YOU WON’T FIND FLOWERS LIKE THIS IN PASADENA!
escape • e xplore • Experience
“Earth laughs in flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Featuring Bartlett Lake,
the Gila River, Picacho Peak,
the Eagletail Mountains,
san carlos apache reservation
and More ...
PLUS HAVASUPAI MEDICINE WOMAN BABY SUE • GLEN CANYON • ELF OWLS
WASSON PEAK • THE GHOST TOWN TRAIL • horseshoe bend • THE CCC IN AZ
Where to See ...
7Simple Tips for
w w w. w . a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 1
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state,
including the colorful history of the Westward Ho; a
look at what it’s like to be a cellar rat; and Oatman,
our hometown of the month.
16 WILDFLOWERS 2013
The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse
desert in North America. The saguaros and ocotillos
and chollas make it beautiful all year long, but this
month, it gets even better with the addition of poppies,
primrose, larkspurs and lupines. There’s a lot of color
out there, and we’ll tell you where to see it.
Photographs by George Stocking
28 GO! FISH.
Humpback chubs don’t have a cool name — not like barracudas
or stingrays. And, to be honest, they’re kind of
ugly. They are, however, unique. Found only in the Colorado
River, they’re an endangered species as old as the
Grand Canyon itself. Sadly, at last count, there were only
10,000 humpbacks left. But, thanks to a team of scientists
who are rooting for their survival, the prehistoric
species just might survive.
By Terry Greene Sterling
Photographs by Tom Bean
36 AROUND THE BEND
Where Glen Canyon meets the Grand Canyon, an excerpt
from our book IMAGES: Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon.
Photograph by Jack Dykinga
38 WHEREVER THE SPIRIT
Dianna Uqualla wears the traditional clothing of a
medicine woman. She has a gift, likely passed down
from her grandfather, that allows her to see things
others cannot. At first her ability frightened her, but
now she embraces her gifts and travels the world to
share them through ceremonial blessings, sweats,
prayers and sacred rituals. She goes, she says, wherever
Spirit takes her, but she is happiest at her home in the
village of Supai.
By Kelly Vaughn Kramer
Photographs by Dawn Kish
◗ Sunrise creates a burst of
light behind one of Monument
Valley’s famed Mittens.
| Derek von Briesen
CAMERA: Canon 5D Mark
ii; SHUTTER: 1/13 sec; APER-TURE:
F/22; ISO: 100; FOCAL
LENGTH: 154 MM
FRONT COVER A field of
blooms beneath a group of
saguaros at Catalina State
Park in Southern Arizona.
| Randy Prentice
CAMERA: Canon 5D
Mark ii; SHUTTER: 1/90 sec;
APERTURE: F/16; ISO: 100;
FOCAL LENGTH: 24 MM
BACK COVER A Mexican gold-poppy
unfolds on the shores
of Bartlett Lake. | Kim Hoshal
CAMERA: Nikon D3X;
SHUTTER: 1/500 sec; APER-TURE:
F/5.6; ISO: 400; FOCAL
LENGTH: 210 MM
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Photographic Prints Available Prints of some photographs in this issue are available for purchase. To view options, visit www.arizona highwaysprints.com. For more information, call 866-962-1191.
2 Editor’s Letter
4 Letters to the Editor
44 CORPS VALUES
From the rock retaining wall on the South Rim of
the Grand Canyon to the intricate trails in Chirica-hua
National Monument, it’s easy to see the posi-tive
effects of the Civilian Conservation Corps. But
maybe more important was the effect it had on
the thousands of young men who enrolled in the
program, including Elson Alvarez and the other
41,000 enrollees who worked in Arizona.
By Kathy Montgomery
50 let me bee
Africanized honeybees are the gangsters of the bee
world. They’re nasty, but Reed Booth isn’t intimidated.
Known as the “Killer Bee Guy,” Booth has been remov-ing
hives for more than 20 years, and in that time he’s
become the local expert on Africanized bees. He’s also
stockpiled a lot of honey.
By Roger Naylor
Photograph by John Wagner
52 SCENIC DRIVE
Ghost Town Trail: Just outside Tombstone, in the shadow of
the rugged Dragoon Mountains, this scenic dirt road weaves
through desert scrub and links the old mining towns of Glee-son,
Courtland and Pearce.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
King Canyon Trail: There are a lot of great hikes in and around
Tucson. This scenic loop in Saguaro National Park is on that
56 WHERE IS THIS?
• Points of interest in this issue
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
robert stieve, editor
Follow me on Twitter: @azhighways
Primrose. Even if you’ve never seen
it growing in the desert in the
springtime, you can guess by its
name that it’s probably beautiful. And it
is. The humpback chub conjures up some-thing
very different. Something unsightly,
like Jabba the Hutt or cauliflower ear or
hairless cats. Although the silvery min-nows
aren’t as ugly as any of those things,
they’re not pretty, and it’s the namesake
hump that makes them so.
No one knows for sure why it’s there,
but scientists think it might have some-thing
to do with helping the fish main-tain
balance in the raging waters of the
Colorado River. Another theory is that it’s
there to keep them from being swallowed
by bigger fish. Scientists aren’t sure about
the hump, but they have no doubt about
the humpback chub’s threatened exis-tence.
That’s why Randy Van Haverbeke
spends so much time on the river.
Van Haverbeke is a 58-year-old biolo-gist
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
and along with a long list of others, he’s
working to keep the humpbacks from
going extinct — Van Haverbeke alone has
been down the Colorado River more than
150 times. On a recent trip into Marble
Canyon, which included several other
biologists and four technically savvy boat
pilots, writer Terry Greene Sterling and
photographer Tom Bean tagged along. The
science produced by that expedition will
be used to help the U.S. Department of
the Interior come up with a 20-year plan
on how to protect the endangered species
by managing water releases from Glen
It’s the dam, after all, that created the
problem. And it’s complicated. As Terry
writes in Go! Fish., the plan has to balance
“the needs of dozens of Native American
tribes, seven thirsty Colorado River Basin
states, trout anglers, farmers, river-rafting
companies and hydroelectric power users,
as well as honor the Grand Canyon Protec-tion
Act, which safeguards the Canyon
and the threatened and endangered crea-tures
that live there — like the humpback
At last count, there were only 7,560
humpbacks left below
the dam, and maybe
10,000 left on the
planet. Ugly or not, the
fish, which can live
to be 40 years old and
grow up to 12 inches
long, are worth fight-ing
for. If for no other
reason, they’ve been
living in the Colorado
River for more than
5 million years, which
makes them as old
as the Grand Canyon
itself, and also an inte-gral
part of it. The Havasupai people can
make a similar claim.
They’ve been living in the Canyon for
centuries, and their unique existence
downstream of where the humpbacks
congregate has been well documented. In
fact, if you’re a frequent reader of Arizona
Highways, you’ve seen the flamboyant
beauty of Havasu Creek and its turquoise-colored
waterfalls many times. This
month, we focus on the subtle beauty of
someone who lives there.
Dianna “Baby Sue” White Dove Uqualla
is a medicine woman, of sorts. Her
grandfather was one of the last Havasupai
medicine people, and Baby Sue inherited
an ability to see things that others cannot
— to dream things that eventually become
reality. She’s guided by an entity she calls
Spirit, and at first, those conversations
frightened her. But not anymore. As Kelly
Vaughn Kramer writes in Wherever the
Spirit Moves Her, Uqualla has “embraced
what she now considers to be her gifts
and travels across Arizona in pursuit of
sharing them with others through ceremo-nial
blessings, sweats, prayers and other
She’s on the road a lot, but Baby Sue is
happiest at home. “The canyon calls me
back,” she told Kelly for our profile. “I
hear and smell Supai when we get near
the creek, and my heart cries with joy.”
It’s a sentiment that’s understandable to
anyone who’s ever seen Havasu. The water,
which Kelly describes as “the mingling of
absinthe and phthalo
blue, lime spilled into
sky,” is among the
most beautiful — and
unlikely — spectacles
in the world. Arizona’s
annual explosion of
spring wildflowers gets
the same endorsement.
It’s something special,
which is why we’ve
been featuring it on
our March covers for
This year is no excep-tion.
Our 2013 portfolio
features the incredible work of George
Stocking, who is one of the best landscape
photographers anywhere. But he’s not
just good with a camera. He also wanders
the desert looking for flowers in places
that few photographers have ever looked.
Places like the Rawhide Wilderness, the
Gila River bottom and the Eagletail Moun-tains.
And his efforts pay off. I’ve seen
every one of our wildflower issues, and
this year’s edition might be the best. The
larkspurs, lupines, poppies and primrose
have never looked better. Especially the
primrose. They’re beautiful.
COMING IN APRIL ...
Our annual roundup of the state’s best
restaurants, including Pizzicletta in Flag-staff
(pictured here). For this year’s list,
we did something different. We let our
photographers make the picks.
Flowers, Fish & Baby Sue
Photographer Dawn Kish is no
stranger to adventure — she recently
climbed El Capitan — so when we
asked her to photograph medicine
woman Dianna Sue Uqualla in
the village of Supai (see Wherever
the Spirit Moves Her, page 38), she
jumped at the chance. “It was one
of the best jobs ever, and I was able
to connect to an older culture,” Kish
says. “My mind was blown every sec-ond.”
She adds that she connected
with both Uqualla and the environ-ment
— Havasu Canyon — during the
trip. “It was a very unique experience, and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in
the world,” she says. Kish is a frequent contributor to Arizona Highways. Her work has also
appeared in National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. — andrea crandall
Award-winning writer Terry
Greene Sterling had never seen
an endangered humpback
chub — until she ventured out
with scientists to monitor the
population of one of the Grand
Canyon’s oldest known fish
species (see Go! Fish., page 28).
“I’d never seen one before, let
alone touched one,” Sterling
says. “The primitive-looking
fish is just awesome to behold. And hold.” Although it wasn’t Sterling’s first time rafting the
Colorado River, it was the first time she experienced it during monsoon season. “The storms
roared through the narrow canyon with beautiful ferocity, leaving roiling waters and clear
skies in their wake,” she says. Sterling is a frequent contributor to Arizona Highways. Her
work has also appeared in The Washington Post and Rolling Stone.
George Stocking’s photographs are often featured in
our annual wildflower issue, but this year, his images
make up the entire portfolio (see Wildflowers 2013,
page 16). “I feel a strong connection with the land,
with the areas not yet developed by man,” he says.
“I like to pay tribute to the vanishing wilderness.”
His favorite place to photograph wildflowers is near
Bartlett Lake, and his favorite bloom is owl clover.
“Those extremely rare occasions when the clover
dominates the desert are to me the most special,”
Stocking says. “I’ve only seen it once, and I yearn for
the replication of whatever natural forces are required to come together to make it happen
again.” His photographs have also appeared in Backpacker and Adventure West.
ma r ch 2 0 1 3 V O L . 8 9, N O . 3
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Produced in the USA
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If you like what you see in this
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w w w. 4 marc h 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 5
As the sun rises softly over lingering fog, a golden light sweeps across Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, the
home of great white egrets and more than 200 other bird species. Information: 928-857-3253 or www.fws.
gov/southwest/refuges/CibolaNWR CAMERA: nikon d3s; SHUTTER: 1/320 SEC; APERTURE: F/8; ISO: 1000; FOCAL LENGTH: 400 MM
letters to the editor
contact us If you have thoughts or com-ments
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THE JOURNAL 03.13
hometowns > local favorites > history > photography > odd jobs
dining > nature > lodging > things to do
thanks for the ride
I just received the January 2013 issue. I started to
glance through it, and then put it down to get busy.
But, I got trapped in the photography, and then in the
stories of the travels going from town to town [Ode to
the Roads]. What wonderful stories and photographs
— I really enjoyed the trips. Thanks so much for your
enjoyable magazine. I enjoyed the ride. A remarkable
Janice Marshall, Redwood City, California
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 17
[ ] Editor’s NotE: The following road trips are enjoyable any time of year, but because Arizona does, in fact, have four seasons, you’ll want to check
the weather and road conditions before heading out. Also, what you see in winter may not be what you see in summer. One more thing: In the inter-est
of maximizing the number of observations along the way, we had our writers and photographers travel separately. Each had unique experi-ences,
which is why the photos and the narratives don’t always overlap. Collectively, they covered a lot of ground. Here are their stories.
Ode To The Roads A scenic drive, whether you do it on Sunday, Monday or any other day of the week, isn’t
about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s about the people, places and things that you
meet and see and experience along the way. That’s what makes Travels With Charley,
Blue Highways and On the Road such classics, and that’s what we were after when we
sent three writers and three photographers out on three of Arizona’s best back roads.
“I came across this shot
as I left Springerville and
headed back toward Show
Low,” says photographer
Karen Shell. “A powerful
monsoon storm had just
moved through, so every-thing
was wet. I pulled
over because I loved the
shape of the road as it lay
across the landscape, and
the asphalt had a beauti-ful
sheen to it.” CAmerA:
NIKON D3; SHUTTer: 1/60;
APerTUre: F/22; ISO: 400;
16 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 3 FOCAL LeNGTH: 130 mm
one for the book
It was great to see JPS Brown’s essay on
Steve McQueen in the January 2013 issue
[On Location With Steve McQueen]. I had no
idea who Brown was, and I don’t read
much fiction, but I’m going to pick up
his novel The Forests of the Night — if Steve
McQueen and Sam Pecknipah loved it
that much, I’m in for the ride.
John J. Hunt, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Editor’s Note: Dear John (I’ve never written
those words before), I shared your letter with Joe,
and he’s flattered by your intrigue. Rest assured,
you won’t be disappointed by The Forests of the
Night. It’s one of the best books ever written
about our neck of the woods.
Hate to pop your balloon
On page 30 of the January 2013 issue is
an excellent photo of what the photogra-pher
described as a “weather balloon.”
Actually, the balloon is much more than
a mere weather balloon. It’s an aerostat
balloon from Fort Huachuca, and it’s one
of several used to combat cross-border
Bill Bryan, Leona Valley, California
keep the change
Although I now live in New Mexico,
which is a beautiful state with much
history and natural beauty, I still call
Arizona home and always will. For
a while, I wasn’t sure about the new
directions the magazine had taken in
the past decade or two, but I know it
has to change, just as the times do. For
the most part, I’m not displeased. The
state has grown and matured since I
first arrived; haven’t we all? Yet the
wonder still remains, and I cherish it.
Keep up the good work and don’t be
hesitant to go back into the past now
and then, as you did with High Winter
by Raymond Carlson [November 2012].
There are many of us who do recall and
appreciate those times. Names like Ray
Manley, Josef Muench, Larry Toschik,
Barry Goldwater and others who
have appeared on these pages are still
revered. They’re an indelible part of the
state that we love and will never forget.
Thanks for the frequent reminders, as
well as glimpses of the new version!
Gaye M. Walton, Alamogordo, New Mexico
a december to remember
I’ve lived in Arizona since 1958 and have
subscribed to Arizona Highways for a long
time. I’ve never written a letter to the
editor before, but the December 2012
issue is the most beautiful issue I’ve ever
seen. While it’s Part 2 of the 50 Greatest
Photos, it’s still quite extraordinary.
Thank you for the photographers, the
editors and all the rest of the person-nel
who were involved in creating this
Ruth DiBene, Surprise, Arizona
man y hap py returns
Thank you for all the excellent read-ing
every month. I’ve been to Arizona
many times over the past 50 years.
Recently, because of a stroke, I haven’t
been able to visit your beautiful state.
Previously, however, I’d spent lots of
time there because my uncle and aunt
moved to Arizona in the early 1950s,
and so it was always determined that
we had to make the trip. Over the years,
we did make many trips for weddings,
for business trips that were elongated
into vacations, and finally the best
trip of a lifetime: “whitewater rafting
down the Colorado River for six days
and five nights.” I have it all on video,
and have shown it many times to fam-ily
and also to stroke patients at Burke
Rehabilitation Hospital. I’ve also hiked
with my cousin, who lives in Tempe.
Although, when I hiked, I did go with
a pair of snake-resistant pants, because
this boy from the Bronx didn’t want to
take a chance of encountering a rattle-snake.
Whenever I receive a new issue it
brings to mind my family members who
have passed and the wonderful times
I’ve had in Arizona. I’ve been aggressive
in my rehabilitation, and expect to be
functional again, and when I do, you can
bet that one of my first priorities will be
to visit Arizona. So, thanks not only for
a magazine that is so well put together,
but also for enlightening the senses to
the past and future.
Joseph Arlotta, Bronxville, New York
6 march 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 7 T H E J O U R N A L
mark lipczynski (2)
Named for pioneer-turned-Indian-captive Olive Oatman, this Route 66 survivor
is best known for its population of burros. They roam the street willy-nilly, fed by
camera-happy tourists. Although Oatman was a booming mining town in the early
1900s, a fire destroyed many of its structures in 1921. Luckily, the Oatman Hotel was
spared. The hotel, built in 1902, is the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mohave
County, but its biggest claim to fame is its movie-star appeal — Clark Gable and
Carole Lombard honeymooned there in 1939. Today, the hotel’s most famous guest is
its resident poltergeist, Oatie, believed to be the spirit of Irish miner William Ray Flour,
who died behind the hotel. — Kelly Vaughn Kramer
Information: Oatman-Gold Road Chamber of Commerce, 928-768-6222 or www.oatmangoldroad.org
15 square miles
E l e vat ion
Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner is located at 105 E. Andy
Devine Avenue in Kingman. For more information,
call 928-718-0066 or visit www.mrdzrt66diner.com.
Elvis is in the building at Mr. D’z Route 66
Diner, where owners Michelle and Armando
Jimenez dish up burgers, barbecue and
hot-fudge sundaes, along with music from
the 1950s and ’60s and plenty of vintage
memorabilia. Manager Amber McIntire
explains Mr. D’z retro appeal:
How does Mr. D’z pay tribute to
Historic Route 66?
We’re an old-fashioned diner, and people
love the atmosphere. This building has
been here since the 1920s, so it’s been a
part of Route 66 for a very long time. We
have a lot of memorabilia — maps and
more — and we sell emblems and magnets,
too. People stop in, go back home and tell
their friends to visit, too.
What are some of the most popular
items on the menu?
The cheeseburger. People love that we
have homemade root beer, so some
people come in just for that. We also make
homemade pizza. Our shakes and malts are
made from scratch, with real ice cream and
Oprah Winfrey is a huge fan of Mr. D’z
root beer. Have any other celebrities
popped into the diner?
Angus T. Jones from Two and a Half Men
has come in with his grandmother. One of
the werewolves from the Twilight movies
has been in, too. He lives on the Hualapai
Reservation at Peach Springs.
— kelly vaughn kramer
Route 66 diner
8 march 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 9 T H E J O U R N A L To learn more about photography, visit www.arizonahighways.com/photography.asp.
For photographer Shane McDermott, the art is all about composition and exposure. Most often, McDermott
likes shooting in low-light situations, as was the case with this image. He figures that close to 75 percent of
his photographs are made before sunrise or after sunset, and he especially enjoys the quality of ambient light
that lingers 20 to 40 minutes after the sun dips below the horizon. The reason? He doesn’t have to wrestle
with high-contrast lighting conditions that exist during daylight hours. By getting up early and staying out late,
McDermott uses his digital camera where its sensor is happiest — in soft, low-contrast light. The other benefit
is that the range of brightness between earth and sky is greatly reduced during those hours. The colors are so
rich that people often ask McDermott if he’s using HDR techniques to enhance his photographs, but he almost
never does because it isn’t necessary. The amount of time he typically spends working on an image in post-production
is two to four minutes. — Jeff Kida, photo editor
Shots in the Dark
derek von briesen A Ho Lot of History
In its heyday, the Westward Ho was the hotel of choice for high-profile guests such as
John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and others. It was also the tallest building in Arizona. Today,
the luster is gone, but it remains one of the most identifiable historic landmarks in Phoenix.
If walls could talk, the West-ward
Ho’s would have quite a
story to tell. The hotel opened
in 1928, as Phoenix was evolv-ing
from a Wild West outpost
into a booming city. It quickly
became a sophisticated destina-tion
for notable visitors, includ-ing
Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor,
Martin Luther King Jr. and Presi-dent
John F. Kennedy, who made
a campaign speech there during
the 1960 presidential election.
Well-heeled travelers were
drawn to the glamorous 15-story
Spanish Colonial Revival
building, with its beautifully
decorated pillars, hand-painted
watercolor ceiling and lush
courtyard. By day, the hotel’s
swimming pool beckoned guests
with its cool, turquoise waters;
and by night, guests danced the
evening away in the ballroom. In
its heyday, the Westward Ho was
the city’s premier luxury hotel, and everyone wanted in.
It was an architectural marvel, too. In 1949, a steel broadcast
tower was mounted on top of the hotel, more than doubling
the building’s original height. And until 1960, the Westward
Ho was the tallest building in the state, featuring magnificent
views of Phoenix.
Unfortunately, time took its toll on the Westward Ho, and,
today, it serves as low-income housing for approximately 300
senior citizens. Although it’s a shadow of its former self, many
of the Ho’s original architectural details remain intact, includ-ing
original stained-glass windows and chandeliers.
— an d rea crandal l
50 Years Ago
■ Tempe Normal
School for the Arizona
Territory is founded on
March 12, 1885. Its name
is later changed to
Arizona State University.
■ On March 18, 1901, the
blossom is named the
official Territorial flower.
It’s named the official
state flower in 1931.
■ John Wesley Powell is
born on March 24, 1834.
During his three-month
expedition down the
Green and Colorado
rivers in 1869, Powell
makes the first known
passage through the
■ Tovrea Castle in
Phoenix is added to the
National Register of
Historic Places on March
28, 1996. The castle is
known for its abundant
cactus gardens and
■ César Chávez, an
Arizona activist who
spent many years
working for the rights
and welfare of farm
workers, is born in Yuma
on March 31, 1927.
The March 1963 issue of
Arizona Highways fea-tured
a story about State
Route 64, the stretch
of highway that runs
from Williams to the
Navajo Indian Reserva-tion.
Photographs of Old
Betatakin, Mesa Verde
National Park, the Grand
Canyon and Monu-ment
Valley were also
included in the issue.
Look for our book
When it’s time to
photograph a distant
will reach for their tele-photo
have a focal length of
70 mm or greater. But
those lenses aren’t just
for distance — they
can also be used to
compress elements in
the frame. The narrow
angle of view on a tele-photo
lens means that
the relative size and
distance between ob-jects
creating the illusion
that elements might
be closer together than
they really are.
Westward Ho pool, 1970
Doe Mountain Tree, September 2011 CAMERA: NIKON D3S; SHUTTER: 5 sec; APERTURE: F/18; ISO: 100; FOCAL LENGTH: 14 MM
10 march 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 11 T H E J O U R N A L
DAWN KISH (2)
Kris Pothier likes to get dirty. That’s a good thing,
considering what she does. She’s a cellar rat
— that’s wine-speak for a person who literally
cleans up the cold, wet mess of winemaking. “It’s
filthy,” Pothier says. “It’s more wet than filthy.
Sometimes it’s filthy, and sometimes your shoes
are full of wine.” Depending on the time of year,
Pothier will be racking barrels, topping wines
or punching caps (a process through which she
pushes down the skins that have gathered near
the tops of the fermentation bins every eight
hours). “It’s physically strenuous, emotionally
taxing, but it’s really humorous,” she says with
a smile. “Being covered in water and having
just a few hours of sleep makes for leaps of the
imagination.” Despite the backbreaking work,
this is truly a labor of love for Pothier. She, her
winemaker husband, Joe, and their two business
partners recently released a whole-cluster Mer-lot
under their label Chateau Tumbleweed.
— kathy ritchie
Kris Pothier, Cottonwood
For more information about Chateau Tumbleweed, visit
12 march 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 13 T H E J O U R N A L
The monarch butterfly, a.k.a. the “king” of all butterflies, is the only insect to migrate and
escape cold weather, sometimes traveling up to 2,500 miles. The orange insects, which
feature black-and-white markings on their wings, are found throughout Arizona, in fields,
meadows and wherever milkweed is present. Although the butterflies can’t harm hu-mans,
they are poisonous to predators, including frogs and mice. — andrea crandall
BRUCE D. TAUBERT BRUCE D. TAUBERT
Elf owls are aptly named. In fact,
they’re so small, they can fit com-fortably
in an adult human’s hand.
They nest anywhere from 15 to 35
feet aboveground, in saguaros, abandoned
woodpecker holes and natural cavities in
oak and sycamore trees. Known for “silent
flight,” they’re completely quiet when
they approach their prey, which includes
invertebrates such as scorpions, centipedes
and crickets. Elf owls aren’t aggressive,
and when captured, they’ll play dead until
danger passes or their predator loses inter-est.
The world’s smallest owls can be found
in the desert regions of Arizona, as well as
in some of the state’s mountain ranges.
When it gets too cold, they migrate south to
Mexico for the winter.
— andrea crandall
They’re a Hoot
The birds weigh
1 to 1.5 ounces.
Elf owls are
5 inches tall.
Here’s a Little Secret
Tucked into a grove of grapefruit and orange trees along the base of South Mountain,
The House at Secret Garden is one of the best-kept secrets in Phoenix.
The house itself is historic, but the menu is contemporary Italian.
It’s easy to drive past The House at Secret
Garden. Tucked between a shopping
center and a subdivision at the base of
South Mountain in Phoenix,
the restaurant is screened
from the busy road by dense
vegetation. But after a few U-turns, you
figure out where it is.
Moments later, cactus-fig margarita
in hand, munching grilled bread topped
with smoked trout and lulled into
relaxation by the scent of grapefruit
blossoms, you’re likely to wonder, Why
haven’t I been here before?
The restaurant’s hypnotic effect is
thanks in equal parts to the talented
young chef-owner Dustin Christofolo,
the historic house, and the lush 5-acre
grounds that serve as a backdrop.
Christofolo, 31, grew up in the food
business. His Italian grandfather had a
deli and bakery in Tempe, and his mother,
Pat, who co-owns the restaurant with him,
founded Santa Barbara Catering Co.
Secret Garden’s two-story Spanish
Colonial Revival house was built in
1929 for Walter and Blanche Strong. The
Strongs planted 100 surrounding acres
with grapefruit and orange trees, creat-ing
one of the area’s largest orchards.
The Strongs sold the house in 1957, and
it remained a citrus operation until much
of the acreage was subdivided. The prop-erty
later became known as the Baseline
Mansion, and, from 1989 to 1999, residents
hosted Earth Mother Mind Jam, an annual
music festival heavy on drum circles.
In 2003, Dave Mata was driving by
when he saw a small “for sale” sign in
front of the property. Despite the home’s
benign neglect, he and his wife, Nancy,
purchased it, cleaned it up, restored the
house and created an event and wedding
venue with the construction of an adjacent
banquet facility. The house was also listed
on the city of Phoenix historic registry.
At the Matas’ invitation, Christofolo
opened the restaurant in 2010 after
expanding the kitchen and planting
a vegetable garden near a gnarled old
The menu? “It has an Italian backbone,
but it’s progressive and always changing,”
Christofolo says. “I like to see what’s in my
garden or what local farmers have. We’ll
always have favorites like the pork-belly
appetizer, grilled lamb chops, pappardelle
and, for dessert, sweet potato cake.”
If he has time, Christofolo will chat
with you about his food and the home’s
If he’s busy, have another margarita,
order dinner and enjoy the hypnotic,
— Nora Burba Trulsson
The House at Secret Garden is located at 2501 E.
Baseline Road in Phoenix. For more information, call
602-243-8539 or visit www.houseatsecretgarden.com.
14 march 2 0 1 3 T H E J O U R N A L
On June 3, 1914, José María Ronstadt — better known as “Pepe”
— purchased a big blue house at the corner of Tucson’s Sixth
Avenue and University Boulevard. As postmaster of Tucson,
a county supervisor and owner of the Santa Margarita Ranch,
which served as headquarters for the Baboquivari
Livestock Co., Ronstadt was well acquainted with
the well-heeled Tucson lifestyle. And he decorated
his inn accordingly. After Ronstadt died, he left the house to his
wife, Hortense, who remained there until her own passing in
1965. After several additional changes of ownership, the Big Blue
House ultimately landed in the hands of Leona Marie Ramsey in
2005. Under her careful supervision, the house has undergone
several renovations, including the preservation of its door frames
and original woodwork, painting, and the restoration of the porch
railing. Today, the inn features seven rooms, as well as a separate
cottage that’s available for extended stays.
— kelly vaughn kramer
Big Blue House Inn is located at 144 E. University Boulevard in Tucson. For more
information, call 520-891-1827 or visit www.144university.com.
Parada Del Sol
March 1-3, Scottsdale
Celebrate Arizona’s Wild West
heritage and watch as cowboys
and cowgirls from across the
United States participate in
bull-riding and barrel-racing.
Information: 480-990-3179 or
March 1-3, Sedona
Catch several domestic
and foreign films, including
features and shorts, at the 19th
annual Sedona Film Festival.
Filmmakers will be on hand
to introduce their films and
host Q&A sessions. Informa-tion:
928-282-1177 or www.
Alcatraz Comes to Yuma
March 1-31, Yuma
A world-class traveling exhibit
on Alcatraz comes to the Yuma
Quartermaster Depot State
Historic Park. With 3,000
square feet of exhibits, this
educational display is sure to be
a hit with both kids and grown-ups.
March 1-31, Apache Junction
As decreed by the king and
queen of this year’s festival,
celebrate 25 years of medieval
entertainment with a jousting
tournament and 12 stages of
nonstop live entertainment.
Information: 520-463-2600 or
Festival of Books
March 9-10, Tucson
Considered one of the country’s
largest book festivals, the
Tucson Festival of Books
allows bibliophiles to mingle
with hundreds of best-selling
authors. Information: www.
April 26-29, Madera Canyon
Join wildlife photographer
Bruce Taubert as he leads a
photographic study of hum-mingbirds.
This workshop is
timed to take advantage of
several species of humming-birds
that will migrate from
winter habitats to their summer
home in Arizona. Information:
888-790-7042 or www.friends
Big Blue House Inn
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16 MA R C H 2 0 1 3
The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse desert in North America.
The saguaros and ocotillos and chollas make it beautiful all year long, but
this month, it gets even better with the addition of poppies, primrose, larkspurs
and lupines. There’s a lot of color out there, and we’ll tell you where to see it.
By Robert Stieve & Kelly Vaughn Kramer Photographs by George Stocking Wildflowers2013
Verbena and primrose blanket the Gila
River bottom in Central Arizona.
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 17
18 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 19
Editor’s Note: As you gear up to explore some of the areas featured in the next 10
pages, keep in mind that many of them are remote, and trails might be unmarked and hard
to follow. In addition, remember that back-road travel can be hazardous, so be aware of
weather and road conditions, carry plenty of water, and let someone know where you’re
going and when you plan to return. Finally, memorize and adhere to the Leave-No-Trace
principles (see page 54).
Rawhide Wilderness Although it’s not as popular as some of the other wilderness areas in
Arizona, the Rawhide Wilderness southeast of Lake Havasu City is
equally wild, and it’s a great place to see spring wildflowers. The
wilderness, which was designated in 1990 and comprises 38,470
acres, includes portions of two mountain ranges — the Rawhide
Mountains to the north and the Buckskins to the south — separated
by 8 miles of the Bill Williams River. More than 5 miles of
this perennial stream meander through a 600-foot-deep
gorge, and several rocky side canyons with small waterfalls
enter the main canyon within the wilderness. The ripar-ian
environment supports a variety of plants and animals,
including a cottonwood-willow plant community, beavers,
raptors, amphibians, reptiles and, of course, wildflowers.
Directions: From Wenden, drive north for 38 miles on Alamo
Dam Road. The Bill Williams River gorge is located downstream
from Alamo Dam. Parking is available at the dam overlook. It’s
1.5 miles from the overlook to the bottom of the dam where the
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: Bureau of Land Management, Colorado River
District, 928-505-1200 or www.blm.gov/az
State Park Forty miles east of Phoenix, Lost Dutchman
State Park is nestled within the Superstition
Mountains, home, legend says, to Jacob
Waltz’s “lost” gold cache. “The Dutchman,”
as Waltz was known — despite being a
native of Germany — is
said to have revealed the loca-tion
of the treasure before his
death in 1890, but it’s yet to be
discovered. Today, Lost Dutchman
State Park is popular among hik-ers
and equestrians and provides
a gateway into the Superstition
Wilderness, where mule deer,
coyotes, javelinas and jackrabbits
make their homes amid a variety of
Directions: From Phoenix, drive east
on U.S. Route 60 for approximately 25
miles to Idaho Road and turn left. Go
north on Idaho Road for approximately
5 miles, and veer right onto State
Route 88 (the Apache Trail). The park
is located at 6109 N. Apache Trail, in
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: Lost Dutchman State Park, 480-982-4485
Trail: 3 miles one
ala m o dam road,
Lost Dutchman State Park, in the Superstition Mountains, is a hotspot for spring wildflowers like Mexican goldpoppies and lupines.
Purple owl clover and
golden brittlebush ex-plode
on a hillside near
Alamo Lake (left).
20 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 21
Monument The Sonoran Desert is the most
biologically diverse desert
in North America, and the
Sonoran Desert National
Monument protects more
than 487,000 acres of that rare
landscape. The monument contains
three distinct mountain ranges — the
Maricopa, Sand Tank and Table Top
mountains — as well as the Booth and
White hills, all separated by wide val-leys.
The monument is also home to
three congressionally designated wil-derness
areas, many significant archae-ological
and historic sites, and the
remnants of several important historic
trails. What takes center stage in the
spring, however, are the wildflowers.
Enjoy the scenery, but keep in mind,
the desert sun stirs up rattlesnakes and
other reptiles as early as February, and
flash floods, caused by sudden storms,
can be dangerous in washes.
Directions: To reach the Margie's Cove
Trailhead, drive north from Gila Bend on
State Route 85 for approximately 12 miles
to Woods Road near Milepost 134. Turn right
onto Woods Road, cross the cattle guard,
and follow the primitive road to the left
around the corner of the right-of-way fence.
Continue north, adjacent to the right-of-way
fence, for 1 mile, turn right onto the primitive
dirt road (BLM Route 8001), and continue
east to the trailhead.
Vehicle Requirements: A high-clearance
vehicle is required.
Information: Bureau of Land
Management, Lower Sonoran Field Office,
623-580-5500 or www.blm.gov/az
For more wildflower viewing information,
scan this QR code or visit www.arizona
Mar g ie's Cove
Trail: 9 miles one
way (no trail signs are
available along the
Goldfields carpet the
desert floor at Sonoran
Monument, which con-tains
22 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 23
Named for the three stone shafts
that resemble the feathers of an
eagle, the Eagletail Mountains
Wilderness is a magnet for
outdoor enthusiasts, including
rock climbers. At 3,300 feet,
Eagletail Peak is the literal high point of
the wilderness, which comprises 97,880
acres, but there’s much more to explore
in this protected environment 65 miles
west of Phoenix. In addition to wild-flowers,
there’s the usual Sonoran Desert
flora — ocotillos, chollas, creosotes,
ironwoods, saguaros, barrel cactuses
and mesquites — along with mule deer,
desert tortoises, bobcats, mountain lions
and peregrine falcons. There’s rock, too,
including natural arches, high spires,
monoliths and jagged sawtooth ridges.
Courthouse Rock, a huge granite mono-lith
on the northern end of the wilder-ness,
stands more than 1,000 feet above
the desert floor — this is where the
technical rock climbers like to hang out.
Directions: To Courthouse Rock, from
Phoenix, take Interstate 10 west for 63 miles
to Salome Road, turn left at the stop sign and
make an immediate right onto Harquahala
Valley Road. Continue on Harquahala Valley
Road for 5 miles to the intersection of
Centennial Road and Courthouse Road. Turn
right onto Centennial Road and continue west
for 6.5 miles to Pipeline Road (unmarked).
Turn right onto Pipeline Road and continue for
3.8 miles to backcountry route YE013 (near
the wilderness designation sign). Turn left and
park near the information kiosk.
Vehicle Requirements: A high-clearance,
four-wheel-drive vehicle is required.
Information: Bureau of Land Management,
Yuma Field Office, 928-317-3200 or www.blm.
State Park Best known as the
site of the only
Civil War battle in
Peak is also a sig-nificant
landmark — the 1,500-foot
peak was first documented
by the Anza Expedition as
it passed through the area
in the 18th century. Today,
the peak is the centerpiece
of Picacho Peak State Park,
which plays host to a variety
of recreational opportuni-ties,
camping and picnicking.
Come spring, the peak is
often surrounded by a sea
of wildflowers that bloom
amid the park’s countless
saguaros and chollas, and
park rangers lead guided
Directions: Picacho Peak
State Park is located on Picacho
Peak Road, 65 miles southeast
of Phoenix off of Interstate 10.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: Picacho Peak
State Park, 520-466-3183 or
Wildflower Viewing Opportunities:
Hunter Trail: 2 miles one way
Sunset Vista Trail: 3.1 miles one way
Ben Avery Trail:
10.2 miles one way
Owl clover is preva-lent
in the Eagletail
especially after a
rainy winter season.
bloom beneath Picacho
Peak at Picacho Peak
State Park in Southern
24 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 25
brittlebush, chuparosa and lupine bloom high on the mountains sur-rounding
Bartlett Lake during the spring wildflower season
Lake Created by the con-struction
Dam in 1939, the
Reservoir is a favor-ite
boaters and wildflower
enthusiasts. Located just
minutes from Carefree, the
lake, named for government
surveyor Bill Bartlett, is
home to a variety of flora and
fauna. In fact, several state-record
fish have been caught
there, including a 7-pound
smallmouth bass and a
37-pound flathead catfish.
Following a wet winter, the
lake’s 33 miles of shoreline
bloom with desert wildflow-ers,
lupines and scorpion-weed.
Directions: From Carefree,
drive east on Forest Road 24
(Bartlett Dam Road) for 7 miles
to Forest Road 19, turn right, and
continue 14 miles to the reservoir.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: Cave Creek
Ranger District, 480-595-3300
Saddle Mountain Desert bighorn sheep, Gila monsters, kit foxes,
Cooper’s hawks, prairie falcons and golden
eagles are among the 162 wildlife species
that make their home on Saddle Mountain,
50 miles west of downtown Phoenix. The
volcanic mountain rises 3,037 feet above the
Harquahala Plain and features unique archaeological
sites and spectacular cliffs, spires and buttes tinted by
andesite, rhyolite and basalt. And there are wildflow-ers,
too. As a whole, Saddle Mountain offers a rare
opportunity for solitude on the outskirts of the sixth
largest city in America, which is one of the reasons
the Arizona Wilderness Coalition, the Tonopah Area
Coalition and the Friends of Saddle Mountain are
asking the Bureau of Land Management to set aside
Saddle Mountain and its special secluded environ-ment
as a Wilderness Study Area, with the hope that
someday it will be fully protected as designated wil-derness
under the Wilderness Act.
Directions: From Phoenix, drive west on Interstate 10 for
50 miles to Tonopah (Exit 94), turn left onto 411th Avenue and
continue 2 miles to Salome Highway. Turn right onto Salome Highway and
continue 4 miles to the access point (there are no established trailheads).
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: Bureau of Land Management, Lower Sonoran Field Office,
623-580-5500 or www.blm.gov/az
Guided hikes are
the Friends of
lupine bloom on a
owl clover near
west of Phoenix
26 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 27
7 Simple Tips
by George Stocking
Use a diffuser when shooting
close-ups to turn harsh sunlight
into an attractive glow. Place the
diffuser between the sun and your
subject, and control the glow by
varying the distance from the
subject to the diffuser.
Spring wildflowers are dependent on
winter rains. For instance, Mexican
goldpoppies require that the pattern
of rainfall remain consistent. If the
time between strong rainfalls exceeds
two or three weeks, poppies in those
areas will be weak come spring. Watch
rainfall patterns in desired locations
throughout the preceding winter.
Photographers should be aware of
the tendencies and behavior of their
subjects. For instance, it helps to know
that Mexican goldpoppies open only
under direct sunlight and only if the air
temperature remains warm enough.
So, when planning morning or evening
shots, keep in mind that the poppies
will open about 45 minutes after the
sun rises and close 45 minutes before
the sun sets. Primroses bloom at night.
Reservation From Point of Pines to
San Carlos lakes and the
Upper Salt River Canyon,
the San Carlos Apache
Reservation is chock-full
of recreational oppor-tunities.
There, you’ll also find
a variety of wildlife, including
bighorn sheep, elk, antelope and
migratory birds, as well as the
world’s largest deposit of peri-dot,
which local artisans craft
into jewelry and collectibles. San
Carlos is also a great place to see
spring wildflowers, particularly
along U.S. Route 70, which runs
east-west across the reservation.
Permits from the San Carlos
Apache Tribe are required for
recreation and fishing on the
Directions: From Globe, go east
on U.S. Route 70 for 24 miles to
the turnoff for Point of Pines Lake
(Indian Route 8).
Vehicle Requirements: None
Information: San Carlos
Apache Recreation & Wildlife
Department, 928-475-2343 or
Any predator knows better than to
sit and wait for prey to just walk by —
the enterprising predator knows to
go where the game hangs out.
Flower hotspots will remain consis-tent
from year to year due to seed
distribution and a variety of other
factors. Photographers should
make a list of well-known flower loca-tions
and keep a detailed GPS record
of how to return.
Use large apertures to create a
blurry background. Large apertures,
such as f/1.4, f/2.0 and f/2.8, will help
create a painterly blur as you move
your camera closer and closer to your
subject. Use small apertures,
such as f/16 and f/22, to keep
Look for flowers in unique
groupings with dissimilar elements.
What we call “intimate landscapes”
often make better images than shots
of like flowers in groupings of the
same. Possibilities might include
wildflowers intertwined with a prickly
pear cactus or growing between the
ribs of a fallen saguaro.
Try to emphasize color contrast.
For instance, photograph a lone
owl clover (magenta) against a
background of brittlebush flowers
(yellow), or a single lupine (blue/
purple) against a sea of Mexican
U.S. Rout e 70,
Indian Route 8
Apache Trail As it winds through the Tonto National Forest,
the 48-mile-long Apache Trail (State Route 88)
passes a chain of manmade lakes, Canyon,
Apache and Roosevelt. Built to transport sup-plies
through the Superstition Mountains during
the construction of Roosevelt Dam at the turn of
the 20th century, the road features a number of switch-backs,
a few harrowing climbs and descents, and some
pretty impressive views of the surrounding wilderness,
including a proliferation of spring wildflowers. The route
also includes a number of tourist attractions, including Goldfield Ghost
Town and Tortilla Flat.
Directions: From Apache Junction, drive north on the Apache Trail (State Route 88)
for approximately 48 miles to Roosevelt Lake.
Vehicle Requirements: A high-clearance vehicle is recommended.
Information: Mesa Ranger District, 480-610-3300 or www.fs.usda.gov/tonto
The desert of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation bursts with Mexican goldpoppies and lupines.
The Apache Trail runs along hillsides of bluedicks, lupines and brittlebush.
w w w. 28 M A R C H 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
Humpback chubs don’t have a cool name — not like
barracudas or stingrays. And, to be honest, they’re
kind of ugly. They are, however, unique. Found only in
the Colorado River, they’re an endangered species as
old as the Grand Canyon itself. Sadly, at last count,
there were only 10,000 humpbacks left. But, thanks
to a team of scientists who are rooting for their sur-vival,
the prehistoric species just might survive.
By Terry Greene Sterling
Photographs by Tom Bean
Volunteer Ed Janik, fish
biologist Bill Persons
and boatman Peter
Weiss pull a hoop net
from the Colorado River
during a humpback
chub monitoring trip
in the Marble Canyon
area of Grand Canyon
30 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 31
It’s September. Slate-gray monsoon clouds hunch over Northern Arizona’s Vermilion
Cliffs, bruising the red bluffs with their shadows. In the valley below, a strange convoy
roars down a narrow road that blades through sand and rock toward the Colorado River.
The four-vehicle convoy consists of a passenger car, a pickup towing a small Osprey
motorboat, and two large stake-bed hauling trucks. One stake-bed carries a second
Osprey motorboat in a metal cage. Both stake-beds haul long trailers. Latched onto each
trailer is an inflated white-and-black rubber raft measuring more than 30 feet long. Each
raft has a yawning belly lined with metal war-surplus ammo cans, set like crooked teeth.
The vehicles brake to a halt near historic Lees Ferry, where 19th and early 20th century settlers
once ferried across the Colorado River. Clad in sandals and loose-fitting clothing, several men and
women jump out of the convoy and expertly ease the two large rafts into the river. Ten people —
four fisheries biologists, two volunteers and four technically savvy boat pilots — are assigned to
this expedition, which is overseen by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Grand Canyon Moni-toring
and Research Center in Flagstaff and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The expedition is
tasked with documenting the effects of Glen Canyon Dam on the river knifing through the Grand
Canyon by monitoring populations of the humpback chub, an endangered fish species as old as
the Grand Canyon itself.
Humpback chubs are found only in the Colorado River Basin, and mostly in the Grand Canyon.
For four days, photographer Tom Bean and I will join the expedition as it studies this species.
We’ll be dropped off downstream near Phantom Ranch, and hike out via the Bright Angel Trail.
Today, the Colorado River at Lees Ferry is the color of Chinese jade, slightly redolent of algae,
and very cold. When early settlers ferried across here, the river was warmer, more temperamen-tal
and scented by the silt thickening its waters. What changed? The Glen Canyon Dam, about
15 miles upstream, was completed in 1963. The dam plugged the Colorado River, creating Lake
Powell, a reservoir that now provides drinking water to 25 million people and banks water for
droughts in compliance with multistate water pacts. Glen Canyon Dam churns out 5 billion kilo-watt-
hours of hydroelectric power each year as it hurls the Colorado River back into its down-stream
channel. Colder, clearer water released in unnatural sequences from the depths of the
reservoir now feeds the river, altering downriver plant and ani-mal
The science produced by this expedition will help inform the
U.S. Department of the Interior as it comes up with a plan in the
next two years on how best to manage water releases from the
dam over the next two decades.
In deciding how to release water from the dam in the next
20 years, the department must consider how to account for the
needs of dozens of Native American tribes, seven thirsty Col-orado
River Basin states, trout anglers, farmers, river-rafting
companies and hydroelectric power users, as well as honor the
Grand Canyon Protection Act, which protects the Grand Canyon
and the threatened and endangered creatures that live there —
like the humpback chub.
The “Law of the River” dictates that water
will be delivered from the dam. But Congress
requires that the entirety of “resources” in
the Grand Canyon — including the river and
the creatures that rely on it — be protected,
restored and improved by the way in which
the water is released from the dam.
The Grand Canyon Trust, a conservation
group that aims to protect and restore the
Colorado Plateau, recently responded to an
environmental impact statement that will
help guide the department. The flows must
be changed, the Trust writes, because under
current dam releases, “cultural sites have
lost much of their foundations; beaches have
shrunk; many native plants and animals
have been reduced in number; and 10,000
endangered humpback chubs compete for
limited food with over 1 million trout.”
Loss of sediment under “current dam op-erations”
has “resulted in fewer and smaller
beaches.” It has also “eliminated significant
critical habitat for native fish. Sediment depos-its
create complex shorelines and underwa-ter
features that are used by native fish for spawning and rearing.”
The Trust wants the federal government to require two types
of releases from the dam in the future: “regular high flows” to
restore beaches and “seasonally adjusted steady flows” based
on the natural rhythms of the pre-dam river, which would pre-serve
beaches, protect native fish habitat and stabilize centuries-old
Reconfiguring dam flows can be expensive, though, and
hydroelectric power users prefer to keep costs low.
In deciding how to regulate dam flows, the department will
rely on a growing body of science, such as the findings soon to
be produced by this raft expedition at Lees Ferry.
The crew checks on the rafts, now tethered to metal pounded
into the buff-colored sandy beach. The crew lashes a long pon-toon
onto each side of each raft and inflates each pontoon with
air. The two small Osprey motorboats bob in the river, tied to
Carolyn Alvord, a former racehorse jockey from Connecticut
and longtime Colorado River boat pilot, jumps on the kitchen
raft. Short, sturdy and strong-minded, she checks the cargo of
cast-iron pots, portable stoves, grills, soap, condiments, coffee,
Turtles candy, knives, forks, spoons, cups, ice, 14 filled 5-gal-lon
water jugs and enough food to sustain 12 people for nearly
three weeks. Alvord will pilot the kitchen raft and command
Shane Murphy is a 65-year-old mustachioed guidebook writer
and biographer of Grand Canyon pioneer and storyteller John
Hance. Murphy has piloted 128 trips down the river, explaining
its wonders to tourists. After a stint guiding tourists in the Ant-arctic,
he returned to Arizona, and the river. Now he’s in charge
of the large, awkward science raft, which can buck dangerously
in rapids. Among other things, the science raft carries buckets, a
giant winch for boat repairs, dozens of heavy nets (seine, tram-mel
and hoop), notebooks, maps, a large bag of Aqua Mix fish-food
pellets, half-inch-long “pit tags” containing microchips to
be injected into fish for monitoring purposes, scanner wands to
detect and read tags in fish that have already been injected, fish-measuring
boards, a well-equipped first-aid kit, a plastic blad-der
of red wine, bright-yellow waterproof “dry bags,” camping
equipment, folding chairs, a sun-and-rain shelter, extra Honda
boat motors and two guitars.
It’s midmorning, and as we float downstream the sky is so
clear I can see the moon overhead. The green river darkens in
cliff shadows. Two big rafts follow the two noisy Ospreys, mak-ing
good time in a 30-foot-deep river that travels into the Grand
Canyon at about 4 miles per hour. The water is released from the
dam today at about 8,000 cubic feet per second, a relatively slow
flow that makes for a pleasant ride.
On the science raft, Randy Van Haverbeke takes in sights as
familiar to him as breathing: the crimson cliffs; the seep willow,
saltbush and snakeweed clinging to small sandy beaches; the
lone blue heron fishing in shallows; the driftwood on cliffs high
ABOVE: Water jets from
outlets below Glen Canyon
Dam during a controlled
flooding experiment on the
OPPOSITE PAGE: U.S.
Geological Survey fish
biologist Bill Persons
measures a humpback chub
pulled from the Colorado
River in Grand Canyon.
32 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 33
above the river, signaling a raging pre-dam flood.
Van Haverbeke is 58 years old, a man of average height and
build who wears aviator glasses and tucks his wavy gray-blond
ponytail through the back slot of his ever-present baseball cap.
He’s a Copenhagen-dipping jokester who appreciates human
company, but he’s also a loner, and likes to let a big landscape
swallow him. As a teenager, he began exploring the Grand Can-yon,
and he respects its power. As a committed fisheries biolo-gist,
he’s traveled the river or its tributaries more than 150 times,
studying humpback chubs.
Geologists figure the Colorado River began creating the Grand
Canyon between 5 and 6 million years ago. Fossils suggest hump-back
chubs lived in the Colorado River Basin at least 5 million
years ago, according to the 2008 book Late Cenozoic Drainage His-tory
of the Southwestern Great Basin and Lower Colorado River Region: Geo-logic
and Biotic Perspectives.
This species could be as old as the canyon it evolved in.
For millions of years, these silvery minnows, which can live
to be 40 years old and can grow to be more than a foot long, sur-vived
floods and drought that ravaged the Colorado River Basin.
Their namesake hump, which grows as the fish ages, remains a
mystery. It might have evolved to help the fish balance and navi-gate
in the fast water. Or it might have developed to prevent the
fish from being swallowed by other giant minnows that once
populated the Colorado River Basin.
No one knows how many humpback chubs existed in the Col-orado
River Basin prior to the construction of Glen Canyon Dam,
but scientists estimate that the species now occupies about 68
percent of its original habitat. Cold dam water and introduced
predators like trout have decreased their numbers.
catch three adult humpback chubs in the trammel net.
In the darkness, Osprey motors whine as they push through
loud, roiling waters.
In the morning, it’s time to check and collect the hoop nets.
By a warm spring seeping from fragrant, fern-laced umber-hued
limestone, there’s a very small humpback chub spawning area.
This little population seems to be holding on.
After the nets and gear are stowed, we glide downriver, pass-ing
a bank of mauve-tinted limestone. We tie up at a large sand-bar,
about 80 yards long. The tan sand has the consistency of
brown sugar, and a recent nameless visitor scrawled FREEDOM
RUNNERS across a narrow part of the sandbar. Between the
sandbar and the bank of gray boulders interspersed with sandy
expanses of grass, Van Haverbeke and expedition co-leader Bill
Persons, a fisheries biologist for the USGS, drag a seine net to see
if they can find baby humpback chubs in the backwater.
Persons, 61, is a longtime fisheries biologist who has always
loved rivers. He’s a tall, even-tempered scientist with a tidy
beard. On river trips, he wears a wide-brimmed straw hat that
shades his shoulders. He wears it as he wades into the backwater
carrying one end of the net and sinks to just above his shoulders,
struggling for footing in deep muck. Brown silt billows up from
the bottom, staining the green water. Persons balances himself,
then drags the net with Van Haverbeke, who holds the other end
and stands on the sandbar in his canary-yellow life jacket. They
catch about 20 fish, mostly trout. No humpback chubs. They
repeat the sequence, with Van Haverbeke in the muck this time.
Pillow carefully helps pluck fish out of the net.
Still no baby humpback chubs.
The water is too cold.
“It’s cold,” I say when I gently lay my index finger on a hump-back
chub for the first time.
We’re about 2.5 miles upstream from the Little Colorado River
spawning grounds now. In the two days we camp here, at the
confluence of Awatubi Creek and the Colorado River, the crew
nets, measures and documents the presence of more than 100
adult humpback chubs.
The fish I touch is a big silver female, perhaps 25 years old,
with graceful fins and a strong tail. Her small head extends quiz-zically
from beneath her large hump. She has circular eyes that
don’t see very well, but well-developed senses of vibration and
smell help her survive in silty waters. Her well-defined nares,
or nostrils, sit on top of her dome-shaped snout. She has a large
mouth. And no teeth.
She doesn’t resist human handling when her eyes are covered
with a cupped hand (Pillow’s technique) or her belly is gently
stroked (Van Haverbeke’s technique). And when she slides back
into the Colorado River, her silver body disappears in sun-sil-vered
“A really cool fish,” Weiss later says of the entire species.
“They developed in this place, they’re part of it.”
So is Weiss. At 58, he’s spent most of his life as a boatman.
First, he piloted tourist rafts. Now, he mans science-expedition
boats. He’s a quiet man who understands the river, and knows
meal out of baby humpback chubs near a critical spawning area
— the warm Little Colorado River, which spirals into the Colo-rado
River in the Grand Canyon.
This expedition will monitor known populations of hump-back
chubs, which explains why, in the late afternoon, we tie up
at our first campsite — an uncomfortable rocky beach near loud
rapids. Here, small pockets of the river are warmed by springs
with bathtub-temperature water. The warm water attracts
humpback chubs. One tiny population has spawned here.
Thirty hoop nets and eight trammel nets are loaded into the
Ospreys. Hoop nets are meshed collapsible cylinders about the
size of a garbage can. Attached to long cords tied onto boulders
or branches, the submerged hoop nets contain bait that lure fish
into their cavities. Once in, the fish seldom escape. The large
trammel nets are more problematic. They traverse wide stretches
of river and can stress fish trapped in their web. For fish safety,
trammels must be checked three times this evening and removed
at 11 p.m.
Boatmen Peter Weiss and Scott Perry, both technically trained in
data collection, pilot the boats. Van Haverbeke; Robin Osterhoudt,
an Arizona Game and Fish Department Colorado River researcher;
and Mike Pillow, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wild-life
Service, join Anya Fayfer, a Museum of Northern Arizona field
and lab technician who has volunteered her time to the expedition
on the Ospreys. This team will set the trammel nets, and through-out
the night they will check for fish, measuring those caught in
the trammel nets before releasing them into the black water. They
Today, scientists estimate there may be 10,000 to 11,000 adult
humpback chubs in the entire Colorado River Basin. (About 2,000
to 3,000 live in the Upper Colorado Basin, upriver of Glen Can-yon
Dam. Another 7,650 or so live in the Colorado River and
its tributaries downstream from the dam.) The Grand Canyon,
according to USGS supervisory biologist Scott VanderKooi, is a
“stronghold” for the species.
In 1989, scientists estimated that between 11,000 and 12,000
humpback chubs lived in the Grand Canyon; by the year 2000,
their numbers had fallen to 5,000 to 6,000.
Then, in 2009, the Grand Canyon populations made a modest
comeback — up to about 7,650 or so. That’s still lower than the
1989 estimate, but scientists say the species continues to make
modest gains in the Grand Canyon.
Van Haverbeke figures the population uptick was probably
caused by several factors. Humpback chubs need to live in water
of at least 61 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in order to spawn
and grow normally. Dam-released Colorado River water usu-ally
registers 46 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit — too cold for the fish
But in 2000, a low release from the dam warmed the Colorado
to about 56 degrees. In other years, the waters released from a
shallower Lake Powell were warmed even more by drought.
What’s more, the humpback chubs’ predators, like trout,
declined throughout the river for unknown reasons between
2000 and 2007. And for three years, from 2003 to 2006, author-ities
removed close to 80 percent of the trout hoping to make a
Researchers and volunteers gather at Rattlesnake
Camp along the Colorado River during a Grand
Canyon Monitoring and Research Center trip.
Fish biologists Randy Van Haverbeke (left) and Bill Persons use
a seine net to gather humpback chubs at Eminence Backwater,
on the Colorado River.
34 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 35
In the morning, the sky is blue and the Colorado River is the
color of Dutch cocoa. After hours of hoop-net collecting and fish
monitoring, the science expedition drops us off near Phantom
Ranch, then floats downriver.
As I hike out of the Grand Canyon, I take one last look at the
Colorado River. I think back to an earlier conversation with
Dave Uberuaga, the superintendent of Grand Canyon National
Park. He described humpback chubs as part of the Grand Can-yon
But how do you explain the plight of a creature hidden in
waters at the bottom of the Canyon to the millions of people at
the top of the canyon?
A canyon wren sings. I’m standing on a sandy ledge, and the
river is so far below me I can’t hear its roar. Down there, I know,
the scientists are setting their nets, looking for humpback chubs
in the quiet places.
exactly where to find humpback chubs.
“They like quiet places,” he says.
“Maybe we should all like quiet places.”
Thunder tumbles through the Little Colorado River canyon
and into the Grand Canyon. The rain-swollen Little Colorado
races toward the Colorado River, depositing Colorado Plateau
souvenirs — rocks, logs, silt, fragments of petrified wood — on
its banks and in the Colorado River.
From our camp on the Colorado River, Ed Janik and Bill Per-sons
take an Osprey down to the Little Colorado River conflu-ence,
where muddy water stains the mother river a chocolate
brown. An experienced expedition volunteer who lives in Phoe-nix
and works at a high-tech company, Janik helps Persons check
fish-monitoring equipment. The Little Colorado is the richest
known spawning area for humpback chubs, and scientists often
helicopter down here to monitor the fish at one of several Little
Colorado “fish camps.”
In the summer, state and federal scientists net juvenile hump-back
chubs here and gently transport them in barrels via helicop-ter
to the top of the plateau. From there, they’re chauffeured to
a New Mexico fish hatchery, where they’re kept in warm water
and fed for a year. The next summer, the tagged fish are chauf-feured
back to Arizona and released in Shinumo and Havasu
creeks, two warm tributaries of the Colorado River in the Grand
Canyon. Since the program began in 2008, about 1,400 fish have
been “translocated,” with a nearly 100 percent success rate,
thanks to gentle handling, Van Haverbeke says.
Tom Bean, Van Haverbeke, volunteer Anya Fayfer and I hike
up the Little Colorado to take Persons and Janik sandwiches and
cookies. As they eat, the Little Colorado’s banks begin to swell
with silty water. Thunder’s basso profundo warns us of a serious
storm. Avoiding quicksand, we hike past layered sandstone rich
with salt. Downstream on the Colorado River, rain washes over
sacred, centuries-old Native American salt mines.
In the evening, a giant boulder calves off a canyon cliff and
careens into the Colorado River.
A few hours later, boatman Perry navigates the Osprey
through roiling holes in the swelling river. Van Haverbeke checks
the trammel net, and Perry steers the boat back toward camp.
The fog is so thick, Perry’s light is useless, so he navigates the
rapid in the dark. In the blind, fog-thickened night, he avoids the
deadly boulder and returns safely to camp.
The Little Colorado is running at 8,000 cubic feet per second
now, doubling the flow of the big Colorado River and washing
countless young humpback chubs downstream to an uncertain
As the Colorado River swells with muddy water, it threat-ens
to wash away the expedition’s kitchen on the beach. In the
rain, we take the kitchen apart and relay pots, pans, tarps, food,
tables, chairs and dishes to safer, higher ground.
Van Haverbeke and Osterhoudt, a former medical secretary
who changed her life to become a river biologist, dash into Per-ry’s
Osprey and quickly dismantle the trammel net in seething
Seventeen days after it left Lees Ferry, the scientific expedition ended
at Pearce Ferry, near Lake Mead. The crew had captured and monitored
hundreds of humpback chubs, including 42 young fish that had traveled
to and from the New Mexico fish hatchery and were thriving in their new
As I write these words, the scientists have yet to complete the input-ting
and crunching of the data that will reveal insights into the condition
of the Grand Canyon humpback chub populations.
Randy Van Haverbeke offers an educated hunch: The populations, for
now, are stable. The species remains on the endangered list, though, and
its long-term future is uncertain.
◗ Early morning light
reflects in the muddy
Colorado River as it runs
past Rattlesnake Camp.
BELOW: Biologist Randy
Van Haverbeke releases
a humpback chub at
Awatubi Camp along the
For more information about humpback chubs and the scientific studies that
will help inform the U.S. Department of the Interior as it decides on future
water releases from Glen Canyon Dam, visit the websites of the Grand Canyon
Monitoring and Research Center at www.gcmrc.gov and the Glen Canyon Dam
Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan Environmental Impact State-ment
36 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 37
Horseshoe Bend: “Now a favorite photographer’s viewpoint,” Jack Dykinga
says, “Horseshoe Bend offers an intimate insight into the river’s power to
slice rock. Eons of time and countless tons of silt have turned a simple bend
in the river into a steep, rounded work of art.” From Horseshoe Bend, the
Colorado River winds toward Lees Ferry and makes the transition from Glen
Canyon to the Grand Canyon. CAMERA: arca swiss field view; SHUTTER: 1/2
sec; APERTURE: F/32; ISO: 50; FOCAL LENGTH: 80 MM (schneide r super-symmar)
Where Glen Canyon meets the Grand Canyon,
an excerpt from our book
IMAGES: Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon
“All places, big or small, have a beginning, and the
Grand Canyon has its rather humble origin at a small
spot on the map called Lees Ferry. Here, the Colo-rado
River undergoes a quick transition from the
sandstone enclosure that was Glen Canyon (before
the creation of Lake Powell) to a multitude of other
rock formations that will, in short time, compose
the steep walls of the Grand Canyon. The top layer
throughout the Canyon is Kaibab limestone. When
this stratum makes its discreet appearance above the
river at Lees Ferry, the Grand Canyon officially be-gins.
Here, the great gorge can be measured in only a
few feet or even just inches, but because of what the
Canyon will soon become, it’s a wry thought to imag-ine
such beginnings.” — Wayne Ranney
IMAGES: Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon is a portfolio
featuring more than 35 of the most scenic and
remote viewpoints surrounding one of the world’s
seven natural wonders. To order a copy, visit
w w w. 38 M A R C H 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
Spirit Moves Her
Dianna Uqualla wears the traditional clothing of a
medicine woman. She has a gift, likely passed down
from her grandfather, that allows her to see things
others cannot. At first, her ability frightened her,
but now she embraces her gifts and travels the
world to share them through ceremonial blessings,
sweats, prayers and sacred rituals. She goes, she
says, wherever Spirit takes her, but she is happiest
at her home in the village of Supai.
By Kelly Vaughn Kramer Photographs by Dawn Kish
woman Dianna Baby
Sue White Dove Uqualla
stands atop Navajo Falls
in Havasu Canyon.
40 MA R C H 2 0 1 3
When the wind stirs the cotton-woods
in Havasu Canyon, it sounds as
though it’s come off the ocean. Impos-sible,
considering that it’s 543 miles to
the Pacific. The wind pushes the smoke
of burning sage through the air, curling
it up and outward until it disappears
over a sandstone lip, hundreds of feet above.
Dianna Baby Sue White Dove Uqualla keeps her senses
tuned to the singing of that wind. To the secrets of the
birds. To the way light plays through the leaves of the cot-tonwoods.
She pays attention, she says, because that’s how
Spirit speaks to her.
She answers with a warrior’s cry.
It comes at the end of a ceremonial blessing, after the
chanting of songs that reverberate across the canyon like
Uqualla’s conversations with the entity she calls Spirit
began decades ago, after her mother died. Her father,
unsure of how to raise a daughter alone, sent her to a board-ing
school far from the Havasupai Reservation. There, while
her classmates slept, Uqualla was fraught.
She dreamed things that would eventually become real-ity.
Songs raced through her imagination without explana-tion.
The experiences frightened her — until a fortuitous
“One day, I was wandering around on the reserva-tion
near Peach Springs,” says Uqualla, called “Baby Sue”
because of her youthful character. “It was cold, and I saw
smoke coming from a chimney, so I went over and knocked
on the door, and an elder woman opened it.”
The woman invited Uqualla in and asked her what she
was doing in the cold. She unfurled her troubles like a sail.
“I told her that different things were happening to me
— told her about the dreams,” she says. “When I finished
talking, the elder looked at me and said, ‘I am your moth-er’s
best friend.’ ”
The elder went on to tell Uqualla that her grandfather,
her mother’s father, was one of the last Havasupai medi-cine
“She told me that the medicine people went on to become
the chiefs, the chairmen,” Uqualla remembers. “She said, ‘I
think your grandfather is a part of you.’ ”
From that moment, Uqualla embraced what she now
considers to be her gifts and began traveling across Ari-zona
in pursuit of sharing them with others through ceremonial blessings, sweats,
prayers and other sacred rituals. She goes, she says, wherever Spirit takes her, but
she is happiest at home in the village of Supai, where she greets a group of visitors
on a warm November afternoon.
Uqualla wears the traditional clothing of a medicine woman, from the eagle
feather in her hair to the bag of herbs that hangs from her neck. Turquoise rings —
traded with the Hopi — adorn fingers thick and square from working in her garden,
from building the ceremonial space in which she stands. Her dress is kiwi green,
striped with blue and white and topped with a multicolored shawl. It honors, she
says, the changing of the seasons. Red ochre, drawn from the earth and crushed into
fine powder, lines her cheeks, symbolic of the tears of her people.
The thick red line below her bottom lip is a reminder of balance.
When she speaks, it is in the hushed, soft tone of someone at
“We are blessed that you are here,” Uqualla says. “You have
walked where my ancestors walked. You have moved through spir-its
to get here.”
There’s no telling, really, how many people have walked the
8 miles from the Hualapai Hilltop to the village of Supai. Remote
and exposed, the trail begins in a series of switchbacks, descend-ing
more than 1,500 feet in less than a mile. Trains of pack animals,
horses and mules, run roughshod, wrangled by Havasupai vaqueros
— modern-day Gus McCraes in Nike T-shirts.
Sometimes, when the mule trains ride past, the air grows so
thick with dust you can’t see but a few feet in front of you. After it
clears, though, settling on boulders and in crevices that have worn
the grit of passersby for hundreds of years, and after miles of
rock and dirt and only the occasional spot of shade, it’s plain
to see that you’re standing someplace special.
Havasu Creek appears around a bend, though it’s heard
first — the rushing of that impossible ocean, so many miles
away. Lined by cottonwoods and the sandy trail that leads
to the village, the creek is more than just blue-green, as the
Havasupais’ nickname, “People of the Blue-Green Water,”
would have you believe. It’s the mingling of absinthe and
phthalo blue, lime spilled into sky. Clearer than a swimming
pool and cold as Lake Superior in the spring, the creek and
the waterfalls it feeds — Upper Navajo and Lower Navajo,
cut into the earth between the village and the campground,
2 miles downstream; and Mooney, Havasu and Beaver, beyond
the campground — are the lifeblood of the tribe. Tourism is
its primary source of income, even after the 2008 flash flood
that washed away the pools below Mooney Falls and closed
the campground for nearly a year.
For Uqualla, the creek means she’s home.
“Every time I go somewhere, the canyon calls me back,” she
says. “I hear and smell Supai when we get near the creek, and
my heart cries with joy.”
A tributary canyon of the Grand, Havasu is the
518-acre ancestral and modern home of its namesake
people. There, the Havasupai had little interaction
with European or American explorers until the late 1770s,
when Spanish missionary Francisco Garcés
rode in. His journals later revealed Havasupai
outposts as far east as the Moenkopi Wash,
near Tuba City. Indeed, the tribe once ranged
from the Grand Canyon to Bill Williams
Mountain to the Little Colorado River.
When Teddy Roosevelt determined that
the Grand Canyon would become a national
park, he demanded that the Havasupai move
from their traditional spring and summer
home at Indian Garden, where they had har-vested
beans, squash, melon and corn for gen-erations.
By the time Woodrow Wilson signed Senate Bill 390 to
authorize the designation in 1919, many Havasupai had already
ventured out of the Canyon and into surrounding areas. One man,
known by his Anglo name of Billy Burro, refused the president’s
order and remained at Indian Garden with his wife, Tsoojva, until
the National Park Service forced the couple out in 1928. There were
others like Billy and Tsoojva — men like Yavñmi’ Gswedva, who,
instead of moving out of the park, moved into a cave higher up the
Bright Angel Trail.
The Havasupai were relegated to Havasu Canyon until 1975,
when Congress restored an additional 185,000 acres of canyon and
rim territory to the tribe.
“In our canyon home and up on the plateau, there are places
where my ancestors stayed and survived,” Uqualla says. “I go
to these places and I sing to the mother, to the Earth. It is told
through our elders: You sing four songs, you give them to the land.
“At one point in our history, many of the medicine people
were shunned [by the tribe]. ... But the tribe didn’t realize that
those medicine men had fathered children, that the bloodlines
remained. Now, I have to carry on the tradition. It’s not a
position of power. It’s the acknowledgment of how we treat
Mother Earth, how we treat the human people.”
top: Dianna Uqualla descends the Havasupai
Trail, near Navajo Falls, as a group of tourists
begins the 8-mile journey out of the Grand
above: Uqualla chants and drums during a
ceremonial blessing at her home in Supai.
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 41
42 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 43
Everywhere I go, I leave these songs. I say, ‘Yes, I remem-ber
you. I remember the Native people. I am thankful that
you are still here.’ ”
Uqualla travels, on occasion, with the Thirteen Grand-mothers,
women representative of global indigenous tribes —
the Maori, the Cheyenne, the Mazatec among them. Together,
they speak on behalf of not only their people, but also human-kind.
“We have to come together in a peaceful way,” Uqualla
says. “It can be done. We have to slow down and get back
into the balance of the world.”
One such trip took Uqualla to the Middle East. She hadn’t
a plan or a plane ticket, just a calling, she says, from Spirit.
So, she hitchhiked from the Hilltop to Kingman. From there,
she rode a bus to Las Vegas. That’s when she received word
from the organization she traveled with that a plane ticket
was waiting for her. So she flew — for the first time ever —
to Israel. From there, she visited Gaza and Jordan, as well.
“I was honored to be there on behalf of my elders,” Uqualla
remembers. “We went to all of the places in the Bible, and for
me that was significant because even though I practice a tra-ditional
way of life now, I was raised Christian.”
And she wasn’t afraid, not even when escorted by armed
soldiers into Gaza.
“You have to have faith,” she says. “No matter how extreme
a situation is, challenges can become lessons.”
At 53, Uqualla has learned more than a few les-sons
of her own. Though she doesn’t divulge details, she
says that she lived a hard life before she settled in Supai,
before her conversations with Spirit became everyday occur-rences.
She bore a son but didn’t stay attached to his father. As she aged,
her health declined. Once an avid equestrian, she weeps over the
loss of her ability to ride, the result of a recent lupus diagnosis.
Now, instead of journeying into and out of the canyon on horse-back,
she’s forced to ride in one of the helicopters that carry sup-plies
and tourists several times each week. They land adjacent to
her home, kicking up dust and the sweat and stench of grazing
mules with a whirring so loud, the violent grind of it echoes long
after the chopper has moved up and away.
She’s watched the young members of her tribe turn to iPods
and satellite television for entertainment, watched as they shed
their traditional clothes in favor of hoodies, baggy jeans and base-ball
caps. Some of them have given up their native language in favor
of the Anglo slang they learn at boarding school and from movies.
She served as a probation officer; she taught Havasupai youth; and
she slowly gained respect for her spirituality among tribal elders,
If You Go
Directions: The Havasupai Trail is
accessed via the Hualapai Hilltop. From
Historic Route 66 in Peach Springs,
travel north on Indian Route 18, which is
paved, for 65 miles to a public parking
area and the trailhead.
Trail Length: 8 miles to the village
of Supai, plus an additional 2 miles to
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Lodging: Overnight accommodations
are available in the Havasupai lodge,
which is located in the village, or in the
Havasupai campground, 2 miles beyond
the village. Reservations must be made
for either destination.
Fees: There is a $35 fee for entry into
the village, and an additional $22 fee
per person for camping. Lodge rooms
begin at $145 per night. All visitors must
check in at the tribe’s tourism office
upon arrival in the village.
Travel Advisory: The trail is
exposed and rocky, so plan accordingly.
Wear sturdy hiking shoes and pack
more water than you think you’ll need.
Temperatures in the Canyon during the
summer can exceed 100 degrees.
Although Fern Spring, in the camp-ground,
provides fresh water, it’s unwise
to drink from Havasu Creek unless
you’ve boiled the water or run it through
a water filtration system. You must
pack out what you pack in and observe
all tenets of the Leave-No-Trace prin-ciples,
outlined on page 54. Campfires
Information: Havasupai Tribe, 928-
448-2121 or www.havasupaitribe.com
eventually becoming an elder herself.
“At one point in our history, many of the medicine people were
shunned [by the tribe],” Uqualla says. “But the tribe didn’t realize
that those medicine men had fathered children, that the bloodlines
remained. Now, I have to carry on the tradition. It’s not a position
of power. It’s the acknowledgment of how we treat Mother Earth,
how we treat the human people.”
She believes, too, in innate human goodness, in finding peace,
although she knows it doesn’t come easy.
“Spirit is waking up the people,” she says. “It is telling us that
we have to love and help each other. Look at what happened after
Hurricane Sandy. There could have been [more] looting, but peo-ple
helped each other.”
Uqualla is quick to cry. Her eyes well, then close, leaving the
sheen of salt and water in her lashes as a tear runs parallel to the
ochre on her cheek.
“We need that in this world — understanding,” she says. “We
need to understand the value of a touch, a laugh, that it’s OK to cry.”
As her words drift away, a bird calls another across the canyon.
The wind rouses the sage smoke again. And Dianna Baby Sue White
Dove Uqualla smiles.
RIGHT: A raven soars between the sandstone walls of the Grand
Canyon, over the Havasupai Trail.
BELOW: Light filters through the canvas walls of Uqualla’s
ceremonial space as she looks up toward the Canyon’s rim.
w w w. 44 M A R C H 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
From the rock retaining wall on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the intricate
trails in Chiricahua National Monument, it’s easy to see the positive effects of the
Civilian Conservation Corps. But maybe more important was the effect it had on the
thousands of young men who enrolled in the program, including Elson Alvarez and the
other 41,000 enrollees who worked in Arizona. By Kathy Montgomery
lson Alvarez saw electric lights for the first time in
the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was 19.
Now 96, Alvarez looks over the land where his final
camp stood. The site in Flux Canyon is not far from his
home in Nogales.
“See that building over there?” he says. “That used to be
clothes and shoes and all that stuff. It’s still there.”
Not much else is left of the sprawling camp that housed
200 enrollees: a few concrete foundations, a fire pit and a rock-and-
mortar trough built to store coal. If you look closely at the
trough, you can just make out a worn inscription on a stone
plaque with the company and camp number.
Many of the enrollees who served here were farm boys who
hadn’t finished high school. Alvarez had an eighth-grade edu-cation.
His father was growing cotton in Texas when the Great
“We just couldn’t make it,” Alvarez says. “We had frijoles
three times a day for about two weeks one time. So I joined.
April 23, 1936.”
In all, Alvarez spent five and a half years with the CCC
working on a survey crew, first in St. David, then at this camp
near Patagonia. He helped build dams and stock tanks, ran
phone lines and cut roads.
The CCC changed his life. His family back in Texas built a
home with the money he earned. During his time in St. David,
he met a young Easterner named John F. Kennedy, who was
Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees attach wire
to a telephone line in the Grand Canyon in 1935.
Courtesy National Park Service
46 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 47
working on the J-6 Ranch where Alvarez’s crew was surveying. While
living at Flux Canyon, Alvarez met his wife. The CCC gave him an
education and job skills.
“I’d say 100 percent or maybe 98 percent of the CCC boys will
say what I’m saying to you: ‘That’s the best thing that ever hap-pened
to me.’ ”
hen Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1933, the
country was in the grip of the worst economic
depression in the nation’s history. More than
25 percent of adult males were unemployed, 40 percent of the
nation’s mortgages were in default and the entire U.S. financial
system was in disarray. Also, the land had been devastated by the
drought that created the Dust Bowl.
In his first 100 days in office, Roosevelt launched what would
become the Civilian Conservation Corps. Intended to conserve the
country’s natural and human resources, the CCC was open to single
men ages 17 to 28. They were given “three hots and a cot” and paid
$30 a month, $25 of which was sent home to their families. In the
nine and a half years it existed, the “Three C’s” became the largest
peacetime mobilization of young men in U.S. history. And it’s hard
to overstate its impact. Eighty years since its creation in April 1933,
hardly a town exists where the CCC’s projects do not survive.
Enrollees arrived at Arizona’s first two
camps in May 1933: one near Globe, the other
near Safford. In all, Arizona would be home to
50 camps, located in every part of the state.
A rural economy and an abundance of gov-ernment-
administered land made the young
state of Arizona an ideal place for CCC proj-ects.
And unlike many other states, enrollees
in Arizona could work year-round, with many
companies rotating from the desert in the win-ter
to the northern forests in the summer.
The CCC put more than 41,000 Arizona men
to work. Supplemented by men largely from
New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylva-nia,
CCC enrollees in Arizona built more than
5,700 miles of roads, planted more than 7 mil-lion
trees and strung 3,500 miles of phone line,
bringing phone service to rural areas. Their
ment, Saguaro National Park, South Mountain
Park in Phoenix and Hualapai Mountain Park
near Kingman, among others. Enrollees from
the Mt. Elden camp worked on Wupatki and
Walnut Canyon national monuments.
Four CCC companies completed as many as
250 projects at Grand Canyon National Park.
CCC enrollees built the rock retaining wall
that runs from Verkamp’s Visitor Center to
Lookout Studio, rerouted and widened the
Bright Angel Trail, and built rest houses. They
cleared Bright Angel Campground (the former
CCC camp) and planted the cottonwoods that
give the area much of its character.
The CCC’s most impressive achievements
at the Canyon include the construction of the
Colorado River Trail and the trans-canyon
phone line, which replaced the old tree-to-allotments
sent more than $3.5 million home
to their families, and the purchase of food and
other supplies pumped nearly $59 million into
the state’s economy.
Eighteen of the camps in Arizona were
U.S. Forest Service camps that built fire
towers, roads, trails, ranger stations and
campgrounds. They opened up the White
Mountains to tourism and helped develop
Flagstaff’s Snowbowl ski resort.
Next were the 15 Soil Conservation camps,
like the one near Patagonia, which worked to
conserve water and soil and improve range-lands.
A handful of camps operated in parks and
monuments. CCC companies developed Colos-sal
Cave Mountain Park and made significant
contributions to Chiricahua National Monu-
ABOVE: In Sedona and Oak
Creek Canyon, the CCC
built trails, campgrounds and
fences, and worked to control
erosion. Years after the camp
featured in this photograph
was abandoned, it was used as
a set for Hollywood films.
northern arizona university,
opposite page: The
Colossal Cave camp featured
four barracks, including this
one, which housed 50 men.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
CCC enrollees in Arizona built more than 5,700 miles of roads,
planted more than 7 million trees and strung 3,500 miles
of phone line, bringing phone service to rural areas.
48 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 49
tree system with permanent metal poles. The
25-mile-long phone line used 592 poles, whose
installation required men to dangle from 300-
foot ledges in places. It became the first phone
line to receive a National Register of Historic
Construction of the 2-mile-long Colorado
River Trail, which connects the Bright Angel
and South Kaibab trails, was a hazardous
undertaking that required 40,000 pounds of
blasting powder to carve the trail from solid
Living and working in “the hole,” as enroll-ees
at the bottom of the Grand Canyon called
it, was no easy task. They crossed the Colo-rado
River on a tram that stopped 75 feet above
the ground. From there they had to scramble
to the ground on a ladder.
Supplies had to be carried or packed in by
mules — an estimated 30,000 pounds each
week. Medical evacuations took place by
“ambulance mule,” a four-hour ordeal that
some compared to driving fast on flat tires.
Even recreation required work. To get a pool
table, 25 men dismantled a table at the rim
and carried it down in pieces, including three
150-pound sections of slate. And one enrollee
claimed it was part of his job to buy liquor for
the officers, a task that required him to hike
out the South Kaibab Trail, hitchhike to the
village for 12 pints of Old Corky, and return to
camp by 4 p.m.
separate branch of the CCC oper-ated
on Arizona’s Indian reserva-tions,
where conditions had
become severe. By 1933, per capita income
among Indians in the Southwest had
dropped to $81 per year, leaving many on the
brink of starvation. Conditions on Indian
lands became more difficult as tribal mem-bers
living off the reservation returned when
they couldn’t find work. Meanwhile, the
landscape suffered from overgrazing by
expanding herds of sheep, goats and horses.
Roosevelt approved the CCC-Indian Divi-sion
in April 1933, with 43 camps planned
for Arizona and New Mexico. The CCC-ID
performed much of the same work as the rest
of the CCC, but operated under the Bureau of
Indian Affairs with very different rules. While
most CCC enrollees signed on for six-month
commitments, Indian workers had no con-members
helped excavate and restore Kin-ishba
Ruins and built a small museum and
Like the rest of the CCC, the CCC-ID shifted
its focus to national defense in later years,
with enrollees studying trades such as radio
operations and sheet-metal work. By the end
of 1942, of 11,000 Indians in the armed forces,
6,400 were former CCC-ID enrollees. Another
8,000 took jobs related to war production.
ducation became an important com-ponent
of the CCC. Few enrollees had
completed high school, and as many
as 2.5 million were illiterate. Eventually,
every camp received an educational advisor,
often an unemployed teacher or professor.
It was his job to set up classes based on
the needs and desires of the men in his camp.
Enrollees could take academic classes, as well
as a variety of vocational courses intended to
help them find work as civilians. At Walnut
Canyon, enrollees could take courses in car-pentry
and bricklaying. At the Grand Canyon,
they studied the Canyon’s biology and geology,
in addition to trades like auto mechanics.
It was the educational opportunities that
kept Elson Alvarez in the program.
Dinner was served at 5 p.m. From 6 p.m. to
9 p.m., he attended classes.
“Whatever we wanted to take,” he recalls.
“I wanted to learn more surveying, you know?
So I became an assistant leader. I just kept
studying and I became a leader — the survey
With each promotion, he earned more
money. He took photography classes and
opened a camp photography concession, which
gave him income on the side.
As the CCC was winding down during the
buildup to World War II, it was a letter of
recommendation signed by the camp engineer
and project superintendent that got him a
job with Citizens Utilities Co. in Nogales. He
worked there for 40 years, retiring as power
Like many of his fellows, Alvarez also went
on to serve in World War II. His first drill
instructor was a CCC alumnus, actor Robert
“He was showing us how to fix up beds,”
Alvarez says. “So when he saw me fixing up
the bed, [he asked], are you an ex-soldier or a
Triple-C boy? I told him, and then he shook my
hand and we sat together and talked for about
an hour and a half.”
Alvarez used the photography skills he
learned in the CCC in the Army Air Corps,
serving in Panama as a press photographer. He
believes the war would have lasted longer had it
not been for all the CCC enrollees who served.
“We were very famous during the Great
Depression,” he says. “Then World War II
broke out and we became obscure. But now
it seems people are moving to tell what hap-pened
and why. Who was responsible and why
the Great Depression was over.”
For more about Elson Alvarez and to view a video of his CCC
experience, visit www.arizonahighways.com/extras.asp.
of the CCC
To hear presentations
by CCC historians
and see photos,
artifacts and camp
plans to attend the
Day: Honoring the
Work of the CCC
in Arizona. The
event takes place
on Saturday, April 6,
from 3 to 6 p.m., at
the Coconino County
Public Library, 300
W. Aspen Avenue, in
Flagstaff. For more
information, call 928-
tracts. Camps were smaller than the typical
200-man camps. Some were family camps, and
many tribal members lived at home and com-muted
to work. Also, while enrollees had to
be free of communicable diseases, age and dis-ability
did not automatically disqualify them.
Participation was particularly high among
Navajos, who filled their quotas, while many
other tribes failed to fill half of their positions.
Much of the work on reservations involved soil
and water conservation. But CCC-ID workers
also built roads and trails at Canyon de Chelly
National Monument, constructed a home for
the first permanent ranger at Navajo National
Monument and built the Navajo Nation Council
Chamber, using a design based on the hogan.
On the Fort Apache Reservation, tribal
ABOVE: CCC enrollees
construct a trail to the
Colorado River within the
Grand Canyon in 1934.
Courtesy National Park Service
opposite page: CCC
blacksmith John Pritchett
(left) in his shop at Colossal
Cave with an unidentified
fellow enrollee. Colossal Cave
50 MA R C H 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 51
Africanized honeybees are the gangsters of the bee
world. They’re nasty, but Reed Booth isn’t intimidated.
Known as the “Killer Bee Guy,” Booth has been
removing hives for more than 20 years, and in that
time, he’s become the local expert on Africanized
bees. He’s also stockpiled a lot of honey.
By Roger Naylor Photograph by John Wagner
They’re the gangsters of the bee world, more easily provoked and
quick to swarm. They attack in greater numbers and pursue their
victims for greater distances.
“Each hive has guard bees,” Booth says. “Their only job is to
protect the hive. Once they decide you’re a threat, they’ll sting
you, then pheromones kick in and they all want to sting you, so
they come pouring out. It feels like hail when a swarm is bounc-ing
off my bee suit, and I can smell the venom in the air.”
Over the years, Booth has gained a reputation for the careful
removal of the hives, relocating them to a safe environment when-ever
possible. Pretty soon, Booth was collecting so much honey
that he began bottling and selling his own brands. Killer Bee
Honey, a high-desert wildflower blend, was the first and remains
the most popular. Then, he began producing honey butters and
honey-based mustards, both whole seed and smooth. They’re all-natural
and the flavors range from roasted garlic to chipotle to
Radical Raspberry, perfect for grilling or marinades.
In 1997, Booth opened the Killer Bee Guy Store. The sliver of a
building, a mere 175 square feet in size, is tucked between galler-ies
in downtown Bisbee. The store always has an array of free sam-ples,
with pretzels on hand for dipping. As a chef, Booth takes great
pride in the vibrant flavors of all his products.
Besides its taste, honey is one of nature’s superfoods, with a
long list of health benefits. Honey offers antiseptic, antioxidant
and cleansing properties for our bodies, and many people believe
that eating local honey relieves allergies by working much the
same as allergy shots. Also, honey aids in digestion, provides
an immediate energy boost and is used to treat everything from
minor burns to sore throats to arthritis.
“It’s something everyone should try,” Booth says. “It’s good
for your stinger.”
Booth gained a measure of notoriety in 1998, after one of
the worst recorded stinging incidents. On that particular day,
someone decided to spray a can of Raid on a beehive that had
been around as long as anyone could remember in the Brewery
Gulch neighborhood of Bisbee.
Within seconds, bees boiled over from the hive and assailed
everyone in the vicinity. People ran through town covered in bees;
cars jumped onto sidewalks.
“When I got there it looked like a war zone,” Booth says. “Cars
were parked every which way in the middle of the street, doors
open. There was clothing scattered all over the place, blouses, shirts
and shoes. And it was eerily silent.”
All told, 17 people were stung that day, and eight were hospi-talized.
Booth sealed off the hive and waged a long battle with the
remaining bees. The incident attracted national attention, which
ultimately led to the Killer Bee Guy being featured on the History
Channel, Discovery Channel and the Food Network.
So, what to do if you’re attacked by Africanized bees?
“Cover your head and head for cover,” Booth says. “They like
to sting the neck and head, so try to protect yourself. The main
thing is get out of there fast. And no zigzagging around — run in
a straight line. If you do get stung, don’t pinch the stinger to pull
it out. That will inject more venom. Scrape it off.”
The Killer Bee Guy Store is located at 20 Main Street in Bisbee. For more informa-tion,
call 877-227-9338 or visit www.killerbeeguy.com.
f you’re ever in Southern Arizona and see something strange — perhaps a rid-ing
lawn mower that’s going around in circles with no one aboard — you can expect to
see Reed Booth at any moment.
Better known as the “Killer Bee Guy,” Booth has been removing hives of Africanized
bees for more than 20 years, and in that time, he’s received all sorts of frantic phone calls.
“A man’s out mowing and gets into a hive,” says Booth, who’s seen his share of “ghost”
mowers. “He leaps off the mower and runs for the house. Or someone’s operating a back-hoe
or a weedwacker, or they’re just out walking. It doesn’t always take a lot to set the
bees off. They’re agitated by noise, vibration and smell. They hate cologne. Old Spice, in
particular, it seems like.”
Booth inadvertently stumbled into this curious career. He was a home brewer who made
mead, or honey wine. A friend gave him a gunnysack of bees, and he began a self-educa-tion
process. Pretty soon, he was removing killer bee hives for neighbors in his hometown
of Bisbee. Word spread. Today, he does most of the killer bee removal for Cochise County
and much of Southern Arizona.
“All wild honeybees in Arizona are now Afri-canized,”
Booth says. “It’s a done deal. And with
the average hive containing 40,000 to 60,000 bees,
they’re not something to mess with. When I show
up, I let everybody know I plan to make this as unin-teresting
as possible. It doesn’t always work out that
way, but that’s the goal.”
“Killer bees” is the headline-grabbing nickname
for a human-designed species of honeybee. In 1956,
large and more aggressive African bees were taken
to Brazil so that scientists there could breed them
with European honeybees to create a bee better
adapted to tropical climes. Anyone who’s ever seen
a science-fiction movie can probably guess what
happened next: In 1957, some of the African bees
escaped and began breeding with the locals. Hybrid
Africanized honeybees have been making their way
north ever since, arriving in Arizona in 1993.
The sting of the Africanized bee is no more potent
than your garden-variety honeybee, but their tough-guy
attitude makes them more dangerous.
52 JA NUA RY 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 53
ment. Inside, you’ll find
and a map for a walk-ing
tour where you can
see the cemetery and
remnants of the school-house
and hospital. The
Bono Store and Saloon
also still stands. Peek
inside to see a mural
painted in 1982 that
depicts the townsfolk.
A mile past Gleeson,
turn left onto Ghost
Town Trail Road and
continue to Courtland,
a fleeting boomtown.
Starting in the early 1900s, big com-panies
sank shaft after shaft at a fever
pitch, encouraged by high-grade copper
findings. The population swelled to
2,000, and the town boasted a newspa-per,
movie theater, ice-cream parlor and
auto dealership, among its many busi-nesses.
Then the ore pinched out and the
mines closed around 1920. During the
ensuing decades, the desert reclaimed
the town, leaving only scattered founda-tions
and crumbling ruins, including the
unrestored twin of the Gleeson jail.
Nearby Pearce replaced Tombstone as
the local Wild West town. When gold
was discovered in 1896, many families
and businesses relocated from Tomb-stone,
where the mines had flooded.
The Alvord-Stiles Gang, responsible for
numerous robberies and shootings, oper-ated
out of Pearce. The town prospered
into the 1930s before emptying. Yet sitting
on U.S. Route 191, Pearce survives. Several
historic buildings are intact, and a couple
of shops are open for business.
History can be fickle. Long after
the last gunfighter was planted
on Boot Hill, Tombstone survived
to grow into an international tourist
attraction. Yet neighboring towns with
pasts nearly as colorful have faded into
oblivion, leaving behind faint scars on
Just outside Tombstone, a lonely
dirt road weaves through desert scrub,
in the shadow of the rugged Dragoon
Mountains, and links three former min-ing
communities. Gleeson, Courtland
and Pearce are strung along the length
of the aptly named Ghost Town Trail, a
drive blending scenery and history in
Follow the signs to Gleeson from
Tombstone and you soon exchange
boardwalk streets for a sprawling sky
and cloud shadows wafting across roll-ing
hills. Just before reaching Gleeson,
take a quick detour to the most unusual
gift boutique in Arizona. Makeshift
signs for Rattlesnake Crafts lead down a
side road to where an old trailer is sur-rounded
by an astounding collection.
Antiques, artifacts, rusted tools, old
guns, bottles and minerals are displayed
in open-air “rooms,” piled atop weath-ered
shelves or mounted on fences. The
trailer is packed with handcrafted items
like wallets, belts, knife sheaths and
cell-phone cases made from rattlesnake
leather. If you want to make a purchase
and no one is around, drop the cash in
the wooden mailbox.
Next stop is Gleeson, once home to
the Chiricahua Apache tribe that mined
turquoise for jewelry and trade. After
the tribe’s members were either killed
off or relocated, prospectors continued
mining turquoise, but when a man
named John Gleeson discovered a large
copper deposit, the town boomed.
During its heyday, Gleeson reached
a population of more than 1,000. Today,
about five people live in or near the
town limits. Although few, they’re an
energetic bunch. A couple of residents
have purchased and completed restora-tion
of the 1910 Gleeson Jail. It’s now
open the first and fourth Saturdays of
each month, and other times by appoint-below:
Last light paints the Dragoon Mountains
as seen from Gleeson Road, part of the Ghost Town
OPPOSI TE PAGE: Gleeson’s historic jail was built in
1910. Now restored, it’s open to the public on the first
and fourth Saturdays of each month.
Just outside Tombstone, in the shadow of the rugged Dragoon
Mountains, this scenic dirt road weaves through desert scrub and
links the old mining towns of Gleeson, Courtland and Pearce.
by Roger Naylor photographs by randy prentice
a dditiona l reading:
For more scenic drives, pick up a
copy of our book The Back Roads.
Now in its fifth edition, the book
features 40 of the state’s most
scenic drives. To order a copy,
Note: Mileages are approximate.
Lengt h : 34 miles one way
Directions: From Tombstone, drive east on State
Route 80 to Camino San Rafael. Turn left onto Camino
San Rafael, drive 1 mile, and turn right onto Gleeson
Road. Continue for about 14 miles. Turn left at Ghost
Town Trail/Gleeson-Pearce Road.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Warning: Back-road travel can be hazardous, so be
aware of weather and road conditions. Carry plenty of
water. Don’t travel alone, and let someone know where
you are going and when you plan to return.
Information: Rattlesnake Crafts & Rocks, 520-642-
9407 or www.rattlesnakecrafts.com; Gleeson Jail, 520-
508-1802 or www.gleesonarizona.com
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov or dial
511 to get information
on road closures, construction,
delays, weather and more.
54 march 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 55
Lengt h : 7.8 miles round-trip
Elevation: 2,915 to 4,687 feet
Trailhead GPS: N 32˚14.833’, W 111˚10.032’
Directions: From Interstate 10 in Tucson, go west on
Speedway Boulevard for 12 miles to Kinney Road. Turn
right onto Kinney Road and continue for 2.5 miles to the
trailhead, which is located on the right-hand side of the
road, just beyond the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Dogs Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
USGS Map: Avra, Brown Mountain
Information: Saguaro National Park, 520-733-5158 or
• Plan ahead and be
• Travel and camp on
• Dispose of waste
properly and pack
out all of your trash.
• Leave what you find.
• Respect wildlife and
• Be considerate of
For more hikes, pick up a copy of
Arizona Highways Hiking Guide,
which features 52 of the state’s
best trails — one for each week-end
of the year, sorted by seasons.
To order a copy, visit www.
arizonahighways.com/books. Kevin kibsey
hike of the month
There are a lot of great hikes in and around Tucson. This
scenic loop in Saguaro National Park is on that impressive list.
by ROBERT STIEVE photographs by randy prentice
King Canyon Trail
James Taylor has a brother. Actually,
he has two. And a sister. They’ve all
been in the music business, on and
off, and his brother, Livingston, is still
performing. He’s a wonderful singer, but
he’s overshadowed by his older brother.
The King Canyon Trail on the out-skirts
of Tucson suffers a similar fate: It’s
an excellent hike, but it has a hard time
measuring up to the more alluring trails
in nearby Sabino Canyon. Nevertheless,
it offers the same Sonoran Desert flora
and fauna, an equal opportunity to see
owl clover and Mexican goldpoppies,
and spectacular 360-degree views from
the summit of Wasson Peak. It also
offers a chance for a little solitude —
something the rock-star trails of Sabino
The 7.8-mile loop, also known as the
Wasson Peak Trail, is a series of con-necting
trails and adjacent jurisdictions
that begins in King Canyon, about 100
yards from the Arizona-Sonora Desert
Museum. The first stretch heads up a
rocky hillside for about 20 minutes and
then winds slightly downhill toward
the Mam-A-Gah picnic area, which
stands out on the left. About five min-utes
later, the route crosses from Tucson
Mountain Park into Saguaro National
Park. Although you might see horses up
to this point, they’re not allowed in the
national park. Ditto for dogs.
A few minutes beyond the boundary,
the trail drops into a wash and splits.
Go right and follow the manmade steps
that lead out of the wash. What you’ll
see when you top out is classic Sonoran
Desert, dominated by the saguaros for
which the park is named. One of the
most impressive, which is loaded with
arms pointing downward, shows up
about 45 minutes into the hike. From
there, the trail makes a gradual climb
that passes through a small section of
State Trust land and arrives at an inter-section
with the Sweetwater Trail. It’s
usually windy at this juncture, but you’ll
want to stop long enough to enjoy the
views of Tucson to the east and the Red
Hills to the west. It’s also a good place
to catch your breath before beginning
the 1.2-mile ascent up Sweetwater to
This is the most strenuous segment
of the loop, but it’s only moderately dif-ficult
— the switchbacks on Sweetwater
are nothing like those on the Old Baldy
Trail to the southeast. After a half-hour
of climbing, you’ll come to an intersec-tion
with the Hugh Norris Trail. Wasson
Peak, the highest point in the Tucson
Mountains, is a short detour (0.3 miles)
to the right. Make the trek, bag the
peak, and then retrace your steps to the
Sweetwater-Hugh Norris intersection.
It’s all downhill from there.
Almost immediately, a team of 15 to 20
switchbacks, some short, some long, will
lead you down the mountain to a place
where things level off a little. Along the
way, the saguaros, which disappeared as
the trail gained altitude, reappear and
dominate the landscape. You’ll see a lot
of saguaros on this hike. You’ll also see
several abandoned mine shafts. They’re
cordoned off, but be careful nonethe-less.
Not far from the final mine, around
the two-and-half-hour mark of the hike,
you’ll come to yet another intersection.
This time it’s with the Sendero Trail.
Turn left, hike about a mile to the Gould
Mine Trail, turn right, and complete the
loop back to the trailhead.
As you make your way to the end and
start looking back — both figuratively
and literally — you’ll be glad you tried
something other than Sabino Canyon.
It’s so impressive, you might even be
inspired to download a song or two by
ABOVE: An abandoned stone structure lies
within the Mam-A-Gah picnic area, along the King
OPPOSI TE PAGE: Saguaros blanket the desert
beneath Wasson Peak.
56 march 2 0 1 3
where is this?
In the Shadow
The bell tolls on the hour, every hour, at this place of worship, where, for centuries, the locals
have watched the sun cast shadows across its west wall. Today, the Spanish Colonial land-mark
is open for tours. CAMERA: canon 5D mark ii; SHUTTER: 1/90 sec; APERTURE: F/22; ISO: 100; FOCAL LENGTH: 105 MM
— Kelly vaughn kramer
Win a collection of
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books! To enter,
correctly identify the
location pictured at
left and email your
answer to editor@
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Is This?” in the sub-ject
line. Entries can
also be sent to 2039
W. Lewis Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(write “Where Is
This?” on the enve-lope).
your name, address
and phone number.
One winner will be
chosen in a random
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entries. Entries must
be postmarked by
March 15, 2013. Only
the winner will be
notified. The cor-rect
answer will be
posted in our May
issue and online at
Answer & Winner
Gila River bridge.
our winner, Theresa
Morris of Scottsdale,
morey k. milbradt
Mind If We Tag Along?
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