w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 1
E S C A P E . E X P L O R E . E X P E R I E N C E
Canyon Film Turns 100
We Found Doug Peacock
Watson Lake, Prescott
25 BEST FESTIVALS
& Road Trips
f eatur ing
› ROCK WALLS
› HOT-AIR BALLOONS
› FORBIDDEN CANYONS
› AND MORE!
2 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 1
◗ A peaceful, early morning mule ride along Bright Angel Trail in
the Grand Canyon. | TOM BROWNOLD
FRONT COVER Rubicon Outdoors, an adventure travel company in
Prescott, offers thrill-seekers a chance to scale the Granite Dells
at Watson Lake. | KERRICK JAMES
BACK COVER There’s nothing quite like Arizona’s Sonoran Desert,
especially when the skies turn dark and moody as a monsoon
storm rolls in along the Florence-Kelvin Highway. | GEORGE STOCKING
01.12 Grand Canyon
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
2 EDITOR’S LETTER
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state, includ-ing
Sirens’ Café, an unexpected treat in Kingman; a
dude ranch in Tucson that’ll put you to work; and one of
the wildest Grand Canyon photographs you’ll ever see.
18 LOOKING FOR
Look no further. Our fifth annual guide to the state’s
best weekend adventures and road trips offers some-thing
for everyone, including an introduction to rock-climbing
in Prescott, a rare excursion into a forbidden
canyon on the Hopi Indian Reservation, and a three-hour
horseback ride through some of the most beauti-ful
countryside in Arizona.
32 COMING IN FOR
Every January, bird-watchers, random travelers and
Arizona Highways photographers gather in Sulphur
Springs Valley for the daily liftoffs and landings of
sandhill cranes. It’s one of the great spectacles in
Mother Nature. How else would you describe 40,000
cranes with 6-foot wingspans descending on the
marshes of Southeastern Arizona?
A PORTFOLIO BY JACK DYKINGA
40 COLT OF LIGHTNING
A true story about a champion racehorse named
Shorty, an Eastern Arizona ranch known as High Lone-some,
and a 14-year-old boy who learned to fly on a
summer day in 1944.
AN ESSAY BY J.P.S. BROWN
ILLUSTRATIONS BY BRAD HOLLAND
44 HAYDUKE LIVES ON
It’s been almost 40 years since The Monkey Wrench
Gang hit bookstores, but the man who inspired Edward
Abbey’s protagonist is still working out the legacies of
being Hayduke. He’s also trying to save what’s left of
BY KATHY MONTGOMERY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SCOTT BAXTER
48 LIGHTS. CAMERA.
Their home on the South Rim is on the National
Register of Historic Places, their names are
synonymous with the Grand Canyon, and
100 years ago this month, the Kolb Brothers
completed an epic journey down the Colorado
River, retracing the route of John Wesley Powell.
Like Powell, they experienced an incredible
adventure. Unlike Powell, they took a
50-pound, hand-cranked motion-picture
camera along for the ride.
BY KELLY KRAMER
PHOTO RESEARCH BY MOLLY SMITH
Visit our website for details on weekend get-aways,
hiking, lodging, dining, photography
workshops, slideshows and more.
Check out our blog for daily 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 Arizona Highways.
GET MORE ONLINE
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Ironwood Forest: Ragged mountains and some
of the oldest trees in Arizona are highlights along
this scenic route just north of Tucson.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Woods Canyon: Sedona is famous for its red
rocks, but the local topography features more
than that, including the lush riparian areas along
56 WHERE IS THIS?
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 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 3
It was like that scene in the opening
credits of Bonanza. The one where Hoss,
Ben, Little Joe and Adam are riding their
horses, side by side, across a grassy meadow surrounded by the spectacular land-scape
of the Sierra Nevada. But instead of the Cartwrights, the riders were editors
from Arizona Highways: Kelly Kramer, Kat Ritchie, Jeff Kida and me. And instead of
snow-peaked mountains as a backdrop, the setting was the east side of the Santa
Rita Mountains. Like the Cartwrights, we were on the job.
The assignment was to gather notes, interviews and photographs for the final
piece of this month’s cover story, which features several adventures from around the
state. The sections on rock-climbing, hot-air ballooning, river-rafting, canyoneering …
had already been done. All that was left was horseback-riding through the honey-yellow
grasslands of Sonoita.
If you’ve never been, the terrain down there is unlike anywhere else in the state,
and it’s as beautiful as anywhere else in the world. There are mountain ranges in all
four directions, and in between are the rolling hills that attracted the production
crew of Oklahoma!, which was filmed in the area in the 1950s — people in the Sooner
State are still miffed about that. The scenery is breathtaking, and it’s even better
from the back of a horse. Especially if that horse is one of Ron Izzo’s.
Ron and his wife, Marge, are the owners of Arizona Horseback Experience,
an outfitter that’ll take just about any motley crew out for a ride, including ours.
Not that we were especially difficult, but I’m sure Ron rolled his eyes when Kelly
dropped her 64-ounce bottle of water within the first 5 minutes of the ride. And he
surely had to wonder when Kat yelled out, “Ron, my horse stopped.” She said it as if
the old gelding had run out of gas, and she needed Ron to give her a refill. Maybe you
had to be there, but it made me smile, and I’m glad Jeff was on hand to capture the
moment with his Nikon D700. He took a lot of photos that day, one of which you’ll
see on the opening spread of our story. The rest will be posted on our Facebook page.
As you flip through the images, I think you’ll
be inspired to hop in the saddle and explore
Southern Arizona. If not, we have plenty of
other adventures to choose from, none of which
involves blowing up dams or burning down bill-boards.
Obviously, we don’t endorse that kind of
thing, but George Washington Hayduke made a
habit of it. Hayduke, as you may recall, was the
protagonist/hero in Edward Abbey’s classic novel
The Monkey Wrench Gang. The book was fictional,
but Hayduke — a beer-guzzling, former Green
Beret medic — was based on a real person: Doug
Peacock of Tucson.
The book made Peacock an instant celebrity,
but he didn’t find it flattering. According to Pea-cock,
Hayduke was a “one-dimensional dolt.” The
real-life character is anything but. Among other
things, Peacock has spent decades observing
grizzly bears, he’s published four books, filmed
an award-winning documentary and landed a
In Hayduke Lives on, writer Kathy Montgom-ery
touches on some of those things, as well
as Peacock’s relationship with Abbey. It was a
relationship that suffered because of the book,
but survived nonetheless and ultimately lasted
20 years. In fact, they were such good friends that
Peacock was with Abbey when the author died,
and along with a few friends, they buried Abbey
in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Imagine that adventure. And now imagine
what it must have been like 100 years ago, when
Ellsworth and Emery Kolb set out in a couple of
small wooden boats to make a movie about the
inner reaches of the Grand Canyon.
The goal of the two brothers, who had already
made names for themselves as portrait photog-raphers
on the South Rim, was to retrace John
Wesley Powell’s 1,100-mile-long expedition along
the Green and Colorado rivers. Not to cross it off
their bucket lists, but to make a documentary
film about the natural wonder. As you’ll see in
Lights. Camera. Action. by Kelly Kramer, it was an
incredible adventure, one that culminated on
January 13, 1912 — 100 years ago this month.
The anniversary of their adventure is timely,
but that’s not the reason for this month’s cover
story. We did it because Arizona is the adven-ture
capital of America, and because we secretly
wanted to re-create a scene from Bonanza. The
Kolb story was just a nice coincidence.
KRISTIN HAYWARD, KBH PHOTOGRAPHY
ROBERT STIEVE, editor
If you like what you see in this
magazine every month, check
out Arizona Highways Television,
an Emmy Award-winning pro-gram
hosted by former news
anchor Robin Sewell. For broad-cast
times, visit our website,
click the Arizona Highways Televi-sion
link on our home page.
ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/azhighways.
JA N UA R Y 2 0 1 2 V O L . 8 8 , N O. 1
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
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Letters to the Editor
2039 W. Lewis Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
JANICE K. BREWER
Director, Department of Transportation
JOHN S. HALIKOWSKI
Arizona Transportation Board
WILLIAM J. FELDMEIER
BARBARA ANN LUNDSTROM
FELIPE ANDRES ZUBIA
VICTOR M. FLORES
STEPHEN W. CHRISTY
KELLY O. ANDERSON
Illustrator and artist Brad Holland has been
turning heads with his work since his child-hood
in the backwoods of northern Ohio. This
month, he illustrates Colt of Lightning (page
40), J.P.S. Brown’s essay about a horse named
Shorty. Although Holland wasn’t there to
watch Shorty race, his illustration is a manifes-tation
of the vision he gathered from Brown’s
words. “The idea is really to marry the feeling
of the article to the picture,” Holland says. His
unique style has led to a long list of published
works in magazines such as The New Yorker,
The New York Times and Vanity Fair.
Nothing will stop photographer Kerrick
James from getting the perfect shot —
not even scaling rocks, paddle-boating
or canoeing. In fact, James did those
things and more to capture this month’s
cover photo. “This turned out to be
one of those dreamy shoots,” James
says. “The location — Prescott’s Watson
Lake — was perfect, and the lighting was fantastic.” James has worked in the travel
photography industry for more than 20 years, and his work has appeared in National
Geographic Adventure, Elle Décor and Alaska Airlines magazine.
Award-winning author J.P.S. Brown has penned countless stories about cowboys and the
Wild West. This month, he shares the story of Shorty (Colt of Lightning, page 40), a duti-ful,
kind-hearted colt that broke racing records across the Southwest. A rancher by birth,
Brown pursued a short journalism career after college at Notre Dame, but quickly found
his way back to the ranching life. He learned to rearrange his schedule to incorporate a
minimum of two hours or 1,000 words of writing into a ranching day. If work started at
4 a.m., he was out of bed by 2 a.m., “to do words.” Brown, now in his 80s, has authored
more than 10 cowboy novels, numerous essays, and several stories for Arizona Highways.
“I’m busier now than I’ve ever been in my entire life,” he says.
— Interviewed by Maggie Pingolt
4 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 5
letters to the editor
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 01.12
people > lodging > photography > centennial > dining > nature > things to do > > > >
In the Stillness
On a quiet stretch of State Route 260 near
Payson, a scraggly piece of brush emerges
from a pool of still water at sunset — its wild
form, reflected in the calm water, created what
photographer Mark Lipczynski describes as
“an image reminiscent of a snowflake.”
Information: Payson Ranger District,
928-474-7900 or www.fs.usda.gov/tonto
ALL REVVED UP
I received my November 2011 issue
this week and haven’t put it down.
Your articles and photos of the past
[Retro AZ] were excellent — another
reason you have a great state. I
remember the Mustang drive-in in
Chandler, and taking my ’65 Mustang
there in the early ’70s. I plan to move
back to your beautiful state in the
near future. Keep up the great work.
TOM CURTIS, CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE
A couple things to say about the
November 2011 cover, which features
the Apache Drive-In. First, there will
be quite a few drained batteries if
those folks leave their lights on while
watching the movie. Next, the win-dow
speakers haven’t been removed
from their stands between the cars;
thus, they can’t hear old Elvis sing.
And finally, a nice touch might have
been raising the movie picture a bit to
line up the mountains on the screen
with the mountains on the horizon.
Just some thoughts.
MARTY & LYNN COTE, THATCHER, ARIZONA
NOT SO ROSIE
I’m sure you know by now that
Rosie’s Den burned to the ground.
We are so sorry for the loss of such a
great place. Nevertheless, we really
enjoyed the story you printed in the
September 2011 issue. We live not far
from Rosie’s, just outside of Kingman.
Thanks for your attention.
DOROTHY ST. CLAIR, GOLDEN VALLEY, ARIZONA
When I was about 3 years old, I’d
sit at my grandmother’s house and
look at this magazine called Arizona
Highways. I can’t remember what
year the magazines were published,
but I do know it was about 1965 or
1966 when I first started looking at
them. She’d tell me about the family
trip they took to the Grand Canyon,
Tombstone, and all the other places
they went to in Arizona. I remember
the beautiful pictures in the maga-zines
like it was yesterday. I told
my Gram, “Someday, I’m going to go
there.” And she said, “Yes you will.”
Because of my Gram and your maga-zine,
I’m finally going to see Arizona
for real. I can’t wait. I know she’s
somewhere saying, “I told you that
you’d get there.”
MIKE HURLEY, PETERSBURG PENNSYLVANIA
A WHOLE NEW DEFINITION
The cover of the August 2011 maga-zine
elicited an appreciative WOW!
The bold, vivid and engaging colors of
the crisp, sharp and high-resolution
photo were outstanding. As I gleaned
through the magazine, there was a
feast of more high-caliber photos that
jumped off the pages. It reminded me
of today’s high-definition video and
photography. I’ve been a longtime,
appreciative subscriber. The August
2011 issue raises the bar for excellence.
WILLIAM WELCH III, SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
I wanted to point out an error on
your July 2011 Scenic Drive (Forest
Road 618). The actual distance you
need to travel on State Route 260
from Interstate 17 is 8 miles, not 6.
The 6-mile mark will put you at the
entrance to a waste transfer station.
And while I’m sure it’s a top-notch
waste transfer station, it doesn’t com-pare
to FR 618. Just wanted to point
MIKE EAUCLAIRE, PHOENIX
U.S. Postal Service
STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, AND CIRCULATION
Title of Publication: Arizona Highways Publisher: Win Holden
Publication No.: ISSN 0004-1521 Editor: Robert Stieve
Date of Filing: September 14, 2011 Managing Editor: Kelly Kramer;
Frequency of issues: Monthly Complete mailing address
Number of issues of known office of publication:
published annually: Twelve 2039 W. Lewis Ave., Phoenix,
Annual subscription price: (Maricopa) AZ 85009-2893
$24.00 U.S. one year
Owner: State of Arizona
206 S. 17th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding
1 percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None
The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt
status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during preceding 12 months.
ISSUE DATE FOR CIRCULATION DATA BELOW:
EXTENT AND NATURE OF CIRCULATION
A. Total number copies printed 151,905 146,793
B. Paid circulation
1. Outside-county, mail subscriptions 117,815 115,500
2. In-county subscriptions -- --
3. Sales through dealers, carriers,
street vendors, counter sales and
USPS paid distribution 13,395 12,185
4. Other classes mailed through the USPS 3,749 3,581
C. Total paid circulation 134,959 131,266
D. Free distribution by mail
1. Outside-county 155 160
2. In-county -- --
3. Other classes mailed through the USPS -- --
4. Free distribution outside the mail 3,396 3,182
E. Total free distribution 3,551 3,342
F. Total distribution 138,510 134,608
G. Copies not distributed 13,395 12,185
H. Total 151,905 146,793
I. Percent paid circulation 97.4% 97.5%
I certify that the statements made by me are correct and complete.
Win Holden, Publisher
Nov. ’10-Oct. ’11
to filing date
CORRECTION: In our October 2011 story on
Saddlerock Ranch in Sedona, the contact
information should have read: 818-530-6788
6 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 7
THE JOURNAL > people
— Dave Pratt is the host of Dave
Pratt Live on 103.9 FM in Phoenix
SETTLE DOWN INTO ONE of Jinx and
Jayne Peace Pyle’s overstuffed leather easy
chairs with a glass of lemonade and be pre-pared
to listen. The two of them will mes-merize
you for hours with tales of cowboys,
ranchers and pioneers. The
tales are their stories — the
stories of their families’ lives
along the Mogollon Rim and in the Tonto
Basin of Central Arizona.
There’s the one about Floyd Pyle, Jinx’s
cowboy grandfather, who roped a live
mountain lion and a bear in the 1920s for
Western author Zane Grey to use in his
movies. Then there’s the saga of Jayne’s
great-grandparents, Will and Ellen Neal,
who drove a wagon from Texas through a
New Mexico range war to Gisela, Arizona,
arriving in 1891 to start a new life of ranch-ing
and farming along Tonto Creek.
The Pyles’ stories aren’t just exercises in
chewing the fat. The husband and wife are
keepers of regional history, serving as offi-cial
Town of Payson historians. They were
named Arizona Culturekeepers in 2005, an
honor bestowed by the Arizona Historical
Society and Sharlot Hall Museum on those
who make a positive impact on the state’s
history and culture. They’re also authors
— with more than a dozen local history
books between them — as well as publish-ers
Eugene “Jinx” Pyle was born in 1944 to
a family whose ancestry includes David
Harer, who, in 1874, became the first white
person to build a house in the Tonto Basin,
and Elwood Pyle, who led his family to
Star Valley in 1890 to farm and ranch.
“I was a premature baby,” explains Jinx,
a tall, lanky man whose character was
formed in the saddle. “The nurses called me
‘the little jinx,’ and the nickname stuck.”
Jinx grew up learning to ride and rope
on his parents’, grandparents’ and great-grandparents’
ranches, and helped his
father with his work as the foreman of the
R Bar C Boy Scout ranch at Christopher
Creek. “We’d saddle up horses and ride to
mend fences, move cattle, whatever needed
to be done.” During the week, he rode the
bus into Payson to attend school.
Like his grandfather and father, Jinx
learned to hunt mountain lions. “Back
then, livestock was a huge part of Arizona’s
industry,” Jinx explains. “A mountain lion
could kill a calf a week if it got on your
cattle allotment. They were considered
predatory animals. The government paid a
$75 bounty for lions, which was good money
during the Depression and war years.”
Back in the day, Jinx’s grandfather
The Story of Their Lives
Jinx and Jayne Pyle like to tell stories. True stories about their families’ lives
along the Mogollon Rim. It’s fascinating material that includes tales of black bears,
mountain lions and range wars. They’re not just storytellers, though.
The Pyles are also authors, publishers and performers.
By NORA BURBA TRULSSON
NCAA Champion Wrestler,
As an NCAA champion wrestler for Ari-zona
State University and a motivational
speaker, you’ve done a lot of traveling
around the world. How has that changed
your view of the state?
If anything, it has made me love Arizona
that much more. It’s perfect here. It gets
a little hot, but in the winter, it’s beautiful.
Traveling has made me appreciate Arizona.
When people ask you about things to do in
Arizona, what do you suggest?
I’m always recommending places to go.
The nightlife of Mill Avenue in Tempe,
Scottsdale, Westgate City Center in Glen-dale
and, of course, paintballing, which is
one of my favorite pastimes.
A lot of people move to Arizona because of
the peace and calm of the desert. Do you
find the same refuge in the outdoors?
Being outside helps me to recharge and to
be alone. It’s nice to get some peace and
quiet for a little bit.
When you’re not trying to make weight,
what are your three favorite restaurants in
Barro’s Pizza, Casa Reynoso in Tempe and
Roka Akor in Scottsdale.
became legendary at hunting not only
mountain lions, but bears, too, and caught
the attention of author and filmmaker
Grey, himself an avid outdoorsman. Grey
tapped Floyd Pyle to be an assistant hunt-ing
guide and procurer of live feline and
ursine extras for films.
During long rides and in the evenings
when ranch chores were done, everyone
told stories, sagas of local history that
ranged from family anecdotes to an oral
history of the Pleasant Valley War. For
entertainment, Jinx went into town for
dances and learned to play the guitar,
performing at Kohls Ranch and honky-tonks
as a youth.
JAYNE WAS BORN IN GLOBE IN 1949
(“There wasn’t a doctor in Payson at the
time”) and raised on the family ranch in
Gisela, the fifth generation to work the
land there. “My first memory is of being
in front of my mother on a saddle,” she
says. With her sister, she milked cows, fed
the animals, worked in the garden and
watered fruit trees. During the school year,
her family shifted to a townhouse in Pay-son
so the children could attend classes.
On the ranch, it was all about family.
“We didn’t have electricity or phones until
1970,” Jayne says. “So entertainment for
us was to get together with cousins and
aunts and uncles and grandparents to
talk and sing. A lot of my uncles played
guitars and fiddles. Music and stories
were our culture.”
On separate but similar trajectories,
Jinx’s and Jayne’s ranch lives ended about
the same time, dwindled by a combina-tion
of economics, Forest Service edicts
and environmental issues.
Jinx and his father sold the family ranch
a few years before the 1990 Dude Fire oblit-erated
the area, then ranched in Oregon
from 1987 to 1997. After his father passed,
Jinx and his mother ranched in New Mex-ico
before moving back to Payson.
Jayne married, had a son, worked as an
editor for the Payson Roundup, then went
back to school at Arizona State Univer-sity
to become a teacher. By 1980, she real-ized
she was a witness to the evolution of
an entire town and wrote her first book,
History of Gisela, Arizona, detailing the lives
of all the families — including her own —
that founded the town and, inadvertently,
chronicling the demise of ranch culture.
“The Forest Service took our cattle per-mits,”
she says. “We sold our cattle in 1991,
and just sold our last land in 2011.” She
moved to Payson in 2001.
Though Jayne and Jinx had known
each other all their lives, they didn’t
reconnect until 2002, when Jinx wrote a
draft of his first book, a novel called Blue
Fox. He approached Jayne, who’d written
several more history-themed books, about
editing his manuscript. The collaboration
worked on numerous levels. They opted
to start a company, Git A Rope Publish-ing,
to publish not only their works, but
books by others, and operated Git A Rope
Trading Co. on Payson’s Main Street for
several years, offering ranch and cowboy
antiques, memorabilia, their books and
books by Zane Grey. In 2004, they also
roped each other in holy matrimony.
“Let’s just call it a late-in-life marriage,”
says Jayne with a smile. “It’s the icing on
Since their marriage, they’ve collabo-rated
on books about the Pleasant Valley
War, rodeos, Payson and cowboy cooking.
Jinx has written more regionally themed
novels, as well as a history of Rim Coun-try
cowboys that focuses on his father and
grandfather. Jayne is working on a cook-book
with recipes from the founding set-tlers
of the Tonto Natural Bridge area and
a book about the women of the Pleasant
Valley War. In honor of Arizona’s Centen-nial,
the two are also planning to publish
a book on the early history of Payson.
In between writing and publishing,
the couple keeps a busy calendar filled
with speaking and performing dates
around the state. Jinx sings, recites cow-boy
poetry and tells stories. “Jinx is the
entertainer, and I’m the genealogist and
researcher,” Jayne says.
Later this year, the Pyles will be hon-ored
again with their fellow Arizona Cul-turekeepers
in a special Centennial event
at the Westin Kierland Resort in Phoenix.
Perhaps their most important role,
though, is as witnesses — keepers of the
flame. “We know all the stories about
the Mogollon Rim and the Tonto Basin,”
reflects Jayne. “Our job is to remember —
to write everything down before people
forget — [so that] our history and culture
[aren’t] lost forever.”
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
THE JOURNAL > people
P A Y S O N
8 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 9
Getting to the Bottom of This
If ever a photograph needed a disclaimer, this would be it.
The message? DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Or at the Grand Canyon,
as it were. Making this image required special permission
and highly specialized skills. John Burcham is one of the few
photographers in the world who had both.
By JEFF KIDA, photo editor
RIDING ACROSS THE DESERT at White Stallion Ranch felt like riding into my childhood. The
craggy peaks of the saguaro-studded Tucson Mountains looked like cutouts against a still,
perfect sky. A red-tailed hawk launched itself overhead. Longhorn cattle crossed my path.
It looked like the set of every Western I ever watched as a kid. And, in fact, some of them
were filmed here, including TV shows like The High Chaparral and How the West Was Won.
Several movies were filmed here, too, beginning with Arizona, the 1940 Academy Award-nom-inated
film starring William Holden and Jean Arthur. Others include Apache Ambush, The Last
Outpost and Winchester 73, which starred Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart and Ronald Reagan.
In this setting, my husband and I played out our Western fantasies. We took daily rides,
watched a rodeo and competed in team penning. At night, we retired to the bar (with saddle
seats, naturally) to nosh on appetizers before a generous, ranch-style meal. Nightly
entertainment included a “critter show” featuring snakes, spiders and scorpions, a
cowboy magician, and a cowboy poet who performed by the light of a campfire.
The White Stallion has welcomed guests since 1940, and the True family has owned and
operated it for nearly 50 of those years. They’ve worked hard to preserve the traditional
dude-ranch experience, with lots of daily horseback-riding options from short, slow mean-ders
through the surrounding desert to all-day rides into adjacent
Saguaro National Park. Riders craving the drama of a Western can
get their fix on a fast ride. In cooler months, those with a taste for
something more contemporary can opt for a wine and cheese ride.
The popular beer and Cheetos option is available most anytime. Pri-
Giddyup Down in Tucson
Dude ranches are common in Arizona, but only the White Stallion, which
has been welcoming guests since 1940, served as the set for Arizona,
Winchester 73 and How the West Was Won. The “beer and Cheetos” rides
set it apart, too.
By KATHY MONTGOMERY
vate and group riding lessons are also avail-able
for an extra charge.
If the mere thought of that much time
on horseback makes you saddle sore, you
should know that a massage therapist gives
new meaning to the term “ranch hands.” And
there are plenty of nonequestrian activities,
including a fitness center, sports courts, a
heated pool and, of course, a movie theater.
Videos and DVDs are available on the honor
system, but the staff keeps a tighter rein on
those filmed at the ranch.
Single-day rates are available, but to get
the full experience of a dude-ranch vaca-tion,
take advantage of the weekly rates. The
White Stallion operates year-round on the
American plan, with lodging, meals and rid-ing
included. Lodging options range from sin-gle
rooms to a private, four-bedroom house.
Each comes with a patio, from which you can
see a whole galaxy of Western stars.
White Stallion Ranch is
located at 9251 W. Twin
Peaks Road in Tucson.
For more information, call
888-977-2624 or visit
There’s an easy trick
when it comes to the
sharpening of digital
called “unsharp mask,”
and it’s explained by
knowing that the aver-age
human eye can
see the effects — but
not the cause — of
artifacts smaller than
1/200 of an inch. So,
when adjusting the
in whatever software
you’re using, set the
“radius” to your file’s
resolution, divided by
200. Round down to
the nearest tenth for
the best results.
THEJOURNAL > photography
THE JOURNAL > lodging
JOHN BURCHAM’S PASSION FOR adventure sports and rock-climbing helped him get this photo
of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. On assignment for National Geographic, Burcham knew he’d have to
produce spectacular images. His goal was to perch himself beneath the platform to create a sense
of people floating. At the same time, he wanted to capture the distant cliffs of the Grand Can-yon.
That’s where his climbing experience came in handy. Burcham rigged a climbing rope and
began to inch over the edge of the Canyon on his belly. He then calmly worked his magic with a
handheld camera and a 16-35 mm lens. He waited for the high clouds to move in to soften the light,
thereby diminishing any dark shadows. He also timed his shots, waiting for people — all of whom
were oblivious to Burcham’s presence — to position themselves on the glass walkway above.
A view of the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon. | JOHN BURCHAM
O N L I N E For more lodging in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/travel/lodging.asp. O N L I N E For more photography tips, visit www.arizonahighways.com/photography.asp.
Look for our book Arizona
Guide, available at book-stores
T U C S O N
Enter our monthly caption
contest by scanning this
QR code with your smart
phone or visiting http://
10 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2
THE DECADE LEADING UP to next month’s
Centennial has been a mixed bag. Over the
past 10 years, women dominated the gover-nor’s
office. Democratic Attorney General
Janet Napolitano succeeded Republican
Governor Jane Dee Hull in 2003. Then, in
2009, when Napolitano left Arizona to join
President Barack Obama’s cabinet as Secre-tary
of Homeland Security, Republican Jan
Brewer was sworn in.
Governor Brewer took over as the
national economy was plummeting, and
thus, her first years in office were domi-nated
by cuts in an attempt to balance the
Prior to the economic downturn, things
were looking up in Arizona. The state con-tinued
to grow, housing prices climbed and
the medical-research industry — includ-ing
cancer-research institutions — found
a new home in downtown Phoenix. Plus,
a light-rail public-transit system began
operation, connecting Phoenix to Tempe
and Mesa. It became a runaway hit, both
with commuters and with tourists.
On the sports front, Arizona celebrated
in 2002 when Lute Olson, the University
of Arizona’s beloved basketball coach, was
inducted into the Naismith Memorial Bas-ketball
Hall of Fame. However, the state
In Arizona’s 10th decade, the bottom falls out on the economy,
local football hero Pat Tillman dies in Afghanistan, and the
Wallow Fire consumes 817 square miles of forest in the White
Mountains, making it the largest wildfire in state history.
By JANA BOMMERSBACH
grieved in 2004 when one of its true
heroes, Arizona State University and
Arizona Cardinals football star Pat
Tillman, was killed in Afghanistan.
Tillman walked away from a lucra-tive
contract with the Cardinals to
join the Army Rangers in the after-math
of the September 11 terrorist
attacks. His Cardinals went to the
Super Bowl in 2009, and even though
the Cardinals lost, their mere pres-ence
on the gridiron after New Year’s
Day was a boon to the state’s morale.
Arizona also made national news
for a subject that would dominate
state politics for the rest of the decade:
immigration. In 2004, voters passed
Proposition 200, which required vot-ers
to exhibit proof of citizenship. Six
years later, the Legislature passed
S.B. 1070, the first law to make it a
crime to be in the state illegally.
Guns were in the news, as well.
The biggest headlines resulted from
the January 8, 2011, shooting in
Tucson that left 13 people — includ-ing
U.S. Representative Gabrielle
Giffords — wounded and six
people dead. After the shooting,
hope sprung up around the state as
communities came together on vari-ous
fronts, and in Tucson, residents
pitched in to build playgrounds
in honor of 9-year-old victim Christina-Taylor Green. A couple
months after the Tucson shooting, state legislators voted the Colt
revolver the state’s official gun.
As 2011 unfolded, the news turned from gunfire to forest fires
as the human-caused Wallow Fire became the largest in Arizona
history, charring 817 square miles of land in the Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forests of Eastern Arizona. A year earlier, the Schultz
Fire burned more than 15,000 acres in the Coconino National
Forest near Flagstaff, forcing nearly 750 people from their homes.
Later this summer, the state will mark the 10th anniversary of the
second-largest fire in Arizona history: the Rodeo-Chediski Fire,
which scorched nearly a half-million acres on the Mogollon Rim.
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 10.
ARIZONA: THEN & NOW
AT 10,912 FEET, ESCUDILLA Mountain ranks as the second-highest peak in the White
Mountains, second only to Mount Baldy. In autumn, it was always one of the most pho-tographed
landmarks in the state, thanks to the colorful aspens, mixed in among the firs
and spruce. All of that changed, however, during the summer of 2011, when the Wallow
Fire swept across Escudilla Mountain, leaving many of its trees destroyed. Army Ranger and former Arizona State Sun Devils and
Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman was killed
in Afghanistan in April 2004. | THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
2 0 0 2 - 2 0 1 2
January 10, 2002:
“Valley Home Sales Hit Record:
Median Price of Existing Houses
Up 6 Percent”
— The Arizona Republic
October 24, 2004:
“Registered Voter Rolls Soar
21 Percent in Arizona”
— The Arizona Republic
November 16, 2005:
“Saguaros Under Fire: Non-Native
Grasses May Radically Alter
Sonoran Desert, Experts Warn”
— The Tucson Citizen
April 26, 2006:
“Goddard Fights High Gas Cost”
— The Arizona Republic
May 7, 2007:
“UA’s Phoenix Mars Mission
Heads Today to Fla. Takeoff Site”
— The Arizona Republic
July 2, 2008:
“Blaze Threatens Homes at
Hidden Shores: Cause of Brush
Fire Northwest of Yuma Is
— The Yuma Sun
September 11, 2008:
“State Taps $13.6 Mil to Curb
Foreclosures, Assist Homeless”
— The Arizona Republic
January 9, 2011:
“Rep. Giffords Shot, Critical”
— Arizona Daily Star
June 3, 2011:
“Westgate Goes Into
— The Glendale Star
IN THE NEWS
RANDY PRENTICE RANDY PRENTICE
• On November 22,
2002, the Arizona
Game and Fish
Tempe Town Lake
with 5,000 rainbow
• The National Trust for
named Prescott one
of its “Dozen Distinc-tive
• University of Phoenix
Stadium in Glendale
opened as the new
home of the Arizona
Cardinals on August 1,
• Metro Light Rail
opened to passengers
in December 2008.
• In 2010, a federal
judge ruled that bald
eagles in Arizona
could be removed
from the endangered
w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 11
12 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 13
THE JOURNAL > centennial THEJOURNAL > centennial
Some kids count sheep to fall asleep, but Ashley Riggs counts
cows — for real. It’s just one of her responsibilities on the
Crossed J Ranch, which has been in her family for six genera-tions.
“I count the cows on weekends,” Ashley says. “I don’t have
to worry about it after school or anything.” At age 9, Ashley is
as much a part of the ranch as it is a part of her, and she doesn’t
have any plans to leave it. “My favorite part of life here is watch-ing
the baby cows being born,” she says. “I love this land.” Scott
Baxter photographed Ashley applying salve to a newly branded
calf in February 2011.
RANCH, est. 1879
BY K ELLY K R AMER | P HOTOGR A PH B Y S COTT B A XTER
14 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 15
THEJOURNAL > nature
DON’T LET THE NAME fool you. Sirens’ Café in Kingman is just as tempting as the mythi-cal
creatures that lured men to their deaths with their sweet songs. In the case of Sirens’,
the café, it’s the food that draws diners into the under-the-sea-inspired (in a
charming way) eatery. Of course, it also helps that owners Carmella Hynes
and Denise McMillan, the mother-daughter duo behind Sirens’, are the
kinds of people you’d want to share a glass of wine with.
“The number one comment we get is that Sirens’ feels like home,” Carmella says.
“It’s about the four F’s,” Denise chimes in. “Food, family, fun and friends.” And since
opening for business in 2009, their four-F mantra has paid off. Folks swear by Sirens’, and
it’s easy to understand why.
“We make most everything we can from scratch,” explains Carmella, who studied cook-ing
in Florence, Italy, when she was 19. “We make our own crust for our quiches, we make
our own pasta and our own ricotta — we’re also very spontaneous. People come in asking
when we’re going to make our French onion soup, and I say, ‘When Mom feels like it.’ ”
Lunchtime is bustling. There’s a board with the day’s specials written on it: spinach-mushroom-
Swiss quiche; roast beef panini with red peppers, caramelized onion and Swiss
cheese sauce; and zucchini-and-lime soup. Green soup?
“I saw something similar, so I started playing around with it,” says Carmella, who makes the
majority of the soups. “I wanted everything to be green. There are jalapeños, zucchinis, green
onions, cilantro, celery and limes. It’s cooked in stages, so the flavors are layered together.”
They say the mark of a good chef is her ability to make a first-rate soup, and Carmella can
certainly bring it. The soup is delightful — light, fresh and full of flavor. Sirens’ other offer-ings
are just as delectable. The crust on the quiche has a buttery, right-out-of-the-oven flake to
Homer’s version of a siren was a little frightening.
Kingman’s is not, thanks to the mother-daughter duo
behind Sirens’ Café, who are cooking up fare so tempting,
you’ll want to sail straight for the front door.
By KATHY RITCHIE
it, and the tender, slow-roasted beef on the
panini is piled on thick, oozing with flavor.
Ironically, sandwiches were never part
of the plan. “This place used to be a deli,
and when we started working on the
menu, people kept saying, ‘We want sand-wiches,’”
Denise says. “We didn’t want to
do just sandwiches. We wanted to do high-end
catering — we love catering parties.”
By day, Sirens’ is a bustling lunchtime
café. By night, Carmella and Denise play
hostess and cater everything from wed-dings
to birthdays to corporate lunches.
They’ve also started creating their own
events — like their monthly lobster roll
party — just so they can cook.
“We send a text message letting people
know that we’re doing lobster rolls,” Carmella
says. “People ask to be on our lobster list.”
“For being landlocked mermaids, we’re
very well known for our lobster rolls,”
Above all, this mother-daughter team is
doing something you don’t see too often:
They’re doing what they want. And it’s
working. “It’s the love of food, but the
rewarding part is that people keep coming
says. “Half our
call our friends.”
Sirens’ Café is located at 419 E.
Beale Street in Kingman. For more
information, call 928-753-4151 or
THEJOURNAL > dining
It’s a familiar story, but in case you were
sleeping through history class: Buffalo
once roamed all across the grasslands of
North America, from northwestern Canada,
along the western boundary of the Appa-lachian
Mountains, and into Mexico. Today,
they’re much harder to find, especially in
During the peak of their existence in the
early- to mid-1800s, American bison, or buf-falo,
numbered more than 60 million across
the continent. However, they were hunted to
near extinction in the late 1800s. Now, they’re
mostly found in national parks and refuges.
In Arizona, two wildlife areas are home
to bison: the Raymond Wildlife Area, east of
Flagstaff, and the House Rock Wildlife Area,
which is located on the Kaibab Plateau near
the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
As the largest land mammals in the state,
and also North America, these gentle giants
60 and 78 inches
in height, and
1,700 and 2,500
pounds. As you might expect, it takes a load
of food to fuel that girth — American bison
eat more than 30 pounds of grass per day.
Because of their intimidating size, adult
bison have virtually no predators; however,
young bison will sometimes fall prey to
mountain lions. To guard against big-cat
attacks, bison form large herds, which are
usually dominated by a strong female. And, if
prompted, they can take off running, reach-ing
speeds of up to 35 mph for a run of a
quarter-mile. They can also cover longer dis-tances,
but at slower speeds.
Although bison are primarily docile, they
will charge if provoked, and their jump
is something to be reckoned with, too —
they’ve been known to jump 6-foot-high
fences without making contact. So, find a
place where the buffalo roam — but watch
from a distance.
Oh, Give Me a Home Elk, black bears, mule
deer, mountain lions ... Arizona is home to an impressive list
of large mammals, including American bison. However, if you
want to see where the buffalo roam, your choices are limited
to Flagstaff and the Kaibab Plateau. BY DANIEL JACKA
The gray catbird is
nature’s version of a
jazz singer. The “songs”
they produce can last
as long as 10 minutes
and don’t have a fixed
sequence of tones. In
fact, notes are seldom
repeated within the
same song. Although
melodious, their songs
also serve an impor-tant
purpose — gray
catbirds chirp to defend
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
O N L I N E For more dining in Arizona, visit www.arizonahighways.com/travel/dining.asp.
K I N G M A N
For more information about
the Raymond Wildlife Area and
the House Rock Wildlife Area,
call the Arizona Game and Fish
Department at 602-942-3000
or visit www.azgfd.gov.
16 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2
In Partnership with ArizonA GAme & Fish DepArtment
Top Fishing Spots,
Directions & Tips
By RoRy Aikens
And take our comprehensive
guide along with you.
Arizona’s Official Fishing Guide features
181 of the state’s best fishing holes, along with:
■ Detailed descriptions of each location
■ GPS coordinates
■ Fishing tips
■ Historical notes
■ And more!
Plus, the book includes a guide to urban fishing
and beautiful full-color illustrations of Arizona’s sport fish.
Buy now and save $2 off the retail price of $29.95
(use promo code #AGFS1)
Balloon Festival & Fair
JANUA RY 1 9 -2 2 L A K E H AVA SU
The second annual Havasu Island
Balloon Festival & Fair takes place this
year at the Beachfront Nautical Inn on
Havasu Island. In addition to balloons
taking off from an island, there will
also be a fair with food and crafts. Bal-loons
take off around dawn (weather
permitting), so arrive early, and take a
camera. Information: 928-505-2440 or
COURTESY OF BARRETT-JACKSON
JANUA RY 1 4 CH AN DL ER
This event is all about celebrating the city’s rich diversity and culture.
Through music, dance, art, storytelling, and showcasing the arts and
crafts of various cultures, this designated Arizona Centennial festival
promotes cultural diversity and awareness. Information: 480-782-2735
Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction
JA N UA RY 1 7-2 3 SCOT T SDA L E
Billed as the world’s most valuable classic car auction, this Scottsdale
event is a favorite among car aficionados. This year’s auction will fea-ture
product demonstrations from exhibitors and sponsors, and the
opportunity to test-drive some of the newest Ford, GM and Porsche
models on the Ride ’N Drive track. Information: 480-663-6255 or www.
Polar Bear Plunge
JANUA RY 1 K INGMAN
Ring in the New Year by taking a frigid dip during this annual event.
Participants brave enough to jump into the freezing waters of the
Centennial Pool can pick up a few mystery prizes at the bottom, and,
more importantly, enjoy bragging rights. Remember to check with
your doctor before participating in the plunge. Information: 928-757-
7919 or www.cityofkingman.gov
THEJOURNAL > things to do
Winter is the perfect time for learning about photography at the Grand Canyon. Join Peter Ensenberger as he leads a
special workshop that offers opportunities to capture photos of elk, deer, condors and maybe even a reclusive bighorn
sheep. Cold, crisp winter air provides crystalline light for beautiful sunrises and glorious sunsets, with critique sessions
held in between. Information: 888-790-7042 or www.friendsofazhighways.com
J A N UA R Y 1 4 - 1 6
GR AN D CAN YON
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Look no further. Our fifth annual guide to the state’s best weekend
adventures and road trips offers something for everyone, including
an introduction to rock-climbing in Prescott, a rare excursion into a
forbidden canyon on the Hopi Indian Reservation, and a three-hour
horseback-ride through some of the most beautiful country in Arizona.
By Kelly Kramer, Annette McGivney, Jacki Mieler, Kathy Ritchie & Robert Stieve IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE?
Riders cross the rolling grasslands of Sonoita’s
Babocomari Ranch as part of an Arizona
Horseback Experience tour. | JEFF KIDA
20 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 21
Sonoita doesn’t need any more selling points.
Along with its sister city, Patagonia, Sonoita
is one of the most beautiful places in Arizona —
make that the world — but throw in a stable
full of easygoing horses, a gracious outfitter, the
state’s oldest winery ... and things just keep get-ting
better. In other words, if you’re looking for
a resolution that won’t be hard to keep this year,
plan on spending a few hours (or a few days)
with Marge and Ron Izzo, the wonderful hus-band-
wife team that runs Arizona Horseback
Experience in Sonoita.
The Izzos’ ranch is located about 45 min-utes
south of Tucson, in the heart of the high
grasslands that once served as the home of the
Apaches and have since attracted cattlemen,
outdoors enthusiasts and even Hollywood.
Dozens of movies have been filmed in the area,
including Tombstone, McClintock, A Star Is Born
and Oklahoma!. People in the Sooner State are
still miffed about that last one. Nevertheless,
you might recognize some of the surroundings
from the movie: the Santa Rita Mountains to the
west, the Mustang Mountains to the east, the
Patagonia Mountains to the southwest and the
Huachuca Mountains to the southeast. It’s gor-geous
country, and the Izzos offer 23 different
ride options for seeing it.
The full-day ride, which is one of Ron’s favor-ites,
leaves the ranch and explores the nearby
Coronado National Forest. Lunch and bottled
water are provided, and riders get a couple of
chances to hop off their horses and stretch their
legs. The five-day trip heads in the same direc-tion,
but keeps on climbing to an elevation of
9,000 feet in the Huachuca Mountains, where
camp is made among the majestic blue spruce
and Douglas firs. Either ride is worth a New
Year’s resolution. And so is the popular wine-tasting
Like the others, this one leaves from ranch
headquarters, but instead of going southeast, it
heads due east and crosses into the 33,000-acre
Babocomari Ranch, which has been owned by
the Brophy family of Phoenix since 1935 and is
the only Spanish land grant still intact in South-ern
Arizona. The ride covers 8 miles in three
hours and ties up at the award-winning Sonoita
Vineyards in Elgin.
There are nine wineries in the Sonoita area.
This was the first, and it’s certainly among the
best. The vineyard was established in 1973 by
Dr. Gordon Dutt, a retired soil scientist from the
University of Arizona who discovered that the
soil in Sonoita was similar to the red dirt found
in France. Today, the grapes are in the capable
hands of winemaker Fran Lightly, and the wine
is poured by Foster Drummond, the vineyard’s
storyteller extraordinaire. The wine he serves is
included in the price of the ride, and so is lunch.
Riders are also given a complimentary bottle of
wine and a souvenir wine glass, neither of which
you’ll have to load back on your horse. The horses
and riders are shuttled back to the ranch, where,
if the timing is right, you might get to watch the
sun set over the Santa Ritas. It’s the perfect end-ing
to a perfect day in one of the most beautiful
places in the world. — Robert Stieve
Matt Brown loves to give folks an experience they’ll never for-get,
and since opening Rubicon Outdoors in 1998, he’s been
doing just that — offering thrill-seekers of all ages something truly
Of course, it’s not just what Rubicon offers that sets it apart from the
competition. It’s also the people who work with Brown day in and day
out. Rubicon is a family-owned-and-operated venture, and the highly
trained guides who work for Brown are his close friends.
“I have the best folks working for me,” he says.
Indeed he does. Rubicon’s guides are friendly, helpful and enthusi-astic
about what they do. They’re also keen to give you a made-to-order
“We’ve created options … so we can tailor the day to the individual,”
Rubicon’s roll-with-the-punches philosophy means you can combine
adventures, a definite plus if time is an issue. For a full day of adventure,
consider combining rock-climbing, their most popular excursion, with
mountain-biking. Brown and his crew will make all the necessary
arrangements. All you have to do is show up.
Once you arrive at Ironclad Bicycles, you’ll be fitted for a bike and
a helmet. After that, you’re off. You’ll follow your guides to a trailhead
that’s appropriate for your skill level. It won’t be long before you smell
the pine trees as you begin to make your way up a hill. Your guide will
remind you to shift gears (a very helpful tip). They’ll also tell you that
if you need to stop and walk your bike, it’s OK. In fact, your guide will
probably hop off in solidarity. Of course, if mountain-biking is a prelude
to rock-climbing, then consider yourself warmed up.
About 15 minutes from downtown Prescott are Watson Lake and
the Granite Dells. If you’ve never been, it’s an awe-inspiring site. Mas-sive
boulders appear stacked upon one another, creating alien-looking
rock formations, which, by the way, are your climbing destination. The
gear is already set up by the time you arrive, and all you have to do is
change your shoes and step into your harness. Once you’re safely and
securely strapped in, you’re given the green light: It’s time to rappel
down the very vertical rock face.
After skipping down the Dells, another guide greets you at the bot-tom.
Your blood is pumping, your confidence is soaring, the adrenaline
is rushing, and now you’re faced with a choice: Climb back up à la Tom
Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 or hike the rocks to the top. You’ll want to
try the former. The climb back up is tough, but doable. After you reach
the top, the thrill of the climb might leave you wanting more. Go for it.
Brown and his guides are more than happy to accommodate, and what
may have been something you intended as a one-time, cross-off-your-bucket-
list adventure, is now a new hobby. — Kathy Ritchie
HORSEBACK-RIDING Sonoita ROCK-CLIMBING
Watson Lake, Prescott
Ron Izzo leads riders on single- or multi-day tours through some
of Arizona’s most beautiful landscapes. | JEFF KIDA
INFORMATION: Rubicon Outdoors, 800-903-6987 or www.rubi
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Hotel Vendome, Prescott, 928-776-
0900 or www.vendomehotel.com; Raven Café, Prescott, 928-717-
0009; Whiskey Row, www.whiskeyrow.us
INFORMATION: Multiple ride packages
are available. For details, call Arizona
Horseback Experience at 520-455-
5696 or visit www.horsebackexperi
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: La Hacienda
de Sonoita B&B, Sonoita, 520-455-
5308 or www.haciendasonoita.com;
Sonoita Vineyards, Elgin, 520-455-
5893 or www.sonoitavineyards.
com; Velvet Elvis Pizza Company,
Patagonia, 520-394-2102 or www.vel
The Granite Dells of Prescott’s
Watson Lake provide the
perfect surface for bouldering
and rock-climbing. | JEFF KIDA
22 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 23
Whoever said romance is dead never saw the Arizona sunrise
over the majestic Red Rocks of Sedona. If you’re looking to
ditch the daily grind for a weekend of l’amour, plus a little adventure
in the form of a balloon ride, consider booking a room (à deux) at The
Lodge at Sedona.
Tucked away off State Route 89A in Sedona, The Lodge at Sedona
was once home to a prominent physician, his wife and their 12 chil-dren.
Today, it’s been transformed into a different kind of home away
from home, a place for those looking for that je ne sais quoi — of course,
if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s a good thing you’re here,
because Wendy Umstattd, the lodge’s general manager, probably does.
Umstattd designed the “Up, Up and Away Balloon Adventure Pack-age”
to give guests that little something extra — and it’s that kind of
extra that makes you want to come back again and again.
“We have a tremendous return-guest occupancy,” she notes.
After checking in, guests are shown around the public areas of the
B&B, which are filled with pieces evocative of Frank Lloyd Wright’s
own furniture designs, before being ushered into the Deluxe King
INFORMATION: The Lodge at Sedona, 800-619-4467 or www.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Elote Café, Sedona, 928-203-0105 or
www.elotecafe.com; Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, Oak
Creek, 928-282-4838 or www.tlaq.com; Cathedral Rock Trail,
Sedona, 928-282-4119 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
Suite for their two-night stay. All of the King rooms are beautifully
appointed, and most of the rooms have a cozy fireplace in the corner,
or a private entrance and patio area — perfect for taking in the peace
Throughout the property, there are seating areas, water features
and even a meditative walking labyrinth (consider taking a walk here
if you’re nervous about the next day’s flight). Although dinner is not
served on the property (the helpful staff is happy to direct you to a
restaurant in the area), a gourmet breakfast is, and snacks are served
in the afternoon and early evening.
The adventure itself begins bright and early — before sunrise.
Guests are picked up at The Lodge at Sedona and taken to the balloon’s
launch site. The ride itself is about an hour and a half, and during that
time guests are treated to quite a view.
“You’re looking down at these formations from a different point of
view than if you took a Jeep tour,” Umstattd says. “When people come
back from the ride, they’re blown away. You’re enjoying a balloon flight
over Red Rock country — there’s nothing like it.”
And she’s right. As guests gently glide over the stunning landscape,
they’ll also hear about the history of ballooning, learn about the sites
below and receive a DVD of their adventure. Upon arriving on terra
firma, a continental picnic including mimosas will be served — after
all, who couldn’t use a mimosa after a ride like this? It’s still early when
the van pulls up to the lodge, allowing guests to pick up where they
left off — escaping the cacophony of everyday living. — Kathy Ritchie A hot-air-balloon tour of Sedona reveals
sweeping red-rock landscapes. | JEFF KIDA
24 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 25
There are drive-throughs, and then there
are drive throughs — the kind that in-spire
you to stay a while. Bearizona Drive-Thru
Wildlife Park is among the latter. When you
go, you’ll want to linger, and you’ll tell your
friends to do the same.
The main draw at Bearizona is the park’s
population of black bears, but you’ll also find
American bison, arctic wolves, burros, bighorn
sheep and Dall sheep. And those are just in the
drive-through portion of the park, a 3-mile-long
dirt road that skirts 160 acres of the Kai-bab
National Forest just north of Williams.
Bearizona’s animals aren’t afraid to get
up-close-and-personal with park guests, and
that’s why it’s important to keep your win-dows
rolled up at all times. Bison are big. You
don’t want them hitching a ride. The same goes
for the bears.
Twelve of them live along the road, and
they’re usually within eyesight. Before you
enter the bears’ territory, a friendly Bearizona
staffer will remind you to keep your windows
up and your vehicle moving — parked cars,
apparently, make appealing scratching posts
for the main attractions.
Once you’ve completed the driving portion
of the adventure, park and visit Fort Bearizona,
a 20-acre spread that features more wildlife.
Here, the animals are behind fences, and visi-
The West has long lured adventure seekers with the promise
of breathtaking, wide-open spaces and exhilarating new
experiences. The world’s grandest canyon is no exception, as evi-denced
by the 5 million people who visit Grand Canyon’s North
Rim and South Rim every year. The national park belongs on
everybody’s bucket list, and so does Grand Canyon West, which
offers a different perspective on this geologic treasure.
Located nearly 250 driving miles from the South Rim, Grand
Canyon West is on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, which
stretches for 108 miles along the western rim of Arizona’s sig-nature
A Grand Canyon West getaway starts with the adventure
of just getting there. While the majority of visitors fly in from
Las Vegas, those arriving by car get a scenic, back-roads journey
before even peering over the rim. The traditional route heads 70
miles north from Kingman and culminates with a 9-mile drive on
INFORMATION: Hualapai Tourism, 888-868-9378 or www.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Hualapai Lodge, 928-769-2636 or
www.hualapaitourism.com; Papillon Helicopters, 888-635-
7272 or www.papillon.com
INFORMATION: Bearizona is located at 1500
E. Route 66 in Williams. For hours, call 928-
635-2289 or visit www.bearizona.com.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Firelight Bed &
Breakfast, Williams, 888-838-8218 or
www.firelightbandb.com; Grand Canyon
Railway, Williams, 800-843-8724 or www.
thetrain.com; Red Raven Restaurant, Wil-liams,
928-635-4980 or www.redravenres
an unpaved, Joshua tree-lined road. For the more adventurous, the
well-maintained Indian Route 1, a dirt road, from Peach Springs
will make you feel like you’re approaching the Canyon like the
trailblazers of the past.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk (see page 9) brought international
recognition to Grand Canyon West, but the Hualapai Tribe’s tour-ism
roots existed long before they offered visitors the opportunity
to walk 65 feet beyond the rim and look nearly 4,000 feet down
to the Canyon floor.
A variety of packages and add-ons are available for purchase,
all including access to the hop-on, hop-off shuttle to scenic view-points.
Grab lunch at Eagle Point and gaze at the majestically
spread wings of the aptly named rock formation. A tour around
the Native American Village offers a glimpse into authentic rep-resentations
of dwellings from tribes that live near the Grand
Canyon. Guano Point is Grand Canyon West’s own version of
Hollywood, having served as the iconic backdrop in dozens of
Millions of people look down into the Grand Canyon every
year, but very few get to look up from the bottom. The helicopter
and pontoon-boat ride option lets visitors be among the elite few.
That moment when the helicopter glides over the rim will take
your breath away, only to be rivaled by sizing up the massive can-yon
walls from your pontoon boat perch on the Colorado River.
Set up a home base at the Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs for
access to Grand Canyon West and a dose of Arizona’s Route 66
heritage. After all, even the West’s most adventurous explorers
need a place to lay their heads at night. — Jacki Mieler
A pontoon-boat tour of the
Colorado River at Grand Canyon
West gives visitors the opportunity
to experience the Canyon from the
bottom up. | PAUL MARKOW
Bear cubs frolic in a ponderosa pine at Williams’ Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park. | LARRY LINDHAL
Grand Canyon West
tors can walk through at their own pace.
Foxes, bear cubs and juvenile bears, rac-coons,
javelinas, bobcats and birds live at Fort
Bearizona, and a “barnyard” enables little
adventurers to get close to goats, pigs, chick-ens,
ducks, peacocks, rabbits and ponies. It’s a
petting zoo within the zoo.
Admittedly, there’s something touristy
about Bearizona — artists and food vendors
peddle their wares, and a gift shop is perched
near the exit — but the park does have a seri-ous
goal: conservation. According to park
literature, “Bearizona’s mission is to pro-mote
conservation and preservation through
safe, affordable, memorable and educational
encounters with North American wildlife in
a natural environment.”
Mission accomplished. — Kelly Kramer
26 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 27
You can learn a lot about a place when the person showing it
to you has lived there for more than a thousand years. The
ancestral knowledge Micah Loma’omvaya has of Blue Canyon and
the rest of his Hopi homeland runs deep. He’s from the ancient
village of Shungopavi, a member of the Bear Clan, a tribal spiri-tual
leader, and has a degree in anthropology from the University
of Arizona. He’s also an official Hopi guide and one of the few
people authorized by the Hopi Tribe to show nontribal members
the sacred and spectacular slice of earth called Blue Canyon.
“This is the real painted desert,” Loma’omvaya says as you
bump across the reservation on a washboard road where the can-yon
shimmers some 10 miles in the distance — a twisting kalei-doscope
of colors: blue, green, orange, yellow. Loma’omvaya is on
a mission to show you what is real. For starters, what appears to
be blue (and how the canyon got its name) is an illusion. Upon
closer inspection, this clay, a kind of mancos shale, is actually
pale gray, although through sunglasses it looks turquoise.
Parking your truck on the sandy and broad canyon bottom,
you’ll traipse after Loma’omvaya through the greasewood and
rabbitbrush bushes, wondering where you’re going. Here, in the
upper part of Blue Canyon, the distant walls look like neatly
stacked slices of bread: rye, wheat and white. Rising from mid-canyon
are sandstone islands, Lilliputian villages populated with
burnt orange hoodoos that are hauntingly human-like.
You’ll reach a canyon wall, and Loma’omvaya points to faint
etchings in the rock that you would have missed if you’d been
alone. Petroglyphs. Everywhere. “These are prehistoric from our
Pueblo ancestors,” he says, pointing out the Hopi symbols for
corn and rain.
“Is this guy wearing a coat and tie?” you ask, perplexed.
“That is the storyteller kachina,” Loma’omvaya explains. “He
is wearing a jeweled pendant.”
CANYONEERING Hopi Indian Reservation
INFORMATION: To book a guided trip into Blue
Canyon with Micah Loma’omvaya, call 800-774-
0830 or visit www.hopitours.com. NOTE: Access
to Blue Canyon and other private areas on the
Hopi Indian Reservation is restricted and requires
an authorized Hopi guide.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Moenkopi Legacy Inn,
928-283-4500 or www.experiencehopi.com;
Hopi Cultural Center, 928-734-2401 or www.
hopiculturalcenter.com; Village of Walpi Tour
Located in the Moenkopi Wash drainage between Tuba
City and Second Mesa, Blue Canyon was the home of ancient
Pueblo cotton farmers. In the late 19th century it was a thor-oughfare
for travelers between Winslow and Navajo Moun-tain,
and in the early 1900s it was the site of a Bureau of Indian
Affairs school. Today, Blue Canyon is empty of human habita-tion
(unless you count the hoodoos) and protected as a tribal
preserve. Loma’omvaya points to the crumbled walls of an
old trading post and the school, a ghost town dwarfed by the
By late afternoon, when the sky has grown heavy with mon-soon
clouds and the air is like syrup, you’ll find yourself sweat-ing
in a willow-choked, quicksand-filled stretch of lower Blue
Canyon. Tadpoles begin darting furiously in a pool at your feet.
“They are calling in the rain,” Loma’omvaya says.
And then drops fall. — Annette McGivney
Only authorized Hopi guides can lead visitors into the ancient,
hoodoo-peppered Blue Canyon. | KERRICK JAMES
28 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 29
January 20-22 Tucson
Celebrate the “Best of Arizona” and salute
our state at the second of three Best Fests.
The first Best Fest took place last Septem-ber
in Prescott, the Territorial capital, and
drew more than 70,000 people. Let’s just
say, Tucson’s Best Fest certainly won’t
disappoint, with plenty of activities for
the entire family. Information: www.az
2 Lake Havasu Music Brews
& BBQ Championship
January 27-28 Lake Havasu
The Lake Havasu Music Brews & BBQ
Championship challenges musicians and
BBQ connoisseurs to put on their game
faces. Guests can expect 100 Pro Comp
BBQ teams, a People’s Choice sampling
challenge, food, crafts and, of course,
plenty of live music. While you’re there,
don’t forget to check out the fourth Annual
Crossroads & Bike Show on Saturday. Infor-mation:
928-208-2375 or www.music
February 1-29 Flagstaff
Now in its 26th year, Flagstaff’s Winterfest
is a month-long party, featuring a differ-ent
event each week. Essentially, there’s
something for everyone. Whether you’re
an arts lover or a fan of outdoor sports, the
lineup at Winterfest runs the gamut from
THE BIG EVENTS A quick look at 25 of our favorite festivals in 2012.
By Maggie Pingolt
Chances are good that if you’re eating lettuce — be it in a
salad, sandwiched in a BLT or as a garnish for your tacos
— between November and April, that lettuce was grown in
Yuma. Approximately 85 percent of the nation’s winter veg-etables
are grown in this western Arizona city. During the dry
summer months, all of that production moves to California’s
It’s a staggering statistic, not to mention a lot of lettuce, and
thanks to Yuma’s Field to Feast Agriculture Tours, you have a
chance to get to the root of the bounty.
“The Field to Feast interactive agriculture tours are a great,
hands-on way to learn about Yuma’s agriculture, the city’s No. 1
industry,” says Kristan Sheppeard, director of agritourism
for the Yuma Visitors Bureau. “It has given us titles like the
‘Winter Vegetable Capital of the World’ and ‘Medjool Date
Capital of the World.’ Tour participants will learn about the
industry, harvest produce and taste a few of the more than 175
crops grown in the Yuma area.”
The five-hour tours depart from the Yuma Visitors Center,
which is located at Yuma Quartermaster State Historic Park, a
supply-distribution hub for the U.S. Army during the late 19th
century. Next stop: the fields of the University of Arizona’s
Cooperative Extension, where the Yuma Safe Produce Council
provides an interactive food-safety demonstration.
“Participants learn food-safety do’s and don’ts straight from
the experts,” Sheppeard says. “The Yuma Safe Produce Council
INFORMATION: Yuma Field to Feast Agriculture Tours are
available February 1 through mid-March. For details, call
928-783-0071 or visit www.visityuma.com.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Yuma Quartermaster Depot,
Yuma, 928-783-0071 or www.azstateparks.com/parks/
yuqu; Hilton Garden Inn, Pivot Point, 928-783-1500 or
http://hiltongardeninn.hilton.com; La Fonda Restaurant
and Tortilla Factory, 928-783-6902 or www.lafondares
has representatives at every tour to not only ensure that partic-ipants’
harvesting experience complies with good food-safety
practices, but also to educate the public on the importance of
food safety and what the growers do to make sure that each
field produces safe crops.”
Then, it’s into the field, where you can pick your own veg-etables.
Your selections will be transported to Arizona West-ern
College, and while they’re en route, you’ll be treated to a
tour of the Yuma Valley — the fertile swath of land that’s cut
by the Colorado River and is home to wetlands and a variety
After the tour, it’s off to the college, where a team of culi-nary
students will have prepared a freshly made lunch from
your very own ingredients — tractor to table, field to feast.
— Kelly Kramer
Folklorico dancers brighten the La Frontera
International Mariachi Conference.
| EDWARD MCCAIN
Visitors pick their own vegetables during Yuma’s Field to
Feast Agriculture Tours. | COURTESY YUMA VISITORS BUREAU
classic movies and a First Friday art walk to
skiing games at Arizona Snowbowl and the
Winter Food Fest. Admission prices vary
depending on the event, but most are free
and within walking distance of downtown
Flagstaff. Information: 928-774-4505 or
4 Chocolate Affaire
February 3-5 Glendale
If you had to associate a month with choco-late,
February would probably be your best
bet, what with Valentine’s Day and all. But
Glendale takes it to another level. With
some 30 chocolatiers on site, plus wine-tastings,
horse-drawn carriage rides and
romance-novelist workshops, this poten-tially
addictive event is a real treat for those
who love all things chocolate. Information:
623-930-3077 or www.glendaleaz.com/
5 Tubac Festival
of the Arts
February 8-12 Tubac
The 53rd Annual Tubac Festival of the Arts
showcases the work of hundreds of artists,
including painters, photographers, sculp-tors
and more. In addition, catch the many
dance performances and enjoy delicious
eats from the food court. Admission is free,
and parking fees will be donated to local
arts programs benefitting this event. Infor-mation:
520-398-2704 or www.tubacaz.
February 10-12 Phoenix
If you missed Tucson’s Best Fest, don’t fret
just yet. Leading up to the state’s official
birthday, Phoenix will be hosting the third
and final Best Fest. A once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity, this “Signature Event” will
boast musical acts, plenty of cultural offer-ings,
entertainment, food and much more.
7 La Fiesta de los Vaqueros
February 18-26 Tucson
Expect nine days of action-packed excite-ment
at this annual festival, which cele-brates
the cowboy’s way of life. La Fiesta de
los Vaqueros will feature bull-riding, bare-back-
and saddle-bronc-riding, as well as
steer-wrestling, team-roping and women’s
barrel-racing. In between events, shop for
custom, handmade leather goods, and eat,
drink and dance the night away at the Coors
Rodeo dance. Information: 520-294-1280
8 Sedona International
February 18-26 Sedona
Can’t make it to Sundance this year? Head
instead to the Sedona International Film
Festival. In addition to rubbing elbows with
some wonderfully creative writers and
directors, this year’s festival boasts more
than 145 films, including several foreign
entries. Workshops and an awards cere-
Event dates and times are subject to change. Contact event organizers for more detailed information.
30 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 31
also have an opportunity to learn how the
Hopis are preserving their language and
architectural traditions. Information: 928-
774-5213 or www.musnaz.org
17 B irding &
August 1-4 Sierra Vista
Now in its 21st year, Southwest Wings is
again celebrating the wondrous diversity of
Arizona’s wildlife: birds, mammals, reptiles
and insects. In addition to the welcom-ing
reception, movie night and a keynote
speaker, Southwest Wings will be offering
40 field trips throughout Southeastern
Arizona, including overnight trips into the
Chiricahua Mountains and Madera Can-yon
— both are exceptional opportunities
to spend some quality time with nationally
known bird guides in these unique environ-ments.
18 R iver Regatta
August 11 Bullhead City
This is a huge party that seems to get big-ger
and bigger each year. Last August, more
than 25,000 people flocked to the Colorado
River to float 8 miles in the hot Arizona sun,
and similar crowds are expected this year.
Although this is a family friendly event, there
are plenty of adult-only festivities going on,
including a beer pong tournament, kayak
racing and more. Information: 928-763-
0158 or www.bullheadregatta.com
19 P ayson Rodeo
August 17-19 Payson
Designated an official Arizona Centennial
Event, the 127th Annual World’s Oldest
Continuous Rodeo in Payson features
plenty of good old-fashioned rodeo action.
And even though the Professional Rodeo
Cowboys Association calls this event the
country’s “Best Small Rodeo,” it certainly
doesn’t feel small, thanks to the many dedi-cated
cowboys and cowgirls who put on
an amazing show that includes bull-riding,
steer-wrestling, bronc-riding and specialty
acts, all of which are vying for $50,000 in
prize money. Information: 877-840-0457
mony round out the event. Individual tickets
are $12 per film; other packages and deals
range from $100 to $700. Information:
928-282-1177 or www.sedonafilmfestival.
9 H eard Museum Guild
Indian Fair & Market
March 3-4 Phoenix
The Heard Museum is internationally
known for its extensive Native American art
collection. But in the spring, it boasts more
than just great exhibits. It also plays host to
the second-largest Indian fair and market in
the country. Now in its 54th year, the event
features Native American cuisine, more
than 700 artists showcasing their work,
plus Native song and dance. The museum’s
galleries will be open during the festival,
and the entrance fee to this family friendly
event includes museum admission. Infor-mation:
602-252-8840 or www.heard.
10 F estival of Books
March 10-11 Tucson
Celebrate the written word at the Tucson
Festival of Books. The Arizona Daily Star and
the University of Arizona come together to
celebrate literacy with this free, two-day
event, where authors share, sign and dis-cuss
their books. In addition, look for more
than 20 different groups and performers
showcasing their dancing, singing, poetry
and spoken talents, and 15 purveyors of
food and drink. Information: 520-891-9681
11 A rizona Scottish
Highland Games &
March 24-25 Phoenix
Calling all wee lads and lassies! If you’re of
Scottish descent or simply enjoy all things
Scot, this 48th annual event is for you. With
plenty of things to see and do, visitors will
be entertained all day with traditional and
modern Scottish tunes, Celtic arts and
crafts, competitive highland dancing, plus
pipe bands, heavy athletics, country danc-ing,
various re-enactments and vintage
British car exhibitions. Information: 602-
431-0095 or www.arizonascots.com
For more great events around
Arizona, scan this QR code with
your smart phone or visit
12 Yuma Taco Festival
April 14 Yuma
If you don’t like tacos, you probably will
after attending this second annual culinary
Think you’ve got what it takes? Assemble
your own taco team and go after the title
of “Yuma Taco King.” And make sure you
arrive early. Last year some 6,000 people
showed up to eat, drink and celebrate.
Information: 928-373-5040 or www.visi
13 L a Frontera International
April 24-28 Tucson
The award-winning La Frontera Tucson
International Mariachi Conference is Tuc-son’s
largest cultural event and includes
a week of workshops followed by perfor-mances
of the world’s best and brightest
mariachi musicians and talented folklorico
dancers. Information: www.visittucson.org
14 Pine-Strawberry Arts
& Crafts Festivals
May 26-27, June 30-July 1,
September 3-4 Pine-Strawberry
With so much going on at this 32nd annual
festival, it’s difficult to know just where to
start. In fact, the array of arts and crafts
is so wide, varying from stained glass and
jewelry to greeting cards and the Pine-
Strawberry Quilters’ quilts, you’ll likely need
to attend all three weekends in order to
comb through all of the great stuff. Admis-sion
is free. Information: 928-476-6537 or
15 Prescott Rodeo
June 28-July 4 Prescott
This year marks not only Arizona’s 100th
birthday, but also the 125th birthday of the
World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott. For an
entire week, Prescott will be teeming with
cowboys and cowgirls ready to show off their
roping skills, bucking skills, and every other
horse or cattle skill imaginable. The competi-tion
will be fierce, so mark your calendars for
a wild party — one that commemorates the
history of the rodeo and the independence
of our country. Information: www.worldsol
16 Hopi Festival
of Arts & Culture
June 30-July 1 Flagstaff
Immerse yourself in the world of the Hopis
at this 79th annual event. The Hopi Festi-val
of Arts & Culture is an opportunity to
experience the rich culture and traditions of
the Hopi people. For two days, explore the
works of carvers, painters, jewelers, pot-ters,
quilters, and basket- and textile-weav-ers.
Enjoy storytelling, music and dancing,
plus taste Hopi bread and piki. Visitors will
20 R ed Rocks
August 25-September 2 Sedona
The 11th Annual Red Rocks Music Festival
will usher in the fall season with orchestral
performances and world-class chamber
music, as well as classes and workshops.
Information: 928-282-4838 or www.
21 N avajo Nation Fair
September (call for dates)
“The World’s Largest Indian Fair” is cele-brating
its 66th year, and visitors to this cul-tural
extravaganza can expect excitement
for the entire family. With plenty of food, a
frybread competition, art, dancing, cultural
performances and more, there’s certainly
something for every fairgoer, including car-nival
rides and an Indian rodeo. In addition,
big-name country stars and local bands will
be taking the stage throughout the day. The
fair kicks off with a huge parade. Informa-tion:
928-871-6642 or www.navajonation
Celebration of Art
September 8-November 25
Art and nature will collide at the fourth
Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art,
which showcases more than 30 artists from
around the country. The focus of this event
is the open-air competition and exhibition
of each artist’s work, which is created en
plein-air on both the North Rim and the
South Rim of the Canyon. When it comes to
art shows, this is second-to-none. Informa-tion:
928-863-3877 or www.grandcanyon.
23 S alsa Fest
September 28-29 Safford
The Safford Salsa Fest isn’t just any old
salsa fest. It features some of the finest
salsa in Arizona. Besides giving your taste
buds a real kick, this festival also includes
dance performances, chihuahua races, cos-tume
contests and a jalapeño-eating con-test.
This free, family friendly event is held
in Safford’s town square and is sure to ramp
up the heat. Information: 888-837-1841 or
24 B isbee 1000
October 20 Bisbee
Think you’ve got what it takes to participate
in this heart-pumping event? The 22nd
annual Bisbee 1000 challenges participants
to run, walk or do whatever it takes to cover
a little more than 4 miles of stairs, which
wind through the hills and back roads of Bis-bee.
Musicians line certain points of the trail,
offering encouragement and a musical inter-lude.
This is a must-do for those seeking out-of-
the-ordinary athletic events. Information:
520-266-0401 or www.bisbee1000.org
25 F estival of Lights
December 8 Sedona
Every year, the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts
Village and the Sedona Marine Corps
decorate the village grounds with 6,000
luminarias in celebration of the holiday sea-son.
The 35th annual event also will feature
musical performances by several musicians
and singers, including the River of Life Tab-ernacle
choir. Information: 928-282-4838
Safford’s Salsa Fest is open to all entrants, including
firefighters from nearby Thatcher. | JEFF KIDA
The Payson Rodeo has been designated an official Arizona Centennial event. | GERI LEVINE
w w w . a 32 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 33
Every January, bird-watchers,
random travelers and Arizona
Highways photographers gather
in Sulphur Springs Valley for
the daily liftoffs and landings of
sandhill cranes. It’s one of the great
spectacles in Mother Nature. How
else would you describe 40,000
cranes with 6-foot wingspans
landing en masse on the marshes of
A PORT FOLIO BY JACK DYKINGA
Coming In for a Landing A flight of sandhill cranes — en route to
their winter roosting site — executes a
close formation in the evening light.
34 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2
Sunrise over the Dragoon Mountains prompts thousands
of sandhill cranes to fly from their roosting areas to
feeding fields in the Sulphur Springs Valley.
36 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 37
ABOVE: A feather from a sandhill
crane creates a natural art form.
RIGHT: The cranes are winter
visitors to Arizona and other
Southwestern locations, typically
between September and March.
38 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2
Sandhill cranes are among North America’s
largest birds—adults stand up to 6 feet tall
— and they will fly as many as 100 miles
per day in search of food.
Mark Your Calendar
The 19th Annual Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival takes
place January 11-15, 2012. For more information, call 800-200-2272
or visit www.wingsoverwillcox.com.
w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 41
A true story about a champion racehorse named Shorty,
an Eastern Arizona ranch known as High Lonesome, and a
14-year-old boy who learned to fly on a summer day in 1944.
An Essay by J.P.S. Brown
Illustrations by Brad Holland
40 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2
42 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 43
home in his life. Besides that, I didn’t think he even knew how to run
all out. I’d never had him full throttle. He’d always been held in check,
because the only time I’d ever hurried him had been to get around
cattle to turn, stop and hold them.
That was me at 14 and Shorty at 2, or 14 in horse years. We looked
way off and wondered about homesickness and how fast we could
run if we had to go all out, instead of locating the starter in our first
run for the money.
Then I noticed a man ride purposefully around the edge of the
arena, raise his arm with a red flag in hand, drop it and holler, “Go.”
Shorty and I were stunned. We stood flatfooted and paralyzed
and watched everybody else bound
away. Only I knew what “Go” meant
and I’d been asleep. “Go” only woke
us both up.
I didn’t have a quirt, or a bat, but
Shorty and I had spent many hours
on the go for the past six weeks. He
might not have known what “Go”
meant when a Mormon Bishop hol-lered
it, but he darned sure didn’t
need to hear it when I wanted to go.
I leaned over to start him and in two
jumps he was back inside the horde. I
laid over his neck and screamed in his
ear and we seared that mob open and
passed through it as cleanly as a bolt of
lightning, then left it behind by three
lengths going away at the finish line.
I’d never been on a horse with that
much explosive power. My work had
me going full out on fast, mature horses
all the time. The top horse in my string
that year was a spayed mare we called
Mae West, a granddaughter of Man O’
War, and she could run a hole in the wind, but her best performance
was not anything like Shorty’s. Shorty had swelled up like a bomb,
then instead of blowing up he used his power as a jet, ran as though
his feet didn’t touch the ground, and shot through that horde like a
torpedo. Other horses thundered with their hooves and could make
way fast enough for any cowboy. Shorty ran with the speed of thought.
He thought he wanted to be done with those other horses, so he slipped
away into another world, way over on the other side of them. He left
them in a pile three lengths of daylight behind his tail.
He pulled up and settled down when I stood up and spoke to him. I
walked him awhile, but he was not hot or excited. He breathed a little
faster after the race, but he didn’t make a wind tunnel of his nostrils
and turn his eyes inside out the way the other horses did. Anyone
would have thought those other horses had really done something
by the way they pranced around and sounded tough. Not Shorty. The
race over, anyone would have thought he was my little sister Sharon’s
pet, a horse that had been tied to a tree on the sideline and had been
mildly startled when he looked up and saw a Cow Pony Race go by.
Pappy caught up to me and said, “Where were you and Shorty when
the race started, son?”
“About three lengths behind the line,” I said. “The way everybody
bunched together, I didn’t think we’d start for another hour. We might
as well have been asleep in Show Low.”
“You would have won it if you’d started in Show Low.”
That winter, Pappy put Shorty in training at Rillito Downs in
Tucson with an old-timer from New Mexico named Dean Johnson.
Dean slept in the stall with Shorty and he won every race he entered.
We brought him home the next summer and I punched cows on him
and roped on him at our camp at G-Lake. We had a two-acre waterlot
there and invited our neighbors, the Jarvises, to ride over and practice
on big Mexican steers with us. The Jarvises also had us over to their
headquarters at Witch Wells to rope calves. I only roped steers on
Shorty. Darrel and Earl Jarvis started him roping calves. They were
unerring headers and quick on the ground and better calf ropers than
anybody else in that country, where a lot of good ropers were made.
The next June, Pappy decided he wanted Shorty to show us what
he could really do, so he went to Durango, Colorado, and matched him
against that year’s AQHA World Champion Stud, a horse called B-Day.
I can’t swear to the year, but I remember the horse. Besides the main
bet, Pappy stuffed the glove compartment of our pickup with $3,000
in $10 bills and we put it all down on side bets.
Dean Johnson trained Shorty at our G-Lake camp on the High
Lonesome. A jockey from El Paso named Red Hardy rode him. Shorty
didn’t care that B-Day was World Champion. He outran him, not as
far as you could throw a rock, but enough to make him pay.
My cousin Buckshot Sorrells won five All-Around buckles at Chey-enne
that next year, two on Shorty. John Clem of Arizona and his son
won separate RCA team-roping championships, and John’s daughter
won a world GRA championship on him. Buckshot bulldogged, roped
calves and roped steers on him.
If anybody can’t see how a cowboy flew that day at St. Johns, I
haven’t written this well enough. In my 80 years, I’ve flown every
day I cowboyed. However, the vehicles have differed. That day I rode
Shorty shot me up to a high perch in the sky. I screamed in a dive,
hummed in a swoop that fanned the ground, climbed back into the
sky, then soared so high again that I forgot I’d have to walk to supper.
Our mother did not like us to run full out to supper.
tell people that cowboys can fly, so I’ll try to
explain how that is. I grew up at an altitude
of 7,000 feet on an outfit called the High Lone-some
between St. Johns and Sanders, Arizona.
In the spring of 1944, when I turned 14, my
Pappy bought 100 quarter horse colts from
Buck Pyle of Sanderson, Texas, and brought
them home for us to break. We bought 100 of those colts and brought
them home to the High Lonesome every year for 13 years. They were
the grandsons and great-grandsons of the great Foundation Quarter
Horse studs Peter McCue, Midnight, Joe Bailey, Chaparroso and Dan
Waggoner. Shorty was sired by Herman Hughes, a son or
grandson of Dan Waggoner.
They were branded an “O” on the jaw and all were short,
strong-boned and well muscled. A brown colt we called
Shorty that I broke out of the first crop was the best all-around horse
the High Lonesome ever knew. Most of those “O” horses were blue
and red roans and grays at birth, but Shorty didn’t dapple and turn
blue-gray until he was about 7.
He could have bucked off anyone in the world, because he had the
power and quickness, but he never bucked a jump. He didn’t even
think of it, and that made me awful happy. I’ve always suffered from a
bad case of the round-ass. My Pappy decided to keep him the first day
I rode him. He went on and learned everything I tried to teach him
about three steps before I even thought to show it to him. That first
summer, I was able to use him to work cattle with the mature horses
in my string.
My Pappy was not one to baby a horse, or wait on him. Most cow-men
start their colts by first teaching them how to turn back cattle.
They’re easier to gentle as they learn to outwit and outperform a cow.
They don’t rope off a colt until he’s become so good at turning cattle
back that he does it with no signal from his rider. A cutting horse has
to keep his distance and leverage on a cow when he needs to turn
her back. He stays back and keeps a good margin of ground between
himself and the cow so she can’t get around him and make it to the
A rope horse chases a cow and runs right up as close as he can get,
follows and rates her to give his rider a throw. Because of that, most
cowmen want their colts to know how to turn one back before he
learns to chase one. Once a colt learns what he has to do to keep the
prize on a cow that’s trying to get by him, he never forgets it, but if the
horse is used to chase cattle and rope them before he’s taught to turn
them back, he’s usually never as good a cow horse as he could have been.
My Pappy didn’t give a darn about any of that. He wanted to see
what a colt could do as quick as he could. He kept asking me when
I was going to rope off Shorty. I stalled. I wanted him first to learn
to look at cattle and keep his distance. Pappy wanted to see if a cow
could outrun him. He wanted to see how he acted tied to one. I stalled.
The Mormon Day Rodeo in St. Johns on the 24th of July was about
to happen, and Pappy wanted me to train Shorty to rope calves so he
could be used in the show. I stalled. The colt was only 2 and took on
new responsibilities faster than normal as it was. Nevertheless, when
it came time to trailer our horses to the rodeo, we loaded Shorty in
the back of the pickup, and loaded our rope horses — Sorrel Top and
Baldy — in the trailer and pulled out for St. Johns. Shorty had only
been hauled once, in the boxcar from Sanderson to Arizona, but he
stood up with his head over the cab like General Douglas MacArthur
in a ticker-tape parade.
He slept tied to the trailer all through two days of the rodeo. Once, I
reminded Pappy that the colt was going to sprout roots by that trailer,
and wondered why he left Shorty there. He said hauling and standing
still was good training for a colt. To be near the crowds and traffic of
the rodeo was also good for a horse that would become as famous as
Shorty. I didn’t think those were good reasons, but I shut up. It sure
didn’t bother Shorty to stand and sleep. Every once in a while I went
over and brushed the flies off his eyes and gave him water and a moral
full of oats. He’d look up at his surroundings then, but most of the time
he stood shot-hipped and slept like an old, worn-out geezer.
he High Lonesome is grass country
with hardly any browse at all. Our
colts had not filled out much. That
year, spring moisture had been sparse, our stock
fed on last year’s crop of dry grass, and that
summer’s green grass was yet to come. All our
colts looked stunted and hard up.
Shorty looked like a waif who had no mother, no father and never
been to school. He looked like The Grapes of Wrath. Nobody at the rodeo
came around to admire him. His ribs showed, but if anyone had looked
closely at his legs, neck, barrel and gaskin, they would have been
surprised at the size and tone of the muscle. Nobody did, because he’d
been ridden almost every day for seven weeks, and was not a horse that
anybody would want to show off and prance in a parade.
After the last event of the last day of the rodeo, my Pappy called for
me to put my little sister Sharon’s saddle on Shorty, warm him up and
take him to the arena. I saddled, mounted and looked for my sister. I
thought Pappy wanted her to show him off. He was certainly gentle
enough for her to ride. Before I found her, Pappy came a-flyin’ out of
the arena on Sorrel Top and shouted for me to hurry up and follow
him. He then began to instruct me on how to ride Shorty in the Cow
Pony Race. I’d expected to ride in the Cow Pony Race about as much
as I expected to ride in a three-legged race, but I jumped down and
tightened Shorty’s cinches and got ready.
“When that starter hollers ‘Go,’ you lay over that colt’s neck and
scream in his ears,” Pappy said. That’s something he always did, before
a race. “I want you to make him think you’re a catamount who wants
to eat his very liver.” He always said that, too.
In the arena, Shorty looked around as though everything was
mildly interesting here in the town, what with all the other horses,
people in the grandstand, band music that blared over the arena loud-speaker,
people hollering and milling and horses prancing. He looked
around, but kept a dutiful eye on me to see what I wanted to do.
When I rode him into the horde of 30 other horses behind the start-ing
line, he accommodated himself and calmly looked straight ahead.
A whole gang of horses stood between us and the starting line. The
entry fee was $5 and first place paid $50, which I sure wanted to win,
but I didn’t think we had much chance to get through all those other
horses and be first to the finish line.
The starting line lay in front of the stock pens at the bottom of the
arena, and the finish line was only a hundred yards away beside the
bucking chutes. Beyond the finish line, I could see wide-open spaces
all the way to the High Lonesome, so at least we were headed in the
right direction for our first horse race. Shorty might run better if he
was a little homesick and discovered all of a sudden that I wanted him
to hurry home, but then I realized that he’d never been run toward
44 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 45
Doug Peacock, who helped bury his friend Edward Abbey in the Arizona desert in 1989, surveys his
Montana property, with the Absaroka Range and Yellowstone River (not visible) in the background.
It’s been al most
40 years since T he
Mon key Wrench
Gang hit bookstores,
but the man who
is sti ll working out
the legacies of being
Haydu ke. He’s also
tr y ing to save what’s
left of the w i lderness.
BY KATHY MONTGOMERY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SCOTT BAXTER
46 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 47
OUG PEACOCK HAS SPENT decades
observing and defending grizzly bears.
He’s published four books, filmed an
award-winning documentary, co-founded
a conservation group, married, divorced
and married again, raised two children and
landed a Guggenheim Fellowship. Yet, in
spite of all his accomplishments, some will always remember
him as Hayduke.
Edward Abbey called George Washington Hayduke the
hero of his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. A beer-guzzling,
former Green Beret medic “of much wrath and little brain,”
Hayduke wandered the Southwest in a Jeep armed with a
small arsenal. Along with a band of like-minded souls, Hay-duke
plagued developers with escalating acts of sabotage.
The book brought Peacock instant celebrity, but he didn’t
find it flattering.
“Hayduke was a one-dimensional dolt,” Peacock wrote in
his essay Chasing Abbey. And the character’s resemblance to
Peacock strained a difficult friendship. But his relationship
with Abbey endured and ultimately shaped the course of
Peacock first came to Arizona in 1963, by Jeep, fleeing the
cold of an Ann Arbor, Michigan, winter. He found work in
construction, then as a low-level geologist at the ASARCO
mine in Sahuarita.
Like the character he inspired, Peacock was a Green Beret
medic in Vietnam, field-trained in demolition. His last day
in Quang Ngai Province was the day of the My Lai massacre.
Though he didn’t know it at the time, he believes he flew over
My Lai as the bloodbath was under way.
Peacock, like Hayduke, returned from the war to find Tuc-son
changed. Trying to shake off the effects of the war, he
headed for wilder country and eventually found his way to the
backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. There, a chance
encounter with a family of bears proved a tonic and ignited a
lifelong obsession with grizzlies. He returned to Tucson that
winter, beginning a seasonal migration between Montana and
Arizona that he’s made ever since.
Not long after Peacock returned to Arizona, he met Abbey
at a friend’s house. It was a cold night and he arrived to the
gathering by motorcycle.
“I smoked cigarettes and had a little baggie of Bugler
tobacco,” Peacock recalls. “I tried to roll a cigarette, but my
hands were shaking from the cold. This guy reached over and
gave me a light. It was Ed Abbey.”
Abbey was working as a seasonal ranger at Organ Pipe
Cactus National Monument and invited Peacock to visit. He
did, and so began a friendship that lasted 20 years.
Peacock writes about those days in his book Walking It
Off. In a chapter titled “Origins,” a nod to Abbey’s book, he
writes: “We started taking out billboards and bulldozers,
and plotting against strip mines, dams, copper smelters and
At the time he thought it was “simply something to do; a
raised fist against the blind greed of technology.”
Later, he realized it was research for the book Abbey was
By the time The Monkey Wrench Gang came out in 1975, Pea-cock
was immersed in a documentary film project about griz-zlies.
But the book deeply affected his relationship with Abbey.
“You don’t just lift the physical aspects of someone else’s
life and tuck them into a novel without talking to them about
it,” Peacock says. “On the other hand, it was OK with me. And
I had plenty to do. So the book didn’t really change my life at
all. My friendship with Abbey certainly did, and the book
was part of that.”
A letter that the book’s publisher urged Abbey to write
“You know, about how I should only take the good parts of
Duke and forget the dolt-like bad things and stuff like that,”
Peacock says. “Ed and I were both living in Moab at the time.
We took a walk up Mill Creek, stopped at a big rock with
petroglyphs on it, and burned the letter. Neither one of us ever
spoke about Hayduke or his origins ever again.”
Peacock was with Abbey when he died in 1989. Along with
a few friends, he buried Abbey (illegally, of course) in the
Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge on the anniversary
of My Lai.
Peacock’s first book, The Grizzly Years, was released the fol-lowing
“I just had a story to tell and it was pretty easy for me to do,”
he says. “I actually finished it in 1982. It was the same publisher
Ed had. [The publisher] just kind of sat on it. Ed read the book.
He read the manuscript and was wonderfully generous and
In 1991, Peacock founded Round River Conservation Stud-ies
with Dennis Sizemore with the goal of conserving the
world’s wild places. He still serves as chairman. Peacock’s
Peacock was with Abbey when he died
in 1989. Along with a few friends, he
buried Abbey (illegally, of course) in the
Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Edward Abbey’s smile stands out on Doug Peacock’s home-office shelf.
A variety of mementos from nature and a Hayduke bumper sticker are part of the clutter in Peacock’s office.
son Colin, a conservation biologist, leads student trips for
Round River. His daughter Laurel works for a sustainability
Thanks to a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship, Peacock is now
working on his fifth book.
“I was looking at an employment application for a janitor at
Walmart on one [hand], and at a ski mask and a plastic pistol
and a garbage bag on the other [hand],” Peacock says. “And
this guy calls me up and says how’d you like all this money for
nothing? It was like Christmas. Or Halloween, even better.
That was the freedom I needed. It’s allowed me to do what
I’m doing now.”
Peacock is still working through his experience of Vietnam,
a theme that runs through much of his writing. At the time
of our interview, he was planning a trip to his former duty
“We betrayed those people,” he says. “It was a collective
betrayal, but I feel it personally and I’ve got to go back and
“I never quite look at my life as healing from that kind of
experience,” he adds. “And it’s all right because it has empow-ered
me to live the warrior’s life as per Edward Abbey. I still
struggle with my ghosts. But I would not change a thing about
that part of my life.”
In Walking It Off, Peacock tries to come to terms with the
twin forces of Abbey and Vietnam, which seemed to become
“From the skeleton of this man, Ed created the fictional
Hayduke,” he wrote. “The trouble was that, unlike Hayduke,
the real man was not content to stay out in the cold; he wanted
to cross back over into the human realm.”
Now, as all the elements of his life come together, Peacock
says it all basically comes back to Abbey.
“I was a difficult friend and he could be a real grouch,” Pea-cock
says. “But the glue of our friendship was our love for the
wild. If anything, the friendship has deepened because I real-ize
how important he was and still is. I’m right there with Ed
Abbey after all these years. Still fighting for the same thing.”
48 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 49
iven the chance to author a
book, most people would
dedicate it to their children,
their parents or another
of particular significance.
When Emery Kolb transcribed the dedi-cation
page for his book, Through the Grand
Canyon From Wyoming to Mexico, he offered
it to “the many friends who ‘pulled’ for us,
if not with us, during the one hundred one
days of our river trip.”
The “us” was the author and his brother,
Ellsworth. The “river trip” was the roughly
1,100-mile-long re-creation of John Wesley
Powell’s expedition along the Green and
Colorado rivers from Green River, Wyo-ming,
through the Grand Canyon. And all
Their home on
the South Rim is
on the National
Register of Historic
Places, their names
with the Grand
Canyon, and 100
years ago this
month, the Kolb
an epic journey down the
Colorado River, retracing the
route of John Wesley Powell.
Like Powell, they experienced
an incredible adventure. Unlike
Powell, they took a 50-pound,
camera along for the ride.
By Kelly Kramer
Photo Research by Molly Smith
50 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 51
of that pulling … well, that went a long way.
The Kolb Brothers weren’t the first people to journey
through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. That dis-tinction
likely belongs to the ancient natives who might have
cast primitive rafts into its waters long before Francisco
Vásquez de Coronado, García López de Cárdenas and John
Wesley Powell led expeditions into the geologic wonder.
And long before the brothers launched the Edith and the
Defiance at Green River.
In October 1911, the Kolbs set out to duplicate Powell’s
epic adventure. By mid-January 1912, they’d completed the
journey, and although they’d followed in the wake of explor-ers
before them, they pioneered the motion-picture docu-mentation
of Arizona’s most iconic landmark.
“The Kolbs were looking for a way to promote their busi-ness
— the Grand Canyon’s Kolb Studio — and a motion
picture of the Canyon had never been done before, except
perhaps for some brief flat-water stretches,” says Richard
Quartaroli, former special collections librarian at Cline
Library at Northern Arizona University. “The first footage
of the Colorado River is really their claim to fame.”
ALTHOUGH THE KOLBS’ motion picture of the Grand Can-yon
was groundbreaking, it wasn’t easy to pull together.
Frequent wrecks, floods, hunger and rockslides were only
some of the challenges the brothers faced during the journey.
As Emery Kolb narrates: “We employed eight men for the
journey, and, one by one, they all backed out, excepting one.
... Men had become insane when they attempted the voy-age
— during the hardships. It’s not unusual to see men lose
their nerve. With the women, it’s always fear, but with the
men, it’s always heart trouble.”
The 44-minute-long film, produced with a 50-pound hand-cranked
motion-picture camera, reveals the Grand Canyon’s
dangerous landscape in gritty, black-and-white segments.
“We had no assurance that so delicate an apparatus,
always difficult to use and regulate, could even survive the
journey — much less, in such inexperienced hands as ours,
reproduce its wonders,” Emery Kolb writes in his book. “But
this, nevertheless, was our secret hope, hardly admitted to
our most intimate friends — that we could bring out a record
of the Colorado as it is, a live thing, armed as it were with
teeth, ready to crush and devour.”
Crush and devour the river did. On more than one occa-sion,
the brothers found themselves overturned, marooned,
cold, hungry, blistered and bruised. Their assistants grew
homesick. Clothing was ruined by sediment and mud. The
river flooded. Rocks fell, nerves frayed, the roar of the river
echoed off the Canyon walls. Still, the brothers persevered.
“Remember, when you view the footage online at Colo-rado
Plateau Archives, [in addition to] dealing with new
film equipment — or just film equipment at all — they were
undertaking a river trip and all that entails,” Quartaroli says.
“If they had tagged along with another trip, where they didn’t
have all the responsibility of conducting the trip itself, film-ing
still would have entailed its own problems and situations.
Even today, if you go with a film crew, that can be a real pain,
with what they want to do and how [they want] to do it.”
The Kolbs’ tenacity also resonates with their descen-dants,
including Emery’s grandson, Emery Carl Lehnart.
The grandson, who’s in his 80s and lives in Montana, has
many fond memories of his grandfather and Kolb Studio,
where he once had his own room.
“I have a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that my
grandfather was a very early photographer,” Lehnart says.
“He had a considerable amount of film, and when he took
that famous trip, he had that hand-cranked motion-picture
camera. Anyone that could come up with images from an
8x10 camera and that motion-picture camera … well, that
makes a person rather proud.”
At one point in the journey — as the brothers rounded
a bend near the Bright Angel Trail — two guides brought
news to Emery: His wife had been ill for much of the time
they’d been gone, some two months and eight days.
“We had received letters from her at every post-office,
excepting Lees Ferry, but never a hint that all was not well,”
the book recounts. “She knew it would break up the trip.
‘Pretty good nerve,’ we thought.”
THE CAMP THE BROTHERS MADE at Bright Angel was the
51st stopping point on the trip, and it enabled them to visit
their studio, which was being temporarily managed by their
younger brother, Ernest. There they stayed for roughly a
month, while Emery tended to his wife, and some of their
motion-picture work was processed and returned. The early
reports on the film were good, and when Emery’s wife was
well again, the brothers set out to complete the journey.
That was on December 19, 1911. The temperature had
turned cold, and nearly a foot of snow had fallen — so win-try
was the weather that snow dusted the Canyon walls all
the way down to a plateau some 3,200 feet below the rim.
Though ice blanketed portions of the river, the Kolbs,
with Ernest and new assistant/explorer Bert Lauzon in tow,
stripped down to their most necessary provisions and set out
again upon the Colorado.
The rapids during this section of the trip proved particu-larly
treacherous and, at one point, after taking water inside
the boat, the brothers thought they’d lost the motion-picture
“On being towed to shore, however, we found the camera
had not fallen out,” Kolb writes. “It had been shoved to the
side less than one inch, but that little bit had saved it. It was
filled with water, though, and all the pictures were on the
unfinished roll in the camera, and were ruined.”
At that point, the brothers were in the narrowest part of
the upper portion of the Grand Canyon. It would be difficult
to climb out, so, again, they chose to persevere.
On Christmas Eve, the Edith wrecked, earning a gash
in her side. By Christmas Day, the brothers had repaired
the boat and started again downriver. They celebrated the
New Year at Lava Falls and made their way to Diamond
Creek. The expedition continued that way — in fits and
starts — until, on January 13, 1912, they completed their run
through the Grand Canyon.
“The towering walls, now friendly, now menacing, were
behind us,” Kolb writes. “Three hundred and sixty five large
rapids, and nearly twice as many small rapids, were behind us
and the dream of 10 years was an accomplished fact. But best
of all, there were no tragedies or fatalities to record. Perhaps
we did look a little worse for wear, but a few
days away from the river would repair all that.”
WHEN ALL WAS SAID AND DONE, the broth-ers’
footage and many of the still photo-graphs
they made of the Grand Canyon were
transformed into “The Grand Canyon Film
Show.” Emery himself narrated the film for
Kolb Studio visitors daily until his death in
1976. To this day, the film holds the title of
the longest continuously running movie in
U.S. history, and it’s being celebrated through
a special exhibit at the Grand Canyon — a
tribute to the brothers, their adventure and
the spectacular motion-picture documentary
“Most people could never do [what the
Kolbs did] and conduct a river trip at the same
time,” Quartaroli says. “In fact, most people
couldn’t conduct a river trip even without
filming. The Kolbs didn’t have that much
river experience. But they sure did when they
ON D ISPLAY
Now through September 4,
and again from November 30
through September 3, 2013,
the Grand Canyon Association
will present A Grand Life at the
Grand Canyon: Those Amazing
Kolbs! The brothers’ film will
run in a loop throughout the
exhibition, which takes place at
Kolb Studio, on the South Rim
of the Grand Canyon. For more
information, call 928-638-2481
or visit www.grandcanyon.org.
BELOW: After a brief
respite at Kolb Studio,
the Kolb Brothers
departed down the
Bright Angel Trail on
December 19, 1911, to
complete their journey
down the Colorado
BOTTOM: The Edith sus-tained
damage during a
Christmas Eve wreck,
but the brothers were
able to repair the gash
in her side on Christmas
Ellsworth Kolb with
their boats, the
Edith and the
Defiance, near the
Shinumo Creek, in
ABOVE: Emery Kolb
rests in a side can-yon’s
52 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 53
tucson is a city interrupted.
Mountains encircle the
town and keep it contained.
Such an arrangement creates
a sprawling backyard of raw
desert for those with an adven-turous
spirit. Ironwood Forest
National Monument is like
that, a quick escape right at the
edge of civilization.
The drive begins on Avra
Valley Road (Exit 242 off Inter-state
10), just north of Tucson
in the town of Marana. Head
west and you’ll soon cross
the Santa Cruz River, a vital
waterway that drew the first
European settlers to Arizona.
Just past Marana Regional
Airport, you’ll see a turnoff for
Saguaro National Park. Don’t be
tempted to change course — a
forest of towering cactuses rises
in Ironwood, and seeing them
doesn’t require an entrance fee.
Rolling on, the route passes
cotton fields and then mes-quite-
dotted rangeland. Just
shy of the entrance to the Silver
Bell Mine, the pavement ends
and the scenic drive turns left
onto Silverbell Road. The rough
dirt road carves a route through
classic Sonoran Desert. Rocky
hills crowd the landscape, their
slopes thick with ocotillos
waving in spindly triumph.
The Sonoran Desert, more
than any other American
desert, is a study in textures.
Paloverde trees and ironwoods
throw off a shaggy charm
with their haphazard tangle
of branches. Chain-fruit chol-las
maintain an air that’s both
stately and comical — Dr.
Seussian cactuses with swoop-ing
limbs capped in furious
clusters of pads. Barrel cactuses
all seem to adopt a sultry lean.
And amid this spiny jungle,
saguaros add the dominant
vertical notes, growing ramrod
straight and full of purpose.
After 9 miles on Silverbell
Road, which includes bounc-ing
in and out of arroyos, a sign
indicates that you’ve entered
Ironwood Forest National
Monument. Named for one
of the longest-living trees in
Arizona, the monument pro-tects
129,000 acres of pristine
desert and hundreds of ancient
Hohokam sites, some dating
back to A.D. 600. The scenery
within the monument doesn’t
change drastically, except that
Ragged Top Mountain muscles
into view. Unlike neighboring
mountains with their clean,
cactus-lined crests, Ragged Top
is a brutish thrust of more than
3,900 feet, crowned by a jumble
of sheer cliffs.
At 13.2 miles on Silverbell,
you’ll encounter a signed
junction, which seems a little
weird out in the middle of sun-scarred
turn right toward Marana.
Saguaros are more mature
through this section. They’re
taller, and they display more
arms to strike the iconic pose
that’s come to symbolize the
Sonoran Desert. Ragged Top
dominates the skyline, scratch-ing
at wisps of low clouds.
Another half-dozen miles
from the turn takes you back to
pavement, amid a neighborhood
of homes. It’s an abrupt and
unwelcome transition. Take
solace in the fact that plenty of
other adventures await in Tuc-son’s
Meanwhile, retracing your
steps back to Avra Valley Road
can be a bit confusing. Save
yourself the headache. About 7.5
miles after resuming pavement,
Silverbell Road crosses Trico
Road. Turn left onto Trico Road,
which becomes Trico Marana
Road, and follow it for 6 miles
back to I-10. Trico Marana Road
is Exit 236, which is 6 miles
north of Avra Valley Road.
Dry, rocky roads,
trees and cactus-es
some of the oldest
trees in Arizona
along this scenic
route just north of
BY ROGER NAYLOR
Note: Mileages are approximate.
LENGTH: 55 miles round-trip
DIRECTIONS: From Tucson, drive west on Interstate
10 to Avra Valley Road (Exit 242), turn left (west),
and continue for 22 miles to Silverbell Road. From
there, turn left (west) and continue to Trico Road,
which becomes Trico Marana Road. Continue for
6 miles to I-10.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: A high-clearance vehicle is
required on the unpaved section of Silverbell Road.
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.
Also, keep in mind that smuggling and illegal
immigration may be encountered along this route.
Visitors to Ironwood Forest National Monument
should avoid anyone engaged in suspicious activity.
INFORMATION: Bureau of Land Management, 520-
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov
or dial 511 to get information
on road closures,
delays, weather and more.
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.
54 j a n u a r y 2 0 1 2 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h wa y s . c o m 55
month OF THE
unless you’re a Tarahumara Indian, extreme trail run-ning
is usually ill-advised. Unlike the reclusive super
athletes of Mexico’s Copper Canyons, the average hiker
is in no condition to tackle rugged terrain at breakneck
speeds. With the proper training, maybe, but otherwise,
you’d be better off blasting your kneecaps with a Louis-ville
Slugger. That said, there are always exceptions, like
the Woods Canyon Trail near Sedona.
This well-graded and easy-to-follow trail begins at the
south end of the ranger station parking lot on State Route
179. After a few minutes, you’ll come to a log that serves as
a connecting point to the other side of Dry Beaver Creek,
which may or may not have water in it. Despite the moisture
level of the creek, the landscape will likely include Herefords,
whose orange-red hides match the red dirt of the ini-tial
stretch of trail. A few minutes later, you’ll come to a gate,
beyond which is an old Jeep road. By the time you’ve closed
the gate, the sounds of State Route 179 will have disap-peared
and the striking mesas ahead will be grabbing your
attention, along with the wide-open trail — Tarahumara or
not, it’s on this stretch that you’ll really feel like running.
About 20 minutes later (less time if you decide to run), after
having crossed a few small washes, you’ll come to a trail reg-ister
and a larger wash that’s home to some beautiful Arizona
sycamores and other riparian species. As always, use plenty of
caution when entering wash areas, especially on cloudy days.
Moving along, the trail hugs the wash for a few hundred
yards before passing through a cattle gate and a barbed-wire
fence. Up ahead you’ll see an intersection. The Horse
Mesa and Hot Loop trails go left, and the Woods Canyon
Trail veers to the right. Five minutes later you’ll cross into
the Munds Mountain Wilderness Area and catch your first
glimpse of red rocks. Unlike some of the more famous trails
to the north, this trail isn’t dominated by the picturesque
geology that epitomizes Sedona. Instead, the highlight is a
beautiful riparian area and plenty of solitude. There’s not
a lot of traffic on this route, but there’s no good reason for
that. It’s a gorgeous trail, especially after about an hour,
when the ponderosas and the hardwoods start showing up.
As beautiful as the trees are, the best part of the trail
actually begins about a quarter-mile farther, where
Rattlesnake Canyon merges with Woods Canyon. At this
point, the trail dips into the enormous, boulder-strewn
wash of Beaver Creek. Your best photos of the day will be
taken from atop one of the Frigidaire-sized rocks in this
area. Although the scenery is spectacular, keeping tabs on
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