“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” — L.M. Montgomery
escape • e xplore • Experience
PLUS: THE MYSTERY OF THE SOUTH RIM SWIMMING POOL • GRANT HILL LOOP
BISBEE • PATAGONIA • COTTONWOODS • CHINLE • THE VELVET ELVIS • J.P.S. BROWN
Havasu Creek, Grand Canyon
[and make great photographs]
where to see fall leaves
& Why It’s
Than It Is
2 JA NUA RY 2 0 1 3 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 Prescott’s
resident ghost and her ghost-cat companion; Fremont cottonwoods;
and Patagonia, our hometown of the month.
16 AUTUMN IN ARIZONA
There are many stereotypes about our state, including the one about
the seasons — or the lack thereof. The truth is, Arizona does have
winter, spring, summer and fall, and the latter might be the most spec-tacular
in America. Not because our leaves are more colorful than they
are in Vermont, but because the season here is so much longer.
a portfolio edited by jeff kida
30 DUNE AND GLOOM
The wind blows hard on the Navajo Nation, and sometimes it blows so
hard that it moves sand dunes across the landscape. Those dunes, the
result of drought, increasing temperatures, invasive tumbleweeds and
human impact, are wreaking havoc on the Navajo people, swallowing
their homes and threatening their way of life.
By Kathy Ritchie
Photographs by John Burcham
36 WHAT HAPPENS IN BISBEE
We’ve done many stories on Bisbee, and most of them have been
focused on the history of the copper mine. It’s an interesting subject,
but there’s a lot more going on down there. Cafés, art galleries, small-town
quirkiness, larger-than-life characters ... To capture
a snapshot of what’s happening on a typical weekend, we sent
one of our favorite new photographers on the road.
A portfolio by Jill Richards
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 > 3 Contributors > 4 Letters to the Editor > 56 where is this?
42 ONE GILLETTE
Joe Brown became a cowboy when he was 8. He was young,
and it showed. His first day on the job, he worked barefoot
and bareheaded, with just a can of tomatoes and six sal-tines
in his belly. He learned a lot of lessons on that initial
ride, including one about razor blades.
An Essay by J.P.S. Brown
Illustrations by Chris Gall
46 IS THAT A SWIMMING POOL
ON THE SOUTH RIM?
Almost no one remembers it, but, for a few
decades in the middle of the last century,
Grand Canyon Inn welcomed visitors with “a
patio overlooking the Canyon, a swimming
pool, fine foods and cocktails.” There was a
curio shop, too, which sold everything from
Indian art to uranium samples.
By Kathy Montgomery
◗ Evening light and shadows add a new dimension to Agathla
Peak, near Kayenta in Northeastern Arizona. | LEROY DEJOLIE
CAMERA: deardorff 8x10 with 4x5 step-down back;
SHUTTER: 1/60 sec; APERTURE: F/16; ISO: 50; FOCAL LENGTH: 210 MM
FRONT COVER Yellow leaves dominate an autumn view
of a small waterfall on Havasu Creek near the bottom of
the Grand Canyon. | Derek von Briesen
CAMERA: canon eos 5D Mark ii; SHUTTER: 1/6 sec;
APERTURE: F/22; ISO: 100; FOCAL LENGTH: 27 MM
BACK COVER Maple leaves turn from green to red in the Galiuro
Mountains of Southeastern Arizona. | tom brownold
CAMERA: canon eos 5d mark ii; SHUTTER: 1/60 sec;
APERTURE: F/2.8; ISO: 800; FOCAL LENGTH: 200 MM
• Points of interest in this issue
Visit our website for details on weekend getaways,
hiking, lodging, dining, photography workshops,
slideshows and more.
Check out our blog for regular posts on just
about anything having to do with travel in
Arizona, including Q&A’s with writers and pho-tographers,
special events, bonus photos, sneak
peeks at upcoming issues and more.
Join our Facebook community to share your
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photos from around the state.
Join our creative community on Pinterest to share
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Get More Online
50 A CALMING INFLUENCE
Nikki Cooley is quiet. But don’t confuse that with being
introverted. She isn’t. In addition to being one of the first
female Navajo river guides, she helped establish the Native
American River Guide Training Program, which encourages
Native and indigenous people to follow in her footsteps.
By Kelly vaughn kramer
Photograph by John Burcham
52 scenic drive
Chinle to Cove: Like many of Arizona’s scenic
wonders, the route from Chinle to Cove isn’t just
around the corner. Nevertheless, the red-rock
panoramas you’ll see when you get there make
the drive time worthwhile.
54 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Grant Hill Loop: Evergreens and aspens are
everywhere along this trail in the Pinaleño
Mountains, but it’s the golden aspens that
stand out most this time of year.
w w w. 2 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
Jill Richards’ assignment
for What Happens in
Bisbee (see page 36) was
to photograph whatever
she wanted in the small
Southern Arizona town.
Having that freedom was
both exciting and terrify-ing.
“A photographer can
lose herself in a place like
Bisbee,” she says, adding
that the town’s history
and its collection of artists
and “creative individual-ists”
make it one of the
most inspiring places she’s
ever visited. “The people
of Bisbee have a lot of
small-town pride, and
they’re not afraid of show-ing
it.” Richards’ work has
also appeared in National
Chris Gall is a lifelong Arizonan, so when he was
offered a chance to illustrate J.P.S. Brown’s story
about growing up as a cowboy on the Arizona-Mexico
border, he jumped at the chance. “I’m fascinated with
the state — especially the deserts,” Gall says. “One
Gillette (see page 42) is set so long ago that there is no
way to rely on any pictorial reference for my art. I have
only my imagination. This is actually quite liberating,
and it’s what I enjoyed most about the assignment.”
Gall’s illustrations have also been published in Time
and Newsweek, and he has written and illustrated
eight books for children.
The realities of spring in Northern Arizona gave John
Burcham a challenge when he photographed Dune
and Gloom (see page 30). “The wind can be brutal
that time of year,” he says, “and I spent a lot of time
trying to keep sand out of my camera.” Part of Bur-cham’s
assignment was to shoot a large sand dune
that was threatening a house on the Navajo Nation.
In that respect, he says, “the wind gusts actually
seemed to work in my favor. It was as if the house
and everything around it were being absorbed
into the dune.” Burcham’s photographs have also
appeared in National Geographic and The New York
Times. — noah austin
Sometimes a story falls right into
your lap. That’s what happened a
few months ago when I was reading
a stack of letters to the editor. I’d just got-ten
back from the Grand Canyon, where,
instead of hopping in a raft to run the
Colorado, I ended up in the North Coun-try
Healthcare clinic with what felt like
dengue fever. (I don’t really know what
that feels like, but it sounds awful.) The
unexpected turn was a drag for obvious
reasons, but it was compounded by the
fact that my river trip was supposed to be
made into a feature story for this issue.
Although it’s not unusual for a story to
fall apart, finding a surrogate isn’t always
easy. Unless it falls into your lap, like the
story about the Grand Canyon Inn.
Before opening Bill West’s letter, I’d
never heard of the Grand Canyon Inn —
nobody in the office had. Turns out, none
of my colleagues at the Canyon had ever
heard of it, either. And that’s why Bill
sent the letter. “My wife and I celebrated
our honeymoon there in August 1962,” he
wrote. “It has long since been removed
from the lodges on the South Rim. I never
found out why. I’m sure those of us who
enjoyed the hospitality there would be
thrilled to read its history, and those who
never knew it existed would be surprised
to learn it had.”
I agreed with what he was saying.
Plus, we needed a story, which we
assigned to Kathy Montgomery. In Is
That a Swimming Pool on the South Rim?, she
recounts the history of the inn, a place
that was “shaped by colorful characters,
a world war, a celebrity’s son, the arms
race and an act of Congress.” And then
there was the swimming pool, one of the
most unlikely things imaginable, espe-cially
when you’re standing on the South
Rim today. As obtrusive as it must have
been, it’s easy to see why it would have
been alluring to visitors. Nevertheless,
the Grand Canyon is best experienced
in its natural state. And the best place to
do that, in autumn in particular, is the
North Rim. Gary Ladd agrees.
Gary is one of the photographers we
recruited to help prove
our theory that autumn
in Arizona is better
than it is in Vermont.
It’s not more colorful
here, but our season
lasts a lot longer. I did
the math: Their peak
season runs for about
three weeks; ours lasts
for more than three
months, beginning on
the North Rim in mid-
September and ending
at Lake Powell in mid-
December. You’ll see
some of that range in this month’s cover
story, which illustrates our state’s most
unique season. In addition to the dazzling
photos of oaks, aspens and maples, we’ve
included some insight from the photogra-phers,
and tips on how and when to shoot
the various locations.
Colleen Miniuk-Sperry says the best
time of year to photograph Canyon de
Chelly is late October. “In the fall,” she
says, “Mother Nature adorns this won-derland
with ribbons of yellow as the
Fremont cottonwoods along Chinle Wash
burst into rich autumnal colors.” “Won-derland”
is a great word to describe the
canyon. Unfortunately, you’ll need one
of its antonyms to describe the sand
dunes down the road.
Those dunes, the result of drought,
increasing temperatures, invasive
tumbleweeds and human impact, are
wreaking havoc on the Navajo people
and swallowing their homes. Liter-ally.
That might sound like the story
line for a bad sci-fi movie, but it’s a real
problem. As Kathy Ritchie writes in
Dune and Gloom: “In and around Navajo
communities such as Tuba City, Leupp,
Chinle, Kayenta, Tolani Lake and Teesto,
dune fields shift in the wind and can
literally move across the landscape ...
approximately 115 feet per year. However,
in a turbulent windstorm, they can move
as much as 3 feet in a day.”
For Lester Williams — a.k.a. “Chee
Willie” — and the
many other Navajos
whose homes are being
threatened, that kind
of movement can be
devastating. In Chee
Willie’s case, the same
dune that swallowed
his four previous
homes now looms over
his fifth. Kathy saw
it firsthand and says
it’s about 20 feet high.
The sand is one of the
many things she saw
in the 10 months she
researched this powerful story, which
wouldn’t have been possible without the
help of Leanna Begay, a wildlife techni-cian
for the Navajo Nation Department of
Fish and Wildlife. Thank you, Leanna.
Fortunately, her home isn’t being
threatened by the sand, but her grandfa-ther’s
is. The danger isn’t imminent, but
if something doesn’t change, his home
could eventually go the way of the Grand
Canyon Inn. Let’s hope not. Although the
world can live without a swimming pool
on the South Rim, Leanna’s grandfather
needs a roof over his head. And so does
COMING IN november ...
Saguaros, poetry, peregrine falcons
and a historic look at Grand Canyon
That Inn Was Far Out
robert stieve, editor
Follow me on Twitter: @azhighways
grand canyon national park
oc t o b er 2 0 1 3 V O L . 8 9, N O . 1 0
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Publisher Win Holden
Editor Robert Stieve
Managing Editor Kelly Vaughn Kramer
senior associate Editor Kathy Ritchie
associate Editor Noah Austin
Editorial Administrator Nikki Kimbel
Photography Editor Jeff Kida
Creative Director Barbara Glynn Denney
ART Director Keith Whitney
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2039 W. Lewis Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85009
Governor Janice K. Brewer
Director , Department
of Transportation John S. Halikowski
Board Chairman Victor M. Flores
Vice Chairman Stephen W. Christy
Membe r s Kelly O. Anderson
Joseph E. La Rue
GRANT SE R GOT
CHRIS TATU M
w w w. 4 o c t o b e r 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 5
MY DEAR WATSON
As I looked through my August 2013 issue
this afternoon, I was delighted to read
Lonna Tucker’s review on Watson Lake
[Excellence Marks the Spots]. Twenty-two
years ago, I saw a photograph of Granite
Dells, at Watson Lake, in a magazine
while on a plane. I had no idea where
this beautiful place was located, but the
image remained with me (in my mind).
When I moved to Tucson from Virginia
in 2010, I found a brochure on Prescott
with a similar picture. My husband and I
drove to Watson Lake on our honeymoon
two months later. The rocks and scenery
were as gorgeous as I’d remembered in
the photo so many years ago.
Marie Cannon, Tucson
letters to the editor
contact us If you have thoughts or com-ments
about anything in Arizona Highways, we’d
love to hear from you. We can be reached at editor@
arizonahighways.com, or by mail at 2039 W. Lewis
Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009. For more information,
As a recent subscriber, I was delighted to
receive my first issue and read the article
He Still Calls Them ‘Anasazi’ by David Roberts
[August 2013]. I traveled to Three Turkey
Ruin in 2010, and it was a reminder
to me of how “hooked” I’d become to
learn more about these people of the
Southwest. Having lived in Arizona for
five years, I, too, began a quest to seek out
the many ruins of Mesa Verde, Canyon de
Chelly, Tonto National Monument and El
Morro Valley in New Mexico. Although
I live in Boston now, I do miss exploring
the mystery of the Southwest and the cul-ture
of these ancient peoples. Thank you
for bringing this alive again through the
pages of Arizona Highways and into my liv-ing
room here in Boston.
Brenda Haas, Boston, Massachusetts
As a native Arizonan, I am often sad-dened
by how Arizona Highways shows
it succumbs to political correctness. So
I was encouraged to see the article by
David Roberts [He Still Calls Them ‘Anasazi’,
August 2013]. And since I, too, visited
many ruins in my younger days, his story
brought back some wonderful memories.
Jim Verner, Visalia, California
I fell in love with the picture of Jane
McGeary [The All-American Cowgirl, August
2013]. You can just tell from her picture
that she’s a real horsewoman and she
knows her way around the arena and the
Prescott rodeo crowd. I’ll bet she can do
anything any cowboy can do, only bet-ter.
It’s a shame, because she should have
been in a Steve McQueen or Tom Selleck
movie with her horse sense and good
looks. Her picture is definitely worth
framing for any bunkhouse. The Flying E
Ranch in Wickenburg better appreciate
and pay her what she’s worth, or they
just might lose her to Hollywood.
Gary Ward, Duluth, Minnesota
I found it very interesting that the article
The All-American Cowgirl, in the August 2013
issue, was sprinkled with references to
Jane McGeary’s good looks. Because she
is female, her appearance is presented as
somehow being interesting or relevant to
her job as a ranch hand. I often see pho-tos
of ruggedly attractive men in Arizona
Highways, but only with a woman are
looks pointed out to the reader as being
Sydney Axt, Flagstaff, Arizona
I was catching up on reading and picked
up the April 2013 issue of Arizona Highways,
which I had in the car. I started in the
back to read Where is This?, then flipped
to the next page. The Hike of the Month
was the Granite Mountain Trail, which
was ravaged by the Doce Fire, and you
mentioned the old alligator junipers that
the Granite Mountain Hotshots man-aged
to save in that fire ... before tragi-cally
losing their lives a short time later
in the Yarnell Hill Fire. Maybe some of
the families have this issue, but I was
wondering whether a copy could be sent
to the families and surviving firefighter
Brendan McDonough to be saved for their
children or future generations.
Freda J. Jeffries, Prescott Valley, Arizona
For a Christmas present, our daughter
gave me a subscription to Arizona Highways.
Each stunning issue is a delight. Thank
you for bringing alive pleasant memories
from a childhood of living in Tucson,
back when the university was “at the
edge of town.” We lived close to campus,
and my brother and I could play in the
desert “across the street” from our house.
Thank you for concentrating on and cap-turing
so many images of your wonderful
state. An additional thank you for mailing
each issue with a protective “cover” so
the beautiful front and back covers aren’t
marred with address information.
Phyllis Bailey Chisholm, Tijeras, New Mexico
THE JOURNAL 10.13
hometowns > local favorites > history > photography > odd jobs
dining > nature > lodging > things to do
Against a Wall
A boater examines a sandstone cliff on
Lake Powell. The lake’s geologic forma-tions,
collectively known as the Glen
Canyon Group, date from the Late Triassic
and Early Jurassic periods. Information:
928-608-6200 or www.nps.gov/glca
CAMERA: canon eos 5d; SHUTTER: 1/320 SEC;
APErTURE: F/8; ISO: 100; FOCAL LENGTH: 29 MM
6 oc t o b e r 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
Located in a valley between the
Santa Rita and Patagonia mountains,
Patagonia — along with the neighboring
communities of Sonoita and Elgin — is
part of what’s known as “The Mountain
Empire.” The area was originally settled by
Indians who found the verdant confluence
of Sonoita and Harshaw creeks ideal for
farming, and by the late 19th century, the
town of Patagonia had become a supply
center for mines and ranches in nearby
towns. Today, it’s a mecca for artists,
naturalists, birders and writers (even the
great Jim Harrison), many of whom flock
to the Wagon Wheel, a local watering
hole, or out into the surrounding grass-lands
for a bit of inspiration.
— Kelly Vaughn Kramer
Velvet Elvis Pizza is located at 292 Naugle Avenue
in Patagonia. For more information, call 520-394-
2102 or visit www.velvetelvispizza.com.
If you find yourself complaining that nothing
healthy ever tastes good, you haven’t been
to Velvet Elvis Pizza. Owner and executive
chef Cecilia San Miguel says her patrons
enjoy her handmade pizzas, organic salads
and made-to-order juices so much that they
often “ignore their inherent health benefits.”
All of the carefully prepared meals, which
cater to everyone from vegans to meat
lovers, are inspired by worldwide cuisine.
Other than its name, why is Velvet
Elvis so unique?
The Velvet Elvis is a concept created not
for financial benefit, but as a philosophy
of life, which is expressed and experienced
through culinary creativity and responsibil-ity
to those we serve.
What makes the food so tasty?
We take the time to prepare everything
from scratch, whether it’s roasting red pep-pers
by hand or preparing our own pestos
and signature dressings for our salads.
Do you cater only to vegetarians and
We serve the spectrum of clientele in Pat-agonia
— population 900 — ranging from
strict vegan to those who may order triple
sausage. And beyond our town limits, we
serve visitors from all around the world.
What would Elvis Presley treasure
most about Velvet Elvis?
It’s the experience of home away from
home — the way grandma cooked.
— kayla frost
Velvet Elvis Pizza
1.3 square miles
E l e vat ion
8 oc t o b e r 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.
Q This month we feature
the work of photog-rapher
Bryan David Griffith
(see pages 28 and 29, as well
as the photo above). What
impresses you most about
A It’s philosophical. There’s
quietness and a Zen-like
quality to his work. And it’s
old-school. Everything is on
film, and most of it is large-format.
Griffith is very patient.
He’ll take his camera and
scout locations, and many
times he won’t even shoot.
As passionate as he is about
photography, he doesn’t feel
like he needs to come back
with something every time. If
he learns something about a
location, he feels he’s been
successful. And that patience
shows in his work.
Q What are some of the
elements in this photo
that make it successful?
A This felt very Eastern —
almost like I was looking
at a piece of Japanese art. He
paired the leaf pattern of the
tree with the lichen on the rock,
and I love the juxtaposition.
The ledge at the top of the
frame adds dimension to the
image. To make images like
this, you have to slow down
and take things in. He does
that, and it gives him the abil-ity
to pull the reader into his
Bryan David Griffith
A Q&A With Photo Editor Jeff Kida
BRyAN david GRIFFITH
The historic Hotel Vendome has been through a lot, including near-bankruptcy and
life as a flophouse. Today, however, the property is one of Prescott’s points of pride,
despite its resident ghost and her ghost-cat companion.
In 1917, J.B. Jones, a cowboy-turned-rancher,
bought a plot of land in the
heart of Prescott and built a two-story,
red-brick hotel. He named it Hotel Ven-dome.
Business came easy in those days
— people were flocking to Prescott for the
mining opportunities and the advertised
health benefits of the city’s fresh air. Hotel
Vendome has since been through a dozen
different owners, including a baker, a car-penter
and an FBI agent.
Some of those owners upheld Jones’ vision
of running “the classiest place in town,” but
others fell short. For a while, Hotel Vendome
was even considered a flophouse — cheap
and rundown. It was the type of place that
people usually crossed the street to avoid.
Then, in 1983,
investors decided to restore the hotel
to its former glory, but the project col-lapsed
to the brink of bankruptcy. As
a result, the Resolution Trust Corp.
took over the renovation, both pre-serving
and modernizing the build-ing.
Now, Hotel Vendome, which
is listed on the National Register of
Historic Places, is a point of pride in
Like many historic buildings, Hotel
Vendome is haunted by ghost stories.
The most common is about Abby Byr
and her cat, Noble. According to the legend, Byr stayed at the
hotel in the early 1920s while suffering from severe tuberculosis.
One day, her husband left to get her medical attention and never
returned. Heartbroken, Abby refused to eat or drink. Eventu-ally,
she died with Noble in room 16. But did they ever leave?
Hotel guests and employees say the benevolent spirit occa-sionally
rearranges objects and messes with lights, fans and
faucets. And some people claim they’ve heard a cat — Noble,
perhaps — purring, scratching and meowing in the closet.
— kayla frost
Hotel Vendome is located at 230 S. Cortez Street in Prescott.
For more information, call 928-776-0900 or visit www.vendomehotel.com.
Look for our book
Red osier dogwood in the Coconino National Forest
CAMERA: arca-swiss f-line 4x5; film: fuji velvia; SHUTTER: 1/2 sec; APERTURE: F/32; ISO: 100; FOCAL LENGTH: 210 MM
1963 issue of
featured a story
by Bill Ratcliffe
about animals in
and kit foxes.
■ The Arizona Consti-tutional
begins October 10, 1910.
■ The London Bridge
is rededicated in Lake
Havasu City on Octo-ber
10, 1971. The bridge
was disassembled in
to Arizona and recon-structed.
■ The U.S. Navy
commissions the USS
Arizona on October 17,
1916. The ship would
ultimately be sunk
during the Japanese
attack on Pearl
Harbor on Decem-ber
■ One of the coun-try’s
first wave pools
is designed and con-structed
at Big Surf
water park in Tempe.
It opens on October
■ The infamous
“Gunfight at the
O.K. Corral” occurs
October 26, 1881. It
takes place between
the Earp brothers
and Doc Holliday on
one side, and the
the Clanton brothers
and Billy Claiborne on
Although there are
that affect how
quickly a digital
camera can make
and record images,
the size of the cam-era’s
buffer is one
Often, when taking
multiple pictures in
a burst mode, the
camera may stop
shooting while it
pauses to write
more images onto
the memory card.
The buffer is the
portion of inter-nal
the images waiting
to be recorded, and
its size will affect
how many images
you can continually
shoot before the
camera must stop
sharlot hall museum
Prescott’s Hotel Vendome as it looked in the 1920s
50 Years Ago
The woman purported
to be Abby Byr
10 oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 T H E J O U R N A L w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 11
DAWN KISH (2)
The biggest problem with hang-gliding isn’t
that it’s dangerous (it can be); it’s that it doesn’t
pay very well. At least according to Dustin
Martin, a 33-year-old hang glider from Phoenix.
Hang-gliding is something Martin has always
wanted to do, and when he was 16, he got his
chance. “As soon as I started, I never really
stopped,” he says. Last year, Martin and several
friends traveled to Texas, where Martin set a
hang-gliding record (he tried at least four or five
times before), flying for 11 hours straight. Pretty
impressive. But, for Martin, taking flight is just
like getting in a car and driving. “It seems pretty
regular to me, but when I take people up, they
sure seem to freak out, so it must be thrilling the
first time you do it,” he says. “I think it’s really
peaceful and relaxing.” These days, Martin earns
a living constructing parts for hang gliders, and
although he earns some money from sponsors,
it’s usually not enough to pay the bills, let alone
the costs associated with gliding. Still, he has
no plans to quit. “It’s certainly better than the
alternative,” he says. The alternative being a
9-to-5 office job. — kathy ritchie
Dustin Martin, Phoenix
For more information about hang-gliding,
12 oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 T H E J O U R N A L
This Pie Takes the Cake
Not every chef puts cashews and Thai curry sauce on his or her pizzas,
but Renee Kreager isn’t like every other chef. That’s why her delicious pizzas,
which are made from scratch using local, organic ingredients, are so special.
Before “going green” was en vogue,
organic was everywhere and buying local
was de rigeur, there was
Renee’s Organic Oven in
Tucson. Owner and operator
Renee Kreager has been serving up her
all-natural fare since 2005 — a move that,
at the time, verged on risky, rather than
“When we first opened, we actually
quit saying we were using ‘organic’
ingredients, because people didn’t know
what that meant,” Kreager says. “It’s been
an uphill battle — until now.”
Today, Kreager’s vegetarian, vegan and
gluten-free dishes are a hit, even with
patrons who might be inclined to raise
their eyebrows at the word “vegan.” (Fear
not, carnivores: Kreager offers grass-fed
beef and free-range chicken, as well.)
It’s a hot Saturday afternoon when we
pull into the parking lot of a strip mall
just off Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. I’m
famished and desperate for an escape
from the sun. Inside, Renee’s is blissfully
dark and cozy, with terra-cotta-colored
walls and dark-wood tables and chairs.
On the wall, facing the front door, the
phrase “Eat Well Feel Good” — a perfect
summation of Kreager’s food philosophy
— is painted in black. After ordering two
sparkling waters, I decide to keep it sim-ple
by ordering a small Greek salad and
the Old Town pizza, Kreager’s version of
a margherita. The 8-inch pizza is delight-ful
— light, clean and with enough garlic
on top to give it a nice kick. My friend
orders the Everything, which comes with
pepperoni, ham, sausage, mushrooms,
olives, green peppers and onions. It’s fla-vorful
Kreager’s place is blissfully relaxing,
and she wants you to feel at home.
“The vibe here is one where, when you
come in, you can find a piece of yourself,
where you can be comfortable and enjoy
the company you’re with,” she says.
Although there are plenty of non-pizza
items on the menu, including pastas, cal-zones
and salads, start with the pizza on
your first trip to Renee’s. With several
options, from the most basic pie (the Old
Town) to the delightfully exotic (Vegan
Cashew Thai Curry), consider this an
opportunity to experiment. Kreager rec-ommends
the Thai Curry pizza (a varia-tion
of the Vegan Cashew pie). With its
red-curry sauce and spicy chicken, it’s
certainly not for everyone, but according
to Kreager, it’s delicious.
“It has this nice richness, she says. “I
think it offers a good bridge between
some of the traditional things people love
on pizza and things you might not other-wise
Over the years, Kreager has partnered
with other local outposts around Tucson
and beyond to create her unique offerings.
Among others, she’s worked with Walk-ing
J Farm (for the beef), Arbuckle Coffee
Roasters (for the coffee), Sweetie Pies (for
those gluten-free and vegan desserts) and
Isabella’s Ice Cream (for the all-natural ice
“I find it really meaningful to be a part
of this community,” she says. “I feel very
successful and very blessed that I’ve cre-ated
a space that’s appreciated and
— kathy ritchie
Renee’s Organic Oven is located at 7065 E. Tanque Verde
Road in Tucson. For more information, call 520-886-
0484 or visit www.reneesorganicoven.com.
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 13
leaves turn gold
The bark of cotton-woods
deeply fissured as
the trees age.
F remont cottonwoods grow
tall and wide in riparian
areas throughout Arizona.
They look majestic in photo-graphs,
but they also play an impor-tant
role in their fragile ecosystem,
in which they provide food, water
and shelter. The food and shelter
contributions are obvious, but the
trees also provide water. Indirectly.
Because of the shade they supply,
evaporation is greatly decreased,
which is good for everything that
lives in a riparian area.
The big trees, which are named
for explorer John C. Fremont, have
rough, whitish bark and bright-green
leaves that turn yellow in the
fall. Their branches are thick and
grow close to the ground, and their
crowns can be as wide as the trees
are high. On average, they measure
approximately 70 feet in height,
but they get even bigger.
Until recently, the largest
Fremont cottonwood was growing
in Patagonia, about 75 yards south
of Sonoita Creek. With a trunk
circumference of 42 feet, the tree
grew for more than 150 years at
the Circle Z Ranch. At various times
since 1970, it ranked as the largest
cottonwood in the United States.
Unfortunately, it split and toppled
late last fall. But another Arizona
tree has taken its place as the
top cottonwood on the national
big-tree registry. It’s located in Skull
Valley, 20 miles south of Prescott.
— Rachel Stieve
Arizona isn’t typically associated with mushrooms, which
generally grow in wetter climates, but several species of edible
mushrooms — among them oyster, hedgehog and fly agaric
(pictured) — are found at the state’s higher elevations. If you’re
going mushroom-hunting, make sure you take along a com-prehensive
field guide to help distinguish an edible mushroom
from its poisonous look-alikes. — Noah Austin
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
14 oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 THE J O U RNAL
If someone tells you they enjoy “sleeping around” at Prescott Pines Inn, don’t misun-derstand
their meaning. The rooms of this bed and breakfast are each decorated differently — from
contemporary to country, and everything in between — and Dana McCready, the inn’s general manager,
says returning guests often try different rooms, or “sleep around,” to see which they like
best. The inn’s main house was originally a farmstead for the Haymore Dairy. Arthur
and Abby Haymore raised 14 children in it before it became a motel in 1952, then a bed
and breakfast in 1987. Dawn Delaney and Lisa Carlson, the current owners, bought and restored the
property in 2011. The inn, the largest bed and breakfast in Prescott, features 11 rooms in the three build-ings
surrounding the main house, plus a separate lodge for larger groups. All rooms feature DVD players
and free wireless Internet access, and a stay includes a full breakfast in the dining room of the main
house. “Sleeping around” is optional, but recommended. — Noah Austin
Prescott Pines Inn is located at 901 White Spar Road in Prescott.
For more information, call 928-445-7270 or visit www.prescottpinesinn.com.
Folk Music Festival
October 5-6, Prescott
Now in its 35th year, this annu-al
celebration of folk music is
Arizona’s oldest folk gathering.
See performances and attend
workshops and jam sessions
at Sharlot Hall Museum. Infor-mation:
928-445-3122 or www.
October 18-20, Tombstone
Tombstone’s oldest festival,
which began in 1929 as a
celebration of the town’s 50th
anniversary, features street
entertainment, a beard con-test,
live music and a Sunday
parade. Information: 520-
457-3451 or www.tombstone
Rio de Cerveza Brew Fest
October 19, Yuma
Sample craft beers from
around Arizona and the U.S.,
and enjoy live entertainment
and local food vendors at this
event at Desert Sun Stadium.
Information: 928-376-0100 or
October 25, Tucson
Taste world-class margari-tas
and tequilas, sample
foods of the Southwest
and more at this spirited
competition at the Tucson
Museum of Art. Informa-tion:
November 4-8, Lake Powell
Photographer Richard Maack
teaches participants how
to use light and shadows to
create dramatic images of the
serpentine slot canyons and
other photographic destina-tions
near Lake Powell. Infor-mation:
888-790-7042 or www.
Prescott Pines Inn
to do in
16 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3
There are many stereotypes about our state, including the one about the seasons —
or the lack thereof. The truth is, Arizona does have winter, spring, summer and
fall, and the latter might be the most spectacular in America. Not because our
leaves are more colorful than they are in Vermont, but because the season here
is so much longer. From the red maples on the Kaibab in early September to the
golden cottonwoods along Havasu Creek in early December, autumn in Arizona
goes on for months. A Portfolio Edited by Jeff K ida
AUTUMN IN ARIZONA
18 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 19
“The West Fork Trail,
along Oak Creek, is
one of the Sedona
area’s most popular
for hikers and
In fall, the beautiful
red rocks and clear
blue skies serve as the
perfect backdrop for
vibrant fall foliage.
When you shoot here,
get low to the ground.
You will start to see
reflections that you
couldn’t see at eye
level.” — Suzanne Mathia
Peak Color: Mid- to late
Directions: From Sedona, go
north on State Route 89A, which
passes through the canyon.
National Forest, Red Rock Ranger
District, 928-282-4119 or www.
Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds
Mark III; Shutter: 1/50 sec;
Aperture: f/8; iso: 200;
Focal Length: 78 mm
by GARY LADD
“The North Rim is always great,
but autumn is a surefire time
to visit for photography. The
8,000-foot elevation means
there may be photogenic
frost and fog in the meadows
at sunrise, especially by
mid-October. And the low
temperatures are a delight after
the baking temperatures of
summer.” — Gary Ladd
Peak Color: Late September
Directions: From Jacob Lake, go south on State
Route 67, also known as the North Rim Parkway,
for 43 miles to the entrance of Grand Canyon
Information: Grand Canyon National Park,
Backcountry Information Center, 928-638-7875 or
Camera: Tachihara 4x5; FILM: Fuji Velvia 100;
Shutter: 1/15 sec; Aperture: f/25;
iso: 64; Focal Length: 300 mm
Q: WHY IS AUTUMN IN ARIZONA BETTER THAN IT IS IN VERMONT?
PREcedin g panel:
CANYON DE CHELLY
BY COLLEEN MINIUK-SPERRY
“In all seasons, the sheer Navajo sandstone cliffs of Canyon de Chelly
National Monument whisper remarkable stories of the past. In the fall,
Mother Nature adorns this wonderland with ribbons of yellow as the
Fremont cottonwoods along Chinle Wash burst into rich autumnal colors,
yielding a breathtaking event that invites photographers to record a fleeting
story of transformation.” — Colleen Miniuk-Sperry
Peak Color: Late October to early November
Directions: From Flagstaff, go east on Interstate
40 for 134 miles to U.S. Route 191. Turn left onto U.S. 191
and continue for 68 miles to Indian Route 7 in Chinle.
Turn right onto IR 7 and continue for 3 miles to the
Information: Canyon de Chelly National
Monument, 928-674-5500 or www.nps.gov/cach
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II;
Shutter: 1/25 sec; Aperture: f/11;
iso: 100; Focal Length: 47 mm
A: SIMPLE MATH. THEIR PEAK SEASON LASTS ABOUT Three weeks;
OURS LASTS MORE THAN three MONTHS. OH, AND WE HAVE SOME
PRETTY IMPRESSIVE CANYONS TO GO WITH OUR LEAVES, TOO.
ICS-please flop, it is wrong reading
20 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 21
by GARY LADD
“Fall colors, combined
with the slick-rock
labyrinths, make for
if you’re willing to
hike up Lake Powell’s
side canyons. Explorer
Canyon offers this
dripping with spring
water and supporting a
tangle of vegetation at
its foot. This picture
was taken the second
week of December.”
— Gary Ladd
Peak Color: Early November to
Directions: From Flagstaff, go
north on U.S. Route 89 for 62 miles
to U.S. Route 160. Turn right (east)
onto U.S. 160 and continue 50
miles to State Route 98. Turn left
onto SR 98 and continue 64 miles
to Page, which is on the southern
bank of Lake Powell.
Information: Glen Canyon
National Recreation Area, 928-
608-6200 or www.nps.gov/glca
Camera: Tachihara 4x5;
FILM: Ektachrome 64;
Shutter: 1/8 sec;
Aperture: f/16; iso: 100;
Focal Length: 210 mm
BY JACK DYKINGA
“Cave Creek Canyon, in the Chiricahua Mountains, is
one of the best places to find a profusion of bigtooth
maples exploding with autumn color. Using a very wide-angle
lens helps emphasize the detail of veins of color in
each foreground leaf.” — Jack Dykinga
Peak Color: Early to mid-November
Directions: The Chiricahua Wilder-ness
is located about 100 miles east of
Tucson, and other nearby towns include
Douglas and Willcox. State Route 80,
which begins near Benson and ends at
Interstate 10 in New Mexico (as New
Mexico Route 80), intersects with several
forest roads that lead to wilderness
hiking trails. No motorized vehicles are
permitted in the wilderness.
Information: Coronado National
Forest, Douglas Ranger District, 520-
364-3468 or www.fs.usda.gov/coronado
Camera: Wista DX 4x5;
FILM: Fujichrome; Shutter: 6 sec;
Aperture: f/45; iso: 50;
FocAL Length: 75 mm
22 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 23
in the Huachuca
Mountains can be
especially red. Their
contrast to streamside
yuccas is the sort of
drawn to. It could be
just another scene
from Vermont, but
native desert plants,
such as yuccas, define
— Jack Dykinga
Peak Color: Early to mid-
Directions: Carr Canyon Road
runs through several scenic areas
in the Huachuca Mountains. From
Tucson, go east on Interstate 10
for 37 miles to State Route 90.
Turn right (south) onto SR 90
and continue for 27 miles to Carr
Canyon Road. Turn right onto Carr
Canyon Road. A high-clearance
vehicle is recommended, and the
narrow dirt road is not suitable
National Forest, Sierra Vista
Ranger District, 520-378-0311 or
Camera: Arca-Swiss F-Line 4x5;
FILM: Fuji Velvia; Shutter: 12 sec;
Aperture: f/45; iso: 50;
Focal Length: 180 mm
24 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 25
HART PRAIRIE BY KIM HOSHAL
“Hart Prairie, just outside Flagstaff, is one of the jewels of Northern
Arizona. It’s an uncommon place, full of colors and textures at the peak
of fall. The rust and gold of prairie grasses give way to shimmering
aspens, ponderosas and Bebb willows as the San Francisco Peaks rise
more than 12,000 feet in the background. There, a light dusting of early
snow occasionally greets a fortunate few.” — Kim Hoshal
WORKMAN CREEK BY CLAIRE CURRAN
“Golden reflections grace these cascades for only a few minutes
each day. The cascades are surrounded by maple trees, which
drop their yellow leaves to create one of the best photo scenes
on Workman Creek.” — Claire Curran
Peak Color: Early October
Directions: From Flagstaff, go west on U.S. Route
180 for 10 miles to Forest Road 151 (Hart Prairie Road).
Turn right onto FR 151 and continue for 3.6 miles to Hart
Information: Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff
Ranger District, 928-526-0866 or www.fs.usda.gov/
Camera: Nikon D3X; Shutter: 1/25 sec;
Aperture: f/11; iso: 100; Focal Length: 70 mm
Peak Color: Early November
Directions: Workman Creek crosses State
Route 288, which runs from State Route 260
east of Payson to State Route 188 near Globe.
From Globe, go north on SR 188 for 15 miles to
SR 288. Turn right onto SR 288 and follow this
winding, partially paved road for 27 miles to
Information: Tonto National Forest,
Pleasant Valley Ranger District, 928-462-
4300 or www.fs.usda.gov/tonto
Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III;
Shutter: 1/4 sec; Aperture: f/16;
iso: 100; Focal Length: 45 mm
26 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 27
BY KERRICK JAMES
“I’ve always wanted to shoot Aravaipa Canyon with its
cottonwoods in full golden glory, and when I made this
photo, the color peaked during Thanksgiving week.
Perennial water in the desert is, to me, something of
a miracle, and the combination of warm-hued canyon
walls, saguaros, golden leaves and the flowing stream
beneath one’s feet is irresistible.” — Kerrick James
Peak Color: Mid- to late November
Directions: From Tucson, go north on
State Route 77 for 51 miles to Aravaipa
Road. Turn right onto Aravaipa Road,
which is partially paved, and continue
for 12 miles to the Aravaipa Canyon
trailhead. From there, it’s a moderate
1.5-mile hike to the western boundary
of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.
A permit from the Bureau of Land
Management is required.
Information: Aravaipa Canyon
Wilderness Area, Brandenburg Ranger
Station, 520-357-6185 or www.blm.gov/az
Camera: Pentax 645D;
Shutter: 1/25 sec; Aperture: f/11;
iso: 200; Focal Length: 60 mm
HAVASU CREEK BY SUZANNE MATHIA
“This spot is below Mooney Falls and is a beautiful respite for hikers and photographers.
In fall, the giant cottonwood trees that tower over Havasu Creek provide a canopy of
gold and yellow. To capture the flowing water, adjust your shutter speed to find the look
that pleases you.” — Suzanne Mathia
Peak Color: Late November to early December
Directions: Havasu Creek is on Havasupai tribal land at the
bottom of the Grand Canyon. The creek runs through Supai,
which is accessible only via hike, mule ride or helicopter from the
Hualapai Hilltop, or via the Colorado River. From Historic Route
66 near Peach Springs, go north on Indian Route 18 for 65 miles
to the Hualapai Hilltop.
Information: Havasupai Tribe, 928-448-2121 or www.
Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III; Shutter: 1/13 sec;
Aperture: f/8; iso: 200; Focal Length: 50 mm
28 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 29
“Lockett Meadow is one
of my favorite places
to fall asleep to the
sounds of bugling elk
and yelping coyotes,
then awaken to the
first rays of sunrise
burning through the
frost and illuminating
the changing aspens.
narrowly saved the
meadow from the
Fire in 2010, the trees
in the background of
this photo lost their
lives — a reminder
of how delicate this
special place really is.”
— Bryan David Griffith
Peak Color: Late September to
Directions: From Flagstaff, go
north on U.S. Route 89 for 12.5
miles to Forest Road 420. Turn
left onto FR 420 and continue for
approximately 1 mile to Forest
Road 552. Turn right onto FR 552
and continue for 4.4 miles to
National Forest, Flagstaff Ranger
District, 928-526-0866 or www.
Camera: Calumet Wood Field
4x5; FILM: Fuji Velvia;
Shutter: 1/22 sec;
Aperture: f/4; iso: 50;
Focal Length: 150 mm
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 31
D u n e
a n d
G l oom
B y K a t h y R i t c h i e
P h o t o g r a p h s b y J o h n B u r c h a m
The wind blows hard on the Navajo Nation, and sometimes it blows so hard that it moves sand dunes across
the landscape. Those dunes, the result of drought, increasing temperatures, invasive tumbleweeds and human
impact, are wreaking havoc on the Navajo people, swallowing their homes and threatening their way of life.
30 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3
32 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 33
OOn April 16, 2013, the Navajo Nation was slammed by a roar-ing
windstorm. With gusts of up to 60 mph and sustained winds
around 20 mph, Mother Nature was relentless that day. Road signs
were thrashed and battered. Piles of sand accumulated on road-ways.
A stretch of Interstate 40 was closed, resulting in a 12-mile
The wind blew so much loose sand into the atmosphere that it
could be seen from space — a NASA satellite captured an image
of a massive dust plume that covered a large swath of the land-scape.
The accompanying report from the U.S. Geological Survey
read: “Abnormally dry or drought conditions prevailed through-out
[most of] Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah, with an
area of extreme drought stretching across the Arizona-New Mex-ico
border. Many of the dust plumes visible in these images arose
in or near that area of extreme drought.”
Howling windstorms have plagued the Navajo Nation for de-cades.
So has the sand. Piles and piles of reddish-brown sand cover
nearly one-third of the 27,000-acre land area,
which spans Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
“It’s becoming a real issue on the Navajo
Nation,” says Jason John, a manager in the Wa-ter
Management Branch of the Navajo Nation
Department of Water Resources.
John’s group focuses primarily on water
monitoring. But when it comes to climate,
everything is connected. Water, or the lack
thereof, means sand dunes are just as much his
problem as they are Leo Watchman’s. Watch-man,
the Navajo Nation Department of Agri-culture’s
director, describes the sand-dune
issue as a “slow disaster” and says the only
explanation for the growing sand-dune prob-lem
is the climate.
Arizona has been in the grip of a severe
drought since the mid-1990s. Although its se-verity
varies across the state, the National Oce-anic
and Atmospheric Administration’s 2012
Western Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook
report shows that much of the Navajo Nation is
under severe-to-extreme drought conditions.
In April, the Arizona Drought Monitoring
Technical Committee issued its short-term-drought
status report. “The dry spring we
have experienced so far has caused drought
in most areas of the state to worsen,” it read.
“There is no longer any portion of the state
Drought, coupled with rising temperatures
— the average annual temperature could rise
as much as 5 to 9 degrees, depending on emis-sion
levels, by 2099, according to a report pub-lished
in the Assessment of Climate Change in the
Southwest United States — and human impact,
has contributed to increased wind events and
the propagation of invasive plant species. And
the physical manifestation of our changing
world can be seen in the formation of sand
dunes, sand-dune movement and the reacti-vation
of once-stable dune fields.
Unfortunately for the 15,000 to 20,000 Navajos who live among
the dunes, this is a serious problem. They’re on the front line of a
According to an Environmental Protection Agency article about
climate change and its impact on society: “Native Americans are
particularly vulnerable to projected changes in climate for a num-ber
of reasons. Their communities are closely tied to specific res-ervation
boundaries that restrict their ability to relocate to avoid
climate change impacts.
“Their opportunity to change their livelihoods may be limited,
and they may have difficulty coping with impacts, including those
on water resources, agriculture and ecosystems. For example, tribes
located in the Southwest are projected to experience changes in
water quality and water availability on their lands.”
In and around Navajo communities such as Tuba City, Leupp,
Chinle, Kayenta, Tolani Lake, Many Farms and Teesto, the dune
fields shift in the wind and can liter-ally
move across the landscape. Data
from the USGS shows that dunes
move approximately 115 feet per year.
However, in a turbulent windstorm,
they can move as much as 3 feet in a
That’s a lot of movement, especially
if your house sits next to one of the
One day af t er the April 16 wind-storm,
I drive north to Tuba City with
Leanna Begay, a wildlife technician
from the Navajo Nation Department
of Fish and Wildlife. We’re joined by
one of her colleagues and photogra-pher
John Burcham. It’s a cold after-noon,
and the wind is blowing when
we pull up to a small yellow house just
outside of town. A pair of dogs stand
guard nearby. Begay’s uncle and my
translator, Huskie Tohannie, greets
me outside with a smile and a hand-shake.
I follow him up the sand-cov-ered
steps that lead to the front door.
Lester Williams — a.k.a. “Chee
Willie” — and his wife, Louise, live just
a few feet from a massive sand dune.
The gigantic pile looks to be around
20 feet high. This is the Williamses’
fifth house, and they share it with their
children and grandchildren. The very
same dune that looms right outside
swallowed their four previous homes,
along with their sheep corrals.
Inside the tiny home, family pho-tos
hang from the wall, along with a
calendar from Hank’s Trading Post
and a framed poster of the Canadian
Rockies. In the middle of the room, a chipped, black
metal table is covered with crackers, spoons, sugar
and bowls. It rests atop a sandy brown rug. The cast-iron
stove, which occupies a large chunk of real estate
in the living room, keeps the place surprisingly warm.
Chee Willie sits at the foot of a queen-size bed. His
wife sits nearby, holding her grandson’s hand. Chee
Willie doesn’t speak English, but he’s incredibly ani-mated
when he speaks Navajo. Through a translator,
he talks about the difficulties of living in this kind of
environment, where the wind whips the sand so furiously that
the family can’t leave the house. He says he once tried to remove
the sand himself, but it came back. The sand always comes back.
When I ask Chee Willie about getting help from the chapter
house, the Navajo Nation’s local governing branch, he says it can’t
help. It doesn’t have the money.
Erny Zah, the director of communications for Navajo Nation
President Ben Shelly, says that all 110 chapters are allocated money
each year, and a percentage of that money goes into an emergency
fund. The catch, he says, is that it’s up to each chapter to decide
how to use those funds.
For those who live outside the Navajo Nation, it’s easy to for-get
that the Navajo people inhabit a very different reality. A harsh
reality. According to a 2011 report by the Navajo Nation Division of
Natural Resources, the unemployment rate is 47 percent. Thirty-seven
percent of the people live below the poverty line. Between
30 percent and 40 percent of Navajo families still haul their water,
traveling 10 miles or more to reach a watering station where they
can fill their barrels.
“What little money these families have, a lot of it
goes into the basic necessity of trying to get water,”
Relocating isn’t always an option for families. In ad-dition
to the costs associated with moving, obtaining
a home-site lease can take years. And then there’s the
spiritual tie to the land.
“Once we establish a home, that’s where we are
going to be — come hell or high water,” Zah says.
“Home is a sacred place in Navajo culture.”
As Chee Willie and his family share their stories about the sand
and the toll it’s taken, I begin to wonder about their health.
During the Dust Bowl, when drought and record-breaking tem-peratures
contributed to intense dust storms, a 1935 health study
found that Kansas experienced “its most severe measles epidemic”
and that there was a “very marked increase in the other complica-tions
of the acute upper respiratory infections, especially sinusitis,
laryngitis, pharyngitis and bronchitis.”
My translator asks Louise, Chee Willie’s wife, whether the blow-ing
sand has impacted her health.
“She said when she walks out there, the sand makes breathing
really hard,” the translator replies.
Chee Willie’s grandson, Tyrone Stanley, 23, worries a lot about
the sand. He’s afraid that it might cave in on their house. Yet, he
chooses to stay.
“For my grandpa and grandma, it’s really difficult for them to
move because they’re connected to this place,” he says with con-cern.
“For me, I would move, but it’s the safety of my grandparents
that worries me right now.”
ABOVE: A sand dune threatens
Lester and Louise Williams’
home near Tuba City.
OPPOSITE PAGE, above:
As the dunes continue to move,
they reveal the foundations of
buildings previously engulfed.
OPPOSITE PAGE, Below:
The tumbleweed, an invasive
species, contributes to sand-dune
34 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 35
Stanley talks about how their world is changing — how right
now, in mid-April, it should be much warmer than it is, and that
the wind … the wind has been howling for more than a week. Just
recently, one of their sheep lost its lamb. It’s a devastating loss for
a family already on the brink, a family that relies on its livestock
to make a living.
So much is going through my mind as I sit inside Chee Willie’s
home, listening to the family share its stories about the sand. I can’t
imagine what their daily life is like, trying to eke out a living, to
fight the wind and the sand. Then, Chee Willie’s daughter, Zella
Williams, asks me a simple question:
“If you had a parent living in this condition, how would you feel,
and how would you help?”
“I would stay and help,” I say. “What else are you going to do?”
“One might ponder with sadness the
Navajo and his problem. The sand dunes
of their great land cannot be made more
fertile. The slick rock of their deep and
mysterious canyons cannot be made
more productive. The elements cannot
be made more gentle.”
— Raymond Carlson, Editor,
Arizona Highways, 1938-74
Besides threatening homes, sand dunes
pose another serious problem. They block
roads. As we’re packing up and prepar-ing
to leave Chee Willie’s house, Tohan-nie
tells me that yesterday’s windstorm
shifted a nearby dune, causing it to cov-er
part of a road used by the handful of
families in the area, including Tohan-nie’s
“I got stuck with my son,” he says.
“We had to shovel our way out.”
This wasn’t the first time a road in
the area was covered by sand. A month
earlier, Begay and I drove over a huge
sand dune that was covering what used
to be an access road. We got out of our
four-wheel-drive and surveyed the landscape. It was
the first time I’d seen a dune of that magnitude, and
it was a powerful sight. It looked like a magnificent
sculpture shaped from mostly eroded Navajo and
Entrada sandstone. But then I remembered what it
could do — how it could devastate.
Many of the dunes in the area are unexpectedly
tall, some measuring anywhere from 30 feet to 40 feet
high. Begay tells me that near Preston Mountain, some 45 minutes
north of where I’m standing, the dune field is even higher, possi-bly
60 feet to 80 feet in places.
Very little native vegetation drapes the surrounding dunes — a
crucial element in ensuring that dunes remain stable. Instead, tum-bleweed,
an invasive plant, dominates the area. As Begay looks out,
she is overcome with worry for her grandparents.
“What are they going to do this summer?” she wonders. “This
is the main road they take. … Right now, it’s easy to travel on, but
come this summer, it’s going to be bad. It’s going to be really soft.”
Many of the roads on the Navajo Nation aren’t paved. And in
areas where sand dunes are a threat, summer is a challenging time
of year. Moisture evaporates, and the sand becomes dry. Families
who live in those areas must know how to navigate through the
soft, loose sand, or they risk getting stuck, sometimes miles from
help in hot weather.
“The reality is, they find a way around it,” John says. “They will
find another way, even if it means making a new access [road]
where it’s not cleared, archaeologically or otherwise. They just
make their own road.”
Kee Tohannie, Begay’s grandfather and Huskie Tohannie’s fa-ther,
always carries a shovel, chains and sometimes a hatchet in
case he or one of his neighbors is marooned in the sand. “I’ve been
stuck in the sand many times — it’s a
lot of digging,” he says. “You just have
to know how to drive in sand. Like you
learn to drive in snow.”
Kee Tohannie adds that he’s adapt-ed
to life with the sand dunes, and even
though his hogan — the traditional home
of the Navajo people — isn’t in any immi-nent
danger of being swallowed by one,
his attitude is really no different than
“You have to live with it. ... You cannot
change Mother Nature,” he says. “[She’s]
going to do what [she’s] going to do.”
“Their environment, the sparse land
and the harsh elements have given them
courage, pride and have made them
self-sufficient. They have conquered their
own world; so all the world is theirs.”
— Raymond Carlson, Editor,
Arizona Highways, 1938-74
The Navajo Nation is rapidly chang-ing,
and the only way to mitigate that
change is for its members to adapt. It’s
a skill set that’s ingrained in the Navajos, and the
proof is in their numbers. According to the 2010 U.S.
Census, roughly 169,000 of the more than 332,000
tribal members live on the Navajo Nation. That’s in
spite of the enduring struggles that could have dec-imated
the tribe, from the Long Walk of 1864 and
the Stock Reduction Program of the 1930s to the di-sastrous
effects of the 1966 Bennett Freeze. The Na-vajos
Margaret Hiza Redsteer is a research scientist with the USGS. For
14 years, she has studied the effects of climate change on sand dunes,
and she talks a lot about the importance of adaptation.
“The way people have survived is by confronting issues that they
know are affecting them and by being a cohesive group that works
together to overcome adversity,” she says. “That’s the foundation
for being an adaptable society.”
But in modern society, where layers of red tape and bureau-cracy
can impede even the best intentions, Hiza Redsteer worries
that the sand-dune problem might be swept under the rug by an
already-overwhelmed tribal government. Environmental issues,
she says, tend to take a back seat to other very serious issues, such
as water, education and health care.
“I’ve had people come and tell me, ‘Don’t give us another prob-lem;
we don’t need any more problems,’ ” she says. “And I couldn’t
agree with them more.”
That’s why Hiza Redsteer tries to focus on solutions, rather than
remind the tribal government what it already knows. She’s part-nered
with Northern Arizona University’s Tribal Environmental
Education Outreach Program to stabilize dunes by protecting or re-establishing
native vegetation, providing stable surfaces for those
plants to grow in and eliminating invasive plant species, such as
the tumbleweed. Still, it’s an uphill battle.
When it rains — even for a brief period — tumbleweed explodes.
Native plants tend to require multiple wet seasons before they can
reproduce again, but the tumbleweed, according to Hiza Redsteer,
does not. Because the tumbleweed germinates earlier than native
plants and grasses, and pillages available moisture and nutrients,
other plants don’t have a chance to grow. And because the tumble-weed
propagates by detaching itself from its root system, it fails
to hold down loose sand, increasing the likelihood of sand-dune
“Tumbleweed is a major blow to rangeland conditions,” Hiza
Redsteer says. “It is amazing how huge the areas are that are
affected by tumbleweed.”
I think back to my meeting with Kee Tohannie. When I asked
him about the effects of tumbleweed on the land, he told me: “When
you see tumbleweed, you don’t see grass; you don’t see much of
Later, he said that he spent that morning burning dry tumble-weed
— “to make room for more tumbleweed.”
Although the story of the sand dunes and the people who
live among them might sound hopeless, it isn’t. “Will the Navajo, one
day, become climate refugees?” I asked nearly everyone I spoke to.
The answer was repeatedly “No.”
“But no matter what the years and decades will bring, theirs will
be a Navajo world and in it there will be the Navajo, proud, aristo-cratic
and unafraid,” wrote former Arizona Highways Editor Raymond
Carlson, capturing, I think, the Navajo way.
And now there’s a new generation — Navajo youth — that’s
learning to embrace and care for its world. Thanks to many deter-mined
teachers across the Navajo Nation, students are learning to
ask questions, to plan and to approach real-world problems and
devise solutions to life’s challenges.
Some of those students are working with Hiza Redsteer and
NAU’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals to stabi-lize
sand dunes that are threatening homes and roads on parts of
the Navajo Nation. Others are learning about the Navajo way of
life by interviewing elders and documenting the sessions on video.
“The [Navajo] president says these children are our most pre-cious
resources,” Zah says. “They hold our dreams and hopes, and
they have the power to realize our dreams and hopes for them.
They are the living example of our elders’ prayers.”
above: As the dunes cover
roads, residents are forced to
forge their own paths across
the shifting sand.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Despite
the danger posed by the
encroaching sand dune, the
Williamses say they have no
plans to leave their house.
36 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 37
We’ve done many stories on Bisbee, and most of them have been focused on
the history of the copper mine. It’s an interesting subject, but there’s a lot more
going on down there. Cafés, art galleries, small-town quirkiness, larger-than-life
characters ... To capture a snapshot of what’s happening on a typical weekend,
we sent one of our favorite new photographers on the road. We didn’t give her any
specifics. We just wanted her to walk around and start shooting.
A PORTFOLIO BY JILL RICHARDS
ABOVE: Sam-Poe Gallery, on Bisbee’s Main Street, displays the work of married artists Sam Woolcott and Poe
Dismuke. The latter, whom photographer Jill Richards calls “a big kid,” has an affinity for big bugs.
right: The mining industry left Bisbee in the mid-1970s. Now, the town is an eclectic mix of artists, retirees and
quirky characters. “Main Street’s shops and restaurants are as diverse as Bisbee’s residents,” Richards says.
38 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 39
LEFT: Jay Allen, the owner of the
Broken Spoke Saloon chain of
“biker bars,” restored this yellow
taxi, which sits on Erie Street
in the town’s historic Lowell
neighborhood. Allen owns several
buildings on Erie.
BELOW: Sam Woolcott paints in
her studio at Central Studio Project,
a nonprofit creative space for
working artists. Woolcott’s latest
project is sketching Bisbee from
below. She frequently can be found
crouched in the town’s ditches,
looking up at pedestrian bridges,
walkways and houses.
RIGHT: Susan Flaherty studies a
menu at the Bisbee Breakfast Club
while her children, Katie, 7, and
Kyle, 3, goof around. “On any given
weekend in Bisbee, you can bet
there will be a wait at the Breakfast
Club,” Richards says. A popular item
is the Wingdinger — hash browns,
cheese, eggs and spicy sausage
gravy, all served in a skillet.
BELOW: Motorcycles line Brewery
Avenue outside St. Elmo. The bar
opened in 1902, and while it once
had a reputation as a rough-and-tumble
saloon, Richards says it’s
become one of the best places in
town to get to know the locals.
40 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 41
RIGHT: No two rooms are alike
at the Bisbee Grand Hotel, and
Richards says no room at the bed
and breakfast is as grand as the
Victorian Suite, which features a
red-velvet-canopied four-poster bed,
a chandelier and an antique, claw-footed
bathtub. The B&B was built in
1906 and restored in 1986.
BELOW: The Courthouse Plaza
Miners’ Monument pays tribute to
Bisbee’s long history with copper.
The statue, which stands 9 feet tall
and weighs 2,000 pounds, is made of
concrete but is coated with copper.
LEFT: Art Herman has been a
commercial driver, a carpenter, an
electrician and a plumber. Now,
he’s a full-time artist, sculpting
wood and bending metals and
found objects in his small studio
on Main Street. His latest work —
wood sculptures of crows — is
a statement against Nevada’s
open-season hunting of crows,
which he affectionately calls
right: The window of the
Copper Shop reflects Main
Street. Richards says Bisbee is
“a treasure of a town, steeped
in rich history and filled with
w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 43
Joe Brown became a cowboy when he was 8.
He was young, and it showed. His first day
on the job, he worked barefoot and bareheaded,
with just a can of tomatoes and six saltines in his belly.
He learned a lot of lessons on that initial ride,
including one about razor blades.
An Essay by J.P.S. Brown
Illustrations by Chris Gall
42 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3
44 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 45
n the year 1938, Roy Adams, Herb Cunningham and
Wirt Bowman were partners with Viv Brown in
the ABC Cattle Co. of Nogales. Viv Brown was my
pappy. I was 8 years old, and the ABCs offered me a
wage to cowboy for them. One day after school, as
an advance against my pay, Viv took me to Bracker’s department
store in Nogales and outfitted me with a hat, boots, canvas trou-sers
and a work shirt. That spring, my duty would be to help the
ABCs drive steers from the railroad pens in Nogales, Sonora, to the
Baca Float Ranch on the Arizona side of the border.
The next Saturday, my granny, Maude Sorrells, and I returned
to our home on the Tucson Road from a double-feature movie in
Nogales and found my horse, Pancho, had been returned to his pas-ture.
I’d left him in the remuda of Cabezon Woodell’s cowboys in
the Sierra de San Juan of Mexico when my pappy brought me home
from there to put me back in school.
Pancho had grown into much of a horse. My mom told me that
Uncle Buster Sorrells had met the remuda in Nogales, Sonora, and
hauled him with a supply of hay and grain back to his pasture
behind our house. I had not yet worn my new outfit, but I began to
ride Pancho every day so he’d be ready for work.
Pancho needed to be calmed down. He had a new way of show-ing
the whites of his eyes when he looked at people, as though
anxious about the burden someone might
load on him, or about some wild thing
with horns and hooves that he might have
to jump out and overtake.
One day, as I filled his water tub with
a hose, we both looked up and saw the
heads and horns of a herd come around
the Nogales curve on the Tucson Road.
Boy, we couldn’t let anything like that go
by. I bridled Pancho, jumped barefoot on
his bare back and rode to the front of my
granny’s house to keep the herd off her
lawn and flower beds.
Roy Adams and Viv came along in a
pickup behind the drags. Felix Johnson, Manuel Valenzuela, Uncle
Buster, my cousin Grover Kane, Bud Parker and George Kimbrough
made up the horseback crew that drove the herd of 1,800 Mexi-can
After the herd passed Granny’s house, I rode in behind the
drags. Viv and Roy stopped the pickup in the shade of an Alamo
tree and called me and Felix for lunch.
“Where you been, boy?” Viv asked and feigned an abrupt and
unsmiling way. He always knew where I could be found. He asked
the question because anybody could see I was in heaven right then
and he should have come for me and Pancho before the drive began.
“I been waiting,” I said.
He pointed to a pile of bread, crackers, jam, cheese, sardines and
Vienna sausages and said, “Better have lunch, now.”
I jumped down and took an open can of tomatoes, a spoon
and some soda crackers, and squatted underneath Pancho to eat.
Canned tomatoes could be meat and drink to me, anytime. Pan-cho
stood over me, dozed, switched his tail, breathed on the top of
my head and poked me on the back of the neck with his whiskers.
I knew a craving or two. I loved canned tomatoes but did not
crave them. I loved my godmother’s pan de huevo, a sweet roll,
with café con leche — coffee and hot milk with plenty of sugar —
but they did not stretch the cords of my being to satisfy a craving.
However, I absolutely craved to cowboy on Pancho with Viv Brown
and did not even think of meat or drink when I could do that.
On that drive to the Baca Float, I rode in the drags beside Felix
Johnson. Felix was cranky. He’d been with the herd since it was
driven off the mountain from Cabezon Woodell’s camp at La
Morita in the Sierra de San Juan. After the herd was cut and culled,
the steers and remuda had been paid for by the ABCs, loaded on the
train in Magdalena and hauled to Nogales. Felix hired on with the
new owners and rode the caboose to the Nogales, Sonora, embar-cadero
pens. He was cranky because his pocket was full of money
and he needed a clean, new outfit to wear, especially a new hat.
The old hat he wore out of Mexico had been soaked clear through
many times by rain, snowed on, scraped off his head in the brush,
messed on, and trampled in the cattle cars. He wanted to look good
again, and his No. 1 requirement for that was a new hat, a deep bath
and a change of brand-new, clean clothes.
He had just finished telling me all about it when Viv and Roy
drove up close behind the herd again. Roy told me to give him my
horse and board the truck with Viv. I stepped off, and he swung
aboard Pancho. His legs were so long that his feet almost dragged
the ground. I climbed into the pickup beside my pappy, smelled his
sweat and watched Roy laugh and joke with Felix about his dere-lict
hat. We could see that he enjoyed riding up
close to a herd in the dust again, even though
he wore a new three-piece suit of clothes and a
necktie with his $50 hat and $50 boots.
“Now, Highpockets, are you ready to go on
with us and put in a full day’s work today?” Viv
“Yes, sir,” I said.
“What kind of wages do you get?”
“You know I never get paid wages.”
“From now on, when you work for me, you
get paid. How’s that?”
“Good, I guess.”
“Oh, you guess it’s good? Well, I’m glad. What
kind of money do you have to have?”
“I don’t know.”
“How old are you, son, 8, and you still don’t know how much
“Don’t you care?”
“I haven’t thought about it.”
“Well, think. What are you worth?”
“I’ll help as a favor to you, like always,” I said.
“Well, son, somebody else might not want to pay you because
you’re little, but not me. You’ll be paid $10 for each drive. Five dol-lars
of it will be to help drive the saddle horses from the Baca Float
to Nogales, Sonora, the day before every drive. You’ll get another
$5 to drive the cattle the 10 miles to the Baca Float the next day.
“OK, and as a bonus, you’ll own Pancho after we’ve shipped all
the cattle to their summer ranges.”
“Pancho’s already mine.” I thought he’d been mine when I left
him in the Sierra de San Juan, but I guessed the ABCs had bought
him with all of Cabezon’s livestock.
“No, he belongs to the ABCs. He’s been yours to ride all your
life, but cowboys don’t ordinarily own the horses they use. We’ll
give you Pancho if you make a hand, but from now on, you’ll have
to take him home to feed and water when he’s not working for the
company, and you’ll have to save your money to do that.”
I didn’t know what to say next.
“Right now, we need you to make us a cowboy,” Viv said.
“That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” I said.
“Well, what if you grow up to be a banker?”
“I don’t think that’ll happen.”
Viv laughed. “How would you know, young squirt? By the way
Wirt Bowman, our banker partner, wears his hat?”
“By that, and by the way he waves his empty hands at cattle in
the pens when he tries to help turn them, and by his other funny-looking
“How about the way you’re dressed? If boots and a hat made
a cowboy, you’d sure come up short today. Where’s the outfit I
bought you so you’d be ready to go to work when I needed you?”
“I didn’t know the herd was coming until I saw it. I couldn’t
have made a hand if I’d waited to saddle my horse and change
“Well, we need Wirt Bowman, too. He finds us the money we
need. What were you doing when you saw us coming?”
“Well, has this helped you understand something about work-ing
“Let me tell you, to make sure. Not everybody who dresses like
a cowboy is one. Not everybody who isn’t dressed like a cowboy
isn’t one. Not everything a man says he owns is always his. If you
want to be a cowboy and do the work, you better wear the outfit. If
you want to do a man’s work, you’ve got to wear boots so you can
keep your feet in the stirrups and get down off your horse to open
a wire gate in a hurry. You have to wear a hat so the sun won’t cook
your brain. You need to wear a long-sleeved shirt so all the hide
won’t sunburn off your arms. Understand? If you get sunstroke or
the hide burned off your arms and face, I’ll have to leave the job
and take you home to your mama. Our crew will lose its two best
men for a while. Understand?”
“I’ll say one thing: If you’re with us for the rest of today, you’ll
have to be darned tough, because you’ll do it barefoot, bareheaded
and on one can of tomatoes and six saltines. But then, to be a cow-boy,
you’ll learn that sometimes, you might have to work a whole
season, from winter to fall, on one Gillette.”
I knew a craving
or two. I loved
but did not crave
them. However, I
to cowboy on
Pancho with Viv
Brown and did not
even think of meat
or drink when I
could do that.
46 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 47
Bill and Dotty West picked the Grand Canyon for their 1962 honeymoon,
figuring they could escape the August heat and still get back in time for fall
classes at Arizona State University. Bill’s fraternity brothers made the reser-vations
at Grand Canyon Inn. Its brochure advertised “a patio overlooking the
Canyon, a swimming pool, fine foods and cocktails.”
They arrived at “a quaint place, nicely kept,” about 2 miles beyond Grand
Canyon Village, with “a little café and Indian art for sale in the lobby.”
Years later, the couple returned to celebrate their anniversary, but the inn
“We found remains of what we thought might have been it,” Dotty recalls.
“There was rigging for what looked like a mine shaft. We could barely tell there
had been a facility there.”
The couple asked around in the village, but no one remembered it.
“It was a beautiful place,” Bill says. “It became very, very special to us. And
then it went away.” The story of Grand Canyon Inn spans 30 years,
beginning with a mining claim and ending with the stroke
of a U.S. president’s pen. Its destiny was shaped by color-ful
characters, a world war, a celebrity’s son, the arms race
and an act of Congress.
It started with the discovery of green mineral stains on an obscure
Canyon wall by a prospector named Dan Hogan. Born in Syracuse, New
York, Hogan found his way to the Canyon in the winter of 1890, when he
completed the first known Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim backpacking trip. During
that expedition, Havasupai Indians led him to a spot 1,100 feet below the
rim between Maricopa and Powell points, where markings indicated the
presence of copper.
In 1893, Hogan filed the Orphan copper claim with a partner. Then, the
Spanish-American War took him to Cuba, where he fought with Teddy
Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. After the war, he returned and patented
his claim in 1906 with the backing of Charlie Babbitt, a prominent resi-dent
of Flagstaff. The claim consisted of 20 acres: four or five on the rim,
the rest extending down the Canyon wall.
Two years later, the Grand Canyon became a national monument, and
in 1919, it became a national park. Mining was forbidden. But the Orphan
was grandfathered in.
Hogan found work in Flagstaff and returned periodically to improve his
claim, but it never produced much copper. Grand Canyon National Park,
however, brought tourists. So, in 1936, Hogan built a trading post, and
later, he added an inn. He called it Grand Canyon Trading Post.
World War II brought rationing and travel restrictions. Fred Harvey
closed Bright Angel Lodge and Lookout Studio. Hogan, too, shut down
until the postwar boom revived tourism. Then, he sold his place to Mad-eleine
Jacobs, who reopened it as Kachina Lodge.
Jacobs approached a former Harvey girl who was working in Harvey’s
laundry to moonlight in the restaurant. Mary Hoover was fed up with
waitressing but needed the money, and Jacobs was convincing.
To Hoover, the lodge looked more like a warehouse than a curio shop
and restaurant. But Jacobs maintained a nice dining room, and it hosted
a lot of parties.
“I remember one,” Hoover says. “The man was an artist, and his wife
had a bottle of champagne for everybody. It was hard to serve because
they were all so happy. You couldn’t get by. They’d want you to dance
with them. But how could you dance when you had an armful of steaks?”
Grand Canyon Inn’s
swimming pool, which
overlooked the South
Rim, was known for its
bitingly cold and heavily
chlorinated water. And
for the view, of course.
Is That a Swimming Pool
on the South Rim?
Almost no one remembers it, but, for a few decades in the middle of the last century,
Grand Canyon Inn welcomed visitors with “a patio overlooking the Canyon,
a swimming pool, fine foods and cocktails.” There was a curio shop, too, which sold
everything from Indian art to uranium samples. By Kathy Montgomery
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK MUSEUM COLLECTION
48 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 49
Hoover recalls that Jacobs also had a nice curio shop and didn’t
take kindly when a customer referred to its wares as “junk.”
“[Jacobs] said, ‘I cut my teeth on the gold doorknobs at the Wal-dorf-
Astoria, and my things are not junk,’ ” Hoover says. “ ‘If you
don’t want to look at my things, there’s the door.’ ”
But Jacobs was kind to Hoover. “I could never say I liked some-thing,
because the next day, it would be there for me,” Hoover
says. “I didn’t think it was right for me to take her things, but she
At the time, Dan Hogan was living there.
“He was just a lonesome little man, but he was a nice person,”
Hoover says. “I would see him pulling a bucket of ore up over the
top of the rim by hand. That’s how he mined.”
Eventually, he and Jacobs parted ways. “I think she just didn’t
like him wandering around,” Hoover says. “And he still felt it was
Jacobs kept a big white horse that had
been in movies and reared up on com-mand.
She also had a car, which arrived
on a truck.
“It was an old car that had New York
license plates on it,” Hoover recalls.
People told her she couldn’t drive
around with expired New York tags,
but Jacobs insisted that the Grand Can-yon
was a national park and Arizona
law didn’t apply.
“She was very adamant when she
thought she was right,” Hoover says. “She
kept the car and drove it in the park, nev-er
out of it. And when she left, she put
it on the truck again and took it out.”
When she moved, Jacobs leased the
place to Will Rogers Jr., who called it
The Rogers Place and ran it, briefly, as
a tribute to his father.
It was vacant when James Barrington, a successful California
homebuilder, heard about the property through a real estate agent
he shared office space with — someone who knew Jacobs. It had
been stripped of most plumbing fixtures and saleable items, but he
loved the idea of restoring it. He and his brother, Dave, bought the
place and went to work with help from their parents; their wives,
Ellie and Tess; James and Ellie’s two children, Penny and Jim; and
a crew of Navajos, Hopis and Havasupais.
The main building contained three stories, Penny recalls. A wob-bly
staircase led to the top floor, which held guest rooms, staff quar-ters
and two unheated rooms partitioned off for Penny and Jim.
The entry floor included a flagstone patio, which they enclosed
to make a lobby with an 8-foot fireplace, a soda machine and a
mechanical horse you could ride for a nickel.
Stairs led down to the restaurant, kitchen and bar, which they
gutted, removing a wood-burning stove, a tiny tin-lined ice cup-board,
a galvanized dishwashing tub and “the perfectly preserved
skeleton of a squirrel.” In their place, they installed a six-burner
In 1953, the Barringtons sold the lodge to a lawyer named Wil-liam
R. Grant, though they continued to manage it. Grant renamed
it Grand Canyon Inn. The same year, Jacobs, who had retained the
Orphan’s mineral rights, sold them to Golden Crown Mining Co.,
a subsidiary of Western Gold & Uranium.
The Barringtons left the following year. Penny remembers that
her parents were broke and bitter, and she says they never wanted
to talk about the inn. They didn’t even keep a photo.
Max Kofford, the mine’s chief geologist, says Golden Crown
was out of money and facing a litany of troubles. It didn’t help that
the mining activity upset Grand Canyon Inn’s owner, who threat-ened
The mining company bought the inn, taking over some cabins
for mining operations. When the uranium turned out to be some
of the highest-grade in the United States, the Orphan made the
company a lot of money.
stove, two sinks and a real refrigerator, although they continued to
use a cold-storage room, cooled with huge ice blocks bought from
the village icehouse.
The bar included a small grandstand with a baby-grand piano,
and a 20-foot-by-30-foot hardwood dance floor, which was well-used,
especially on Friday and Saturday nights when there was live
music. So were the large windows they installed on the north end,
which offered magnificent views of the Canyon.
In addition to the lodge, there were eight cabins, four on the rim,
and a “long building” with 15 or so rooms.
The Barringtons also erected tents behind the long building to
accommodate desperate visitors who arrived without reservations,
and they commissioned a swimming pool with a flagstone deck.
Jim, who was 12 at the time, wrote about the hard work of digging
it out with picks and shovels, sweating alongside the Havasupai
man who was hired to do the job.
Water was always in short supply. Two cisterns collected rain-water
and snowmelt. When it ran out, the Barringtons ordered
water from the railroad and trucked it in.
“My mom learned how to shampoo and bathe completely with
one bucket of water,” Penny wrote in an unpublished memoir. Even
so, water ran out from time to time.
Managing the staff was another challenge. One employee recalls
a cook who was “fabulous” but would get “drunk as a skunk” on
her day off and sometimes be too hungover to cook the next morn-ing.
And once, a wrangler named Chappo, who was given money
to buy hay, spent half of it on entrance fees at the Prescott rodeo.
When James fired him, Chappo scattered the remaining half-load
of hay and turned the horses loose.
In 1951, radioactivity was discovered near the Orphan Mine. Gov-ernment
geologists confirmed the presence of uranium. With
the nuclear-arms race in high gear, the discovery would change
everything for Kachina Lodge.
The dismay of the National Park Service grew in proportion to
the mining operations, and after the construction of ore-loading
facilities, a 60,000-gallon water tank and other structures, the
Park Service closed the rim walk.
The mine also captured the attention of tourists, who showed
up so often that in the late 1950s, Western Gold (Golden Crown
had, by then, merged with its parent) printed a flier with a map to
an overlook where tourists could watch the mine’s operation. The
flier expressed regret that tours were not possible, but said ura-nium
samples could be purchased from the inn.
Miners’ kids and residents of Grand Canyon Village mostly re-member
the inn in those days for its pool, which was the only one
around. One former resident, Mike Verkamp, recalls that the wa-ter
was bitingly cold and had so much chlorine it turned swim-mers’
hair green. As a young adult, the inn became one of the bars
on his circuit.
“There were some interesting characters, always,” he says. The
bar was a hangout for locals, employees, mule wranglers — pop-ular
with visiting ladies wanting to dance with a cowboy — and
tourists who came after Fred Harvey’s bars had closed.
By 1961, the mine and the inn were at a crossroads. Most of
the ore in the claim had been mined out. The company wanted
to follow the lode into the park and believed it was their right. The
federal government disagreed.
Rather than fight it out in court, the company lobbied Congress to
pass legislation allowing it to mine under the park. It also proposed
that Grand Canyon Inn be torn down to make room for a 600-room
hotel that would cascade 18 floors down the Canyon wall.
The proposed hotel created a national uproar. Letters pub-lished
in Arizona Highways prompted a response by the company
chairman, who wrote in the magazine: “If Uncle Sam will let
us mine, we will mine. If he forces us to build a hotel, we will
build … one.”
One employee recalls a cook who was “fabulous” but would get “drunk as a skunk” on her day off and sometimes be too hungover to cook the next morning.
FAR LEFT: Dan Hogan’s
property at the Grand
Canyon Inn site included
LEFT: The windows of
the inn’s upstairs lounge
Canyon views. This pho-tograph
was made in the
RIGHT: This artist’s ren-dering
shows a 600-room
hotel that would have
cascaded down the Can-yon
wall. That idea never
Bills introduced in Congress were debated, defeated and rein-troduced.
Three months before Bill and Dotty West’s honeymoon,
the inn’s fate was sealed. In May 1962, President Kennedy signed
the Orphan Mine bill into law. It allowed the company to mine
under the park for 25 years in exchange for title to the property and
its structures. It required the inn to close by 1966.
Meanwhile, the closing of the processing mill in Tuba City,
the demise of rail service to the Canyon and the loss of govern-ment
subsidies made mining operations more costly. The 1967
bankruptcy sale of the Orphan Mine by the company, then called
Westec, to Cotter Corp. marked the beginning of the end. The
mine closed for good in April 1969, although its headframe stood
for about four decades after that.
People connected with the mine wrote to the Park Service, ask-ing
that the headframe be left in place to mark the mine’s history.
In the end, it was dismantled for public-health reasons, removing
the last traces of the Orphan Mine and Grand Canyon Inn, except
for those that live in memory.
50 Oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 51
every time Nikki Cooley stands near the confluence of the
Little Colorado and Colorado rivers, she prays.
“I pray to the holy people to forgive me for playing
there,” she says. “I ask them to forgive me for taking people there
to educate them.”
As a Navajo of the Towering House Clan, born for the Reed Peo-ple,
the confluence is sacred to Cooley. As a river guide, it’s the
gateway to her passion. And that’s a conflict she’s had to learn to
Cooley, 33, first grew interested in rafting when she was a stu-dent
at Northern Arizona University. During her first trip, she ran
a portion of the Colorado River. In addition to giving her a taste of
life on the water, the adventure hooked her.
“I started taking assistant spots on Arizona Raft Adventures
trips through the Grand Canyon,” she says. “A few months later, I
got a support boat, but my training took more than a year because
I was in school.”
It was October, and water levels on the Colorado were low when
Cooley launched by herself for the first time. She was in her own
boat, without passengers or a seasoned river runner whispering
guidance in her ear. When the time came to get in the water, she
approached the opportunity with equal parts excitement and trep-idation.
She was afraid of missing a lunch spot or, worse, camp. But she
looked ahead, read the eddies and watched where everyone else
was going. She didn’t miss a thing.
“That was an amazing time in my life,” she says. “I was single,
I was finishing up my studies at NAU, and I felt like I was on my
own, doing something I’d wanted to do for a long time.”
And she fell hard and fast in love with Hermit Rapids.
“The bigger the waves, the better,” she says. “It feels like you’re
on an aquatic roller coaster.”
After she graduated from NAU, the river community embraced
Cooley, and she began to run five to seven trips each summer —
working as a swamper on motor trips and as a guide on oar, then
working her way up the company roster.
She did her fair share of grunt work and had to climb the hard
way. All of which was fine by her. She kept in shape by lifting gear
and hiking — it’s no easy task to row other people for days on end
— and, in her late 20s, she began strength training through Cross-
“I worked really hard,” Cooley says. “I had to prove to my com-pany
that I was capable. No one ever told me that I couldn’t do it,
but at times, it was very lonely.”
What’s more, she was one of only a few Native American river
guides, something she worked quickly to change.
In 2005, Cooley partnered with former Arizona congresswoman
Karan English to create the Native American River Guide Train-ing
Program. Open to Native and indigenous people between the
ages of 17 and 35, the program introduces young people to the
water, encouraging them to pursue guiding as a summer job —
“Native people don’t know how to get into the industry,” Cooley
says. “They’re too afraid, and no one is showing them. They know
that companies have established routes and established rosters,
and they’re so inundated with family obligations and ceremonies
during the summer that they just don’t follow through.”
More than half of the students who’ve completed the program
have gone on to either full-time or part-time jobs on rivers. And
they transcend tribal designations. Cooley has met Hopi, Navajo
and Oneida students, as well as people who’ve traveled from Can-ada
These days, Cooley doesn’t spend as much time on the water
as she used to — marriage to a fellow
river guide and the birth of her now-3-
year-old daughter, Ella, have slowed
her down — but talk of the river brings
a timbre of exhilaration to her voice
and a hint of telltale light to her eyes. The
kind people get when they’re profoundly
enamored of someone. Or something.
As she sits in front of Macy’s coffee
shop in Flagstaff, she’s unaware that the
couple next to her is hanging on her ev-ery
word. That is, until they start asking
questions about where she guides and re-counting
their own adventures on river.
She answers them easily, encouraging-ly,
hoping that they’ll remember Arizo-na
Cooley carries that sort of gentle cha-risma
into her work on the boards of both
the Grand Canyon Association and the
Grand Canyon River Guides Association.
And she believes that her voice as a Native
American woman will help carry their
“The Southwest, and the Grand Can-yon
area in particular, is very cultural-ly
significant to many Native American
tribes,” she says. “Our voice and perspec-tive
needs to be at the forefront with oth-er
voices, including federal agencies, non-profits
and for-profit organizations.”
Cooley is on the record as being ada-mantly
opposed to the Little Colorado Tramway, a proposed proj-ect
that would include hotels, an RV park, an airport, restaurants
and a tramway to the bottom of the Grand Canyon from its eastern
rim. The majority of the project site lies within the Navajo Nation.
“There’s so much history there, so many prayer sites,” she says.
“The project is disrespectful to holy people, to animals, to plants
and to the geology of the Canyon. The whole environment will be
Her heart weighs heavy, she adds, with the possibility that the
project will come to fruition. But as she begins to talk about her
daughter, she brightens again. She hopes, she says, to pass her pas-sion
on to Ella, who’s already completed two lengthy river trips.
And she's confident her daughter will become a steward of the
“I hope that Ella will be someone who appreciates and respects
the environment,” she says. “I hope she realizes that we need to
be constantly taking care of it, looking out for it. The river is not
a water park. It’s something we can enjoy, but it’s a resource.”
For more information about Arizona Raft Adventures,
call 800-786-7238 or visit www.azraft.com.
a calmi ng i n f l uence
by kelly vaughn kramer
photograph by john burcham
Nikki Cooley is quiet. But don’t confuse that
with being introverted. She isn’t. In addition to
being one of the first female Navajo river guides,
she helped establish the Native American River
Guide Training Program, which encourages
Native people to follow in her footsteps.
w w w. 52 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 3 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 53
which is a good place to fill up or stretch
your legs. At this point, you can either
turn back and retrace your route or
continue on to the remote community
of Cove. Surrounded by the Lukachukai
and Carrizo mountains, the area is won-derfully
scenic, with red-rock forma-tions
erupting from the vast, unfolding
The turnoff to Cove is unmarked, but
it’s the first left after the trading post
on Indian Route 63. From there, make
another left onto Indian Route 33. As you
meander along, roll down your window
and enjoy the views. After 13 miles, the
pavement ends, marking the turnaround
point. On the way back, the perspec-tive
is different, and it’s grand. On your
left, look for Royal Arch. There’s also a
nice view of Shiprock in the distance —
across the Arizona-New Mexico border.
Although Chinle and Cove are a long
way from where you started, you’ll be
glad you made the trip.
Chinle to Cove
The drive to Canyon de Chelly can
be deceptive. When you eyeball
the route on a map, you can see
it’s off in the distance, but it doesn’t
seem that far off. That is, until you start
driving. Still, it’s worth the effort. The
long trek to this add-it-to-your-bucket-list-
now national monument cuts
through the heart of red-rock country
on the Navajo Nation, and the scenery is
Begin the drive at the Canyon de
Chelly Visitor Center, just east of Chinle.
From there, head out on Indian Route
64 toward Tsaile and the north rim of
Canyon de Chelly. The road skirts the
canyon, but, unlike the south-rim drive,
you won’t see much from the road.
There are, however, three overlooks that
offer great views of Canyon del Muerto’s
ancient ruins and striking cliff walls.
Around Mile 21, you’ll arrive at the
top of a hill where you’ll see the Luka-chukai
and Chuska mountains in the
background. Three miles later, you’ll
reach a “T” junction. This is your cue to
turn left onto Indian Route 12.
For the next 8 miles, watch your speed
— horses and dogs tend to linger along
the road. Although there isn’t a sign to
indicate that Indian Route 13 will be
coming up on your right, the turnoff is at
the 32-mile mark of the drive. As you pass
through the community of Lukachukai,
you’ll cross Totsoh Wash, which looks
more like a trickle, despite the relatively
lush riparian area it feeds. The payoff
here is a panorama of red rocks that
resemble carved, horizontal waves.
Continuing on IR 13, the road shifts
from mostly flat terrain to steep, tight
switchbacks. If you’re a passenger, your
first inclination might be to close your
eyes. Don’t. Yes, the incline is a little
intense, but the views are beautiful. Sage-brush
and piñon pines give way to pon-derosas
and aspens, and at Mile 45, the
views of red-rock country get even better.
Eventually, the road starts to descend
— minus the winding switchbacks —
and arrives at Red Rock Trading Post,
Like many of Arizona’s scenic wonders, the route from Chinle to
Cove isn’t just around the corner. Nevertheless, the red-rock
panoramas you’ll see when you get there make the drive time
worthwhile. by kathy ritchie
additiona 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, visit
Note: Mileages are approximate.
Length: 70 miles one way
Directions: From the Canyon de Chelly Visitor Center,
turn right onto Indian Route 64, which veers to the left
(follow the sign to Tsaile and the north rim of Canyon de
Chelly), and go 24.4 miles to Indian Route 12. Turn left
onto IR 12 and continue 8 miles to Indian Route 13. Turn
right onto IR 13 and continue 24.5 miles to Indian Route
63. Turn left onto IR 63 and continue 0.5 miles to Indian
Route 33. Turn left onto IR 33 and continue 13 miles to
the turnaround point.
Vehicle Requirements: The route is suitable for
standard sedans, but traveling in inclement weather
requires a four-wheel-drive.
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: Canyon de Chelly National Monument,
928-674-5500 or www.nps.gov/cach
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov or dial
511 to get information
on road closures, construction,
delays, weather and more.
opposite page: Aspens dominate the slopes
of the Lukachukai Mountains along the drive
from Chinle to Cove. | DAVID MUENCH
below: Royal Arch, near Cove, is a spectacular
payoff to a long drive.
| ROBERT G. McDONALD
N A V A J O N A T I O N
Red Rock Valley
C H U S K A M O U N T A I N S
Lukachukai Mounta ins
C A N Y O N D E C H E L L Y
N A T I O N A L M O N U M E N T
A R I Z O N A
N E W M E X I C O
start her e
Canyon del Muer to
54 J ul y 2 0 1 3 w w w. a r i z o n a h i g hwa y s . c om 55
Length: 4.2-mile loop
Elevation: 9,066 to 9,477 feet
Trailhead GPS: N 32˚40.090’, W 109˚52.811’
Directions: From Safford, go south on U.S. Route
191 for 7.3 miles to State Route 366 (the Swift Trail).
Turn right onto SR 366 and continue 23.4 miles to the
trailhead on the left.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Dogs Allowed: Yes (on a leash)
leav e -no-trac e principles:
• 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
hike of the month
Evergreens and aspens are everywhere along this trail in the
Pinaleño Mountains, but it’s the golden aspens that stand out most
this time of year. by ROBERT STIEVE | photograph by shane mcdermott
Grant Hill Loop
Cyclophobia. That’s the word
that’s used to describe a fear of
bicycles. It’s not a clinical term,
but the affliction, apparently, is real for
some people. And maybe some of those
people are hikers. Although there’s a
kindred spirit among nature lovers,
sharing the trail doesn’t always come
naturally to hikers and bikers. The
reasons are obvious; however, there’s
usually enough room for both. That’s
the case on the Grant Hill Loop. In fact,
this trail was designed specifically for
mountain-biking. It’s wide, it’s easy to
follow and there aren’t a lot of technical
ups and downs. Cyclists love it, but it’s
a great route for hikers, too.
Like most loop trails, this one can be
done either clockwise or counterclock-wise.
Unlike most loops, Grant Hill isn’t
a single trail. Instead, it’s a series of
loops made up of old logging roads and
connecting trails. It can be confusing on
a map, but if you stick to the outer loop,
as this listing is written, there’s a pretty
good chance you won’t get lost.
From the trailhead, go left (clock-wise)
on the well-worn jeep road — you
won’t see a traditional trail for a while.
Almost immediately, the road climbs
into a forest of ponderosa pines, Douglas
firs, white firs, Engelmann spruce and
aspens. On this stretch, the trail follows
the ridge of a small drainage. Then, after
about 30 minutes, it intersects with a
short side trail that leads to a scenic
overlook. The views include Sulphur
Springs Valley, Fort Grant and the Gali-uro
Make the side trip, and then con-tinue
into the woods, where the jeep
road transitions into a typical trail.
You’ll experience several segues like
that during the course of this loop. In
addition to the change underfoot, you’ll
notice that the forest changes, too. It’s
thicker, and so are the groves of aspens.
If you’re lucky, this is where you might
see some mule deer or a black bear. If
you’re especially lucky, you might catch
a glimpse of a Mount Graham red squir-rel,
an endangered subspecies (there are
only about 200 left) that lives exclusively
in the Pinaleño Mountains.
Where the forest gets thicker, the
incline ratchets up, and after another
10 minutes, the hike arrives at the first
of several side trails (shortcuts) back to
the trailhead. Veer left to continue on
the outer loop.
Just beyond that junction, the earth
levels off and the trail passes through
what is arguably one of the most beau-tiful
aspen groves on the Coronado
National Forest. The area is reminiscent
of the Escudilla Trail before the Wallow
Fire stole its identity. In early October,
when autumn is making a bold state-ment
in the Pinaleños, this stretch will
be the high point of the hike. Figura-tively.
About 10 minutes later, the sum-mit
of Grant Hill marks the literal high
point (9,477 feet).
The rest of the loop is downhill, with
some gradual switchbacks at the outset.
Then, an hour into the hike, there’s a
sharp switchback that leads to another
jeep road. That’s quickly followed by
another shortcut to the trailhead. Again,
keep left for the outer loop.
Continuing downhill, you’ll come
to a second eye-catching aspen grove
and a third shortcut. Keep left. They’re
followed by a beautiful grassy corridor,
which surrounds the trail as it heads
up and over a small ridge. The aspens
fade a little after the grass, but the
forest is still thick with evergreens on
the final run back to the trailhead. If
you’re on foot, the homestretch takes
about 10 minutes. On a mountain bike,
it shouldn’t take more than a minute.
Either way, remember to share the trail.
There’s enough Mother Nature to go
For more hikes, pick up a copy
of Arizona Highways Hiking
Guide, which features 52 of the
state’s best trails — one for each
weekend of the year, sorted
by seasons. To order a copy,
Horses Allowed: Yes
USGS Map: Webb Peak
Information: Safford Ranger District, 928-428-4150
The Grant Hill Loop is made up of old logging roads
and connecting trails.
Thatcher Sa ord
C O R O N A D O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
P I N A L E Ñ O M O U N T A I N S
56 oc t o b e r 2 0 1 3
where is this?
Rocks in a Hard Place
This is a cemetery, we’ll give you that much, but where is it located? Hint: The Western Arizona
community is named for the engineer who surveyed its site in the 1860s. Once a vibrant mining
town, today it’s known mostly for its history, which includes the cemetery. — noah austin
Win a collection of
our most popular
books! To enter,
correctly identify the
location pictured at
left and email your
answer to editor@
com — type “Where
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
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Answer & Winner
our winner, Plato
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