O C T O B E R 2 0 0 6
Expanded 64-page Collector’s Issue
to Every Corner
of the State
Adventures in State Parks
We devote this special issues to splashing,
crawling, zipping, strolling, paddling, ambling
and jogging through Arizona’s 27 state parks,
a glittering charm bracelet of treasures.
FRONT COVER A sunny October 1,
2005, finds author Tom Carpenter and
his canoe gliding past golden aspens
on the shore of Blue Ridge Reservoir,
a canyon lake southeast of Flagstaff.
See story, page 10. nick berezenko
n To order a print of this photograph,
see information on opposite page.
BACK COVER In the Coconino
National Forest on October 1, an
early morning moon glimmers above
a gnarled snag. frank zullo
n To order a print of this photograph,
see information on opposite page.
contents october 2006
What does a day look like in Arizona?
On October 1, 2005, Arizona Highways
photographers traveled to all corners of
Arizona to capture the essence of life in
our beautiful state. To see more of their
work, go to arizonahighways.com and
click on the “October Trip Planner” for:
• A “Once Upon a Day in Arizona” slide show
• A look at Prescott’s Sharlot Hall Museum
HUMOR Our writer shares a senior moment.
ONLINE EXTRA Take a trek along the
WEEKEND GETAWAY Step back in time at
the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow.
EXPERIENCE ARIZONA Plan a trip
with our calendar of events.
a Day Fifty writers and photographers scattered throughout
Arizona on October 1, 2005, to capture the quirky, inspiring,
surprising diversity of the state. Here’s what happened to
them, all on one perfect day in the West. And when you’re
done here, savor more with a slide show on our Web site at
arizonahighways.com depicting one day in the life of Arizona.
2 Ascending Agassiz Peak PETER ENSENBERGER
4 Celebrating Dawn at the Grand Canyon PETER ALESHIRE
10 Canoeing Blue Ridge Reservoir TOM CARPENTER/NICK BEREZENKO
16 Exploring a Hopi Village KATHLEEN BRYANT/DAWN KISH
20 Ballooning Sedona ROGER NAYLOR/LARRY LINDAHL
22 Driving Through Monument Valley JOHN ANNERINO
26 Praying at San Xavier KATHLEEN WALKER/ERROL ZIMMERMAN
28 Gunfighting in Tombstone LEO W. BANKS/DAVID ZICKL
34 Celebrating Rex Allen in Willcox SALLY BENFORD/RICHARD MAACK
38 Finding Out What Fo' BILL BROYLES/RICHARD WEBB
42 Jeep Touring Near Wickenburg RANDY SUMMERLIN/KEN ROSS
44 Climbing Baboquivari BOB KERRY/PETER NOEBELS
48 Splashing in Havasupai Waterfalls PETER ALESHIRE
50 Calling White Mountain Elk JAYME COOK/MOREY K. MILBRADT
52 Pitting Racers Against Riders in Prescott WYNNE BROWN/KERRICK JAMES
56 Fishing Apache Lake LEE ALLEN/GEORGE STOCKING
60 Mystifying in Walnut Canyon JoBETH JAMISON/GEOFF GOURLEY
62 Driving Historic Route 66 GREGORY McNAMEE/TERRENCE MOORE
Wuphaya Marinao, a
resident of Kykotsmovi,
a Third Mesa village
on the Hopi Indian
Reservation, holds fast to
his ears of corn. See story,
page 16. dawn kish
Photographic Prints Available
n Prints of some photographs are available for
purchase, as designated in captions.
To order, call toll-free (866) 962-1191
or visit www.magazineprints.com.
National Wildlife Refuge
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 3
by Peter Ensenberger, director of photography, email@example.com viewfinder
this issue of Arizona Highways began as a labor of hope and
discovery. We hoped to discover the real Arizona by sending a
legion of photographers and writers across our state to capture
not just a slice of Arizona, but the whole enchilada — all on
Saturday, October 1, 2005.
While coordinating our photography coverage for this day of
days, I had plucked a plum assignment for myself. With the still-summery
desert in my rearview mirror, I make the three-hour
drive north to the cool, thin air of the San Francisco Peaks near
Flagstaff. Arizona’s highest of the high country. Employing
Arizona Snowbowl’s Scenic Skyride as my conveyance, I sit back
and let the chairlift transport me up Agassiz Peak.
The effortless ride up allows plenty of time to savor hundred-mile
views from this Alpine landscape. With feet dangling in
the open air just above the treetops of a golden aspen forest, it’s
impossible not to notice the temperature drop. At timberline
it bottoms out at a crisp 45 degrees.
I hop off the chairlift at its upper terminus surrounded
by tundra. Turning toward the western horizon, my bird’s-eye
view of the mountain suddenly changes to a panorama
of northern Arizona from the heavens. In the calm at the
mountaintop, a crystal-clear melody wafts up from the
guitarist performing on the deck of the ski lodge nestled in the
glade 2,000 feet below.
Hiking up a short cinder trail delivers me to John
Westerlund, a National Park Service interpreter explaining
how this great mountain was once a boiling volcanic cauldron.
From our lofty perch, he identifies distant landmarks.
Kendrick Peak, Bill Williams Mountain and the Grand Canyon
seem to float on a sea of gauzy haze.
At 11,500 feet above sea level, the sun’s warmth is a welcome
presence. But a cold north wind reminds me that the seasons
are changing. I probe the pockets of my jacket hoping to find
Find expert photography advice and information at arizonahighways.com
(Click on “Photography”).
Arizona Highways magazine has inspired an
independent weekly television series, hosted by
Phoenix TV news anchor Robin Sewell. For
channels and show times, log on to
arizonahighways.com; click on “DISCOVER
ARIZONA”; then click on the “Arizona Highways
goes to television!” link on the right-hand side.
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Produced in the USA
OCTOBER 2006 VOL. 82, NO. 10
Publisher WIN HOLDEN
Editor PETER ALESHIRE
Senior Editor BETH DEVENY
Managing Editor RANDY SUMMERLIN
Web/Research Editor SALLY BENFORD
Book Division Editor BOB ALBANO
Books Associate Editor EVELYN HOWELL
Editorial Administrator NIKKI KIMBEL
Editorial Assistant PAULY HELLER
Director of Photography PETER ENSENBERGER
Photography Editor RICHARD MAACK
Art Director BARBARA GLYNN DENNEY
Deputy Art Director BILLIE JO BISHOP
Art Assistant DIANA BENZEL-RICE
Map Designer KEVIN KIBSEY
Production Director KIM ENSENBERGER
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Circulation Director HOLLY CARNAHAN
Finance Director BOB ALLEN
Information Technology CINDY BORMANIS
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Phoenix area or outside the U.S. (602) 712-2000
Or visit arizonahighways.com
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a pair of gloves inside. No such luck. I settle for blowing into
cupped hands to warm my cold fingers.
Just then, my cell phone rings. It’s Richard Webb, one of the
29 photographers working assignments this day. He’s calling
from 1,000 feet above sea level to tell me he’s sweltering in
105-degree temperatures on his assignment, hiking with writer
Bill Broyles into a desert canyon in Arizona’s borderlands
(see story, page 38). In dire need of shade and a cold drink,
they’re calling it a day.
The timing of Richard’s call emphatically brings home the
point we hope to make with this issue’s ambitious undertaking:
On any given day, Arizona is capable of a thousand different
stories in a thousand different places. At this moment, Richard
and I are worlds apart, separated by 300 miles of land, 10,000 feet
in elevation and 60 degrees in temperature.
Our individual experiences could not be more
different, but our collective experience points to one
conclusion. The real Arizona runs both hot and cold.
Looking for the Real Arizona at 11,500 Feet
Scenic Skyride turns
the ski lift into off-season
up the San Francisco
Peaks near Flagstaff.
On October 1, riders
skim the treetops to
an observation point
11,500 feet in elevation.
n To order a print of this
photograph, see inside
2 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6
i wait, irresolute, in the predawn dark in front of
the Grand Canyon’s Maswick Lodge, watching the unnervingly
alert Japanese tourists pile into the tour bus.
I hope I don’t blow this. It’s October 1, 2005, and all over
the state, Arizona Highways writers and photographers are
tromping about in the darkness to implement a potentially
foolish idea: Capture a single day in the life of Arizona.
Months earlier around the conference table, it seemed
clever: Dispatch great writers and photographers to ride
through Monument Valley, scale Baboquivari Peak, call White
Mountain elk, climb the San Francisco Peaks, watch Tombstone
gunfighters, photograph a Willcox parade, canoe a Rim
Country lake. What can go wrong?
But as I wonder how I’ll get to the South Rim before sunrise
and think of that brave scattering of writers and photographers,
the idea strikes me as, well, foolish.
What if it rains?
Can landscape photographers make great photographs on
Should I have signed up for the sunset tour bus?
Mercifully, the tour guide notes my indecision and suggests I
hoof it to the Rim for the free shuttle.
“A free shuttle at 5 a.m.?” I ask.
“Of course,” she replies. “Sunrise.”
Of course. Sunrise.
Long ago, I read that Geronimo and his buddies woke every
day before dawn so they could face east and pray, an offering
of gratitude for the day, the dawn and the light that makes all
I have yearned to know that prayer, but I am a rootless child
of suburbia. So I have made up my own prayers, haphazard
and solitary — which is why I find the idea of a sunrise shuttle
I run through the lightening darkness, dangling camera gear.
I arrive breathless, afraid I’ve missed my bus. But it arrives
10 minutes later, packed with bundled-up tourists, familiar
strangers. The bus heads on down the darkened road. A few
miles later, the doors sigh open and we stumble out into the
chilly October air.
I wander the paved, railed viewpoint as the crowd grows,
savoring the babble of languages. Japanese. German. Spanish.
French. Italian. Arabic. Three teenaged girls giggle and huddle,
cute as chipmunks. A gaunt, handsome man with a scarred
cheek sits apart, so intent that he does not deign to shiver
despite his shorts and T-shirt. A man with the pleasantly
bemused face of a sitcom dad puts his arm around the
shoulders of his shivering 12-year-old daughter and drizzles
Grand Canyon geology factoids over her baffled forehead. A
boy and a girl twine like cottonwood roots, lost in their own
world. Nearby, a couple with perhaps
40 anniversaries to their credit stand
in comfortable contact. She half-shivers;
he casually slips his coat
across her shoulders with such a fond
smile that it makes me tear up.
They all watch the eastern horizon
with growing anticipation, playoff fans in line for tickets.
Down below, the Canyon begins to emerge from the
darkness, the ghosts of towers, buttes and ridges forming in
the mist of distance.
I move away from the sunrise supplicants along a layer of
250 million-year-old limestone, hoping to get a slab of rock in
my camera’s foreground. I set up my tripod and wait, looking
back and forth from the horizon to the people who have come
here to learn the prayer I have mumbled all my life.
The Earth spins, a rush of light immolates a string of
clouds at the horizon. I hear an audible “oooohhhh” from the
I think of those writers and photographers, each turning to
capture these first photons, all at once, across the state.
And in that moment, I love these tourists, so patient and
hopeful. I love their exclamations and their misinformation,
the journey halfway around the world to be here. I love the
sound of Arabic. I love the expressions on their faces, the way
they reach out for one another, their hunger to know about the
geology and their need to watch the Earth spin another day
I may not know the words of the prayer, but still I am
grateful—for the day, for the dawn and for the light that makes
all things possible.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 5
of October 1st
all who wander by Peter Aleshire, editor
Sunlight’s supplicants await dawn on the South Rim
Sheer cliffs tower 3,000 feet above the Colorado River at the
remote Toroweap Overlook along the Grand Canyon’s North
Rim, photographed on October 1, 2005. tom danielsen
n To order a print of this photograph, see inside front cover.
Visitors gather on October
1, 2005, at the South Rim to
greet the rising sun as it
reveals the gorge layer by
layer. peter aleshire
6 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 7
You can do everything in Arizona—all at once.
To prove it, on October 1, 2005, we assembled
50 writers and photographers and told them to run, hike, climb, paddle,
ride, drive, float and fly to every crannied nook of the state. So they heli-coptered
into Havasupai, rappelled off Baboquivari, tottered atop the San
Francisco Peaks, paraded through Willcox, bugled up elk, confronted
gunfighters in Tombstone, pitted runners against riders in Prescott, bal-looned
over Sedona and savored dozens of other pleasures of the day.
Here’s what happened to them upon a single perfect day in Arizona.
Once Upon a Day
IN A R IZONA
Left to right: Andrés and Rosa Garcia, errol zimmerman; Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona, peter schwepker; Willcox High School Marching Band, richard maack
First Light A golden dawn breaks over the Rincon Mountains and
the skyline of downtown Tucson on October 1, 2005. randy prentice
n To order a print of this photograph, see inside front cover.
Hopi hands, dawn kish
onli n e View the "Once Upon a Day in Arizona" slide show at arizonahighways.com (Click on "October Trip Planner"). 6:22a.m.
8 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 9
Perfect Pumpkin At midday
in Flagstaff on October 1,
photographer Geoff Gourley
stopped at Allen's pumpkin
lot and observed Hayley
Trueman, 5, and her mother,
Joanne, of Phoenix, hunting
for the perfect pumpkin.
Gourley captured Hayley's
jubilation as she hefted
her trophy catch for mom's
approval. geoff gourley
10 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 11
The Zen of the Paddle
A red canoe and a Rim Country lake make the day a work of art
blue ridge reservoir
by Tom Carpenter photograph by Nick Berezenko
magine a Zen painting in progress.
Instead of a paintbrush, the artist
holds a wooden paddle. The inkwell
is a reservoir filled with water. The pig-ment
is sunlight. The idea is a red canoe.
The hands that hold the paddle dip it into
the reservoir and pull the red canoe across
the water like a line drawn on parchment.
With each stroke, glistening balls of light
fall from the hickory blade. Another line
In Nature’s Lap Author Tom Carpenter glides along in his prized
red canoe on a languid Blue Ridge Reservoir on October 1.
n To order a print of this photograph, see inside front cover.
12 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 13
is , and another, slowly, rhythmically,
as the red canoe glides away from the
boat ramp on the C.C. Cragin Reservoir,
headed east toward the dam.
A canoe is the best craft for such waters.
Although boats with motors or engines
less than 8 horsepower are permitted,
the rattle and roar of such devices draw
faster, wider lines, more graffito than
Zen brushstrokes. For those who prefer
to wear their vessel like a girdle, kayaks
suffice, but there is little dignity in don-ning
Half an hour passes and the red canoe
slides past the dam. The Phelps Dodge
Corp. built the concrete arch dam on
East Clear Creek in 1963. Standing 160
feet high and 14 feet thick at its base, the
dam created a 15,000-acre-foot reservoir
that provides water the mining company
pumps into the East Verde River to com-pensate
for water it draws from the Black
River for its Morenci copper mine. The
Salt River Project took control of the res-ervoir
in 2005 and changed the name
from the Blue Ridge Reservoir to the C.C.
Cragin Reservoir, after an SRP engineer.
But now, there is more paddling to
do, picking through the logs and smaller
driftwood that have accumulated near
the dam. The red canoe nudges through
the clutter of logs on which plants have
taken root to bloom as if their roots
clutched loam in a flowerpot.
The reservoir is a wishbone with both
forks pointed west, with the dam where a
child would hold it while making a wish
for a red canoe. The width varies as the
red canoe swings south. Where it widens,
the wind abides and soaring birds look
for fish. A single paddler must store gear
forward to keep the bow trimmed and
avoid the labor of keeping a high bow
into wind. The wind stays in the treetops
once the spruce- and pine-covered walls
of the canyon close in.
Now the Zen painting takes shape. The
brushstrokes have steadied. The idea, the
red canoe, aims for a clump of small aspens
ahead. A million minnows meander. Is
that an osprey overhead? There is no
point in hurrying. A steady, patient stroke
propels a red canoe about 1.5 miles per
hour, which means an hour of steady pad-dling
to the first good campsite. A stand
of young aspens marks the spot.
The beach is comprised of granite slabs
and gravel. A red canoe does well here.
The scraping of the hull on gravel adds
character to a red canoe. One of those
beautifully crafted woodstrip canoes,
replete with inlays and clear laminate,
would meet a fate similar to that of a
Number 2 pencil in the jaws of seventh
grade boy flunking a math quiz. There
are three good spots to pitch a tent here.
And there is a hole off the point where a
bait fisherman can grow bored catching
trout off the bottom. So, this place is usu-ally
The next good spot requires another
45 minutes of paddling, just past a 15-
foot-high granite wall on the right side
of the reservoir. This is a good spot, with
room for several tents and wide rocks
at the water’s edge perfect for fly-fish-ing.
The water is deep, so most of what
the trout eat falls onto the water, rather
than rising up from the bottom. They eat
in slow time, rising to swallow a cicada
affixed to the surface by wet wings and
bad luck, like they are nibbling grapes.
Camp here. Drink some water. Set up
the tent. Maybe take a nap. Two hours of
steady paddling have earned one. That is
the wind in the trees, not traffic on the
interstate. Yes, that was a trout jumping
through the unconditioned air. The scent
of dirt and pine are inseparable and
sweet. Stars will spill from the night sky
and eastbound airliners will wink well
ahead of the low growl they drag behind
them at 30,000 feet.
Beyond this particular day, it will be
wonderful to recollect the pull of a paddle
and the reflection of a red canoe drawn
upon a reservoir.
Tom Carpenter lives in Flagstaff and dreams of
Nick Berezenko remembers many happy hours
spent fishing with his father in the steep-walled
Blue Ridge Reservoir. He lives in Pine.
Location: 65 miles south of Flagstaff
in the Coconino National Forest.
Getting There: From Phoenix, travel north on
Interstate 17 for 130 miles to Exit 339. Travel
south on Lake Mary Road (Forest Service
Road 3) for 55 miles to Clint’s Well. Turn left
(northeast) onto State Route 87 and travel
4 miles to Forest Service Road 751 and turn
right (south) driving 6 miles to the reservoir.
Travel Advisory: During the winter, FR 751
is closed and the reservoir is not accessible.
All roads are paved except 751, which is
gravel and suitable for passenger cars. The
boat ramp is narrow, long and steep.
Additional Information: Happy Jack
Information Center, (928) 477-2172; or
Mogollon Rim Ranger District, (928)
Ready to Launch During the Flagstaff Festival of Science, Robert
Bohlin inflates a weather balloon for an October 1 presentation by
the National Weather Service station in Bellemont. geoff gourley
blue ridge reservoir 4:05 p.m.
14 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 15
A snowcapped Agassiz Peak
forms a backdrop for golden
aspens and green conifers on
a calm October 1 morning.
Hikers enjoy this rich mantle
as they amble along the
moderate 5-mile Kachina Trail
in Coconino National Forest.
n To order a print of this
photograph, see inside front cover.
16 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 17
ctober 1, 2005, in north-ern
Arizona brings a glory
of piercing blue sky and
roadside yellows, from
lemon-bright snakeweed to the warm
beige of saltbush heavy with winged
seeds. As my friend Sydney and I head
north for the Hopi Mesas, mild breezes
scented with the autumn tang of dried
grasses enter the truck’s open windows.
With every mile, the lavenders and
blues of the San Francisco Peaks shift. The
Hopi people call the peaks Nuvatukyaovi,
or the Place of Snow on the Very Top.
Nuvatukyaovi is the seasonal home of
the Katsinam, currently in residence,
though the generous spirit beings have
finished bringing their gifts of rain to the
cornfields scattered below the mesas.
Sprawling Black Mesa comes into view,
its fingered edges of golden sandstone
marking the Hopi Mesas. After pass-ing
through the Third Mesa village of
Kykotsmovi, we stop briefly on Second
Mesa at Tsakurshovi trading post to learn
about current events. We then wind up
the road to First Mesa, stopping at Ponsi
Hall in Sichomovi. The villages atop
First Mesa — Hano, Sichomovi and
Walpi — meld together seamlessly, each
with its own kivas and plaza, where the vil-lage
heart throbs with color and sound dur-ing
ceremonies. Today, Sichomovi’s plaza
and streets echo with the laughter of chil-dren
playing ball before a gallery of dogs.
Though the game is interrupted each
time a car or truck inches by, it’s easy to
picture the same setting of closely set
pueblos centuries ago. Hopis say their
ancestors climbed up to this world on a
reed where the god Masaaw told them to
leave their footprints as they journeyed
in search of the Center Place. Many cen-turies
ago, people came from Homolovi,
Chavez Pass, and other scattered villages
to that center place and settled around
It is said that each group contributed
a duty or a ceremony, uniting a dozen
clans, which became Hopituh Shinumo,
the peaceful people. Later, during the
Pueblo Revolt and Spain’s reconquest,
more people from the Rio Grande vil-lages
sought safe haven among the Hopis.
Thus, the Hopi villages are a melting pot
of the region’s earliest peoples, a micro-cosm
reflecting the macrocosm of the
Since the turn of the last century, First
Mesa has been known for pottery. Inspired
by ancient potsherds, a Hano woman
named Nampeyo revitalized this Hopi tra-dition.
She began a family artistic dynasty
that continues today. Several homes along
the road from Polacca to Sichomovi dis-play
signs noting “Potteries for sale.”
Outside Ponsi Hall, potter Esther
Jackson shows us her pottery, along with
kachinas and drawings made by family
members. Throughout the Hopi villages
people weave baskets, plaques or cotton
shawls; carve cottonwood root into figures
representing Katsinam; gather herbs for
medicines and teas; and continue the
ceremonies that once bound the differ-ent
clans into a greater community.
The oldest inhabited Hopi villages are
Oraibi on Third Mesa and First Mesa’s
Walpi, which perches on the tip of the
fingerlike mesa. Only a few residents
stay here year-round, though the 900-
year-old village continues to host cer-emonies.
Recent restorations to Walpi’s
stone-and-plaster walls make the village
appear untouched by time. Cars are not
allowed past the Gap, a narrow causeway
of stone linking Walpi to the rest of First
Mesa, though visitors can tour on foot
with a guide.
Guide Peralta Antone introduces us to
Hopi history, teaches a few Hopi words,
and lets us hold different colored ears of
corn — blue, white, red and yellow — ex-plaining
the significance of each. Our
small group follows her past small stone
piki houses, where women cook paper-thin
layers of blue corn batter over hot
stones and roll them into the delicate,
A dizzying distance below, stone out-
Hopi Balancing Act Ancient villages perch on a ridge between past and future
by Kathleen Bryant photographs by Dawn Kish
Sun and Soil As if supplicating the
sun, Grant Namoki shows his hands
and face, dirty from playing in his
18 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 19
Location: The Hopi Reservation is 250
miles northeast of Phoenix and about
120 miles northeast of Flagstaff.
Getting There: From Flagstaff, drive east 60
miles on Interstate 40 to Winslow. Take State
Route 87 north for 60 miles to Second Mesa.
Travel Advisory: The Hopi Cultural Center
and most galleries are open year-round. The
Cultural Center on Second Mesa has an inn and
restaurant. Room reservations are strongly
recommended. Camping is available nearby.
Guided walking tours of the First Mesa village
of Walpi are offered daily at Ponsi Hall. Galleries
dot the mesas, and many artists sell work from
their homes. Observe the visitor rules posted
by each village. Photography, recording and
sketching are prohibited. It is a privilege to
be a guest at a ceremony, and good behavior
affects the ceremony. Dress modestly and
neatly and maintain a respectful attitude.
Additional Information: Hopi Indian Reservation,
(928) 734-3283; www.hopi.nsn.us.
lines mark old sheep pens. Farther below
still, a band of green marks one of several
springs that account for the existence of
these ancient settlements. Water is life.
This has not changed in the intervening
Also unchanging is the jagged eastern
horizon of stone buttes, marking a time
when humans lived in closer connec-tion
to nature’s cycles and rhythms. The
precise position of the rising sun in rela-tion
to the rocky buttes once heralded
ceremonies, although such events now
often happen on weekends to accom-modate
people working off-reservation.
Thus the pace of modern life reaches
even here, though today the reservation
seems an island of peace and tradition.
Those who look closely will see messages
from the past: the pigmented handprint
on the beam of a log-and-brush ceiling,
the grinding slicks worn into bedrock
at edge of a cliff, the glimpse of a basalt
mano mixed in with limestone masonry.
No matter if you hail from Michigan or
Mishongnovi, we who have adopted this
harsh land as our home can treasure
As we head back across the narrow
Gap and gaze at the patches of green far
below, I think how delicately we are bal-anced
between past and future on this
single day in time.
Kathleen Bryant of Sedona says her most enduring
Arizona memories are the back-road journeys
she made with her parents many decades ago.
Dawn Kish of Flagstaff says the Hopi Indian
Reservation keeps calling her back. She finds it
one of the hardest places to photograph.
Grasping the Essentials Liz Chamena carries her son, 2-year-old Lyle Poseyesva,
who clutches the corn that is basic to Hopi life.
20 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 21
WWe’re descending at a rate of 1,000 feet
per minute when it occurs to me that the
balloon basket holding us is constructed
entirely of wicker. Great. We’re falling to
earth in something that may have been
purchased at Pier 1.
Of course, much of the appeal of a hot
air balloon ride lies in that heady mix of
low tech and high science. Also, there’s
booze. But let me back up.
We stumble out of the Red Rock Balloon
Adventures van into a heavy-lidded pre-dawn
in a groggy knot, weighing the urge
for coffee against the lack of creature com-forts
aboard a balloon. At this unholy
hour, the sky sags gloomy and dim as if
we’re peering through pudding skin. For
people about to shake off earthly bonds
and take flight, we yawn. A lot.
Our pilot, Mark Stewart, and his crew
prove more animated. Despite their
repeated assurances that they have no
idea what they’re doing, they sling ropes
and unfurl an acre of nylon with prac-ticed
ease. They lash the basket to the
bumper of the van as a giant fan blasts air
into the bulb-shaped envelope.
Suddenly, the soft beast flutters to life,
an eye-popping sight. Then, they crank
up the flamethrower.
This is the crux of ballooning, a single
principle we learned in sixth-grade sci-ence
class — warmer air rises in cooler air.
Fed by a roaring geyser of flame, the
envelope lurches upright, grows full and
impossibly large. Ten minutes after the
inflation process began we’re climbing
into the basket. The ground crew unhitches
the ropes, and now nobody needs coffee
to snap awake because we’re soaring into
the sky. The darned thing really works!
We snag a thermal and follow it along
the Dry Creek drainage into open coun-try.
Low-contour flying, Stewart calls it,
giving us a chance to scan for wildlife.
We’re cruising at 100 feet. A family of
mule deer and a couple of jackrabbits
later, we start to climb.
The stillness startles me. I expected a
turbulence-swatted ride, the basket swing-ing
like a graveyard gate. Yet we feel oddly
motionless. Stewart guides us on a waft-ing,
The controls Stewart uses to pilot the
balloon are pretty straightforward. To
lift the balloon, he opens a propane valve
on the burner. A dragon’s belch of flame
heats the air and makes the balloon rise.
To descend, he tugs the cord attached to
the parachute valve to release hot air.
The balloon has no rudder or steer-ing
wheel. To move horizontally, Stewart
moves vertically. Wind blows in differ-ent
directions at different altitudes so he
negotiates a layer cake of atmosphere,
rising and dropping to catch properly
aimed wind flows.
It is an inexact but endearingly grace-ful
mode of transport. Minutes into the
trip, I vow to travel exclusively by balloon
from now on. It will add a much needed
dash of drama to grocery shopping.
Gaining altitude and clearing a mesa
top, we ambush the sunrise as a piñata of
light bursts in the canyons. “This is one
of the perks of the job,” says Stewart. “I
get to see this every morning.”
He has been flying for 16 years. “I took
a balloon ride on a whim and the next
day started training to be a pilot. I was
We rise to 3,000 feet, searching for
a whiff of wind to propel us closer to
prominent landmarks like Doe Mountain
and the Cockscomb, but a dead calm
sky holds us. We hang suspended, like a
giant ornament as Stewart slowly pirou-ettes
the balloon to provide a snapshot of
the wraparound vistas. A dense layer of
smoke from a controlled burn obscures
the town of Sedona and we’re not as up
close and personal with the formations
as we had hoped, yet the view is soul-nudging.
And the best was yet to come.
Even though the crew vowed to hit the
sack as soon as we were airborne, they
monitor our whereabouts via radio. As we
descend, they caravan toward our likely
landing spot. Stewart displays a deft touch
at the controls as he drops into ravines and
then pops out over each crest, brushing
the tops of piñon pines with the basket. It
feels like a roller coaster for heart patients.
No white knuckles, just a sweet thrill.
We gently one-hop in a field. The bas-ket
— wisely made out of flexible wick-er
— absorbs the impact. The crew deflates
and packs everything that requires deflat-ing
then transports us to a sprawling
breakfast feast of fresh fruit, muffins the
size of a coyote’s head and the traditional
flutes of champagne.
Although for some reason it’s con-sidered
bad form to toast a balloon crew
with a hearty, “Bottoms up!”
by Roger Naylor photograph by Larr y Lindahl
An avid hiker living in Cottonwood, Roger Naylor
spends a lot of time with boots firmly on a trail.
While floating in the hot air balloon, Larry
Lindahl felt the freedom of soaring like a hawk.
He lives in Sedona and is the author of Secret
Sedona: Sacred Moments in the Landscape,
published by Arizona Highways.
Wind Traveler Piloted by Mark
Stewart this October 1 morning,
the bright hot air balloon drifts
gracefully over the Coconino
National Forest near Sedona.
Falling to Earth Wicker wafting through Sedona skies
Getting There: From Interstate 17 turn north
onto State Route 179 and drive for 7.5 miles,
then turn right onto Canyon Diablo Road.
Travel Advisory: Red Rock Balloons offers
only sunrise flights, including pickup from a
local hotel and breakfast. Flights last 60 to
90 minutes. Sky High Balloon Adventures
gives Sedona tours in the Verde Valley.
Additional Information: Red Rock Balloons,
toll-free (800) 258-3754; www.redrockballoons.
com; Sky High Balloon Adventures, toll-free
(800) 551-7597. Sedona Chamber of
Commerce, toll-free (800) 288-7336, (928)
22 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 23
A cowboy guide and a Navajo elder
weave the threads of Monument Valley
text and photographs by John Annerino
Rock Solid Tour guide Bill Crawley
embraces Monument Valley even
with the earth tones and shapes on
the shirt he wears on October 1.
Sacred to the Navajo people, the
valley has been immortalized in
many Hollywood Westerns.
24 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 25
Jewelled Grace Her 92 years haven't
dimmed Navajo weaver Suzie Yazzie’s
love of bright and bold hues, shown
here on October 1. Her mud hogan
and patterned rugs tell remarkable
tales of ancient culture and history.
he dark wind cuts like a flint
knife, as the silver pickup barrels
toward dawn in the early morn-ing
darkness. His blue eyes glint
in the white hue of the dashboard. Tassels
of long gray hair dangle from his sweat-stained
cowboy hat. The high-heeled boot
kisses the brake pedal, and thick hands
caress the steering wheel into a turn. We
roll to a stop, trailing a red cloud of dust
that falls like a phantom over the edge of
the rimrock. Through the windshield,
two black paws claw out of the landscape
and clutch at the sliver of a silver moon.
They are ’Álá Tsoh, or Big Hands. We have
come to the Big Hogan to greet whispers
of dawn in the sacred valley of Tsé Bii
Ndzisgaii, or Clearing Among the Rocks.
I slide out of the warm saddle of the
pickup and walk across the black stones
to the edge of the mesa. The world falls
away into an abyss, but in the rattle of a
horned snake’s tail, the delicate brush-strokes
of first light blush the skyline
pink. I set up the cold metal tripod, take
a seat on the hard ground and await the
first hint of sunlight that will shroud Tsé
Biyi, or Rock Canyon, with long shadows
that will herald this new day.
In a land where the night chants of the
Yé’is still echo off the walls and stones,
the voice of a country and Western singer
drifts from the open window of the pickup:
Cowboys don’t cry-aaay, and heroes don’t
die-aaay. He is my guide. A mixed-blood
Arizona native and Oklahoma Osage, Bill
Crawley has been a good hand in this
rough, beautiful and weather-beaten land
for 55 years. His lifelong love affair with
Monument Valley and its people began
when his daddy first trucked a load of
supplies from Flagstaff to the outpost of
Kayenta in the heartland of Dinétah, the
Navajos' traditional land. Age may have
slowed Bill Crawley, but having his chest
cracked open by surgeons has not stopped
him. He is taking me on a personal jour-ney
through “the land where time stands
still,” as he calls it. He is right about that.
I watch amber light dapple the horizon,
as songs from his memories sew dreams
of a new day: Life is a swee-eet dream that
always comes true. If life were the moo-vies,
I’d never be blue.
I peer through my viewfinder at a yel-low
prism of light winking over one of
the most famous landscapes on Earth.
Revered by Navajo medicine men in holy
chantways, sacred offerings of corn pol-len
and ceremonial sand paintings of
horned toads and holy people, Monument
Valley was discovered by Hollywood at
the height of the Great Depression. That’s
when trading post owner Harry Goulding
camped on director John Ford’s doorstep
at United Artists with a trove of photo-graphs
depicting what would soon epito-mize
After medicine man Hosteen Tso fin-ished
shape-shifting the weather for Ford’s
classic John Wayne movie Stagecoach in
1939, movie producers, television direc-tors
and advertising agencies from around
the globe queued up to use the Navajos’
mythic ancestral ground as their cine-matic
Western canvas. Bill Crawley
guided many through the stunning loca-tions
that remain sacred for the Diné.
I climb back in the truck, and we whirl
through the red sand, piñon and rabbit
bush along a narrow track beneath the
sandstone monoliths of Rain God Mesa.
We stop in front of a mud-covered hogan,
and the warm smile of 92-year-old Suzie
Yazzie greets us.
She has been weaving the dreams of
her ancestors with handspun wool as far
back as anyone can remember. Her hands
are knotted with age, but her long fingers
glisten with silver and turquoise as she
weaves through my book of ceremonial
images I have brought to share with
her. She stops at the color photograph
of Tarahumaras dancing in breechcloths
deep in Mexico’s Sierra Madre, and says
to our interpreter, “That’s how the Navajo
used to be.”
She closes the blue book. I peer
through the viewfinder and study a regal
woman whose gray hair and delicate
composure reminds me of something a
friend once told me when he introduced
me to the Seri Indians on the Mexican
coast of Sonora: “Think about it. . . .
Think about the knowledge that is lost
every time an elder dies.”
We roll away from Suzie Yazzie’s. The
silver pickup grinds through the red
sand beneath the cinnamon-brown walls
of Spearhead Mesa toward Yei Bichei
spires, each sacred to the Navajo and
each a cinematic milepost for Bill Crawley.
We stop at the foot of a slender finger of
towering red stone known as Tsé Ts’óózi,
or Slim Rock. I slide out of the pickup.
Bill saunters through the deep sand,
snake bush and sweet-smelling Irish lav-ender,
his legs bowed from riding herd
on a remuda of 20 horses where the
Coyote trickster still prowls. I hear the
jangle of his spurs. I see a black pot of
cowboy coffee boiling on a campfire spit-ting
molten pellets of piñon gum. He
looks up at the swaying pedestal of stone,
and recalls an afternoon spent with the
actress Julie Andrews atop what became
famous in Clint Eastwood’s alpine thriller
The Eiger Sanction as the Totem Pole.
The red sun plummets like a blazing
comet behind Thunderbird Mesa, ignit-ing
Yei Bichei spires. I hear the night
chants of black-masked Yé’is dancing
around the flames of the yellow fire. I
see the fingers of Suzie Yazzie weaving
wisps of white clouds across the fading
turquoise sky. I hear the voice of a singer
crooning from the worn saddle leather,
as I watch his phantom ride through the
land where time stands still: Here in the
real world . . . And tonight on that silver
screen, it’ll end like it should.
I walk back to the silver pickup and
stare at a legend that still walks the red
earth. His eyes glint with a smile. And I
know, here in the real world, our journey
together has ended the way it should.
John Annerino's new book, Indian Country:
Sacred Ground, Native People, will be published
by W.W. Norton in 2007. He lives in Tucson.
Location: On the Arizona/Utah border between
Kayenta and Mexican Hat.
Getting There: From Flagstaff, take U.S. Route
89 north 60 miles to U.S. Route 160 and turn
north (left). Take U.S. 160 85 miles to U.S. Route
163 and turn north (left) to Kayenta. From
Kayenta, continue on U.S. 163 for 24 miles to the
Monument Valley Road. Turn east (right) onto
Indian Route 42 and drive 4 miles to the Navajo
Tribal Park Visitors Center.
Travel Advisory: You can drive the 14-mile self-guiding
road through Monument Valley for a
$5 entrance fee, or hire a guide.
Additional Information: (435) 727-5874/5870 or
(435) 727-5875; www.navajonationparks.org/
26 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 27
ven the clouds are beautiful at
Mission San Xavier del Bac south of
Tucson. On this day, they cover the sky,
full and charcoal gray. They carry the
promise of rain somewhere in southern
Arizona, but they don’t stop the tourists.
The visitors fill the parking lot with
their vehicles and the small church
with their awe for this place suspended
in time. The art and architecture of the
Spanish New World empire still reign
here. The devotion of a free Mexico per-meates
the walls like the scent of all the
candles ever placed on the altars. The
dust of the Arizona Territory lingers.
A Jesuit priest and explorer, Father
Eusebio Francisco Kino, founded a mis-sion
on this site in 1692. A century later,
the priests of the Franciscan order and
the people of the surrounding land raised
the walls of this church. Their descen-dants
live here still. They are the Tohono
O’odham, the Desert People.
The faithful have come today as they
always have, saying prayers, kneeling
among the statues of saints and the carv-ings
of angels. They pay special homage
to the statue of San Francisco de Assisi,
who founded of the Order of the Friars
Minor, the Franciscans.
The statue, draped in red, has been
readied for the annual Feast of St. Francis
on October 4. The noble wooden face of
the statue has been worn smooth by the
touch of thousands of hands.
Now, as dusk approaches, Father Edgar
Magaña prepares for the evening service.
He pulls the green chasuble, a poncho
like vestment, over the brown robe of his
order. “We have people from all over the
world,” he says. “They’re welcome.”
Diego Bernal, the altar boy, waits in
his robe of red. He will lead the proces-sion,
a small one, like the boy himself.
Outside a breeze blows cool. In the
west, the clouds have broken, revealing
a thin white-gold band of clear sky above
a hill. That rise will obscure a full view
of the sunset, cutting off the rich range
of pinks and blues.
People are arriving in family groups,
in couples or alone. Signs of the cross are
made, cowboy hats and baseball caps are
removed at the doorway. The Malone fam-ily,
just in from Boston, has made the trip.
“We’re just looking for a place to come
to Mass,” Kate Malone says.
Pigeons that held their daily court on
the east tower now fly down to the façade
of the church to roost among the curli-cues
cut into the adobe.
“Welcome once again, to holy ground,”
the priest’s voice carries down the aisles
and out to those who linger at the arched
A woman plays a guitar and sings. The
congregation, surrounded by the bril-liantly
painted walls and ceilings of
another century, raises its voice as well.
Outside, the sunset has created a golden
glow along the small strip of horizon, but
a powerful light nonetheless. To the
southeast, the Santa Rita Mountains have
grabbed their share of the light, like a
movie star would, turning the face of that
range pink lit and crystal clear.
The normally nondescript hill east of
the church now absorbs the last moments
of sun, transformed from desert brown
hill to brilliant coral red. The white cross
atop gleams like a beacon in a Tolkien
tale of power and faith.
“Mira,” says one man to his family.
“Look. Tan bonita. Very pretty.”
Across the plaza, the lights of another
gathering place have come on, the patio of
the Arts and Crafts Center where a party
will raise scholarship money. A band
begins. The music of northern Mexico
reaches out, drumbeats reverberating off
the adobe walls.
Within the church, the light remains
soft, warm, muted with age. The faith-ful
stand straight and strong, as though
they alone can hold up the domes, the
ceilings, the walls of a church made of
nothing but stones and dirt. They raise
their arms in prayer.
“Beautiful,” says Kate Malone as her
family joins the quiet parade.
Beautiful, yes, they often say that here.
Nothing really unusual happened at
Mission San Xavier today. People came to
look and pray as they have for more than
two hundred years. The small church did
nothing more than grow large enough to
hold them all and tall enough to touch
Prayers and Light Nothing, everything, happens at San Xavier
by Kathleen Walker photographs by Errol Zimmerman
san xavier mission
Location: 1950 W. San Xavier Road, Tucson.
Getting There: Take Interstate 19 about 9
miles south of Tucson to San Xavier Road,
Exit 92, turn right (west) and follow signs.
Travel Advisory: The mission, museum and gift
shop are open daily for visitors from 8 a.m. to
5 p.m. Visitors are welcome to photograph inside
the mission except during religious services.
Additional Information: (520) 294-2624;
Tucson author Kathleen Walker often makes
her own pilgrimages to the beauty and peace
of San Xavier.
Errol Zimmerman of Phoenix photographed
sunrise at Mission San Xavier del Bac on October 1,
then returned in midafternoon to find the wedding
of Andrés Garcia and Rosa Encinas in progress.
New Beginnings October 1 wedding vows
completed, Rosa Encinas Garcia talks on her cell
phone as she awaits a limousine outside Mission
San Xavier del Bac, south of Tucson.
Later Beginnings Her red dress befits Jasmine Encinas' joy as she clutches
the arm of a stoic Jonathan Galindo outside the mission on October 1.
28 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 29
oe Muñoz has the devil’s black
eyes. His mustache is a sinister
bit of embroidery that curls like
a snake below the corners of his
mouth. In conversation, he can
chill your soul with matter-of-fact
observations about his favorite Wild
West character, Filemeno Orante.
“I like him because he could finish you
with a knife or a gun, and not give it a
second thought,” says Muñoz. “He was a
true killer. He had no remorse.”
Now, most employers would bolt the
door and punch in 9-1-1 if they saw Muñoz
coming. But for a gunfight re-enactor in
Tombstone, Arizona’s capital of make-believe,
looking like a cold killer beats a
Harvard MBA every day of the week.
Muñoz has held that surprisingly diffi-cult
job for 10 years, which must be some
kind of record in the fast-to-burn-out
world of Western shoot-’em-up.
What keeps him going? Well, it might
just be his belief in reincarnation. But
more on that later.
At the moment, Muñoz is dragging
A Twinkle in the
Devil’s Black Eyes
Fun things to do in Tombstone
when you’re dead
by Leo W. Banks
photograph by David Zickl
Always a Good Day to Die Joe Muñoz, a
gunfight re-enactor in Tombstone, poses on
October 1 as gritty Filemeno Orante, his favorite
Wild West villain. Muñoz has been getting
“gunned down” for 10 years — which is just the
way he likes it.
30 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 31
himself out of the dirt at Six Gun City, a
Western set at 5th and Toughnut streets.
It’s a beautiful October 1 afternoon and
Muñoz has just completed several minutes
of shouting out his lines in his booming,
Spanish-accented voice, then squeezing
off several cannonlike gunshots.
To no avail. He’s been shot dead again,
and like every other time, he collapses
onto the hard ground — convincingly
deceased. The tough part, at age 57, is
coming back to life.
“It’s getting harder and harder to get
back up,” says Muñoz, breathing fast after
his work. “I’m sweating under these heavy
clothes, I’m dirty, and I smell like eggs
from the gunpowder. But that’s okay. I’m
living the way I always wanted to live.”
Muñoz grew up in Caguas, Puerto
Rico, 25 minutes from the capital of San
Juan. Even as a boy, he loved the American
West, and got a taste of it at age 8, when
his grandfather, a cattle rancher, gave
him a horse as a birthday gift.
But with a condition: If the horse
threw him and he cried, he couldn’t keep
his present. If little Joe didn’t cry and got
right back into the saddle, the horse was
his. “My grandfather was pretty old-school,
but it worked,” says Muñoz. “I
learned to ride like nobody else.”
As a teenager in the late 1960s, he
joined other adventurous youngsters from
his neighborhood and emigrated to New
York City. Muñoz rented an apartment in
Greenwich Village and enrolled in high
school, spending nights working odd
jobs, even studying acting for a year.
He thoroughly enjoyed his “hippie
days,” but after graduation he heeded his
dad’s advice and became an accomplished
airplane mechanic based in San Diego.
Still, he never lost his abiding love for
the Wild West, fed by favorite movies like
Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales.
So he helped start the Alpine Outlaws,
a gunfight re-enactment group in San
Diego. In 1996, he came with them to
perform in Tombstone and decided to
stay. “My friends thought I was crazy,
moving here with no job at 47,” he says.
“They asked what I was going to do. I told
them I’d figure that out later.”
His look of sun-baked evil made gun-fight
work inevitable, and although he
plays several roles, his fascination with
outlaws drew him to Filemeno Orante.
With the help of his wife Joanne and
Tombstone historian Ben Traywick, he
wrote scripts that centered on Orante.
This real-life villain stumbled into the
Capital Saloon in Tombstone at 7 a.m. on
July 8, 1882, looking for trouble. A short
time later, he became one of the fabled
men that Tombstone had for breakfast
Deputy Marshal Kiv Phillips shot him
in the groin, while himself taking a round
from Orante’s pistol and dying within 20
seconds. The ornery Orante took four
agonizing days to pass this realm, and
when Dr. George Goodfellow examined
his corpse, he found four previous bullet
wounds dotting the gunman’s chest.
“What impresses me about Joe is the
amount of research he did,” says Traywick.
“He went through my files to get back-ground
on Orante and came back several
times to ask questions. He gets this man
right. I tell Joe he was born to be a Mexican
Muñoz hangs much of his desire for
authenticity on appearance. He keeps his
holster buckle, for instance, against his
back, while in most movies the actors
keep the buckle in front. But that would
slow access to the bullet loops, making
reloading cumbersome. No 19th-century
gunmen would do that.
“I study the pictures and see these men
in my imagination, and I know how they
should look,” says Muñoz.
This devotion to accuracy presents an
interesting problem at home. “The only
thing we fight over is mirror time,” says
Joanne with a laugh. “He gets an hour and
a half and I get 10 minutes. When he’s get-ting
ready for a competition, everything
has to be perfect.”
Muñoz’s pistol of choice is a .45 caliber
Ruger Vaquero. The blanks that Muñoz
and other Six Gun City actors use consist
of real brass shells filled with 18 grains of
gunpowder, packed beneath Styrofoam
wads. A primer in the bottom of the shell
ignites the gunpowder when the ham-mer
With no bullets, it sounds safe, but the
blast still propels the gunpowder out of
the barrel. An actor once broke a cardi-nal
rule and aimed his gun too close to
Muñoz and fired, embedding gunpowder
grains in his face.
Another time Muñoz fired on an
opponent just as a wind gust blew the
skirt of his duster into the powder’s path.
The duster caught fire. The man Muñoz
supposedly killed looked up from the
ground and whispered, “You’re on fire,
Joe!” Keeping to the script, Muñoz held
his position until the narrator finished,
then strolled off the set with his duster
Those loud gunshots have taken their
toll, too. Muñoz came to Tombstone
with significant hearing loss already
from years spent too close to roaring jet
engines. Ten years of booming pistols
have only made the problem worse.
He also suffered damage to his eyes
when jet fuel splashed into them, and now
he can no longer produce tears. But isn’t
that perfect for the remorseless Orante?
In fact, everything about Muñoz’s sec-ond
career has been perfect, including
the acting roles his abilities have won. He
played a Mexican informant in the 1997
TV movie Buffalo Soldiers with Danny
Glover, and he did stunt horseback riding
in the currently running cable show, Wild
West Tech, hosted by David Carradine.
In spite of its physical demands, and
as he begins cutting back on his gunfight
schedule, Muñoz says he couldn’t be hap-pier.
“I’ve lived a kid’s dream in one of the
West’s last frontier towns,” he says.
But it goes a bit deeper than that. You
see, Muñoz believes he’s done this very
same thing before. In Tombstone. Back
in the 1800s. Reincarnation.
“That first time I came to Tombstone,
when I walked down Allen Street, I had
the feeling I was here before,” Muñoz
says. “It was powerful. I’d never thought
about reincarnation. But I knew right
then that this was the place I wanted to
spend the rest of my life.”
Morning Brew Andy Hutchinson (above) of Colorado savors
his morning coffee on October 1 on the Marble Platform of the
Grand Canyon’s North Rim, with the Vermilion Cliffs picking up
the sun's rays in the background.
Holy Ground Bride Christa Reiter and groom Greg Aitkenhead
(left) celebrate marriage at the edge of the Grand Canyon on
Toroweap Overlook. Benn Pikyavit, a Southern Paiute holy
man and national park ranger at Pipe Springs National
Monument, performs the ceremony. both by kate thompson
Tucson-based Leo W. Banks covers stories in
Tombstone whenever the opportunity arises.
David Zickl of Flagstaff claims he was fearless
as he stared down the legendary gunfighters
of Tombstone. Then he pulled his camera and
Location: About 75 miles southeast of Tucson.
Getting There: From Tucson, drive 45 miles
southeast on Interstate 10 to Benson. Take Exit
303 onto State Route 80 toward Bisbee and
Douglas. After 2.3 miles, take the right fork on
State Route 80 and go 23 miles to Tombstone.
Additional Information: Six Gun City, (520) 457-
3827; www.sixguncity.us/index.html; Tombstone
Chamber of Commerce, toll free (888) 457-
3929, (520) 457-3929; www.tombstone.org.
32 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 33
R-E-S-P-E-C-T A cloud of dust envelops
Tuff, a young stud horse at Diamond Tree
Ranch in Cave Creek, and trainer Dallas
Wedel as he establishes the horse’s respect
during a late afternoon October 1
groundwork session. Photographer Scott
Baxter, whose daughter takes reining
lessons from Wedel, says, “I photograph
Dallas a lot when he’s working with my
daughter. You get a lot of atmosphere with
the dust kicking up.” scott baxter
34 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 35
enjoyed a Rex Allen movie marathon.
Next I head for the rodeo arena. Here,
the hootin’ and hollerin’ in the stands
starts as soon as riders enter the ring.
Quicker than you can say “yippeekyay,” a
cowboy on horseback chases a calf into
the arena, ropes and flanks it before tying
together three legs and throwing his
hands into the air to signal the rodeo
judge. Along with calf ropers come bronc
busters, bull riders, barrel racers, steer
wrestlers and a trick-riding rodeo clown.
As the dust settles and evening
approaches, folks head for the auditorium
at Willcox High School, where
Rex Allen Jr. and friends perform for
the hometown crowd. Allen serenades
Willcox with his dad’s favorite songs and
ballads — a fitting way to end a day cel-ebrating
Arizona’s singing cowboy.
As the strains of Rex Allen’s popular hit
“Crying in the Chapel” settle on the desert
night air, I savor a perfect October day
and the big payoff for thinking small.
seeking the perfect arizona day,
I decided to think small. Oh, I know
Arizona harbors the world’s largest stand
of ponderosa pines, tallest fountain and
grandest canyon, but sometimes think-ing
small can pay off big, so I headed for
Willcox — population, 4,000 — for the
54th annual Rex Allen Days, honoring
this southeast Arizona town’s favorite
From the time he started playing guitar
alongside his father at local Willcox dances,
Rex Allen was destined for stardom. At 25,
he was singing professionally, which led
to a movie career that included 20 films,
a television series and narration for more
than 100 Walt Disney productions. “The
Arizona Cowboy” died in 1999, but in
Willcox his memory lives on.
There’s nothing like a small-town
parade to warm the heart. In the bright
early morning light of this first day of
October, fresh-faced teens from the
Willcox High and Junior High School
marching band warm up their tubas,
drums and clarinets. Rex Allen Days
Rodeo Queen Stacy Mott sits astride her
horse and local celebrities perch atop
truck beds and convertibles. Rex Allen
Jr., actor Pedro Gonzales Gonzales and
Speedy Haworth, Rex Allen Sr.’s guitarist,
take their places in the lineup. Each
October, Rex Allen Jr. shows his affection
for the people of Willcox by attending
“I love this event and wouldn’t miss it.
This is my dad’s hometown, and I con-sider
it an honor to join in this celebration,”
Spectators line the route as the proces-sion
winds down Railroad Avenue past
the Rex Allen Museum, the Cowboy Hall
of Fame, Railroad Park and the historic
Willcox Railway Depot. Parade clowns
lope along, greeting minicowboys and
cowgirls with hard candies; Shriners
in silly hats and miniature cars race in
circles; and farmers rev engines of prized
antique tractors that sport signs like,
“Will plow for paint” and “It’s not how
you look, but how you hook.” The parade
lasts a full two hours. As soon as the last
vehicle turns the corner, folks get down
to some serious celebrating.
Before the rodeo starts at 2 o’clock, every-one
checks out the mutton-bustin’ contest,
turtle races, antique tractor pull and the
Western music, cowboy poetry and Rex
Allen Film Festival at Windmill Park.
Ken and Carol Bertelson from Albert
Lea, Minnesota, head straight for the film
festival. Cornered by local officials the day
before, the Bertelsons had been “arrested
and detained” as Willcox’s “weekend mys-tery
guests.” They didn’t mind the false
arrest, being longtime Rex Allen fans.
“When I watch a Rex Allen movie,
I’m 12 again,” Ken says, recalling when
it cost 12 cents to see his favorite singing
cowboy on the silver screen. “It just hap-pened
to be what my grandmother paid
me to shine her shoes.”
Lecturing on local lore, Ken points out
the building on the corner of Railroad
and Stewart avenues, where Allen earned
nickels serenading barbershop patrons.
He shows me Railroad Park, across the
street, where Rex Allen’s beloved horse
Koko is buried.
And of course, he brags on his favorite
spot, the Rex Allen Theater, where folks
Willcox celebrates its favorite son with small-town flair
by Sal ly Benford photographs by Richard Maack
Location: 75 miles east of Tucson.
Getting There: From Tucson, take Interstate 10
east for 75 miles to Willcox.
Travel Advisory: The 2006 Rex Allen Days
celebration takes place October 5-8.
Additional Information: (520) 384-2272;
Sally Benford enjoys visiting Arizona’s small
towns, especially during special celebrations. She
is Arizona Highways’ Research/Web editor.
Rex Allen Days, a true slice of small-town Western
Americana, generates infectious enthusiasm,
providing opportunities for Arizona Highways
Photography Editor Richard Maack and his
True Red, White and Blue Las Vaqueras de Tucson begin their
patriotically themed entrance to the Rex Allen Days Rodeo.
Rodeo Royalty Representing the Sonoita Rodeo
at the October 1 festivities, Pee Wee Princess
Savannah Skiver displays a shy smile.
onli n e For another fun October festival go to arizonahighways.com (Click on "October Trip Planner").
36 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 37
Halloween Hijinks The Halloween
spirit struck early on October 1 as
thousands of thrill-seekers flooded
Old Tucson for the opening night of
“Nightfall: Resurrection.” The event
included stunts, walk-through
encounters and a trick-or-treat trail.
38 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 39
Bill Broyles, who loves visiting with Arizona’s
old-timers like Gale Monson, is fascinated by
map names and recently co-authored a chapter
on southwestern Arizona place-names in Dry
Borders: Great Natural Reserves of the Sonoran
Desert. He lives in Tucson.
After photographing in 100-plus degree
temperatures and wandering into a swarm
of killer bees, Richard Webb of Mesa was a
little jealous of the writers and photographers
working in the cooler parts of the state.
each floor as he walks down the stairs.
The stars dazzle in contrast to the
black nothingness — or everything-ness
— of the infinite sky beyond them,
and I lie on my bedroll, trying to count
shooting stars. The Milky Way looks like
a snow bank and I yearn to touch the star
flakes one by one. Poet Robert Browning
must have been lying on his cot when he
thought to write “a man’s reach should
exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
Sometime after midnight I fall asleep.
Long before sunrise on October 1, we
leave camp and head toward the canyon,
guided by the ripening glow that pre-cedes
dawn. I’m awestruck, marveling
how researchers unravel the intricate
details of the cosmos. Sunrises become
wavelengths and refractions; the explo-sive
motion of a startled jackrabbit is
revealed as the mechanics of efficient
levers, and love is explained as phero-mones
and hormones. But as the black
of night gives way to deep purple and
the darkened canyon walls begin to glow
with salmon and gold, I’m overwhelmed
with wonder, beauty and hope.
In the pass I sprawl on a gravelly clear-ing
used by resting coyotes and nap. At
every little gap in these mountains, a
coyote trail crosses from one valley to the
next. Nothing escapes the eye or nose
of wily coyote, who may cover 35 miles
a day in search of food. I hope it won’t
mind me lounging in its lookout.
Some 50 years ago, this canyon earned
a name when a friend of mine — a white-haired
wildlife biologist named Gale
Monson — rode over this same little pass.
Gale’s name is on the cover of eminent
books about bighorns and birds, but
he was happiest when he could count
horned larks on the bare ground between
creosotes, sit mannequin-still for hours
awaiting a bighorn ewe and her spindly
legged lamb to come to water, or tromp
to places coaxed from ancient maps. He’d
rather camp beside an ironwood tree
Gale and Jim Johnson were horse-back,
searching for hidden waters, and
out of curiosity headed up the narrows.
It didn’t look like much, more of a dead-end
than a passage. Instead, clean gran-ite
sand glittered underfoot, blooming
ocotillos waved, saguaros stood guard
and Gambel’s quail scurried through the
bursage. For men who have surrendered
themselves to the desert’s charms, life
couldn’t get much better. They remem-bered
the lusty flowers of the past spring
and scanned the steep slopes for fat des-ert
This canyon was their secret passage-way
into an enchanted world. They rode
to the notch and when they surveyed the
magnificent vista before them and the
cryptic cleft behind them, they looked at
each other and grinned. One said to the
other in mock bewilderment, “What’s
this canyon good fo’?” That name, What
Fo, is now on the maps, minus the apos-trophe
that cartographers snip like a dan-gling
So what is a canyon for? To provide
soil for giant cacti? To funnel sporadic
rains to huge ironwood trees along sandy
arroyos? To carry our imaginations to
the far end of the universe? In loving one
small place, maybe I can better love the
world. In thinking of one small canyon,
maybe I can begin to unwrap a more
urgent question, “What am I for?” Gale
knew the worth of a canyon, but lured us
to look for ourselves.
The day grows warm, even for the
first day of October. The light becomes
glare and colors blanche. Though we
have energy bars and boxed raisins in
the truck, our stomachs growl for some-thing
more. We are more like the restless,
prowling coyote than we admit.
So we return to town for a warm meal
and cold drink. In Wellton, Geronimo’s
Restaurant is open and inviting, a har-bor
from the sun. Placards on the door
announce a VFW meeting, a benefit car
wash, the local high school’s football
schedule, and “help wanted.” Sombreros,
colorful serapes and Diego Rivera prints
decorate the walls. Rudy Geronimo runs
the place and the family helps out. His
mother Irma Ramirez owns the dress
shop next door. Fresh from a day at
school, three first-grade girls sit at one
Richard and I plow into plates of food
and try to divine the purpose of it all.
What is a canyon for? All answers lead up
twisting canyons. Like lasting love, cool
water or sweet music, they require no
justification. Canyons exist. Cacti bloom.
Coyotes lie down to rest, bighorns walk
confidently along cliffs and we reach for
stars. And on this warm, mellow day, we
bask under a shining sky and smile.
If you find yourself there — even in your
dreams — you too will know what fo’.
What’s It Good For? Canyon in Cabeza Prieta hides the deep answer to the right question
Location: Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
Getting There: From Phoenix, take Interstate
10 south to Interstate 8 west. Take the Tacna
exit, then drive south to the wildlife refuge.
Travel Advisory: The hike is 4 to 5 miles round-trip.
Refuge visitors must obtain a free permit. A
four-wheel-drive vehicle is required. Weather may
be hot even in October, so take plenty of water.
Visitor services are available in Wellton and Tacna.
Additional Information:(520) 387-6483; www.
Hold ‘Em High A lone
saguaro cactus stands
tall against the Sierra
Pinta in Cabeza Prieta
National Wildlife Refuge
on a hot and sunny
October 1 day.
by Bi ll Broyles photograph by Richard Webb OOut west, in the desert far beyond houses
and curbs, a modest canyon bends and
beckons to the crest of a sawback moun-tain.
You haven’t been there, but you
know it and you’d feel safe in that desert
of stark quiet nights under silk moons.
In autumn, when the sun no longer
bakes the ground and light softens the
stark rock, Richard Webb and I camp
several miles from the canyon and
watch the sun settle. A lone mourning
dove lands on the truck’s windowsill
and looks at itself in the side-mirror,
maybe wondering why it didn’t fly south
to winter with the rest of the flock. The
sun slips behind ridges of clouds and
obscures the cleavage of the canyons in
the long jagged range farther to the west.
Then, just when we think darkness is
imminent, the sun roars back into view
below the clouds, red and bursting and
radiant with one last defiance of the com-ing
night. An ironwood tree near camp
appears to burst into flame as the sun
blazes directly behind it. We gawk at six
tiers of vivid clouds. Slowly, and in turn,
each fades as if the homeward-bound
watchman were turning off the lights of 6:35a.m.
40 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 41
Panoramic Palette Vista
Encantada, on the Walhalla
Plateau, offers a variety of
visual treats — the Painted
Desert to the east, Brady Peak
and the upper drainage of
Nankoweap Creek. In this
photograph made on October
1, the North Rim of the Grand
Canyon unfolds in sweeping
scenes to the northeast of
Encantada. chuck lawsen
n To order a print of this
photograph, see inside front cover.
42 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 43
t’s a cool October 1 afternoon when
my son Leyton and I hop in the
back of a Jeep to venture up the
Hassayampa River’s intermittently wet
sandy bottom — a route that eventually
takes us to a pair of unexpected desert
We’re here to explore Box Canyon north
of Wickenburg, where the Hassayampa
usually just trickles lazily along, and
where sudden heavy downpours often
produce flash floods.
Today, we’re passengers in the high-mounted
back seats of a topless Jeep with
Wickenburg native Glenn Cummings
at the wheel, while photographer Ken
Ross rides along with Cathy and Mike
Billingsley in their old-but-reliable
restored Jeep as we four-wheel north up
We’re on just one of many desert
explorations sponsored by BC Jeep Tours,
owned and operated by the Billingsleys,
with the help of Cummings.
We leave from downtown Wickenburg,
where in 1863 adventurous souls came
seeking gold at the nearby Vulture Mine,
as well as the ranching and farming boun-ties
made possible by the Hassayampa’s
Now, fun-seekers head upriver to
hike or picnic in the high-walled canyon
and the area’s washes, rocky ridgelines,
mountain valleys and wide-open desert
BC Tours offers 14 widely varying Jeep
excursions all around Wickenburg, which
likes to call itself the “Dude Ranch Capital
of Arizona” and the very place where Vic
Cedarstaff invented the bola tie in 1949.
We first pass an abandoned manganese
mine and its black tailings, then wind
through thickets of ironwood, tamarisk,
mesquite and willow trees before grind-ing
and bumping over the riverbed’s fine
“sugar sand,” where the Jeep gears groan
to avoid bogging down.
After about a half-hour, we come to a
narrow side canyon that enters the main
gorge from the west, guarded by the
foundations of a cabin claimed long ago
by the floods. We explore the narrow, slot-like
passageway, half hidden by a shady
forest of tamarisk trees.
After driving several miles into the
main canyon, we backtrack and cut
westward up a steep trail to the rim over-looking
the river, all while listening to
Cumming’s expert commentary on every
plant and geologic formation in sight.
“We love this desert,” says Cummings,
who helps lead the tours that last up to
13 hours. “We take people out here just
for the pleasure and fun of showing off
the natural beauty, and we want folks to
learn to protect it and keep it clean.”
Deep into the desert, we encounter our
first surprise, a giant multiarmed saguaro
cactus dubbed by the tour guides as “The
Arizona Highways Saguaro,” which they
guess to be more than 200 years old. This
colossal specimen has so many arms we
can’t count them all — more than five is
an estimated benchmark for perhaps two
centuries of growth.
“We use that name for our guests just
because of its immense size, magnificent
arms and the fact that it’s sort of a desert
emblem made famous by the magazine,”
says Mike Billingsley.
Even more impressive to me just a few
hundred yards farther up the rocky road
is our second surprise, the most awe-somely
tall saguaro I’ve ever laid eyes on.
“We show everybody this thing,” says
Cummings, pushing gently against the
cactus’ base and pointing to the sway
at the top. Very slow growers, saguaros
can reach up to 50 feet. This one is, well,
Satisfied by our unusual discoveries, we
linger on the high ridgeline in the orange
glow of sunset, then reluctantly tear our-selves
loose to bump southward through
the broad expanse of the Hassayampa’s
rivulets wending toward Wickenburg.
Our grumbling stomachs make us
regret that our 12-mile, 2.5-hour tour
hasn’t included the campfire feast of
hamburgers and steaks (accompanied by
howling coyotes) featured on the deluxe
back-road Jeep tours.
The cool evening air settling into the
Hassayampa valley envelops us as we
journey slowly in near-darkness back
to tour headquarters in town. It’s a fit-ting
end to a leisurely jaunt upriver from
Wickenburg that has demonstrated how
those ranchers, farmers and gold-seekers
found their own priceless surprises after
planting themselves permanently in this
Location: Box Canyon of the Hassayampa
River, north of Wickenburg.
Getting There: From Phoenix, drive north on
Interstate 17 to State Route 74. Turn left (west)
at Exit 223, and drive about 47 miles to
Wickenburg. BC Jeep Tours headquarters is
located in downtown Wickenburg. Call for an
Additional Information: BC Jeep Tours, (928) 684-
7901 or (928) 684-4982; www.bcjeeptours.com.
Where There’s Smoke
The Arizona State University
Sun Devils were fired up on
October 1, 2005, when they
stunned the University of
Southern California Trojans
for the first half before USC
came back to win and go
on to the Rose Bowl.
don b. stevenson
Arizona Highways Managing Editor Randy
Summerlin has driven his own Jeep over
countless back roads throughout Arizona, but
on this trip found it quite a pleasure to be just a
Ken Ross of Scottsdale enjoyed the surprises
along the route.
Sunset Jeep Tour
Take a bumpy, open-air
ride to see cactus country
by Randy Summerl in
photograph by Ken Ross
Jeepster Jeans Heading into Box Canyon of the Hassayampa River,
four-wheeling explorers see up close the water source that attracted early 19th-century settlers.
44 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 45
“belayed” from above by Noebels, the best
climber among us.
This section challenges my climbing
skills. The rock above me looks feature-less.
Reaching around the buttress, my
fingers latch onto a tiny hold, but I am off-balance
and puffing like a freight train. At
last I give out a labored noise and heave
myself up to grab a handhold above the
blank section, relieved I didn’t fall and
pull everyone off the cliff.
After scrambling into a huge notch,
we face the “crux” or hardest part of the
route — a short, steep section of exposed
cliff. Climbs up the overhanging east face
rank as extremely difficult and require
days of foot-by-foot progress. Climbers
sleep in hammocks slung on the wall.
We are not climbing one of those
heroic routes, but we could fall just as far.
It is 1,000 or more feet to Lion’s Ledge.
Ignoring the exposure, Noebels makes
quick work of leading the short but dif-ficult
section. We follow in quick order
and find ourselves scrambling on easy
ground to the summit, where prayer flags
flutter from poles placed in the rock cairn
on the high point. Climbers have tied
small, spiritual gifts to the poles and
tucked them into the rocks. They vary
from written prayers to plastic toy cars.
We look around excitedly, read the sum-mit
register and take pictures. As we eat
lunch, a slow silence settles us. The wind
caresses us into a dreamlike state enfolded
in the vast solitude.
Eventually, we rouse ourselves for the
return. We get lucky on the way out and
stay on the trail most of the way. We all
breathe a sigh of relief when the truck
comes into sight with a smidgen of day-light
Location: 60 miles southwest of Tucson.
Getting There: From Tucson drive west on State
Route 86 to Robles Junction. Turn left (south)
onto State Route 286 and continue for 30 miles;
after Milepost 16 take the first right and go
2.7 miles, turn right and drive until you see a
gate with a sign directing you to the trail.
Travel Advisory: High-clearance vehicle
recommended. Please respect the property
rights of the owners and do not cross or use
these lands without their permission.
Additional Information: U.S. Bureau of Land
Management, Baboquivari Peak Wilderness, (520)
the Tohono O’Odham Nation. Babo-quivari
Peak is their sacred home of the
Creator — I’itoi.
“Babo” looks impossibly difficult to
climb. It is a tough, technical climb, but
the easier Forbes Route and the dramatic
Southeast Arête draw the most climbers.
The Forbes Route is named for Dr. Robert
H. Forbes, who failed in several attempts
until he brought along Jesus Montoya
and grappling hooks in July 1898. They
built such a triumphant fire on the peak
that night that residents of Altar, Mexico,
thought the peak had erupted. Forbes
climbed the peak six more times, the
last on his 82nd birthday, although it's a
remote and dangerous route.
Our six-person climbing party set out
on the distinctive Southeast Arête route.
In mountaineering a sharp ridge is called
an arête. French is the language of moun-taineering,
with words like belay, rappel,
The Southeast Arête rates an “easy” 5.6
on the Yosemite scale of difficulty, so it
seemed like a perfect climb for me.
We approach Baboquivari through
Thomas Canyon with the peak’s dramatic
east face in full view. Several years ago, a
rancher’s dogs treed a rare jaguar in these
mountains. Photographs were taken and
the jaguar went free. We do not expect to
see a jaguar, but could see anything from
mountain lions to coatmundi, social
creatures that look like a cross between
a monkey and a raccoon and travel in
bands of up to 20. Even on the highway at
dawn, we glimpsed several bobcats sniff-ing
after the huge jackrabbits that float
out of the predawn dusk, ghostly white
in the headlights.
We park near the Humphrey Ranch
headquarters where The Nature Conservancy
maintains a trail access. We
immediately run into problems. On the
good side, the canyon is cloaked in bril-liant
yellow flowers. On the bad side, the
chest-high flowers hide both the trail and
the barbed branches of fairy dusters and
catclaw, which tear at our bare legs. Soon
the trail eludes us in the thick brush. I
keep thinking, This is going to be impos-sible
if we come out in the dark.
Finally, we shift to the creek bottom,
with its bad footing but fewer thorns
before leading on to an open hillside.
Soon we reach the dramatic Lion’s
Ledge, which runs across the vertical east
face of Baboquivari Peak. A permanent
spring, rare in the desert, runs along the
middle of the ledge. My 1997 guidebook
observes: “Once on Lion’s Ledge you will
weave in and out of heavy brush close to
the rock. If you can stand the exposure it
is easier to traverse the tops of the slabs,
out of reach of the brush. Just be careful
you do not slip to your death doing this.”
We chose the safe route through the
At the end of Lion’s Ledge, we rope
up and start climbing. We conquer easy
slabs at first and then get to a steeper
section. Finally we get to a place where
I cling to a big, rounded edge and try to
pull myself up to the next ledge. Tied in
above and below me are two other climb-ers,
both much younger and fitter. We
are climbing two and three on a rope to
save time and avoid that hike out in the
dark. Three on a rope is risky, but we are
Bob Kerry lives in Tucson where he practiced law
for 30 years in between hiking and climbing all
over the state. Now he's moving into river-rafting.
Peter Noebels of Portland, Oregon, says he’s in
awe of Baboquivari: “After climbing the mountain
at least six times, my respect for it never ceases.”
Rock On The October 1 climbing team
pauses half-way up Baboquivari Peak,
sacred mountain of the Tohono O’odham.
What Am I
on the edge
clings to the cliffs
by Bob Kerry
photograph by Peter Noebels
clinging to a tiny handhold on
the precipitous Southeast Arête of Baboquivari
Peak, I know I will fall. The climb
is not hard for a good rock climber; but
I am not a good rock climber anymore.
I am a 61-year-old grandfather, rusty as
a result of a motorcycle wreck and back
surgery. How did I end up in this pre-dicament?
The answer is euphoric recall; remem-ber
the good, forget the bad. When pho-tographer
Peter Noebels invited me on
this October 1 climb, I remembered great
times climbing Babo but forgot the grind-ing
hike and the honed skills.
Sixty miles southwest of Tucson,
Baboquivari Peak rises just west of vast
Altar Valley and harbors the 2,065-acre
Baboquivari Peak Wilderness. Just north
of Mexico, it marks the east boundary of
46 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 47
Burning Sky The setting
October 1 sun fires an
expansive sky over the
saguaro forests of the Tucson
Mountains and the west unit
of Saguaro National Park.
n To order a print of this photograph,
see inside front cover.
48 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 49
more reason to love — and resent — elves.
So we head downstream, where the
wonders grow more intimate; turquoise
pools, a sea of wild grapes, the sound of
running water, the scarlet flash of sum-mer
tanagers, white-boled sycamores,
sculpted limestone boulders, a shower
of cool water from a cleft.
We reach Beaver Falls late in the day.
Two couples, collected like driftwood
on the bank — savor the multilayered
waterfall. Turns out, they live in California
and North Carolina, but all subscribe to
Arizona Highways. I feel absurdly trium-phant
to have found beloved readers here.
We sit for a long while, watching the
water spill over the falls. Ron swims
across the pool, scales the waterfall and
leaps out into the luminous blue pool
with perfect grace.
I am content to memorize the arch of
his descent, for, finally, I understand.
I understand how Mooney came to be
at the wrong end of that rope.
I understand why the last woman
opened herself to the waterfall and why
the two brothers risked the canyon with
logs on their heads.
I understand why Ron lives on spare
change and tips.
For paradise lies close at hand, if you
but pay the price.
on Paradis steps grace-fully
to the cliff edge of
paradise and unleashes a
lopsided grin of pure joy.
Balanced between curios-ity
and anxiety, I hesitate before stepping
forward for a view of where D.W. James
Mooney died, proof of the sometimes-high
price of dreams.
Ron is tall, with a tousle of Greek-god
dark hair, perfect features and the long,
sculptural muscles of a rock climber. He
is quick and smart and funny and grace-ful
as a Tolkien elf. I run more towards
Hobbit. He dances, I scurry — the ante-lope
and the woodchuck.
But he beckons me now to the edge of
the 198-foot drop of Mooney Falls, the
tallest of the four major waterfalls I have
dreamed of seeing most my life. Tinted
travertine blue-green, Havasu Creek
gathers itself at the top of the cliff before
hurtling into the air in a hypnotic unfurl-ing
of spray and foam. The water falls
with stop-action grace into the ethereal
blue-green pool it has created, unleashing
mists of spray to drift across the surface.
The Havasupai people say that once
upon a time the walls of the canyon
regularly closed together, killing anyone
who went down into it. An old woman
who lived up on top had two beauti-ful
sons, who longed to hunt deer and
antelope, but had nothing from which
to make arrows. Their mother warned
them against venturing into the chasm
to gather reeds that grew there, but they
were foolish and full of hope. They cut
two juniper logs and went down into
the canyon, each balancing a log atop
his head. When the walls began to close,
the boys held them apart with the logs.
Then they went on down to the waterfall
to gather up the reeds for their arrows.
The Havasupai Indians have a name
for this waterfall, but they do not share it
with the herds of people who come down
all agog into their canyon, on the south-western
end of the Grand Canyon.
On our maps, the waterfall is named
for Mooney, a prospector who came
down into the canyon seeking gold, but
found the way blocked by the travertine
Mooney fearlessly lowered himself over
the side on a rope, driven by dreams of
wealth. Some say his companions cut the
rope, but it probably just frayed on the
rasp of travertine. Mooney plunged to his
death in the pool below. His companions
hiked out and returned some months later
and found a tunnel to the bottom where
they encountered Mooney’s body, already
encased in travertine.
Swaying at the top of the precipice, I
ponder the price of dreams as I watch
the dizzying fall of water. I can follow
individual droplets or let them blur into
a single entity.
“Stay back from the edge,” says Ron.
“These travertine overhangs can just col-lapse.”
I step back, Ron grins.
Ron Paradis. My guide to paradise. Am
I reading too much into a name?
I have always envied his ilk, for I have
spent my life as the observer, making notes
about people like Ron. He has spent several
years as a guide for Outback Adventures,
introducing tourists to this land of water-falls,
whippoorwills, cottonwoods and
constellations. In high school, guys as
charming and confident as Ron filled me
with a sick longing from behind my screen
of books. When he graduated college, he
sought adventure and waterfalls, giving
up a house, regular income, even plausible
relationships by refusing the compromises
of career that have encrusted the rest of us,
like a layer of travertine.
But I cannot resent him today, for he
has wrapped the canyon and set it under
the Christmas tree of my day. He stands
on the cliff edge to watch my face as I
unwrap the view.
We are on a mission. I started this day
with sunrise on the South Rim, then
avoided the long drive and a steep, 8-mile
hike into Havasupai by catching a ride on
a Papillon helicopter so I could cover as
much ground as possible on this singular
October 1. When I got my breath back
from the swoop of scenery into the can-yon,
I met Ron at the village and hiked a
sandy mile down to the first of four major
falls. I swam across that first pool and
slipped back under the falls, hidden in an
exuberance of bubbles and froth.
Then we hoofed it down to Havasu
Falls and dropped our packs at the nearby
campgrounds. We did not linger long, as
we hoped to make it another 4 miles
down canyon to Beaver Falls.
But first we must scramble down the
tunnel to the bottom of Mooney Falls,
clinging to the chains that provide hand-holds
on the travertine slick rock.
At the bottom, I wade out into the pool
where Mooney died. The Havasupai have
worked waterfalls into the story of how
human beings began. They say that two
gods were at war with one another and
the evil god drowned the whole world.
Only one person survived this great
flood — the daughter of the benevolent
god, who hid in a log that floated for a
long while until it came to rest on the
top of Humphreys Peak. Crawling out
of the log, she found herself alone in the
world. She wandered, despondent, until
one day she lay down and opened herself
up to the rays of the sun and conceived
a son. As time went on, she longed for
another child and wandered into Havasu
Canyon, where she encountered its beau-tiful
waterfalls. Here, with the waterfall,
she conceived a daughter. Her two chil-dren
grew, married and gave birth to all
I stare at Mooney Falls until Ron gently
nudges me into motion. He can jog to the
rim and back twice in a day, but knows he
must move at Hobbit pace on the 8-mile
round-trip to Beaver Falls.
I have already noticed how he slows to
an amble so as to not embarrass me, one
The Price of Paradise
A hobbit and an elf pay the toll
to see the waterfalls of Havasu Canyon
text and photograph by Peter Aleshire
Location: Havasu Canyon, Village of Supai.
Getting There: From Flagstaff, drive west on
Interstate 40 for 75 miles to Seligman and
Historic Route 66, Exit 123. Take Route 66 north
for approximately 30 miles to Indian Route 18.
Take Indian 18 north approximately 60 miles to
Hualapai Hilltop and the Hualapai Trail. Hike or
ride horseback 8 miles to the Village of Supai
in Havasu Canyon.
Lodging: Havasupai Lodge, (928) 448-2111;
Camping reservations, (928) 448-2141.
Additional Information: Havasu Canyon and the
Village of Supai are accessible by foot, horseback
or helicopter. You may reserve a horse through
the Havasupai Tourist Enterprise, (928) 448-2121.
For helicopter tours, contact Papillon Helicopters,
toll-free (800) 528-2418; www.papillon.com. The
canyon and village are the home of the Havasupi
Indians and while landscape photography is
permitted, please do not take photographs of
the people or their homes. The canyon is sacred
to the Havasupai Tribe, so please be respectful of
the people and the surroundings.
Peter Aleshire is editor of Arizona Highways
havasupai Fatal Falls Guide Ron Paradis
ponders Mooney Falls in Havasu
Canyon, which are named for
D.W. James Mooney, a prospector
who fell to his death when the
rope broke as he was climbing
down alongside the falls.
50 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 51
Bus Stop Blues Flagstaff jug band
Thunderbird, with nary a paying gig
to their name, jams on October 1 at
the bus stop outside the Orpheum
Theater. From left (barely seen) are
John Taylor on guitar, Fred Phillips on
drums, Mammoth on guitar and Jim
Marzolf on bongos. geoff gourley
8:58p.m. urns out, the first rule in elk-calling
is to wear quiet shoes.
Although I’d abandoned my lipgloss, jin-gling
jewelry and poignant perfume, my
blatantly urban Doc Martens boots creak
with every step as I drudge through the
Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area near
Springerville, at the unholy hour of 5 a.m.
I am obviously out of my element.
Bruce Sitko of the Arizona Game and
Fish Department is not amused. “Watch the
noise and avoid any brush,” he whispers.
“If they hear us, we won’t get very close.”
I nod, knowing my squeaky shoes
have made me the elk-calling equivalent
of the gym class nerd.
Bruce presses finger to lips. “Listen.”
At first, I can hear nothing but my heart
hammering against my ribs. Suddenly, I
hear the haunting sounds of elk floating
through the thick trees, deep as whale
calls — each mournful moan punctuated
by low grunts. It sounds soothing and
hypnotic, secrets shared. The siren songs
engulf us, coming from everywhere and
“It’s the bugle of the bulls,” Bruce whis-pers.
“They’re rounding up the cows.”
I tiptoe as first light glows behind the
shoulders of the White Mountains. No use.
As the precious morning minutes slip away,
doubt dawns. I need to see at least one elk,
recompense for the dawn and the drive
and my foolish shoes. Just one glimpse and
justice will prevail, the universe will bal-ance
and the yin will yang.
Bruce stops us near the top of a small
mesa. Finger to lips, he points to a clear-ing
below as he hands me his binoculars.
I squint two blurs into the shape of elk.
“I don’t know if we’ll see any much
closer than this,” he says.
I feel responsible; Godzilla-girl, crash-ing
through the forest with thunder-ous
boots, scattering the wildlife like
Japanese school kids.
“There’s a herd just over the top there,”
says Bruce. “We’ll use the cover of those
trees to try to move in.”
I drop back as the others move for-ward,
resigned to gym class nerd status.
As my three camera-clad companions
creep through the brush on hands and
knees, I succumb to a pang of envy. But
then Bruce motions excitedly for me to
join him. I tiptoe toward him, avoiding
every twig, breath abated. I look ridicu-lous,
like a certain cartoon character lisp-ing,
“Shhh, I’m hunting wabbits.”
Somehow, I make it without squeak-ing,
creaking, screaming or knocking
down any trees. Gently, Bruce positions
me behind the brush.
“There’s a satellite bull right over there,”
he whispers. “Satellite?” I ask.
“Bulls too small to have their own
harem that follow the groups of the bigger
Elk, like ancient kings, maintain harems
of up to 20 cows each.
Suddenly, I spot the satellite bull, rub-bing
my eyes to be sure I haven’t invented
him. Sure enough, he is still there, lying
in the mud, enjoying his morning.
“I think he’s staring at me,” I say.
“Yeah, he knows something’s up,” Bruce
says. “They get wary during hunting sea-son.
Let’s see if we can get him to come
closer,” he adds, unwrapping the elk
whistle from his neck.
“Quiet now,” he whispers. “Don’t move
Asking me not to move is like asking
a bull elk not to mate in late September.
Immediately, my palms sweat, my knees
shake and I feel light-headed.
As Bruce blows his whistle, I nearly
choke on a laugh, for the mimic call of
the cow sounds like a lascivious duck.
“Quack — quack — quack.”
The bull turns and heads toward us.
Bruce quacks again. The bull trots away.
“That’s it for the day,” says Bruce.
But as we head back toward the ranger
station, my squeaky step has a skip in it.
I’ve seen an elk, the yin has yanged. I am
no longer the gym class reject, Godzilla-girl
or Elmer Fudd.
Still, next time, I’ll wear moccasins.
Jayme Cook is a freelance writer and a former
intern at Arizona Highways magazine. She lives
Morey Milbradt of Phoenix says the bulls didn’t
see him in the early morning “because I looked
like a walking tree!”
Creaking Shoes and Bugling Elk Can a city girl get close to a lovesick bull?
by Jayme Cook photograph by Morey K. Mi lbradt
Location: Sipe White Mountain Wildlife
Area, 10 miles southeast of Springerville.
Getting There: From Springerville, head south
on U.S. Route 180/191. Look for a sign on the
right (west) side of the highway where it splits
at Mile Marker 405, 2.5 miles south of the
intersection with State Route 260. Drive 5.2
miles on a dirt road to the headquarters.
Additional Information: Arizona Game
and Fish, Pinetop office, (928) 367-4281;
Eagle-eyed Elk An elusive bull elk gazes across
the grassy fields of the Sipe White Mountain
Wildlife Area on October 1. morey k. milbradt
52 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 53
n the clear cold October first dawn,
I’m warm enough in jeans and
Polartec jacket — yet I feel oddly
All around me runners, riders
and horses in a multicolored, multilegged
mass simultaneously pace, jog or jig. But
here I am at Prescott Valley’s 23rd annual
Man Against Horse Race — with no horse.
I rode this event in 2004, but this year I’ll
be translating the miles of mountain trail
into words instead of sweat, aches, thirst
and exhilaration. Even so, I can feel the
adrenaline surge when ride manager Ron
Barrett bellows: “The trail is now open
Not many bar bets last a quarter of a
century, but today’s event started with
a seemingly foolish 1880s wager in
Prescott’s historic Palace Bar that a human
could outrun a horse on a 60-mile trail.
The route has changed, but the race
Originally, mixed five-person teams
covered 60 miles from Williams to Verde
in two days. The first full team across the
finish line won. But now ultrarunners
and endurance riders compete as indi-viduals
in the 25- or 50-mile divisions.
The 25-mile contestants must finish in
less than six hours, while 50-mile com-petitors
have 12 hours. There’s also a 12-
mile ride and run — just for fun.
Longer than a 26.2-mile marathon,
ultraruns can cover 100 miles in a single
day. The Man Against Horse Race is one
of only two events left where runners
and riders compete on the same course.
So pedestrians and equestrians regard
one another with bemused amazement,
but cheer one another along as the day
The 50-mile loop course begins on flat
ranch roads, follows washes and trails into
Prescott National Forest, climbs 1,800 feet
over Mingus Mountain, peaks at 7,600 feet,
then careens down Yaeger Canyon back
to base camp. As a rider on one narrow
section of trail, I well remember seeing
. . . nothing . . . below my right stirrup.
Best to gaze instead at the Colorado
Plateau, Sedona, and the distant San
Francisco Peaks while appreciating the
four sure-footed hoofs under me. The
100-mile-a-day routes of competitive
endurance riding demand strict rules
to protect the horses. That includes “vet
checks” every 12 to 15 miles, with a 30-
to 60-minute stop so that veterinarians
can pull the mostly Arabian horses for
medical reasons. That enforced rest stop
for the horses gives the human runners
their one faint hope of beating their four-legged
The first runner to conquer the moun-tain
and cross the finish line was Paul
Bonnet, a history teacher and soccer
coach from Phoenix.
On the hoofed side, aptly named mare
Fit Asa Fiddle, ridden by local veterinar-ian
Tandi Gaul, won the race and the
coveted Best Condition award.
Over time, the race has become a com-munity
event. Barrett said proceeds in
2004 “bought 260 25-pound turkeys
from Youngs Farm, which provided holi-day
meals for every food bank in town.”
Youngs Farm also supplies food for the
250 competitors at the awards dinner,
York Motors provides race headquarters
and Creative Touch Interiors and Fain
Ranch and Mingus Springs Ranch pro-vide
additional support. Yavapai Jeep
Posse volunteers man the 19 checkpoints
with food and drinks.
So — back to the bet. Who’s the fastest,
horse or human?
The fastest runners always finish first,
since the riders’ time includes 75 minutes
of required rest stops. Not counting the
rest stops, the horses usually win — but
not always. In 2001, Dennis Poolheco, a
Hopi Tewa Indian, finished in a record
six hours and 33 minutes, beating the
lead horse by three minutes.
How can humans outrun horses?
Rocks — especially on treacherous down-hill
stretches where riders slow down to
spare their horses’ legs.
But in truth, it’s not really man against
In fact, it’s flesh and blood versus
rocks and heat.
And on any given day, it’s anyone’s bet
which will win.
Wynne Brown of Tucson has completed more than
3,300 endurance-riding miles, including the 50-
mile 2004 Man Against Horse Race. She’s hoping
to ride it again this year. In her nonequestrian
life, she’s a K-12 curricular materials developer
and author of More Than Petticoats: Remarkable
Arizona Women and Falcon Guide to Trail Riding
Arizona, both from Globe Pequot Press.
Kerrick James says he never felt like such a wimp
as he did watching these great athletes ascend the
Mingus Mountain switchbacks with 25-plus miles
to go. He lives in Mesa.
A Bar Bet Pays Off Prescott race pits riders against runners
by Wynne Brown photograph by Kerrick James
Off to the Races The runners and
riders start the 25-mile, six-hour Man
Against Horse Race on a cloudy
Prescott October 1 morning.
Location: 7 miles northeast of Prescott Valley.
Getting There: From Phoenix, take Interstate 17
to Cordes Junction, then State Route 69 north
to Fain Road. Turn right onto Fain Road and drive
7 miles to State Route 89A, turn right and go
3 miles. Past the Yavapai County Fairgrounds
entrance, look for a dirt road turnoff posted as
“Man v Horse.” Go through the gate
(remembering to leave it open or closed as you
found it) to the base camp a mile down the dirt
road near a windmill.
Travel Advisory: This year's race will be held
on October 7.
Additional Information: (928) 636-2028;
54 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 55
Star Tracks Just after
midnight, as October 1 begins
on the North Rim of the Grand
Canyon, the photographer’s
open exposure captures both
his brief campfire and four
hours’ worth of stars tracking
across the night sky. The lights
on the horizon are Tuba City,
60 miles away. paul gill
56 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 57
he bass boat bobs gently in the
quiet of Apache Lake’s predawn
skies. A blanket of stars twinkles as
night quickly trades place with day.
Sounds of sleepy campers stirring mingle
with the splash and slurp of fish feeding
near the marina. Early rising anglers float
their boats off trailers and engines cough
to life on October 1. A new day. A clean
slate. And proof that while a thousand
fishing trips can go by, indistinguishable
from one another, one suddenly comes
along with a promise of perfection.
Naturalist John Muir observed that
anglers become a part of the waters they
fish: “When we try to pick out anything
by itself, we find it hitched to everything
else in the universe.”
As the sun rises, it infuses the sky with
a blue not found on artist palettes and
mottles the clouds.
Leaving the no-wake launch ramp,
decisions must be made. Where to?
How to? The Arizona Game and Fish
Department report indicates that the 17-
mile-long Apache Lake is 95 percent full,
with “horrible” fishing for smallmouth
bass but a good shot at largemouth.
So conventional wisdom would send
anglers east, past Davis Wash and Burnt
Corral and the backside of Roosevelt
Dam. Naturally, I am drawn westward
toward Ash and Alder creeks.
Poet Robert Frost would approve the
road less traveled, as cloudbanks cast
shadow puppets across the mountains.
My troubles evaporate with the mist.
No matter how many times I fish cer-tain
waters, they’re always different. A
certain cove, sunken riprap or a deep-water
ridge yields results on one visit
but nothing the next time. With daylight
established and a slight ripple on the
water, we ponder the options — bait-cast-ing,
spin-casting or fly-casting? Factor
in wind, weather and water temperature.
Will they bite on topwater lures like a
Zara Spook or a pencil-type stickbait?
Will they strike shallow at a small-billed
Rapala crankbait or go deeper with a
thicker Fat Rap? Do they want the flash
of a teardrop twin-bladed spinnerbait
or the zigzag of a Z-Ray? Will they wait
deep in the thermocline pockets for a
Senko or a Wired Worm or a Johnson
Decisions. Decisions. None of them
wrong. Fickle as teenagers, some days they
crave burgers, some days tacos. Fishing
offers no guarantees, only possibilities.
Asked how he picked a lure, profes-sional
bass angler Jimmy Houston replied,
“Whatever lure is lying loose in the boat
gets tied on first.” If that works for a
man who’s made millions chasing fish,
it ought to work for me. And so it does. A
largemouth bass running a gravel bank
and an aggressive channel catfish hiding
along a mud line taste treblehooks before
I pull them in and let them loose to fight
As daylight dwindles, the water gets
choppy, the fish go deeper and anglers
head home — thankful for another per-fect
day on the water, with or without a
bucket of fish.
A lifelong angler, Lee Allen was honored last
year as Arizona Outdoor Writer of the Year and
received Hall of Fame status from the Rocky
Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers.
He lives in Tucson.
George Stocking of Phoenix, not a fisherman,
found the sunrise on the lake moving and
Location: Approximately 65 miles east of Phoenix.
Getting There: There are two routes to Apache
Lake. For a paved route, from Phoenix take
U.S. Route 60 east to Globe and State Route
88. Turn north (left) onto State 88 and drive 35
miles to Roosevelt Dam. Turn south on 88, (also
called Apache Trail) and follow for 5 miles to
Apache Lake. For a shorter, but rougher route
from Phoenix, take U.S. 60 to Apache Junction
and paved State Route 88 (Apache Trail) north
for 18 miles to Tortilla Flat. Follow State 88,
which becomes an unpaved road past Tortilla
Flat for another 15 miles to Apache Lake.
Additional Information: Apache Lake Marina
& Resort, (928) 467-2511; www.apachelake.
com. Tonto National Forest, (928) 467-3200;
www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto. Arizona Game and Fish
Department, (480) 981-9400; www.azgfd.gov. 10.01.05
Bliss in a Boat Apache Lake gleams with possibilities
by Lee Al len photograph by George Stocking
Music in the Shadows The light was soft
and the strings humming on October 1 as
Mary Bouley played the harp at Sharlot
Hall Museum during the Prescott Folk
Music Festival. kerrick james
Just Jokin’ The author thinks he has
a largemouth bass on his fishing line,
but it turns out to be just a snag. T
58 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 59
Moody Moment Former Monte
Vista Lounge bartender J.D.
Smith takes a break from the
crowded smoke-free zone
within. Photographer Geoff
Gourley says, "Flagstaff was
chaotic because of the Fat Tire
Festival on October 1. I came
around the corner, and it was
quiet, and I loved his pose."
geoff gourley 10.01.05
C A L L T O L L - F R E E 1-800-543-5432 (Phoenix or outside the U.S., call 602-712-2000)
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A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 61
why did the northern
Sinagua Indians living
in the remote narrows
of Walnut Canyon in the
14th century vanish? War?
Famine? Disease? As I
wander their neighborhood
some six centuries after they
abandoned it, I come up with
my own theory: What if the
Sinagua never really left?
Daybreak spills over the
northern Arizona horizon
this Ocotober 1 morning,
spreading honeyed light
across Walnut Canyon
National Monument’s Island
Trail. Senses heighten with
each step down the 185-
foot stairway the Civilian
Conservation Corps built
in 1941, as I set out with
photographer Geoff Gourley,
his family, my brother John
and his wife, Monica.
Above us, ravens flock in
alarming numbers. Across
the canyon built into rock
frozen in mid-ooze, an
inaccessible ruin basks
in first light—a scene so
commanding we are forced to
stop and stare. How did they
design a house to so perfectly
capture dawn without a scrap
of modern technology like,
say, nylon ropes, climbing
shoes or an elevator?
The sight triggers
memories for my brother and
me who grew up 12 miles
from here. When our parents
divorced and Dad moved to
the east side of town, he and
his new wife gifted us with a
love of the place through long
bike rides and walks along
Walnut Canyon Road.
We continue into the
canyon that Woodrow
Wilson saved from looters
by designating it a national
monument in 1915, following
the trail along light limestone
buxom cliff rose hangs from
the rock, like a feathery
boa, interspersed with
verdant stems of Mormon
tea, mustard weed, fernbush,
wolfberry, Fremont barberry,
hoptree and maroon-tipped
prickly pear, all lining the
pathway like an ancient
strip mall, complete with
apothecary, produce stand
and hardware store.
Not only did the geology
offer shelter in the canyon,
up on the rim the mix of
sand, volcanic ash and soil
nurtured crops of corn,
squash and beans. Clearly,
the Sinagua had it all.
So why leave?
believed the Sinagua built
fortresses high above the
canyon floor during a long
war with invaders. Perhaps
warfare drove them out of the
canyon to join neighboring
tribes like the Hopi. However,
the only real evidence of
violence uncovered so far
are the bones of a woman
in her 30s who died from
an arrowhead through the
As we complete the loop
to Third Fort and head
back up the stairs, the
woman with the arrowhead
haunts me. Was she just a
Sinagua woman who met
an unfortunate end, or was
she the keystone of her
community and the reason it
When my dad died in
1982, my family migrated
from the places we called
home. As in Walnut Canyon,
our dwellings suffered no
catastrophic damage. Close
examination would reveal
only the remains of a good
life. Still, we split and
scattered to find new clans
and places. We didn’t vanish,
but the loss of my father
made us different people—no
longer able to inhabit the
same spaces, no matter how
beautiful or bountiful.
We finish by exploring
the short, flat length of the
Rim Trail, where the Sinagua
farmed. Agaves dangle with
ripe fruit along the path,
dislodged nuts from piñon
trees pepper the ground,
ponderosas bleed sap and
walnut leaves drift to the
creek bed below.
Back at the visitors center,
we hear the clear sound of an
Indian drum and long chant.
We stop to find the drum, but
it is hidden somewhere across
the gorge. The greasy ravens
circle overhead until the
music fades, then swoop off
At first, I think that
everything is leaving. But
then it seems to me that
they’re just starting a round-trip
journey. It may take
minutes or millennia, and
they’ll be different when they
But they’ll be back. Just
60 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6
by JoBeth Jamison photographs by Geoff Gourley hike of the month
A cliff-dwelling aperture in Walnut
Canyon reveals the same ancient
forest view that greeted the Sinagua
on many October firsts. Their name
means “without water” in Spanish.
Length: 1.6 miles (Island and
Rim Trails combined).
Elevation Gain: 185 feet.
Difficulty: Easy to strenuous.
Payoff: Up-close views of Sinagua
ruins, rare plant and wildlife
sightings. Autumn months bring
spectacular color to canyon foliage.
Getting There: From Flagstaff,
take Interstate 40 7.5 miles east
of Flagstaff to Exit 204. Take
Walnut Canyon Road south for
3 miles to the canyon’s rim.
Travel Advisory: Bring plenty of
water and wear sunscreen. The
paved Island Trail begins and ends
with a steep, 185-foot stairway.
Additional Information: Walnut
Canyon National Monument, (928)
“Home is this moment and moments are always moving.” — deepak chopra
Will the Sinagua people return to Walnut Canyon?
Before you go on this hike, visit arizonahighways.com for other things
to do and places to see in this area. You’ll also find more hikes in our archive.
across a field, chasing a cloud
of flickers. An immature bald
eagle, sitting on a fencepost,
stretches his wings in the
glow of the rising sun,
prompting us to pull over to
have a closer look. Perhaps
knowing he affords a sight
worthy of entry on a birder’s
life list, the eagle flaps away
a millisecond before we can
wrestle our cameras out
of their bags. Undeterred,
and elated to have seen the
sight, we scan the looming
cliffs for signs of condors,
reintroduced in 1996 along
these great rock reefs
bordering Grand Canyon
The day warms as we
climb out of the Aubrey
Valley to Grand Canyon
Caverns, where a few
dozen pickups stand
parked alongside a pipe
corral. We pull in to find
an old-fashioned rodeo in
progress. Well, perhaps not
so old-fashioned, since I hear
one young vaquero say to
another, “What’s happening,
Once upon a time, “dude”
was a fighting word, but none
of the cowboys and cowgirls
blink. They have other things
on their minds. They have
come to rope calves and
show off their horses on this
fine day for a fine reason: At
another rodeo a year earlier,
a toddler fell 20 feet from a
grandstand and was hurt.
He quickly healed, but now
there are doctor bills to pay.
Thus the rodeo, a fundraiser
drawing participants from
four counties. Terry and I
watch the riding and roping
for an hour, visiting with the
cowpokes, proud that the
tradition of taking care of
friends and neighbors is alive
We head west a few miles
farther to Peach Springs, the
capital of the Hualapai Indian
Reservation, with fortresslike
stone government buildings
standing as a monument to a
troubled frontier. A quarter-hour
later we descend into
the rocky hollow called
Crozier Canyon, whose steep
red walls and winding course
once challenged the builders
of Route 66. On the northern
horizon, we catch a glimpse
of the Grand Canyon.
In the shadow of the
Grand Wash Cliffs, another
monument to a bygone era
Vehicle Requirements: Two-wheel-
drive vehicles are
acceptable for this route.
Additional Information: Route
66 Museum in Kingman, toll-free,
(866) 427-7866; www.
the sun is not yet up,
but Angel Delgadillo
is bustling around his
barbershop, broom in
hand, preparing for the
day’s business. As his wife
Vilma straightens stacks
of correspondence and
souvenirs, the octogenarian
steps out onto the sidewalk
and gazes up and down
Historic Route 66, taking in
the cool highland air.
“This is just the way it
ought to be,” he says, smiling
a Cheshire-cat smile and
looking benevolently out
upon his native, still-asleep
town of Seligman. “I hope
they leave it just like this.
This is what the world seems
to love — America as it was,
just like this.”
As if on cue, two early-birds
enter the barbershop,
which doubles as an informal
booth and gift shop. Visiting
from Germany, the two are
heading west on the famed
highway. Angel gladly advises
them on what to see along
the way. There’s no better
guide, as Route 66 hands
know, for Angel once logged
many thousands of miles on
the road with his family’s
big band, once a mainstay of
entertainment in little towns
throughout northern Arizona.
After calling on the
Delgadillos and tucking away
coffee and eggs, photographer
Terry Moore and I leave
Seligman and begin our
leisurely journey along the
storied highway. Crossing
the northwestern corner of
the state, this stretch of
asphalt seems tailor-made
for unhurried travel, though
it wasn’t always such a
Until the coming of the
Interstate Highway System in
the 1950s, Route 66 was the
main artery between Chicago
and Los Angeles. During
the Depression, thousands
of Midwesterners took to
the road to try their luck in
the farms and factories of
California, the stuff of John
Steinbeck’s The Grapes of
Wrath. Night and day, towns
like Seligman shook with the
rumble of traffic.
On this cool October 1
morning, though, we have
Route 66 to ourselves. We
edge westward, watching
as the sun fills the broad
grassy valley that lies beyond
Seligman, my truck the only
vehicle on the well-tended
ribbon of road even as
hundreds of cars and trucks
fly by on the just-visible
A Cooper’s hawk wings
62 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 63
by Gregory McNamee photographs by Terrence Moore back road adventure
Small-town pleasures and characters still abound on the Mother Road
A rodeo cowboy tries to rope a
steer at an October 1 fund raiser
for charity near Grand Canyon
Caverns in Peach Springs.
ROAD MEMORIES Cool
Springs, built as a restaurant
and gasoline station in the
1920s, served travelers before
they braved the curving road
westward into the Black
Mountains. The rest stop made
of rock shared its heyday with
Route 66, and now functions as
a museum and gift shop.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
On October 1, Bonnie Sanders
sits outside the kitschy Hackberry
Store, which doubles as a Historic
Route 66 visitors center. The
town of Hackberry, named for
Hackberry Mine, lies across the
tracks from Route 66, but the
store sits right alongside the
awaits us in the desert hamlet
of Hackberry. Over the years
and a couple of changes
of ownership there, an old
Mobil station, still selling
gasoline, has been remade
into an impromptu Route
66 museum, a destination
guaranteed to thrill antiques
aficionados and old-time
rock ’n’ roll enthusiasts alike.
There’s even a modest shrine
to Elvis, although most
of the visitors seem more
interested in the petting zoo
of old cars and roadside signs
that rings the station.
Twenty-five miles later, we
pass through the fast-growing
city of Kingman, where big
rigs and city traffic fill the
old highway. Contrails and
parachutists decorate the sky,
courtesy of an air show at the
Kingman Airport. Rattled
by the hubbub, we seek the
cool sanctuary of the city’s
new, artifact-packed Route 66
Museum, where we stop for
a soda before heading out on
the final leg of our journey.
That segment takes us
another 25 miles southwest
of Kingman and over the
foothills of the rugged Black
Mountains, which offer some
of the most challenging
territory of the whole length
of Route 66. The terrain sets
a flatlander to wondering
whether the migration west
was worth the effort. Many
a jalopy drew its last breath
on this twisty stretch of
road, which may explain
why the last building before
the highway climbs into the
rocks is another old service
Modern vehicles negotiate
the grades out of Cool
Springs more easily than
those old-time machines,
which prompts station
caretaker Jacqueline McGraw
to grumble good-naturedly,
“It’s mostly folks from
southern California that go
by. They drive so fast that
they don’t stop to look at the
beauty — and this is really a
beautiful place. The sunrises
are spectacular, and you can
hear the birds sing. It makes
me know why I was put on
It is a beautiful place, to
be sure. As we climb up
the rough mountains above
Oatman, the sun begins to
set, filling the deep canyons
that line the Colorado River
far below with shadow,
yielding a view of one
mountain range backing
onto another, and another,
and another, straight out of a
Japanese landscape painting.
Terry and I stand quietly,
watching flights of birds,
enjoying the now-cool breeze.
The silence is broken
by a braying wild burro,
then a half-dozen of them,
clambering down from
the rocks for a look at us
strangers. Doves coo loudly,
punctuated by the keening
of a passing hawk. An old
Volkswagen bus putt-putts
up the western face of the
mountain, its Quebecois
driver pausing to call out a
cheery Bonsoir and receiving
a howdy in return.
Highway noises of the
best kind, those. It is just the
way it should be, as Angel
Delgadillo told us at the
beginning of our daylong
journey along a fabled
highway that safeguards
America as it was.
Note: Mileages are approximate.
> Begin at Historic Route 66
at its junction with Interstate 40
(Exit 121) just outside Seligman.
> Drive west on Route 66
approximately 90 miles to Kingman,
where the road becomes Andy Devine
Avenue and then Old State Highway 66.
> Continue through town
approximately 10 miles. The road
passes under Interstate 40 at Exit 44
> Continue approximately
a quarter mile and turn left at
the junction of Shinarump Road
and West Oatman Road.
> Oatman lies about 25 miles to
the west. The Arizona portion of
Route 66 ends at Interstate 40, Exit
1, about 25 miles south of Oatman.
64 o c t o b e r 2 0 0 6
CLIMBING CURVES One of the more striking stretches on picturesque
Route 66 climbs slowly into the Black Mountains, hugging the mountainside
as it winds toward Sitgreaves Pass.
SIGN OF THE TIMES Established in 1926, a major western migration
path, a nurturer of communities, economies and spirits, Route 66
originally spanned more than 2,400 miles. The well-beaten path was
officially decommissioned in 1985, replaced by the Interstate Highway
System. Signs (right) directed travelers to multiple cities.
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