more information, call 866-962-1191.
2 EDITOR’S LETTER
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state,
including an Arizona winemaker who also “dabbles” in
rock ’n’ roll; a place in Sedona where John Wayne once
slept (really); and Sue Scott, the second-most familiar
voice on A Prairie Home Companion.
18 ONE FOR THE ROADS
We do a lot of stories about where to eat, where to
sleep, where to hike ... telling you where to go is a big
part of our mission. This time around it’s about where
to drive. It’s one for the roads, and as you’ll see, some
of Arizona’s best scenery can be eyeballed through a
EDITED BY KELLY KRAMER
32 LOCAL COLOR
There’s something to be said for every season in Ari-zona,
but this month, fall is our favorite. The Sun Dev-ils,
Lumberjacks and Wildcats are back on the field,
the sweatshirts and sweaters can come out of the
closet, and the oaks, aspens, maples and cottonwoods
are showing off their colors.
A PORTFOLIO BY RANDY PRENTICE
42 DIGGING DEEP
The Grand Canyon is known around the world for
its scenic beauty, but there’s more there than meets
the eye. Deep inside, along the Colorado River, is a
rich human history that dates back to 12,000 B.C.
Although archaeological digs in the Canyon are rare, a
recent project unearthed nine sites in 136 days. It was
the first dig in 40 years.
BY ANNETTE MCGIVNEY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAWN KISH
Visit our website for details on weekend getaways,
hiking, lodging, dining, photography workshops,
slideshows and more.
Check out our blog for regular posts on just about
anything having to do with travel in Arizona,
including Q&As with writers and photographers,
special events, bonus photos, sneak peeks at
upcoming issues and more.
Join our Facebook community to share your
photographs, chat with other fans, enter trivia
contests and receive up-to-the-minute information
about what’s going on behind the scenes at
GET MORE ONLINE
50 WOOLLY MAMMALS
Bringing an animal species back from the brink of
extinction isn’t unprecedented, but wait until you hear
the story about Navajo-Churro sheep. These fascinat-ing
creatures were saved by a stroke of serendipity. Or
maybe it was divine intervention.
BY KATHY RITCHIE
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Hart Prairie Road: Of all the scenic drives in this issue
— and there are some beauties — this one might be the
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Oaks & Willows Trail: There’s a good chance you’ve
never heard of this hike, but now that you have, put it on
your list. It’s one of our favorites.
56 WHERE IS THIS?
2 o c t o b e r 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 Randy Prentice
has visited the South Fork of
Cave Creek many times over the
past 20 years. In this month’s
portfolio (Local Color, page 32),
he celebrates the Chiricahua
Mountains’ stunning fall color.
“What makes this place so great
is that it’s fairly remote,” Pren-tice
says. “Because it’s tucked
away in the southeast corner of
the state, traffic is minimal and
it’s very peaceful.” Prentice is a
longtime contributor to Arizona
Highways. His first assignment
was in 1986.
When writer Annette McGivney isn’t teaching
journalism at Northern Arizona University, she’s
busy exploring the Southwest. “I’ve been wandering
around in the woods and writing about them since I
was a kid growing up in the Big Thicket of East Texas,”
she says. In Digging Deep (page 42), McGivney
explores one of her favorite areas, the Grand Canyon.
This is her first story for Arizona Highways. Her work
has also appeared in Backpacker, The New York Times
Magazine, The Los Angeles Times and Runner’s World.
Having worked as a Colorado River guide from 1998 to 2005, photographer Dawn Kish
is very familiar with the Grand Canyon. That background came in handy when she pho-tographed
a recent archaeological excavation along the river (see Digging Deep, page
42). “I wanted to work for the research trips, have the thrill of whitewater and learn more
about the Canyon,” she says. “I would row the scientists downriver, and when I wasn’t
on the oars, I was shooting.” Originally from Pennsylvania, Kish moved to Arizona when
she was 7 years old. “Arizona is home, especially Flagstaff. I feel really lucky to have
mountains, canyons, red rocks, deserts and rivers. This area is amazing.” Kish’s photo-graphs
have also appeared in National Geographic Explorer.
unless there’s an early snow, I plan on pitching a tent at Los Burros Camp-ground
sometime this fall. I’ve never been, but I’m intrigued by the old red
barn that sits there. The barn and a house are all that’s left of a ranger sta-tion
that was built on the site in 1909, and the campsites are located along the edge
of a gorgeous meadow. It looks bucolic.
I wasn’t thinking about Coleman stoves and sleeping bags when I sat down to
write this column. I was thinking about scenic drives and our cover story. I like to
flip through the issue before I start writing, and this month, as always, I was holy
cowed by the photography: Suzanne Mathia’s moody shot of the high desert along
Forest Road 209; Morey Milbradt’s stark image of the Grand Wash Cliffs; and Tom
Bean’s panoramic beauty from Mormon Lake Road. They’re all landscape shots,
they’re all magnificent, and they’re all to be expected in a story about scenic drives.
It was Nick Berezenko’s photograph of a red barn, however, that inspired me most.
I’m not really sure why. Mostly, I stick to wilderness areas when I’m off the grid,
places where there aren’t any signs of man, but the old red barn looks so inviting.
Perhaps it represents a simpler time in my life, or maybe it has some kind of Rock-wellian
appeal. Whatever it is, I’m camping there this fall, and I’m taking the scenic
drive that surrounds it.
Forest Road 224, the route from McNary to Vernon via the campground, will be
a first for me. It’s one of several drives in our story that I haven’t done. Pearce Ferry
Road is another. The route, which offers great views of the Cerbat Mountains, winds
through the rugged landscape between Kingman and Lake Mead. I’m not sure when
I’ll hit that road, but I will. And you should, too. There’s a lot to see through the car
window, including fall leaves.
The best bet for that is Hart Prairie Road, which is featured in our monthly Scenic
Drive (page 52). The dirt road skirts the western edge of the San Francisco Peaks,
and it ranks as one of the state’s best places to see fall leaves. Another good option is
the South Fork of Cave Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains. In Local Color, a spectac-ular
portfolio by Randy Prentice, we showcase
some of that scenery. Unfortunately, this might
be the only way you’ll get to see it. The Horse-shoe
Two Fire scorched parts of the Chiricahuas
this summer, and at press time, we still weren’t
able to get in there to assess the damage along
the creek. We’re hopeful, but not optimistic.
Fortunately, things are looking better for Navajo-
If you’re not familiar with this animal,
you’re not alone. On a list of endangered spe-cies,
Navajo-Churro sheep wouldn’t even be a
footnote. In fact, we didn’t fully understand
their plight until Associate Editor Kathy Ritchie
started researching her story, which was inspired
by a random photograph and an exchange with
Photo Editor Jeff Kida.
Jeff: “Hey Roberto, check out this photo.”
Me: “Wow. That’s a funky-looking sheep.”
Jeff: “It’s a rare species that’s being reintro-duced
on the reservation.”
Me: “That’s cool ... very cool. Let’s do a story.”
Turns out, the story is a doozy that includes
a government-sanctioned program that led to
the slaughter of up to 800,000 Navajo-Churros,
a ranch in Gonzales, California, a sheep experi-ment
station in New Mexico, and a professor at
Cal Poly — a professor who never set out to save
sheep, but, thanks to his curiosity and a stroke of
serendipity, did just that.
In Woolly Mammals, Kat tells the unlikely tale
of a rare breed that the Navajos believe was a gift
from their deity. Most endangered-species stories
don’t have happy endings, but this one does. All
they need now is a nice red barn on the edge of a
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS
We’re on a mission to collect “Global Snap-shots”
from all 50 states and as many countries
as possible, but we need your help: Please send a
photo of you or someone you know posing with
our magazine in front of some kind of landmark
— the Tower Bridge, Death Valley, a diner — and
we’ll post it on our website. Send your photos to:
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.
The Old Red Barn
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 1 V O L . 8 7, N O. 1 0
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published
monthly by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Subscription price: $24 a year in the U.S., $44 outside the
U.S. Single copy: $3.99 U.S. Call 800-543-5432. Subscrip-tion
and change of address information:
Arizona Highways, P.O. Box 433124, Palm Coast, FL 32143-
3124. Periodical postage paid at Phoenix, AZ, and at ad-ditional
mailing office. CANADA POST INTERNATIONAL
PUBLICATIONS MAIL PRODUCT (CANADIAN
SALES AGREEMENT NO. 41220511. SEND RETURNS
TO WORLDCOLOR, P.O. BOX 875, WINDSOR, ON N9A
Send address changes to Arizona
Highways, P.O. Box 433124, Palm Coast, FL 32143-3124.
© 2011 by the Arizona
Department of Transportation.
in whole or in part without
is prohibited. The magazine does not accept and
is not responsible for unsolicited
PRODUCED IN THE USA
BARBARA GLYNN DENNEY
Design Production Assistant
VICTORI A J. SNOW
Director of Sales & Marketing
CINDY BORMANI S
Corporate or Trade Sales
Sponsorship Sales Representation
EMM MEDIA SERVICES LLC
erniemm13@gmai l .com
Letters to the Editor
2039 W. Lewis Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
JANICE K. BREWER
Director, Department of Transportation
JOHN S. HALIKOWSKI
Arizona Transportation Board
WILLIAM J. FELDMEIER
BARBARA ANN LUNDSTROM
FELIPE ANDRES ZUBIA
VICTOR M. FLORES
STEPHEN W. CHRISTY
KELLY O. ANDERSON
4 o c t o b e r 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
What a great gallery of photographs
in the August 2011 issue [What’s
Right With Arizona]. Especially
impressive are George Stocking’s
image portraying the sun’s dra-matic
spotlighting of the Grand
Canyon’s East Rim; Suzanne
Mathia’s absolutely awesome
composition of the Navajo herder
with his dog and flock of sheep
amid the graceful forms of massive
sand dunes; and David Muench’s
view of Montezuma Castle, uniquely
framed by arching sycamore trees.
Regarding the recent wildfires, I was
really happy to see Gary Ladd’s pho-tograph
showing the rebirth of the
Kaibab National Forest, beginning
with young aspen trees, since the
June 2006 wildfire that burned more
than 58,000 acres of conifer forest
along the North Rim Parkway, which
winds through the forest toward the
North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
RUSS BUTCHER, OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA
STREAM OF MEMORIES
When I saw your Scenic Drive in
the July 2011 issue, memories came
flooding back. Way back in the late
1950s, my father started packing up
the family, our Coleman stove and
lantern, and the Arctic water cooler
and ice chest, and driving us from
Phoenix way up to Bull Pen Ranch.
In the beginning, we took an old ’51
Ford, and later a Rambler station
wagon — barely making it over the
dry washes on the very primitive
gravel road. Back then there was no
campground, or improvements of
any kind. How my dad knew about
or even found the place escapes me,
but it was a Western paradise for
my brother and me, with a beautiful
stream with gorgeous swimming
holes, hordes of migrating butter-flies,
and plenty of fish and wildlife.
My father told us one morning that
a skunk had entered our tent dur-ing
the night, nosed around and left
again while our parents held their
breath and hoped that my brother
and I didn’t wake up and scare the
stink out of him. This photograph
[above] taken by my mother, Ruby,
around 1959 with an old Brownie,
shows my dad, Donald; my older
brother, Greg; and me cooling off in
West Clear Creek.
GARY PAYTON, SKIEN, NORWAY
Unfortunate timing on the Scenic
Drive in your August 2011 issue. Carr
Canyon as we knew it is no longer
there, and the area will be closed
indefinitely because of the recent fire.
It destroyed 30,000 acres and 70-plus
homes and businesses. The entire
lower Huachuca Mountain range has
been destroyed, most likely due to
IRENE SILVERMAN, LIBERTY LAKE, WASHINGTON
I just had to write you this quick
note about your July 2011 issue.
On page 49 there’s an illustration
of a Mexican gray wolf by Dugald
Stermer. It is absolutely magnifi-cent.
MARION SUSSMAN, SUNNYSIDE, NEW YORK
I received the July 2011 copy of
your magazine today, and I was
very interested in the article on the
Mexican gray wolf [Elusive in Nature].
I have friends living in Arizona, and
I used to visit them almost every year
for the past 20 years. On one visit, I
think it was around 1999, we were
driving from Hannagan Meadow to
Alpine, and when we came around
a corner on a dirt road, we came to
a complete stop as a gray wolf was
just crossing the road ahead of us. He
stopped to look at us, and then mean-dered
into the woods. Of course,
I didn’t have my camera with me,
which I regret to this day, but it was
a beautiful sight!
CHARLENE PAGE, DEXTER, MAINE
We’ve just received the August 2011
issue and want to let you know
there’s an error. On page 12 there’s
a story about Rigden Ranch. The
article states that the ranch is located
in Greer. It’s located in Kirkland. The
photograph of Ms. Margaret, how-ever,
is beautiful indeed. They’re a
ELIZABETH & JOHN G. HARRINGTON,
PRESCOTT, ARIZONA ,
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
THE JOURNAL 10.11
people > lodging > photography > centennial > dining > nature > things to do > > > >
MOREY K. MILBRADT
Across the Tracks
To experience the very best of
Mescal Road (see page 23), you’ll
have to go to the other side of the
tracks. Fortunately, there’s no
wrong side on this scenic drive.
Information: Santa Catalina Ranger
District, 520-749-8700 or www.
6 o c t o b e r 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
MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN IS not who
you think he is. Yes, he is the frontman for
TOOL, as well as the rock bands Puscifer
and A Perfect Circle, but it’s his other work,
the work where he literally
toils in the fields, that’s made
him something of a rock star
among Arizona oenophiles. Although the
state isn’t renowned for its wine country,
a wine country does exist. And Keenan,
because of who he is (that guy from TOOL)
and what he’s created (Caduceus Cellars
and Merkin Vineyards), has helped put
Arizona’s terroir on the map.
Keenan cracks open the front door of
the Caduceus tasting room in Jerome. He
stares out somewhat suspiciously. He
gives nothing away, making small talk
even more awkward. He’s quiet, almost
cold. But that’s to be expected from a self-proclaimed
aside, Keenan has a dry sense of humor,
which leaks out as he begins to feel more at
ease. He’s also smart — very smart — and
guarded. Keenan is fiercely protective of
his privacy. And rightly so. Let’s just say
it’s not the wine connoisseurs who tend to
trespass on his private property.
That need for privacy, coupled with
his desire for a simpler way of life, is why
Keenan finds Jerome and the surrounding
Verde Valley so appealing, and why the
musician-cum-winemaker has been calling
the area home since 1995.
“When I came here, I realized this is
where I was supposed to be,” he says. “It
was just familiar — it made sense.”
Something else made sense, too. The
earth. That chalky, limestone-covered
earth that is Jerome. Although Keenan had
been a disciple of Bacchus with an impres-sive
collection of wine, it was his neighbor,
“a guy with no shoes and a rope belt,” who
suggested he start a vineyard.
The proverbial seed was planted.
The formation of Arizona’s Verde Valley
is, simply put, the result of the right geo-logical
forces at play. Layers of sedimentary
rock, volcanic activity, a vast inland sea
and the marine life that once lived in that
sea helped produce the ingredients neces-sary
for the creation of some spectacular
terroir. That, coupled with the right eleva-tion
and climate variations (30-degree
night and day temperature swings), and
you have an environment that’s more Old
World than California could ever be. “This
is Mount Etna,” Keenan declares. “This is
Caduceus Cellars was born in 2004 —
Quietly Making Noise
As a world-famous rock star, Maynard James Keenan is used
to the center stage. But even when he’s home, in the remote
countryside of the Verde Valley, the lead singer of TOOL is
attracting attention. Not for his music, but for his wine.
By KATHY RITCHIE
A Prairie Home Companion
If you could take Garrison Keillor on a tour of
Arizona, where would you take him?
I’d have to take him to the Arizona-Sonora Des-ert
Museum. I’d also drive up through Gates
Pass, to the Tucson Mountains, through Sa-guaro
National Park, and go to Sabino Canyon.
When you head toward Patagonia, there are
gorgeous grassland prairies. When I was a kid,
there was a gorgeous house used in the movie
Oklahoma. I think Garrison would enjoy it.
If you could voice the cartoon version of any
Arizona icon, who would it be?
There was a kids show in the late ‘50s and
early ‘60s called Marshall KGUN. You could
be in the audience and win prizes and play
games. I’d do the cartoon of Marshall KGUN —
it’s an icon to me, at least.
Where do you like to go when you return
home to Tucson?
Number one is the Arizona Inn dining room.
That’s a treasure. There’s also a Mexican
restaurant, La Fuente. When I’m with my hus-band,
we have to drive through Gates Pass. I
drove it many times as a high-schooler — way
too fast, but don’t tell my parents.
What do you miss about living in Arizona?
Being tan. I was always tan and blond before I
left. When I came back once, my mother said,
“When did you get so fair?” I was just out of
the sun. I’ve been the whitest person on the
face of the Earth ever since. I also became a
Mexican-food snob. One of the first Mexican-food
places I went to in Minnesota put sour
cream in their guacamole, and I thought, Are
you kidding me? I almost walked out.
Describe Arizona in three words.
Gorgeous. Home. Warm.
or at least the brand was. Merkin Vine-yards,
Keenan’s second label, was also
formed that year “as a catchall to what-ever
else happens,” as he puts it, with
“catchall” meaning food, wines and any-thing
that doesn’t fall under the Cadu-ceus
label. Once Keenan had his vines in
the ground, he had to play a waiting game
until his own grapes were ready to har-vest.
In the meantime, he did something
unorthodox for a world-famous rock
star. He worked as an apprentice-slash-assistant-
winemaker to Eric Glomski, the
owner and director of winemaking at
Page Springs Cellars, and began learning
the art of winemaking. (In 2007, the duo
became co-owners of Arizona Stronghold
Vineyards in Willcox.)
“I was sourcing fruit from California
and using a custom crush facility to pro-cess
the fruit,” Keenan says. “I’m so hands-on,
and I was there right from the get-go …
I had an idea of what I wanted and I’m a
quick study, my senses are fairly honed.”
The result? His 2004 Primer Paso, a
mostly California Syrah cut with Arizona
Today, 90 to 95 percent of his juice is
pure Arizona, and for better or for worse
— better for oenophiles, worse for those
who see his progress as competition or an
unwelcome change — he’s created some
impressive wines. In fact, his 2007 Nagual
del JUDITH (his first 100 percent pure
Arizona Cabernet Sauvignon, named after
his mother, who passed away), his 2005
Nagual del Sensei, his 2006 Nagual de la
NAGA and his 2007 Primer Paso have all
received high scores from Wine Spectator.
“Winemaking,” he says, “is not nearly
as daunting as people make it seem — if
you have the right skill set. Again, you
can either swim or you can’t. This comes
naturally to me. Washing dishes doesn’t
come naturally to me.”
The grapes he plants are mostly Ital-ian
and Spanish varietals — Sangiovese,
Malvasia Bianca, Tempranillo and Negroa-maro
— because that’s what he likes and
“that’s what the soil screams for.” He also
doesn’t mass-produce his juice. That’s
because everything is done by hand —
hand-farmed, handpicked, hand-sorted,
hand-everything. He also avoids using
chemicals on his vines whenever possible,
which means more work keeping the ver-min
away. “It’s a war … we’re fighting off
As Arizona Stronghold and Merkin
Vineyards continue to evolve and expand,
Keenan has two other projects in the
works: Merkin V&O, an organic market
café that will feature both food and wine,
is slated to open its doors next year in
Cornville; and FOUR EIGHT Wine-
Works, a co-op for young winemakers
who can’t afford to go into the business
alone, is also slated for the coming year.
As for Caduceus, Keenan will likely keep
it special and intimate.
“We do our best to make it everything it
can be,” he says of his wine. “It’s not meant
for everybody. It’s for those who are pres-ent
and in the moment that get to try it.”
Although his love of wine is easy to
see, Keenan himself is a tough read. He
doesn’t smile very much, and when he
speaks, he’s controlled.
Keenan offers to give a tour of Merkin
East, one of his private vineyards located
near Cornville. “You can ride with me,”
he says. The drive is surreal. Not because
of who is behind the wheel (he is), but
because a busload of groupies would
give up their first-born to ride shotgun.
In some ways, the thought serves as a
reminder of how celebrity-obsessed peo-ple
in this country can be — that a man
who wants to spend his days growing
grapes has to worry as much about rabid
fans as he does the resident vermin.
Merkin East sits on a small plot that’s
no more than 2 acres in size. Sangiovese
and Cabernet rule the land, and the site
looks and feels more like Italy than Ari-zona.
It’s beautiful and sustainable. But
Arizona isn’t ideal for those looking to
make a fast buck.
“We don’t have huge pieces of land for
people to gobble up,” Keenan explains.
“It’s just not available.”
That’s probably a good thing. And
Keenan would agree.
The guy from TOOL looks perfectly
at home on this small patch of Arizona
dirt. While standing there, a man walks
over, someone he knows, and gives him
a plastic bag filled with flour. The musi-cian-
cum-winemaker is going to make
homemade pasta later.
At his quiet home in
the Verde Valley.
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
THE JOURNAL > people
For more information
about Caduceus Cellars,
V E R D E
V A L L E Y
8 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
For Pete’s Sake
For 25 years, Peter Ensenberger was director of photography
for Arizona Highways. Although he’s officially retired, he isn’t finding much
time for fishing. One of the reasons is his new book, Focus on Composing Photos.
If you want to learn something about photography,
read this Q&A, and then buy Pete’s book.
By KATHY RITCHIE
WHEN WE’RE YOUNG, WE see history as a school requirement, a class taught by an old
man who resembles the Crypt Keeper and smells like mothballs. But as we grow older, so
does our appreciation for history, and eventually we realize that it’s a subject to be cel-ebrated.
Sedona’s Saddlerock Ranch does just that.
As one of the city’s lesser-known landmarks, the ranch and its 85-year history are part of
what makes the property’s intimate, modern accommodations so enchanting. It
proves that some things really do get better with age.
Perched on what is now the Airport Mesa hillside, Saddlerock was built in 1926
as a homestead for the Cook family’s sprawling 6,000-acre ranch. In the late 1940s, the own-ers
downsized the homestead to a 3-acre parcel and sold it to Ed Ellinger, who transformed the
property into a dude ranch with all the accoutrements.
An Ellinger contribution — one that remains the centerpiece of Saddlerock today — is the
900-square-foot great room in the main house. It’s equipped with 14-foot ceiling-to-floor win-dows
that frame an unobstructed panoramic view of Sedona that stretches from Cockscomb
in the west to Steamboat Rock in the east.
Thanks to those red-rock vistas, Saddlerock’s upscale Old West charm and penchant for
privacy, the ranch became a veritable Hollywood hideout in the ’40s and ’50s, hosting screen
legends like John Wayne, Orson Welles, Hopalong Cassidy, Jimmy Stewart and Arlene Dahl.
However, Saddlerock’s high-profile habitué wasn’t exclusive to Tinseltown. The ranch also
served as a hiking and horseback-riding respite for political heavy hitters like the Goldwater,
Bush and Quayle families.
Today, beautifully updated and under new management, Saddlerock serves as a tranquil
guest retreat with all the modern amenities of home. Groups may book the entire property for
John Wayne Slept Here
It’s true. The Duke spent a night at Saddlerock Ranch. So did Orson Welles,
Jimmy Stewart and many others. The historic property in Sedona isn’t
limited to Hollywood types, however. It’s open to anyone who wants to be
treated like a celebrity.
By MARYAL MILLER
a ranch-style family reunion complete with
s’mores around the campfire and meals at
the colossal dining table. The only caveat
is that you’ll have to take your own food or
hire a chef. It’s also possible to plan a scenic
Sedona wedding or a girls’ weekend, the lat-ter
of which can be spent lounging on plush
poolside chairs or enjoying spa services in
the peaceful Sedona Room.
Guests may also rent any of the rooms
individually, including the main house’s rustic
Saddlerock Suite, the secluded Rose Garden
Suite, the cozy Red Rock Loft or the quiet
Writer’s Retreat, all of which feature private
baths. Ellinger’s original tack shed, now
called the Artists’ Studio, also still stands on
the property and offers a funky, frontier-style
space for gatherings of all agendas.
But even after decades of transformation,
remnants of Saddlerock’s rich history — the
original adobe walls; flagstone floors; stone
fireplaces; pristine 1930s claw-foot bathtubs;
a weathered upright piano; massive ponder-osa
support beams; and a mature, mesquite-smoked
aroma that lingers in the main house
— still serve as the ranch’s heart and soul.
So, escape to Saddlerock for the R&R, but
if history class is still
on your schedule,
be sure to ask Mr.
Mothballs for some
For more information
about Saddlerock Ranch,
call 928-554-6226 or
or vibration reduction
(IS or VR), helps
reduce camera shake
while holding the cam-era
or working from a
shaky platform. This
technology is built
into camera bodies or
lenses — depending
on the manufacturer
— and allows users the
ability to shoot three
to four stops slower.
Since IS or VR only
help arrest camera
great when shooting
static subjects, but
they won’t help freeze
THEJOURNAL > photography
THE JOURNAL > lodging
O N L I N E For more lodging in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/travel/lodging.asp.
Look for our book Arizona
Guide, available at book-stores
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips, visit www.arizona
What do you want
people to take away
from the book?
It’s a book about
the fundamentals of
composition, so my
main objective was to
give photographers at
beginner and inter-mediate
levels a solid understanding of the principles
of good composition. I want to help them take their
photography to the next level. But I also put in a
few things that advanced photographers can use to
improve their photography, as well.
How is your book different?
I added in-depth discussion of the reasons for the so-called
“rules of composition” to give readers a solid
understanding of why certain techniques lead to
better photographs. It’s not enough to simply apply
the rules because you should. The rules make much
more sense if you know the rationale behind them.
I also included a chapter in the book on when, why
and how to break the rules to good effect. The book
is loaded with color photographs of examples to sup-port
What makes a great photo?
That’s a very complex question. A great photograph
begins with a few basic ingredients: Good light and
shadows, balance, simplicity and seemly relationships
between compositional elements. But beyond the com-ponents
of good composition, every great photograph
stirs up emotions and forms a connection with the
viewer to communicate a message or tell a story.
Should the next generation of photographers
even bother with film?
Film certainly has its good qualities, but availability
of film and the costs of processing have made it nearly
impossible to continue shooting film. And the advan-tages
of digital photography have far surpassed film’s
good qualities. But just because an image is captured
digitally doesn’t necessarily make it good. Photogra-phers
still must employ sound compositional tech-niques
that lead to good photographs.
Ever miss a shot?
Oh, yes — and more than once! And the ones I missed
are the ones that haunt me. I can still see them in
my mind’s eye. But I’ve learned valuable lessons from
those missed opportunities.
Which restaurants do you miss most around the office?
Well, I don’t miss the dives (and we tried them all!),
but I actually do miss eating at a few of our regular
lunch haunts — Pepe’s Taco Villa on Camelback,
Wild Thaiger on Central, The Paisley Violin on
Grand Avenue. Now that I’m thinking about it, sud-denly
I have a craving for the carnitas torta at La
Piñata on 19th Avenue. Thanks a lot!
Top 3 tips for a novice photographer?
1) Always work in the best light conditions. It’s the
quickest and easiest way to improve your photog-raphy,
and it doesn’t cost anything. The interplay
of light and subject is a top priority in good image-making.
2) You don’t have to spend a lot on photogra-phy
gear to make better images. In fact, you already
possess the most important piece of photography
equipment — it’s between your ears. 3) Try to be
original in your approach to your subjects. It’s OK to
be inspired by the photographs of others, but don’t go
out and copy them. Strive to improve upon them.
Using color photographs in his book, Peter Ensenberger demonstrates
photo techniques and rules. In this image, he shows how the juxtaposition
of complementary colors adds interest to an image.
S E D O N A
10 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1
BY 1984, ARIZONA HAD exceeded a popula-tion
of 3 million people, and Phoenix was
the fastest growing city in the nation. Its
young mayor, Terry Goddard, was full of
new ideas — and he wasn’t alone.
Space Biosphere Ventures purchased
land in Southern Arizona for its Biosphere
project. Its goal was to study human
“sustainability” years before the word
became popular. By 1985, the world’s larg-est
nuclear plant began operating at Palo
Verde, 50 miles west of Phoenix, and the
Central Arizona Project — which had been
a dream since statehood — finally deliv-ered
Colorado River water to Phoenix via
open canals that crossed the desert.
A year later, in 1986, a Glendale car
dealer named Evan Mecham was elected
governor — on his fifth try. He would serve
only two years before being impeached
and removed from office on charges of
official misconduct, making him the first
U.S. governor in 59 years to be so removed.
Meanwhile, on a more positive note, former
Phoenix attorney William Rehnquist was
named Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme
Court. And, in a major boon to lovers of
the outdoors, Phoenix voters approved the
In Arizona’s eighth decade, the world’s largest nuclear facility
opened 50 miles west of Phoenix, the infamous Evan Mecham
became governor, and the ASU Sun Devils won the Rose Bowl.
By JANA BOMMERSBACH
Phoenix Mountains Preserve project
by a margin of three to one. City
officials used taxpayer money to buy
and preserve the mountains around
Phoenix — one of the most ambi-tious
public parks projects the nation
had ever seen.
Not even Pope John Paul II could
pull off something like that, but he
did visit Phoenix in 1987. And in
other religious news, prayers were
answered when the Arizona State
Sun Devils beat the University of
Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Final
score: 22 to 15.
Professional football made head-lines
in this decade, too. In 1988,
the St. Louis Cardinals became the
Phoenix Cardinals, making them the
second professional sports team in
the state, with the other being the
Phoenix Suns. But while Arizonans
celebrated what they hoped would
be a championship football team, politics broiled. Mecham was
impeached, and in 1991, both of Arizona’s senators — Democrat
Dennis DeConcini and Republican John McCain — became part of
the “Keating Five.” The Senate Ethics Committee rebuked them for
“bad judgment,” and claimed that the senators had tried to inter-cede
on behalf of Charles Keating with
the federal regulators who were probing
Keating’s handling of Lincoln Savings
and Loan. On December 4, 1991, a state
court convicted Keating on 17 counts of
securities fraud. Later, he faced federal
charges, as well, making him the poster
child of the savings-and-loan crisis that
rocked America’s financial health.
The Biosphere was back in the spot-light
in 1991, when four men and four
women moved into the facility for two
years, with no access to the outside world,
as part of the Biosphere 2 project, during
which they gathered information that
some researchers believed could be used
in the exploration of outer space. Today,
the facility is open for tours.
THEJOURNAL > centennial THEJOURNAL > centennial
EDITOR’S NOTE: In Febru-ary
2012, Arizona will
celebrate 100 years of
statehood, and Arizona
Highways will publish a
special Centennial issue.
Leading up to that mile-stone,
a 10-part history of the
state. This is Part 8.
ARIZONA: THEN & NOW
TALK ABOUT HISTORY REPEATING itself. Constructed in 1976 and named in honor of the
fighters of the Revolutionary War, Patriot’s Park was designed to help revitalize downtown
Phoenix after businesses began moving to other parts of the Valley. Thirty years later, the park
made headlines again, and sparked outrage among area residents, when RED Development
proposed its plans for CityScape, a retail and residential development intended to invigorate
downtown. The park wasn’t lost entirely in the battle, but it did get a new look. CityScape
opened its doors last November with a newly designed Patriot’s Park (not pictured).
Pope John Paul II visited Phoenix in 1987. | ARIZONA
JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
1 9 8 2 - 1 9 9 1
July 8, 1982:
“ ‘Don’t Send in Troops’
Brezhnev Warns U.S.”
— Tucson Citizen
February 20, 1983:
“Behold the Cosmos: Kitt Peak
to Celebrate Quarter Century
As Window to the Stars”
— The Arizona Republic
March 1, 1984:
“Massive Blackout Hits
Arizona, 4 Other States”
— The Arizona Republic
April 1, 1985:
“Navajos Could Earn Tens
of Millions in Accord
With Power-Plant Group”
— The Arizona Republic
May 7, 1986:
“House Extends ‘55’ Speed Limit:
Governor Likely to Sign
Measure; Seat-Belt Bill Dies”
— The Arizona Republic
May 26, 1986:
“Fewer Than Expected
Hold Hands in State”
— Arizona Daily Sun
May 26, 1987:
“High Court Says ‘Dangerous’
Suspects Can Be Denied Bail”
— Phoenix Gazette
September 2, 1987:
“Gila River Toxicity
Low in Yuma Area”
— Yuma Daily Sun
October 25, 1988:
“Christian Science Trial Halted:
Case Returned to Grand Jury,
Prosecutor Vows to Continue”
— Mesa Tribune
IN THE NEWS
CRAIG SMITH JEFF KIDA
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
• First-class postage
cost 20 cents in 1984.
• Arizona State Univer-sity
ASU West in
• The Arizona Tree Frog
was named the State
Amphibian of Arizona
• Arizona-bred rocker
Alice Cooper nearly
died in 1987, when
one of his stage props
• One pound of bacon
cost $1.95 in 1991.
12 o c t o b e r 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 > centennial THEJOURNAL > centennial
There’s something about Mother Nature that drives Jim Pyeatt and his wife, Marie. “We
ranchers love the land and the bounties that Mother Nature provides,” Marie says. “We revel in
being able to provide our consumers with safe, nutritional beef and in watching our children
and grandchildren grow into the business with us.” Indeed, Pyeatts have been ranching near
Fort Huachuca since Arizona was just a Territory. Henry Pyeatt, Jim’s grandfather, purchased
the land from Hugo Igo in the late 19th century. Now, Jim’s grandson, Manuel, is the fifth gen-eration
to live there. And although nature is the Pyeatts’ muse, she’s a fickle friend. “Mother
Nature is often a challenge,” Marie says. “Life here is often spent looking for rain clouds. But
lately, government rules and regulations are often more difficult to deal with.” Scott Baxter
photographed Jim Pyeatt at the Pyeatt Ranch on March 16, 2011.
THE PYEATT RANCH
Fort Huachuca, Arizona
BY K ELLY K R AMER | P HOTOGR A PHS B Y S COTT B A XTER
EDITOR’S NOTE: “100 Years, 100 Ranchers” has been designated an official Centennial Legacy Project. Every month, we’ll
be featuring one of the ranchers. It’s part of our own Centennial coverage, which will continue through February 2012. For
more information about “100 Years, 100 Ranchers,” visit www.100years100ranchers.com.
14 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 15
THEJOURNAL > nature
IT’S LUNCHTIME, AND A pair of University of Arizona music students are well into a
Bach cello sonata. Nearby, men of a certain age lounge on leather armchairs, sipping coffee,
hashing out politics, while two young women fill a shopping basket with apples and lem-ons.
Across the room, a line forms by the grill as customers patiently wait for their orders
of Kobe beef burgers and sesame ahi tuna.
Welcome to Tucson’s Rincon Market, a quirky mashup that’s part deli, part local living room
and part vintage grocery store, an institution in the Sam Hughes neighborhood. It’s
a place where you can catch lunch with friends, pick up ingredients for dinner or
even cha-cha through the occasional Zumba classes held in a back room.
Jack Uvodich Sr. founded the market in 1926 next to UA’s campus. In 1967, his son moved
Rincon Market to its present location, a 1940s-era brick-and-tile shopping center on Sixth
Street designed by noted Tucson architect Merritt H. Starkweather. The next owners, the Cis-eks,
added the deli service and cultivated its neighborhood-hangout status. Present owners Ron
and Kelly Abbott bought the market in 2007 and knew enough not to mess with a good thing.
“I used to eat lunch here when I was in high school,” says Ron, whose family has been in
Tucson since 1910. “Kelly and I like history, and we knew we’d be in trouble if we changed
While the market’s old-fashioned setting is charming, it’s the food that draws crowds for
breakfast, lunch and early dinner. The menu? Eclectic comfort food, the kind your grandma
might have made if she had been Italian, Polish, Greek, Middle Eastern, Jewish, a vegan and
cool. The abundant salad bar brims with fresh produce, not to mention hummus, dolmades
and crab salad. Daily hot entrées include cabbage rolls, spaghetti and meatballs made by Ron’s
77-year-old mother-in-law, and meatloaf, while homemade soups include a signature vegan cab-
There are all kinds of markets — supermarkets, farmers’ markets,
flea markets — but there’s only one Rincon Market, which is a
great place to catch lunch with friends, pick up ingredients for
dinner or take a Zumba class in the back room.
By NORA BURBA TRULSSON
bage soup. Order a sandwich, such as a bagel
lavished with lox or a hefty Reuben, and you
might not be able to finish it. Weekends,
locals start their days with the market’s Bel-gian
waffles and made-to-order omelets.
The pastry case glistens with cupcakes,
cookies, brownies and more. There’s even a
selection of vegan and gluten-free goodies.
“I’m trying to work in a few more vegan,
vegetarian and organic options,” says Ron
conspiratorially, not wanting to rock the
Rincon Market boat too much.
Want more old-school comfort foods?
The market offers WondeRoast spit-roasted
chicken, as well as scoops of
Thrifty ice cream.
After you eat your way through the
menu, shop for produce and wine, step up
to the butcher’s counter for local grass-fed
filet mignon, or chat with the market’s
fishmonger, who flies in everything fresh,
from arctic char to sea bass.
Then there’s Rincon Market’s hangout fac-tor.
The Abbotts encourage local musicians to
try new material during lunch or dinner. You’ll
see people sitting at tables doing homework,
reading or working on laptops. “We have
people who eat all their meals here, every day,”
Ron says. “Some sit
here all day. That’s
just the way the
Rincon Market is.”
Rincon Market is located at
2513 E. Sixth Street in Tucson.
For more information, call
520-327-6653 or visit www.
THEJOURNAL > dining
if you’ve ever been on a road trip, chances
are you’ve smelled a dead skunk in the
middle of the road, and more than likely, you
thought, Man, if I can smell that stink inside the
car, imagine if I actually got sprayed.
Indeed, you’d smell like … a skunk. Thus
the mammal’s fetid reputation.
A skunk’s main defense against predators
— mostly horned owls, coyotes and domestic
dogs — is a complex chemical substance that
includes sulfuric acid. It can be fired from one
of two glands, and the targets can be humans,
which pose the largest threat to skunks.
Whether out of fear or by accident, human
beings kill large numbers of skunks every
year. Many are killed on roadways, to the
point of being wiped out entirely from areas
with a lot of traffic, while some are hunted
for their fine, silky fur.
That fur is usually black and white, but the
coats also come in gray, brown and cream
colors. The fur coloring varies, but a thick
bold stripe is a trademark insignia for all
varieties of skunks, which are members of
the weasel family. On average, skunks vary in
size from about 15.6 inches to 37 inches long
and can weigh 1 pound to 18 pounds. They’re
about the size of a house cat.
But unlike Garfield, skunks are true omni-vores,
consuming insects, rodents, frogs and
wild fruit and berries, most of which they find
while scavenging at night. Primarily nocturnal,
these animals prefer to forage on their own,
but occasionally you will see mothers roam-ing
with their young.
Kits, as baby skunks are called, are born in
litters of four to seven. They’re born hairless
with closed eyes and ears and look a little like
miniature seals. During the colder months,
skunks will hole up in their dens for extended
periods of time, staying dormant until the
weather warms up. Hollow logs, abandoned
buildings and burrows can serve as a skunk’s
home for multiple winters.
Striped skunks appear throughout the
United States and southern Canada. And
although malodorous, they can actually be
beneficial to humans, particularly farmers.
The striped stinkers eat grasshoppers, cat-erpillars
and other pests that can damage or
Reeking Havoc When asked to work on this story, our writer
said, “This assignment stinks.” And she had a point. Although skunks aren’t
very big, they pack a malodorous punch. By ALLISON OSWALT
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
Coyotes, which are everywhere in
Arizona, like to lay low; however, you
will hear their howls, yelps and barks.
The predators typically hunt alone
or in pairs, but will gather in groups
where plenty of food is available.
Their pointed ears, narrow noses and
black- or white-tipped tails help dis-tinguish
them from dogs and wolves.
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
O N L I N E For more dining in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/travel/dining.asp.
T U C S O N
16 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1
Flagstaff Film Festival
OC TOB ER 1 2- 1 6 F L AGS TA F F
For movie buffs looking for something new,
the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival is the
perfect stop. The event is a showcase of
documentaries geared toward inspiring
change and opening viewers’ eyes to parts
of the world they may not know about. And
FYI, these aren’t just amateur filmmakers at
work; three of the films from last year’s fes-tival
were nominated for Academy Awards.
Information: 928-600-6572 or www.flagstaff
23rd Annual Fall Festival
OC TOB ER 7- 9 PATAGON I A
“It takes a village,” and that saying is especially apropos when it comes
to this festival. Visitors can peruse the 125 arts, crafts and specialty
foods exhibitors, and enjoy a range of music, including blues, jazz and
classical tunes. Although this festival has a small-town feel, the event
is considered one of the best in the state. Proceeds will benefit the
town of Patagonia’s Park Preservation Fund. Information: 520-394-
0060 or www.patagoniafallfestival.com
The Colorful Barrios
DECEMB E R 1 7- 1 8 (R EGI S T E R B Y O C TOB E R 1 7 )
Join longtime Tucson resident and photographer Edward McCain as he
leads this two-day photo workshop, which focuses on the culture of the
Old Pueblo. McCain has photographed this neighborhood for years and
knows how to capture the vibrant colors, interesting textures and archi-tectural
details of the buildings that dominate this unique area. Informa-tion:
602-712-2004 or www.friendsofazhighways.com
Wings Over the Desert
OC TOB E R 14 - 1 6 TUCSON
This new festival at the Arizona-Sonora
Desert Museum celebrates creatures
with wings: birds, bats and butterflies. The
weekend kicks off with the opening of the
Raptor Free Flight Program and the “Year of
the Bat” celebration. Later, spend the day
enjoying raptor programs, live bat encoun-ters
and lectures, special presentations,
hands-on science exploration and
more. Information: 520-883-
2702 or www.desert
O C T O B E R 1 4 -
N O V EMB E R 6
state fair has
changed a lot since
its beginning in 1884,
when Arizona was
still a Territory. These
days, visitors can
expect a lot, including new rides, rodeos, arm-wrestling, kid-friendly
games, a petting zoo, concerts featuring some of the biggest names in
the music industry, and plenty of interesting food. Located on the state
fairgrounds in Phoenix, the state fair is a piece of Arizona history that
everyone should experience. Information: 602-252-6771 or www.azstate
fair.com. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
ARIZONA STATE FAIR
THEJOURNAL > things to do
— Compiled by Daniel Jacka & Kathy Ritchie
Corvettes & Ghost Riders Run
OC TOB ER 5 - 9 T OMB S TONE
Ride into the Old West at this car show. Corvette clubs from Arizona,
California and New Mexico come together to showcase their rides on
three blocks of famous Allen Street. Visitors will see some impressive
’Vettes, and have a chance to stroll right past the O.K. Corral, where
that famous gunfight broke out between outlaw cowboys and the Earp
brothers (as in Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan) and Doc Holliday. If you want
to combine hot rods with history, this event is for you. Information: www.
18 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1
We do a lot of stories about where to eat,
where to sleep, where to hike ... telling you
where to go is a big part of our mission.
This time around it’s about where to drive.
It’s one for the roads, and as you’ll see,
some of Arizona’s best scenery can be
eyeballed through a car window.
Edited by KELLY KRAMER
ONE FOR THE ROADS
Forest Road 209 just west of Payson winds through junipers, oaks and ponderosa
pines as it heads toward the Mazatzal Wilderness Area. | SUZANNE MATHIA
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19
20 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
( 1 )
FOREST ROADS 209/406
The turnoff for this lovely drive just north of
Payson is unmarked, so it feels hidden (in
plain sight). The first 3 miles of Forest Road
209 are unpaved and wind through a lichen-covered
canyon thick with junipers, oaks
and occasional stands of ponderosa pines.
Where the road crosses the east Verde
River, look for a shaded clearing and inviting
swimming hole. This makes a great place for
a pit stop or picnic lunch. Beyond that, the
road becomes rocky and rough, requiring a
high-clearance vehicle. The route passes the
remnants of the Cracker Jack Mine, and then
rises out of the canyon, offering forested vis-tas
that eventually give way to high desert.
Near the edge of the Mazatzal Mountains,
the road dips back down to the Verde at the
Doll Baby Ranch. When the river is pass-able,
you can pick up Forest Road 406 on
the other side. This partially paved segment
winds its way up to Green Valley Park and
Main Street in Payson.
Getting There: From Payson, drive north on
State Route 87 for approximately 1.5 miles to
Forest Road 209 and turn left (west). Continue
on FR 209 for approximately 7 miles to Forest
Road 406. Turn left (east) to return to Payson.
Accessibility: A high-clearance vehicle is
required. Use good judgment and exercise
caution when crossing the river.
Information: Payson Ranger District, 928-
474-7900 or www.fs.usda.gov/tonto
( 2 )
The best thing about being off the beaten
path, as the little town of Cherry is, is that
residents and scenic-drivers have to take a
back road to get there. That means driving
scenery-rich Cherry Road. Starting among
the rolling hills of Dewey, the meandering
dirt road dips in and out of wash bottoms and
begins a gentle climb. By dirt-road standards,
this is a parkway, easily navigated by passen-ger
cars. After a couple of miles, drivers are
inexplicably treated to a respite of pavement.
A 3-mile stretch of orphaned asphalt leads
to bigger timber as junipers and scrub oaks
surrender to a cluster of ponderosa pines.
A few scorched trunks are remnants of a pre-scribed
burn — seclusion demands a proac-tive
fire policy. The pavement vanishes as
suddenly as it appeared as you make your
way into Cherry. The landscape broadens
when you pass through town, with scratchy
green hills tumbling away in all directions.
The road ends at State Route 260 between
Camp Verde and Cottonwood.
Getting There: From Phoenix, drive north
on Interstate 17 for 78 miles to Exit 278, turn
left onto State Route 169, and drive 5.5 miles
to Cherry Road. It’s 6 miles to Cherry, and
another 11 miles to State Route 260.
Accessibility: Accessible to all vehicles.
Beyond Cherry, however, there are several
switchbacks and mountain curves, and the
road is not protected by guardrails. This
section should be avoided when wet.
Information: Prescott National Forest, 928-
443-8000 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott
Quiet roads like Coppinger Road in the community of Cherry give drivers a chance to slow down and catch
a glimpse of the surrounding beauty. The road intersects with Cherry Road. | NICK BEREZENKO
( 6 )
( 8 )
( 7 )
( 5 )
( 1 ) ( 9 )
( 2 )
( 3 ) ( 10 )
( 4 )
22 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
( 3 )
WEST SIDE MORMON
Begin this hour-long journey just south of
Flagstaff at Lake Mary Road, which offers
panoramic views of Lower Lake Mary and
Upper Lake Mary. Watch for bald eagles and
ospreys that hunt near the water. Turn right
onto West Side Morman Lake Road. The
asphalt surrenders to dirt 3 miles past Dairy
Springs Campground, at Forest Road 240.
Turn right onto FR 240 a few seconds before
you get to the sign for Mile Marker 5. The
bumpy road immediately angles uphill and
crosses into stands of Gambel oaks. Keep
left to stay on FR 240. As sharp curves wend
downhill, drive only as fast as your eyes can
feast on fallen trees and the shrub-like New
Mexico locust. After 9 miles, continue right
on FR 240 as it passes a farmhouse and spills
into spacious meadows. The next 6 miles
make up a flat, easy drive though prairie low-lands
frequented by pronghorns.
Getting There: From Flagstaff, go southeast
on Lake Mary Road (Forest Highway 3) for
approximately 26 miles past Lower Lake
Mary and Upper Lake Mary. About 3 miles
after the intersection leading to Pine Grove
Campground (Forest Road 651), turn right
onto West Side Mormon Lake Road (Forest
Road 90). After passing Dairy Springs
Campground, bear right onto Forest Road 240
and continue to Munds Park and Interstate 17.
Accessibility: Accessible to all vehicles.
Information: Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-
526-0866 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
( 4 )
Prescott to Stanton
This route takes you through the granite boul-ders
and juniper-covered hills of Yavapai
County. Along the loop, you’ll pass through
Skull Valley, Kirkland, Kirkland Junction,
Peeples Valley, Yarnell and Stanton. As you
move through Peeples Valley, the road winds
between green pastures and climbs a small
hill into the community of Yarnell, some 22.5
miles south of Skull Valley. In Yarnell, signs
will direct you to St. Joseph of the Mountain
Shrine. The park-like setting is located at the
base of a rocky hill amid a desert bouquet
consisting of small oaks and pungent juni-per
trees, red-barked manzanitas, native
grasses, prickly pear cactuses, lichens and
ferns. From Yarnell, the highway narrows as
it twists its way for 6 miles to the bottom
of Yarnell Hill. About halfway down the hill,
there’s a scenic pullout. The cows you’ll see
in the distance are part of a dairy farm, which
you’ll pass as you drive into Stanton, a for-mer
gold-mining mecca that’s now owned
by members of the Lost Dutchman Mining
Getting There: From Prescott, take Miller
Valley Road to its junction with Iron Springs
Road, bear left onto Iron Springs Road and
continue for approximately 20 miles to Skull
Valley. Continue south on Iron Springs Road
for approximately 7 miles to Kirkland Road
and turn left. Follow Kirkland Road for 4 miles
to Kirkland Junction, and turn right (south)
onto State Route 89 (White Spar Road). Follow
SR 89 for 22 miles through Peeples Valley to
Yarnell. From Yarnell, follow SR 89 for another
8 miles to Stanton Road (County Route
109) and turn left. Follow Stanton Road for
approximately 6.5 miles to Stanton.
Accessibility: This mostly paved route is
accessible to all vehicles.
Information: Prescott Office of Tourism, 800-
266-7534 or www.visit-prescott.com
( 5 )
Tucson is a big city. Not as big as Phoenix,
and nowhere near as big as L.A., but big
enough. That’s why it’s so surprising that
Mescal Road, a nearly 16-mile stretch of sce-nic
byway, is so close to the city limits. The
drive begins about 40 miles east of Tucson,
off Interstate 10 at Exit 297, and meanders
past a few small private properties before
opening onto fields of yucca and fragrant
creosote. After approximately 2 miles, the
paved road crosses a set of railroad tracks,
and then becomes rockier as it approaches
a former movie set. Past the faux Old West
town, the road winds through thick stands of
wild grasses, then past sycamores and cot-tonwoods
as it passes over Ash and Paige
creeks. At the 9-mile mark, you’ll straddle
the line between Cochise and Pima coun-ties,
where stands of ocotillos appear along
the roadside like cryptic fingers emerging
from the boulder-strewn soil. After another
3 miles, the road climbs, revealing a spec-tacular
view of the Little Rincon and Galiuro
mountains, as well as Happy Valley.
Getting There: From Tucson, drive east on
Interstate 10 for 39 miles to Mescal Road (Exit
A sea of colorful grasses and wildflowers dominates this vast meadow along West Side Mormon Lake Road. | TOM BEAN
24 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
297) and turn north. After 2 miles, the road
crosses railroad tracks. Continue for 5.5 miles
to the Ash Canyon Ranch turnoff, but stay on
Mescal Road and proceed another 8 miles to
the Miller Creek Trailhead.
Accessibility: A high-clearance vehicle is
recommended. Heed creek-crossing warnings
in wet weather.
Information: Santa Catalina Ranger District,
520-749-8700 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado
( 6 )
PEARCE FERRY ROAD
The terrain outside of Kingman has been
stimulating people’s imaginations for years.
Some people claim to have seen flying sau-cers,
alien creatures and a rock that kills on
contact. The back-road route from Kingman
to Pearce Ferry cuts through this unusual ter-rain,
which will have you wondering whether
you’ve landed on another planet. Begin this
drive at Interstate 40 and Stockton Hill Road
in Kingman. As you head out on Stockton Hill
Road, you’ll find yourself traveling along one
side of a wide valley. In the distance, to your
right, the Grand Wash Cliffs stand like a giant
bookend holding the valley together. Later,
you’ll see the cliffs again where the Colorado
River forms Lake Mead. On your left are the
Cerbat Mountains. Farther on you’ll come
to dry Red Lake, which gets its color from
the soil. Four miles after the paved portion
of the road resumes, you’ll arrive at Pearce
Ferry Road, which leads to South Cove and
Pearce Ferry in the Lake Mead National Rec-reation
Getting There: From Interstate 40 and
Stockton Hill Road (Mohave County Route
20) in Kingman, drive north on Stockton
Hill Road for 21 miles to Pearce Ferry Road
and bear right. Continue for 7 miles to the
Y-junction with Diamond Bar Road, and veer
left to stay on Pearce Ferry Road. Continue
north on Pearce Ferry Road for approximately
14 miles to the edge of Lake Mead.
Accessibility: The route, which is primarily
dirt, is accessible to all vehicles in fair
Information: Lake Mead National Recreation
Area, 702-293-8990 or www.nps.gov/lake
( 7 )
This road winds across fine, rolling country-side
studded with clumps of grama grass,
sotol and creosote, climbing and descending
to between 3,500 and 4,500 feet in elevation.
Roughly a dozen miles in, a side road joins the
main road. It leads to Eureka Springs, a favor-ite
haunt of cowboys back in the day and now
a privately owned ranch that backs onto the
rippled Black Hills. Just a bit farther along, the
main road turns to run parallel to Aravaipa
Creek, which is ablaze with cottonwoods in
their fall splendor this time of year. An hour’s
leisurely drive leads to the little hamlet of
Klondyke, which officially boasts a population
of five. There’s no shortage of beauty here.
The same is true as the road winds below the
foothills of the Santa Teresa Mountains, the
range northwest of the Pinaleño Mountains,
and closes in a little as the broad Aravaipa
ABOVE: A crystal clear reflection of the Galiuro Mountains as seen from Bonita-Aravaipa Road. | MOREY K. MILBRADT OPPOSITE PAGE: North of Kingman, the Grand Wash Cliffs
dominate the landscape along Pearce Ferry Road. The route passes the cliffs again where the Colorado River forms Lake Mead. | RANDY PRENTICE
26 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
Valley narrows into a magnificent finale.
This section of the road ends about 35 miles
northwest of Bonita at the eastern gates of
Getting There: From Willcox, take Exit 336
or Exit 340 to Fort Grant Road and drive north
to Bonita, about 32 miles north of Willcox.
Turn left at the T-intersection onto Bonita-
Aravaipa Road and continue 30.5 miles to
Accessibility: Accessible to all vehicles in
fair weather. Following a storm, however, a
four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle is
Information: Bureau of Land Management,
Safford District, 928-348-4400 or www.blm.
( 8 )
Yuma is often stereotyped as a great place
to get gas before heading down the road to
San Diego. Like all stereotypes, that one is
unfair. There’s a long list of reasons to visit
Yuma, including the scenic drive to Impe-rial
National Wildlife Refuge. To get there,
take U.S. Route 95 north out of the city,
where chain restaurants quickly give way
to fields and farm stands. Pass the suspen-sion
bridge and visit the tiny roadside chapel
before turning left at Martinez Lake Road.
Turn right at Red Cloud Mine Road and fol-low
it to the wildlife refuge. Once in the ref-uge,
the road is jarring, and the landscape,
apocalyptic. All of which makes the sight
of the Colorado River, flanked by greenery
as bright as a party dress, so unexpected.
At the riverbank, the breeze blows a veil of
sequins across the water and the occasional
sound of a motorboat interrupts the chatter
of birds. With any luck, you might spot a big-horn
Getting There: From Yuma, drive north on
U.S. Route 95 for approximately 24 miles to
Martinez Lake Road and turn left. Continue
on Martinez Lake Road for approximately 10
miles to Red Cloud Mine Road and turn right.
Follow the signs to the refuge.
Accessibility: Accessible to all vehicles.
Information: Imperial National Wildlife
Refuge, 928-783-3371 or www.fws.gov/refuges
Early morning light reflects off the Colorado River
near Smoke Tree Point in the Imperial National
Wildlife Refuge. The refuge protects wildlife habi-tats
along the lower Colorado River in Arizona and
California. | RANDY PRENTICE
28 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
( 9 )
FOREST ROAD 224
McNary to Vernon
This drive takes you from the center of
McNary, on the Fort Apache Indian Reserva-tion,
to Vernon, a small community 18 miles
up the road. No tribal permits are required
to travel this stretch, and when you leave the
reservation to enter the Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forests 5 miles later, there’s no
noticeable change to the landscape, other
than a solitary sign. Lush stands of aspens,
oaks and ponderosa pines congregate among
fields of black volcanic rock. Just beyond the
turnoff for Los Burros Campground, a large
meadow opens up through the trees to the
left. On maps, it’s usually called the Naegle
Ranch; however, a sign at the gated entrance
suggests it’s the Bonita Ranch. Another large
meadow opens up to the left as you continue
north. This is another historic spot — the site
of the former Goodman sawmill. Beyond the
site, you’ll come to the junction with Forest
Road 61. From there, it’s possible to take a
short side trip to Harris Lake, or turn around
and retrace your tracks back to McNary.
Getting There: From McNary, take Forest
Road 224 for 18 miles to Vernon.
Accessibility: The dirt road is accessible to
all vehicles in fair weather.
Information: Springerville Ranger District,
928-333-4372 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/ansf
This picturesque old red barn is located at Los
Burros Campground, along Forest Road 224.
| NICK BEREZENKO
30 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
( 10 )
Winslow to Heber
The early part of this drive runs along a tree-less
plain interrupted here and there by an
occasional jumble of sandstone boulders. To
the east, out of sight, Chevelon Creek inches
its way northward to the Little Colorado River.
When you’re 7 miles south of Interstate 40,
the road dips into a little ravine and crosses
Clear Creek, another tributary of the Little Col-orado.
As you continue south, small clumps
of shagbark junipers appear on either side of
the road, and there are hills in the distance.
Six miles after crossing Clear Creek, the valley
widens, and Chevelon Butte is clearly visible to
the southwest. Eighteen miles south of Inter-state
10, a sign indicates the end of State Route
99, but the road continues as Forest Road 34.
Ten miles later, FR 34 veers southwest and
Forest Road 504 heads southeast toward
Mormon Crossing and Chevelon Canyon. Take
the left fork and cross the boundary into the
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Heber
is 23 miles southeast of the forest boundary,
accessible via the switch-backing, ragged FR
504. As you climb up the rim, small meadows
appear at irregular intervals, and in the spring
and fall, they’re bright with wildflowers.
Getting There: From Winslow, drive south
on State Route 87 for approximately 2 miles to
its junction with State Route 99 and turn left.
After 18 miles, SR 99 becomes Forest Road 34.
Continue south on FR 34 for approximately
10 miles to its junction with Forest Road 504,
turn left, and continue on
FR 504 for approximately
23 miles to its junction with
State Route 260. Turn left
Accessibility: A high-clearance
Information: Black Mesa
Ranger District, 928-535-
7300 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/
Stunning fall colors are reflected in Chevelon Creek
at Chevelon Crossing along the Winslow to Heber
Road. | NICK BEREZENKO
For more scenic
drives, scan this
QR code or visit
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
There’s something to be said for every season in Arizona, but this month,
fall is our favorite. The Sun Devils, Lumberjacks and Wildcats are back on the
field, the sweatshirts and sweaters can come out of the closet, and the oaks,
aspens, maples and cottonwoods are showing off their colors. Their brilliant reds
and yellows. Autumn in Arizona … it doesn’t get any better than this.
A PORTFOLIO BY RANDY PRENTICE
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following portfolio was shot along the South Fork of Cave Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains. Earlier this summer, the Horseshoe Two Fire scorched
parts of the area where the photographs were made. At press time, we still weren’t able to get in there to assess the damage. We’re hopeful that what you’ll see in the next
10 pages survived the flames, but as of right now, we just don’t know.
32 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1
34 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 35
PRECEDING PANEL: Conifer needles
float among the sycamore and maple
leaves in a quiet pool of water in Cave
BELOW: The smooth, cascading water
of Cave Creek provides a dramatic
contrast to the thick blanket of maple
leaves covering the canyon floor.
RIGHT: A juxtaposition of nature: the
trunk of a mature ponderosa pine next
to a sycamore trunk surrounded by a
canopy of autumn orange leaves.
36 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 37
Gold maple leaves
surround the trunk of
a ponderosa pine in
Cave Creek Canyon.
38 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth
seeking the successive autumns.”
— GEORGE ELIOT
ABOVE: Still bracken
ferns cast delicate
shadows on the trunk of
an Arizona white oak.
yellow and orange
decorate a section of
Cave Creek near a
A curtain of red maple
leaves creates a vibrant
backdrop as a giant
boulder and a yucca
plant take center stage.
40 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
Clusters of red maple
leaves appear even
more magical as star-bursts,
created by the
sun, highlight the leaves
floating in a pool along
LEFT: Warm tones of
sycamore, maple and
willow trees are subtly
reflected in the placid
pools of Cave Creek.
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
The Grand Canyon is known around the world
for its scenic beauty, but there’s more there
than meets the eye. Deep inside, along the
Colorado River, is a rich human history
that dates back to 12,000 B.C. Although
archaeological digs in the Canyon are
rare, a recent project unearthed
nine sites in 136 days. It was
the first dig in 40 years, and
photographer Dawn Kish
was there to capture
n Freelance archaeologist
Tim Gibbs brushes away the
fine sand at Furnace Flats.
BY ANNETTE McGIVNEY n PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAWN KISH
44 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
From a geological perspective, the Grand Canyon is the world’s
biggest treasure chest. The 20-mile-wide, 5,000-foot-deep
chasm cut by the Colorado River exposes the Earth’s history
going back millions of years. But what many people who gaze
upon this spectacle of rock and color don’t realize is that the Grand Canyon
is also a rich repository of human history, with evidence of occupation
dating to 12,000 B.C. Yet, unlike the visible rock strata, this long-buried
archaeological archive had been mostly a mystery until a recent excava-tion
project literally unearthed answers to questions about the lives of the
Grand Canyon’s ancient inhabitants.
“Who lived in the Grand Canyon in the past? When did they live there?
How did they make a living? What were their houses like? Did they even
have houses?” asks Museum of Northern Arizona principal archaeologist
Ted Neff, summing up some of the driving questions behind the excava-tion
project, which was conducted by the Flagstaff-based museum, in
cooperation with Grand Canyon National Park, between 2007 and 2009.
In all, nine sites located along or just above the Colorado River in the park
were excavated over a period of 136 gritty days in the field. It was the first
major excavation in the Grand Canyon in nearly 40 years, and it was funded
entirely through revenues from park entrance fees.
Although the national park has a “preservation in place” policy that
n TOP: After a long, hot day, the archaeologists hop into a speedboat and head back
to their campsite. ABOVE: Pottery shards, gaming pieces, tools and bones are discovered
at Furnace Flats. RIGHT: Archaeologists use a total station (mounted on a surveyors
tripod) to measure distances and record data at an excavation site.
46 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 47
mandates leaving resources like archaeological arti-facts
undisturbed, erosion along the Colorado River in
the Canyon caused by the Glen Canyon Dam upstream
was threatening to destroy the ancient sites. Buried for
centuries beneath heavy sediment deposits and hidden
from view, the archaeological resources along the river
had become dangerously exposed since the dam was
completed in 1963.
“We had been monitoring sites along the river for
15 to 20 years and erosion was increasing,” says Lisa
Leap, who was the lead archaeologist for Grand Canyon
National Park on the project. “The nine sites we identi-fied
for excavation were the places most threatened,
and we were at risk of losing the cultural information
that was there. Artifacts were washing down the river.”
Some of the locations that were excavated are famil-iar
stops for Grand Canyon river runners, including
Palisades Creek, Furnace Flats and Unkar Delta. The
excavation crew traveled by raft to reach the sites and
camped along the river for up to 10 days at a time. In
order to avoid damaging 1,000-year-old masonry walls
and brittle artifacts, they did all their digging and sift-ing
work by hand with trowels, shovels, buckets, wheel-barrows
and screens. Artifacts recovered from the sites
include stone tools, pottery, jewelry, seeds, ash from
hearths, and even a buffalo bone (probably traded from
elsewhere). Numerous dwelling and adjacent trash mid-den
sites were excavated, and one kiva, probably used for
ceremonial purposes, was discovered.
While the project produced evidence of human habi-tation
in the Grand Canyon ranging from Paleo-Indian
nomadic hunter-gatherers up to historic Southwest
Native cultures, most of the findings were from a spe-cific
250-year period between A.D. 1000 and 1250, when
Ancestral Puebloan people lived and farmed along the
“It looked like people were living permanently in the
river corridor during that time,” Neff says. “The dwell-ing
sites were hamlets up in the hills above the flood
line that probably consisted of two to three extended
families at one site.”
Charred remains in the excavated hearths included
proof that the ancient farmers were growing not only
squash and corn, but also cotton.
“We assume cotton was a big part of their life,” Neff
says. “They likely made textiles with cotton using looms,
but they also probably ate the seeds and used it for oil.
They could grow this thirsty crop while their neighbors
in drier locations couldn’t, so they probably used cotton
as a primary trade item.”
In addition to the surprisingly abundant evidence of
n CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ivo Site in the
early morning light — the archaeologists
start when the sun rises and finish at
sunset. The floor made of rock slabs at Ivo
Site, Upper Unkar, shows the impressive
masonry skills of the past. Brian Kranzler
from the Museum of Northern Arizona
examines a pottery shard through a hand
lens at Blacktail. Carissa Tsosie, a Museum
of Northern Arizona volunteer, digs in the
hot desert at Furnace Flats. Videographer
and volunteer Tom Bartel cools off in the
river after long hours of digging in the sun.
Miles and miles of digging wore away the
metal of this trowel.
48 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 49
To learn more about this project, make plans to visit the
Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Grand Archaeol-ogy:
Excavation and Discovery Along the Colorado River, an
exhibit that shares artifacts, findings and photographs from
the excavation, opens to the public on October 1. For more
information, call 928-774-5213 or visit www.musnaz.org. To
view a virtual tour of the project, visit http://www.nps.gov/
n Team members share
their discoveries during a
mass screening of dirt and
sand. The arrowhead point
is from the Ivo site, Upper
n Photographer Dawn Kish
works late into the night on
the National Park Service
boat at Furnace Flats.
BELOW: The smaller pot is
only 2 inches in diameter
and was possibly made by
a child. The pottery shard
is just the lip of what was
once a large pot.
cotton, another important discovery for the archaeolo-gists
was the wide variety of pottery designs.
“The Grand Canyon is on the boundary of three dis-tinct
Ancestral Puebloan groups,” Neff explains. “The
different types of pottery we found show multiple cul-tural
influences in one location.”
A critical part of the excavation involved 11 Southwest
Native tribes who have ties to the Grand Canyon. Park
archaeologists consulted with tribal representatives
before the dig took place, and then sought advice on the
interpretation of artifacts and other information from
the sites. Neff says members of the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni,
Paiute and Hualapai tribes visited the excavation or
attended workshops hosted by the museum and park
staff where they examined the findings from the project
and shared cultural stories. When the excavation of a
specific site was completed, the area was back-filled
with dirt and revegetated to return the area to its natu-ral
condition — it’s hoped that the vegetation will help
Counting park staff, museum scientists, river guides,
volunteers and tribal members, nearly 100 people in all
had a hand in the excavation.
“With this project we’re getting to tell stories about
people from the past,” Neff says. “And the storytellers
come from all over.”
while protecting the environment from further damage.
What is clear is that the federal government failed to understand
the importance of the Navajo-Churro sheep to the tribe. From Uncle
Sam’s point of view, the wool was too coarse, too difficult to work
with and undesirable to buyers outside the reservation. But to the
Navajos, the animals themselves were hardy, and the wool was ideal
for weaving their rugs and tapestries — it was not greasy like merino
or Rambouillet wool. Instead, it was durable, long in staple length
and, perhaps more importantly, the wool worked well with the drop
spindle and vertical loom, instruments said to be given to the Navajo
by their deity, Spider Woman, who also taught them how to weave.
s the Navajo-Churro sheep began vanishing from the
landscape, many men were forced to leave home to
find work off the reservation. Families were being
torn apart. “The old folks still get teary-eyed when
they start talking about how life has changed on
the reservation because they couldn’t maintain
these sheep,” Burnham says.
With extinction inevitable, a resurgence of
the species seemed a long shot — but then, as
if by a miracle, it happened.
Dr. Lyle G. McNeal, a Carnegie professor and founder of the Navajo
Sheep Project, never set out to save sheep, but in 1969, he was working
Bringing an animal species back
from the brink of extinction isn’t
unprecedented, but wait until you hear
the story about Navajo-Churro sheep.
These fascinating creatures were saved
by a stroke of serendipity. Or maybe it
was divine intervention.
50 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 51
avajo-Churro sheep always appear to have a
slight smile on their faces. These gentle-looking
creatures are deeply cherished, even respected,
by the Navajo people, because they are, in the
simplest of terms, life givers. The sheep not
only provide much that is necessary to survive
in the more rugged areas of the state — from
food and milk to clothing and wool for weav-ing
rugs and tapestries — but they also play a
role in Navajo spirituality and philosophy.
“In all of our creation stories, we believe that the sheep were a gift
from our deity, so they have a central role in our ceremonies and our
way of life,” says TahNibaa Naataanii, a Navajo weaver, sheepherder
and project director for Diné bé Iiná Inc. (Navajo Lifeway), a nonprofit
organization that works to preserve and protect the sheep and their
role in Navajo life.
Gifts from the divine? Might explain the smile.
Yet, despite their holy lineage, these sacred animals, the lifeblood of
the tribe, were nearly wiped out in an episode that would dramatically
change the lives of an entire group of people.
Beginning in the early 1930s, in an attempt to spur economic
growth in the wake of the Great Depression, the U.S. government
began a series of massive projects, including the construction of
Hoover Dam. That project, it turned out, was threatened by exces-sive
levels of silt in the water. The silt, it was believed, came from the
overgrazing of the Navajo-Churro sheep, so the government enforced
a harsh stock-reduction policy.
Referred to as the Stock Reduction Program, this government-sanctioned
initiative eventually came to a halt in 1948, some 15 years
after it had begun. But the damage had already been done. Between
600,000 and 800,000 Navajo-Churro sheep had been slaughtered, and
in some cases, these sacred gifts were shot in front of their owners.
at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Califor-nia,
where he also served as an advisor
to the animal science club. On an outing
with his students, McNeal ended up at
a ranch in Gonzales, California, where
four-horned rams were kept — and used
as sport by Hollywood celebrities who
would come looking for that Wild West
experience. Intrigued by the animals,
McNeal asked the rancher where he
obtained his sheep. His response would
prove to be ironic: the U.S. Department
The government had set aside 18,000
acres for a sheep experiment station in
New Mexico. The goal was to crossbreed
sheep, including purebred Navajo-Chur-ros,
to find a suitable breed for the Nava-jos.
But when the station closed in 1967,
the remaining animals were auctioned
off. The rancher happened to be one of
the bidders, and it was from his flock
that McNeal procured his first donation of sheep: six breeding ewes
and two, four-horned rams. And thus began the Navajo Sheep Project.
“Stock reduction put the Churro on the bottom rung,” says McNeal,
who, after realizing how rare the sheep were, decided to breed the ani-mals
back. He sought donations, dedicated his time and even risked
his life — he contracted hepatitis and the hantavirus looking for sheep
that were essentially off the grid, animals hidden by their owners
during the reduction — to find purebred Churro. “Sheep is life,” he
Today, the purebred Navajo-Churro sheep are making an impres-sive
comeback. Before the Navajo Sheep Project began, it was esti-mated
that there were only 450 sheep left. By 1982, McNeal began
returning the sheep he bred to the Navajo people. There are now some
5,500 Navajo-Churro sheep living across the U.S., with more than
1,200 back on the reservation.
“We need to take care of the sheep because they will take care of
you,” McNeal explains. And the sheep are once again providing for
the Navajo people.
“The resurgence of the Navajo-Churro is like a thread to our past,”
says Naataanii. “Although many of our young people are not weavers or
herders, there are some who are, and this resurgence serves as a bridge
to reconnect, to re-educate them on the way of life their grandmothers
and grandfathers practiced.”
Perhaps the gods are smiling, too.
From an emotional standpoint, the loss was heartbreaking. From an
economic one, the reduction bankrupted many Navajos. In fact, despite
promises by the government, few were actually compensated for their
losses, and a once self-sufficient group of people lost their livelihood,
their wealth, in a single stroke.
“It was devastating for these pastoral people who relied on the
sheep,” says Bruce Burnham, a fourth-generation Indian trader who is
married to a Navajo. “There’s a saying in Navajo that literally translates
to ‘sheep is life.’ It’s such a simple statement, but the lives of the Navajo
people are intertwined and caught up in the plight of the sheep.”
Of course, history is written by the victors, and as such, is subject to
point of view. The Stock Reduction Program is no exception. Depend-ing
on whom you talk to or what pops up on a Google search, the
program was either an arrogant act of government interference or an
attempt by a New Deal government to improve the lives of the Navajos,
OPPOSITE PAGE: The Navajo-Churro
sheep is renowned for its hardiness
and adaptability to extreme climates.
LEFT: Its wool consists of a protective
topcoat and soft undercoat. Some
rams have four fully developed horns.
The Navajo consider the number four
to be a sacred number.
BY K ATHY R ITCHIE
PHOTOGR APHS BY SUZANNE MATHIA
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 53
aspens are the essence of
fall in Arizona. If you’re
not of that opinion, you might
change your mind after driving
along Hart Prairie Road (Forest
Road 151). This 10-mile scenic
stretch is an easy addition to
a day in Flagstaff or a worth-while
diversion on the way to
the Grand Canyon. The journey
into golden splendor begins
approximately 10 miles north of
town, just off U.S. Route 180.
A medley of yellow-tipped
mullein, purple thistles and
lavender asters offers the first
splashes of color beneath an
awning of ponderosa pines.
As the dirt road crests the hill
after 1 mile, you won’t miss the
first glimpse of aspens, neon
beacons shining through a sea
of pines on the right. These sap-lings
herald a small taste of the
treasures to come.
Add a half-mile along a road
that curves like a river, and the
pines part to reveal open skies
and meadows accented by the
San Francisco Peaks. When the
Grateful Dead wrote Fire on the
Mountain, the band’s inspiration
could have been Humphreys
Peak. With bright plumes of
aspens flanking its sides, the
mountain appears swathed in a
Intimate views — close
enough to see carvings of
names and hearts marring
the trees’ white bark — first
appear around 3 miles. The air
might be chilly, but it’s worth
rolling your window down to
view autumn’s brilliant colors,
as orange leaves mingle with
green grasses and auburn ferns.
Pass over a cattle guard, and
clumps of aspens dominate
fields to the left as the road
reaches a plateau.
When the scenery morphs
into meadows, look for song-birds
like swallows and
flycatchers near Hart Prairie
Preserve, a former homestead.
From 1892 to 1901, stagecoaches
taking visitors from Flagstaff
to the South Rim stopped here
for rest and refreshments. Now,
herds of elk and deer frequent
the area. The Nature Conser-vancy
offers guided tours of the
preserve until early October.
Barbed wire and wooden
fences farther along mark pri-vate
property; be alert to run-ners,
walkers and ATV riders
sharing the occasionally rutted
and rocky road. At 6 miles, FR
151 intersects Bismarck Lake
Road (Forest Road 627). For
those wanting to hike, this
detour leads to a trailhead in
the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Nature showcases her own
magical version of the yellow
brick road as aspen leaves line
the way forward. More still
swirl downward at the slight-est
breeze and create a melody
of soft bells. Those that don’t
reach the ground cling like
ornaments to the needles of
subalpine fir. Wait to pull over
and take pictures when the
road widens to fit two cars at
The steadily descending
drive passes an idyllic log cabin
just before intersecting Forest
Road 418. Stay left and follow
the signs for U.S. 180, noting
the dark-red shade the road
imbues as it trades a tunnel of
aspen for fire-scarred land.
Ghostly spires of charred
pines are jagged tombstones
giving way to aspens, early suc-cessional
species that thrive
after natural disturbances.
Glide smoothly along gently
rolling roads as you bid fare-well
to the last sprinklings of
RIGHT: This drive,
great views of
the San Fran–
cisco Peaks, has
idyllic fall feel.
The San Francisco
The peaks are sa-cred
ROAD Of all the
scenic drives in
this issue — and
there are some
beauties — this
one might be the
BY LEAH DURAN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM BEAN
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, visit www.
O N L I N E For more scenic drives in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/outdoors/drives.asp.
S T A R T H E R E
K A C H I N A P E A K S
W I L D E R N E S S
C O C O N I N O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
S A N F R A N C I S C O
P E A K S
Note: Mileages are approximate.
LENGTH: 10 miles one way
DIRECTIONS: From Flagstaff, drive west on U.S.
Route 180 for approximately 10 miles, and turn
right onto Hart Prairie Road (Forest Road 151),
which is just before Mile Marker 226. Continue on
FR 151 for approximately 8 miles to the intersection
of Forest Road 418, veer left to stay on FR 151, and
continue approximately 2 miles to U.S. 180.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: Although the dirt road is
rutted and rocky in some places, it is accessible to
all vehicles. As with most back roads, however, a
high-clearance vehicle is recommended.
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: Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-774-
1147 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov
or dial 511 to get information
on road closures,
delays, weather and more.
54 o c t o b e r 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
this is the best hike you’ve never heard of.
People in Prescott are probably familiar with
it, but the rest of the population ... probably not.
There’s a reason for that. The Oaks & Willows
Trail is located in the remote Juniper Mesa Wil-derness
Area, which sits in the northern part of
the Prescott National Forest. Ironically, despite
the trail’s secluded nature, it’s relatively easy to
get to. And the drive that takes you there — along
Williamson Valley Road — is one of the most sce-nic
in Central Arizona.
The trail begins at the north fork of Walnut
Creek. Just before you get to the creek you’ll pass
an enormous alligator juniper. The vegetation
in this wilderness area varies according to
exposure. On the southern slopes you’ll find
mostly piñon pines and Utah junipers, while the
northern slopes feature alligator junipers and
ponderosa pines. And, of course, the wilderness
is home to a variety of oaks.
When you cross the creek, veer right and
scale the small embankment. A few minutes
later you’ll come to an intersection with the Bull
Springs Trail, from which you can see Aztec
Peak, an important early pioneer route. From
there, the well-maintained trail climbs gradu-ally
onto a small mesa. As the name implies, the
Juniper Mesa Wilderness is essentially a broad,
flat, juniper-clad mesa; however, most of the
Oaks & Willows Trail keeps to the woods.
About 20 minutes into the hike, the trail
leaves the small mesa — not to be confused
with Juniper Mesa, which is yet to come — and
drops down into George Wood Canyon. After
crossing a small creek, the trail passes a pair of
ancient alligator juniper twins. There will be
others, along with some hefty ponderosa pines,
followed by a nice grove of oaks. Just beyond
the oaks, the trail merges into a creekbed and
begins a series of steep but moderate switch-backs.
This is where most of the elevation gain
occurs. The last switch marks your arrival
on Juniper Mesa. From there, the trail winds
through an open forest of mostly evergreens.
There are a few places on the mesa where the
trail is hard to follow, but there’s a nice contin-gent
of cairns to point you in the right direction.
Continuing across the mesa, the route passes
an intersection with the Happy Camp Trail,
and a little farther on, an intersection with
the Juniper Mesa Trail, which heads eastward
into the wilderness area. Along this stretch,
the Oaks & Willows Trail follows an old fence
line — the wire is mostly gone, but many of the
old fence posts (dead trees) remain. In terms of
elevation, the Juniper Mesa intersection marks
the high point of the hike. Normally, when you
hit the apex, your work is done. But not on this
trail. From the intersection, the trail parallels
Pine Creek and heads downhill for a little more
than 2 miles, losing about 800 feet in elevation.
Of course, those are feet you’ll have to reclaim on
your way back out.
It’s worth it, though, especially when you’re
sitting at Pine Spring, which marks the end of the
trail. It’s a lush area dominated by ponderosas
and oaks. Like the trail itself and the surrounding
wilderness, you’ve probably never heard of Pine
Spring. But once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget it.
LENGTH: 11.5 miles round-trip
ELEVATION: 6,019 to 7,065 feet
DIRECTIONS: From Prescott, go north on Williamson Valley
Road for 22 miles, at which point the pavement ends and
the road becomes Forest Road 6. Continue north on FR 6 for
14 miles to the junction with County Road 125 (Forest Road
95). Turn left onto CR 125 and continue for 1.5 miles to the
Walnut Creek Ranger Station. From there, continue west on
Forest Road 150 for 3.7 miles to a fork in the road, veer right,
and continue on FR 150 for 2.8 miles to the trailhead.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: None
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes (on a leash)
HORSES ALLOWED: Yes
USGS MAP: Juniper Mountains
INFORMATION: Chino Ranger District, 928-777-2200 or
LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLES:
• Plan ahead and be prepared.
• Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
• Dispose of waste properly and pack out all of your trash.
• Leave what you find.
• Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
• Be considerate of others.
BELOW: The Oaks
& Willows Trail
Gambel oaks, like
these, in lower
RIGHT: On the
early part of the
Oaks & Willows
Trail, hikers will
see the blue ram-parts
Wilderness in the
OAKS & WILLOWS
TRAIL There’s a good
chance you’ve never heard of
this hike, but now that you
have, put it on your list. It’s
one of our favorites.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK BEREZENKO
trail guide F
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/outdoors/hiking.asp.
READING: For more
hikes, pick up a
copy of our newest
book, Arizona High-ways
which features 52
of the state’s best
trails — one for
each weekend of
the year, sorted by
seasons. To order
a copy, visit www.
J U N I P E R M E S A
W I L D E R N E S S A R E A
P R E S C O T T
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
T R A I L H E A D
56 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1
Win a collection of our most popular books! To enter, correctly identify the location featured above and email your answer to
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 October 15, 2011. Only the winner will be
notified. The correct answer will be posted in our January issue and online at www.arizonahighways.com beginning November 15.
BY KATHY RITCHIE
Before the boom went
bust, this site was
instrumental in produc-ing
the raw materials
necessary to give rise
to an independent
America. During its
heyday, this site yielded
an impressive 3 million
pounds of copper each
month. Although this
may not look like much
today, visitors wanting
to take a trip back in
time will see antiques
and other rarities (and
maybe even a few
this ghost town.
August 2011 Answer:
Desert View Watch-
to our winner,
Brandy Nuss of
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.