A U G U S T 2 0 0 6
Wander the Hoodoos
of the Last Renegade's
Row in the Wake
of a Grand Canyon
Stand Where Geronimo Surrendered and the Old West Died
2 DEAR EDITOR
3 ALL WHO WANDER
Searching for Johnny Ringo's ghost.
Return to bygone days through
5 TAKING THE OFF-RAMP
42 ALONG THE WAY
Hi Jolly’s Tomb reveals a
father’s surprising coolness.
44 HIKE OF THE MONTH
The trail to Fort Bowie leads to a
trickle of water that spurred some of
the most famous battles in the West.
46 BACK ROAD ADVENTURE
The dirt road from Sierra Vista
to Nogales bumps past traces of
Coronado and John Wayne.
FRONT COVER Bohee Falls drops in soft ribbons down the steep
moss-covered side of Sawmill Canyon in the San Carlos Apache
Reservation. In the late 1800s, the reservation was a temporary
respite for the last great Apache renegade, Massai. See story,
page 26. jeff snyder
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
BACK COVER This splintered wooden fence and coil of barbed
wire catch the day's last light in the Peloncillo Mountains not far
from the place Geronimo surrendered for the last time. See story,
page 18. clay martin
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
contents august 2006
August is a great time for time travel in
Arizona. It’s here that John Wesley Powell
got his feet wet, Wyatt Earp corralled the
Clantons and Geronimo slept under the
stars. To experience the places that shaped
Arizona, go to arizonahighways.com and
click on our "August Trip Planner" for:
• 18 of our favorite Arizona
• Tales of times gone by
HUMOR Gene Perret recalls
his baseball days.
ONLINE EXTRA Discover Petrified
Forest National Park.
WEEKEND GETAWAY Gear up
for a Greer adventure.
HISTORY Learn about Arizona’s
EXPERIENCE ARIZONA Plan a trip
with our calendar of events.
MISTY SENTINEL Enveloped in morning fog, a
Douglas fir sprouts from a crack in a limestone
spire on the North Kaibab Trail along the
Grand Canyon’s North Rim. jack dykinga
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit
10 Rowing Home
An adventure photographer takes the oars of a
Grand Canyon dory to see the river through the
eyes of Maj. John Wesley Powell’s photographer.
writ ten and photographed by john annerino
18 Death of the West by peter aleshire
Our editor ventures into Skeleton Canyon seeking
the place where the Clantons massacred a band of
Mexican smugglers and where Geronimo finally
surrendered. photographs by clay martin
26 The Last Renegade by peter aleshire
Journey to the Chiricahua National Monument overlook
named for a warrior who crossed half a continent to skulk
among bizarre rock formations and wage a long one-man war.
32 Murderous Mine by leo w. banks
Treasure hunters seek traces of a Prescott
gold mine with a bloody history.
38 History’s Snapshot by kathleen walker
Penny postcards capture everyday life.
Follow the trail of the West’s most vivid
heroes and villains to 15 historic destinations
where great and terrible deeds took place.
2 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6
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.
Produced in the USA
AUGUST 2006 VOL. 82, NO. 8
Publisher WIN HOLDEN
Editor PETER ALESHIRE
Senior Editor BETH DEVENY
Managing Editor RANDY SUMMERLIN
Web/Research Editor SALLY BENFORD
Book Division Editor BOB ALBANO
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
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Circulation Director HOLLY CARNAHAN
Finance Director BOB ALLEN
Information Technology CINDY BORMANIS
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onlin e For more letters, see arizonahighways.com (Click on “Letters to the Editor”).
jerry sanders admits that strange things happen
in his back yard, alongside Turkey Creek on the west side of
the Chiricahua Mountains.
He blames Johnny Ringo — or, at least, his ghost.
Makes sense, considering that one of the West’s most
famous outlaws lies buried at the foot of the oak tree beneath
which he died on the Sanders ranch, which has been in the
family for five generations.
Jerry is happy to show folks Ringo’s grave and
asks only that they knock first on his front door
before coming onto his property. He notes
that sometimes just standing alongside
Ringo’s grave will make the hair stand
up on the back of your neck.
Yeah. Right. I sniff not a whiff of
Ringo, who died sleeping among the
roots of this tree on his way to the
ranch of the Sanders’ ancestors.
The coroner’s jury called it suicide,
but Jerry blames Wyatt Earp’s
buddy “Buckskin” Frank Leslie.
I expected all sorts of things
when I set out to find Ringo’s
grave, but not the descendant
of the fellow who had Johnny to
dinner. Then again, you find all
sorts of surprises when you start time
traveling in this fascinating attic of the
Movies and potboilers have nurtured
Ringo’s legend, although the facts are fuzzy.
Maybe he killed three people in a Texas range
war, two shopkeepers and a cowboy rash
enough to ride his horse into a saloon. Maybe
he also helped shoot two of the Earp brothers.
Ringo definitely did shoot Louis Hancock in
the foot — either because Hancock refused to
let Ringo buy him a drink or said something
mean about a prostitute. Ringo also definitely challenged
Doc Holliday to a Tombstone gunfight, but a deputy sheriff
Yet, The Tombstone Epitaph observed, “He was recognized
by friends and foes as a recklessly brave man, one who would
go any distance or undergo any hardship to serve a friend or
punish an enemy. He was a strictly honorable man in all his
dealings, and his word was as good as his bond.”
Jack Burrows, in John Ringo, the Outlaw Who Never Was,
huffs and puffs at the thick haze of myth and concludes Ringo
was the outcast black sheep of a California family bulging with
lawyers, teachers, a state supreme court justice and other pillars
of society. After his father was killed by an accidental shotgun
blast in 1864, Ringo helped his mother raise his four siblings
before leaving home at 19, already drinking too much.
After a stint as a gunman in a Texas range war, Ringo moved
to Arizona and took up with the “cowboys,” a gang of rustlers
led by the Clantons. That embroiled him in the West’s most
famous feud. When someone killed Morgan Earp, Wyatt sought
revenge. Ringo survived Earp’s brief killing spree and stuck
around after Earp fled for Colorado.
Three months later, William Smith passed Ringo on his way
to the Smith ranch. A bit later, Smith encountered Frank Leslie,
who asked him if he’d seen Ringo.
The coroner’s report noted that the bullet entered
Ringo’s right temple and came out the top of
his head. A small piece of Ringo’s scalp had
been cut off and left on the body, and his
cartridge belt was strapped on upside
down. Moreover, his bare feet were
wrapped in an undershirt, and his
horse turned up several miles
away with Ringo’s boots tied to
the saddle. Burrows accepts the
coroner’s verdict and concludes
Ringo committed suicide in a
drunken fit of depression and
that a raven “scalped” the dead
However, all sorts of people
have taken credit for killing
Ringo, including Earp and
a small-time gambler named
“Johnny Behind the Deuce.”
The Sanders clan blames Leslie,
who reportedly killed 15 people,
including a friend of Ringo’s. While in
prison for murdering his wife, Leslie told a
guard he killed Ringo. Moreover, both Coyote
Smith and Wilgus Smith, who served on the
coroner’s jury, later blamed Leslie. Coyote Smith
was then found dead in his livery stable, which
the coroner ruled another suicide. Apaches
killed Wilgus Smith just up the canyon.
Heck. I’m with Jerry, who welcomes me like
an old friend and invites me into his 100-year-old adobe ranch
house for lemonade.
He tells me about the time a teenaged girl who was going
blind showed up on his doorstep to see Ringo’s grave before she
lost her sight. Some people who have camped near the grave
reported hearing strange moans all through the night.
So I finish my lemonade and head for the grave alone.
I take a seat among the roots, close my eyes and relax.
A twig snaps, my eyes pop and I briefly consider the list of
people who might shoot me in my sleep.
And the hairs on the back of my neck are standing
Hunting Ringo’s Ghost
Highways is a Home-wrecker
I absolutely adore my wife of 38 years,
but our subscription is causing us real
problems. Our mailbox is down the
lane and, along toward the middle of the
month, my wife and I (normally honest
folks who share easily) are sneaking down
before the mail-lady gets here to grab and
then hide that month’s Arizona Highways
for a leisurely read out of our mate’s eye
and earshot. Then, a few days later the
“loser” gets the dog-eared copy along with
a snide comment about a lack of speed or
stealth. I know — your first thought is get
two subscriptions, but we’re seniors on a
fixed income so that’s out of the question.
I love my wife dearly and really don’t want
to trade her off for another one that’s a
little slower getting to the mailbox. So,
new editor — what’s your advice?
Bob Micheli, Vale, OR
What a quandary. But suppose your next wife
is even more fleet of foot. I lay awake all night
worrying before hitting on a solution. Send me
your address and I’ll personally buy you a second
subscription. Hurry, I need my beauty sleep. — Ed.
Editors are People, Too
As an avid admirer of Arizona Highways,
I have the following random comments.
1. The Craig Childs story about George
Steck (“The Old Man and the Canyon,”
May ’06) was one of the most moving
stories I’ve read. 2. Give Craig a raise.
No, give everyone at Highways a raise!
3. Ignore all those silly complaints about
things that don’t matter. Everyone’s
human, even editors (I think). 4. Please
continue to inspire dreams.
Brian Jones, Tucson
1) You’re right about Craig, and I’d send him his raise,
except he’s lost somewhere on the Colorado Plateau
thinking deep thoughts. 2) To our publisher, Win
Holden: Did you catch that? Raises for everyone?
3) Actually, editors are a subspecies—kind of like the
Terminator after he developed a sense of humor.
4) Actually, it’s you who inspire me. — Ed.
The “Taking the Off-ramp” opening
photograph in May 2006 shows a mule
deer, but how many readers saw the
rabbit right in front of the deer?
Robert B. Brown, Fairfield, CA
Our own little Where’s Waldo nature piece. — Ed.
New Format Annoys
As much as I like your magazine, I
dislike your new “vertical” format. I
dislike having to turn the magazine
sideways to see the byline. This is really
annoying to me. Also, since you’ve
taken over as editor, I see fewer maps.
In my opinion, if a picture is worth
a thousand words, a map is worth
fifteen hundred! Your May 2006 issue
described Christine Maxa’s “10 Most
Scenic Hikes” in Arizona with nary a
map to be seen! I also miss the map on
the table of contents.
Andrew C. Thompson, Landenberg, PA
You raise good points. I thought the new look
of the departments was worth the trade-off of
running the bylines sideways. And we didn’t have
room for maps of all 10 hikes. We are running more
locator maps with stories, but dropped the contents
page map for design reasons. However, we’re still
pondering our map style. — Ed.
Editor Owes an Apology
It’s not enough that you have ignored
the leash law (“My Goofball Dog and
Me,” May ’06, “All Who Wander”) but
you also, so brazenly, published a photo
of your dog off the leash in Arizona
Highways! THE Arizona Highways!
Owners always think their dogs are so
friendly and won’t bite, but bikers and
runners who use the park also have
stories about aggressive dogs and their
apologetic owners. So please apologize.
Sonny Pfundheller, Phoenix
When Lobo found out about the $2,500 leash-law
fine, he put his paw down. Now I wear a leash
whenever we go out. — Ed.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 3
all who wander by Peter Aleshire, editor
Hillerman Fan Revealed
I love Arizona Highways magazine, but the June 2006
issue was especially marvelous; Tony Hillerman is one of
my very favorite authors. Thanks for the super read and
Luella Beard, Yuma
I’m also addicted to Tony’s mysteries — not to mention LeRoy DeJolie’s
photographs. Tony’s an old newspaper warhorse who made good—
which encouraged all us other less-talented newspaper mules to dream
of escaping the newsroom. — Peter Aleshire, Editor
JOHN P. “JOHNNY” RINGO
Did the West’s most infamous
outlaw kill himsef or was he
murdered? arizona historical
highways on tv
“There are really four dimensions, three which we call
the three planes of space, and a fourth, time.”
— from The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
time travel isn’t nearly as complicated as
H.G. Wells portrays it in his 1895 science fiction
classic, The Time Machine. But he clearly knew the
power of the three dimensions to transport us to
a Fourth Dimension.
Vintage photographs chronicle the life and times
of a bygone era, making it easy to travel back in
time. Reliving historic moments or coming face to
face with history’s notorious characters requires
only our imaginations. Conservators like Jeremy
Rowe help facilitate the trip.
Our story, “History’s Snapshot,” (page 38) taps
Rowe’s vast collection of at least 35,000 historical
photographs. He lost count of the exact number
long ago, but he knows well the intrinsic nature of
“I look for images that tell stories about people
and the times in which they were made,” Rowe
says. “I’m also interested in finding related photographs that
can create a series of images of a location over time, or images
of events from multiple perspectives. The interrelationship
between the images is often more than the sum of the
Rowe’s interest in old photographs started with a single
daguerreotype portrait he found years ago at a local swap meet.
That discovery sparked a curiosity about early photographic
processes and awakened his passion for vintage prints. Soon his
small collection of daguerreotypes dating to 1840 expanded to
include ambrotypes, cartes-de-visites, cabinet cards, stereographs
and photographic postcards.
Once in a while Rowe acquires a rare photograph that fills a
gap in the historical record. “One important historic image is
of C.S. Fly’s studio in Tombstone burning down,” he says. “The
image was taken by Molly Fly apparently just after the building
was engulfed in flames. Likely it is the only copy and the only
remaining image of the event itself.”
Rowe grew up in Phoenix, so his collecting interests
naturally have an Arizona bent, especially those made by
frontier photographers. The impressive collection he amassed
inspired his first book, Photographers in Arizona, 1850-1920: A
History & Directory.
“The images of Arizona’s past led me to questions about the
photographers who made the images—who were they? How did
they live?” Rowe writes in his book. “And most pertinent to me
as a collector—what became of the rest of their work?”
His soon-to-be-released second book compiles a history of
Arizona photographic postcards from 1900-1920. On his Web
site, www.vintagephoto.com, you’ll find a gallery of vintage
images dating to the Civil War and a compendium of reference
materials on historical photography.
Finding time for his avocation can’t be easy. Rowe has a
full-time career in the School of Computing and Informatics at
Arizona State University in Tempe. But when his photography
research connects with his job, the technology at his disposal
virtually transports him to vintage collections in distant parts
of the country. Online-accessible collections make it easier to
research even the largest repositories.
Rowe worked on the “American Memory” project for the
Library of Congress, scanning and digitizing old photographs
from its collections, and making a historically important archive
accessible to 21st century researchers. But the charm and magic
of vintage prints is lost in the digital versions. To really appreciate
the old photographs, Rowe strongly encourages attending
exhibitions of authentic prints, not just viewing the digital
prints on display in many museums and galleries. He’s curated
a number of historical photography shows featuring vintage
materials for Prescott’s Sharlot Hall Museum, Mesa Southwest
Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum.
In addition to contributing to the knowledge of Arizona’s
past, Rowe’s collection confers some fringe benefits. “Having
the vintage material around has a certain therapeutic value,”
he says, “allowing me to escape occasionally into a quieter,
somewhat saner time and place.”
The time machine H.G. Wells imagined is still science
fiction. But with Jeremy Rowe’s 35,000 vintage time machines,
the traveling is free and easy.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 5
arizona oddities, attractions and pleasures
Time Travel to Bygone Days
HEAT OF THE MOMENT Fire destroyed C.S. Fly’s Tombstone photography studio and
its contents in 1912. Lost in the blaze were many of Fly’s negatives. This photograph,
made in the heat of the moment by Molly Fly, is the only known image of the tragedy.
© collection of jeremy rowe vintage photography
4 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6
by Peter Ensenberger, director of photography, firstname.lastname@example.org viewfinder
Find expert photography advice and information at arizonahighways.com
(Click on “Photography”).
An unidentified black “Buffalo
Soldier” poses with three unnamed Apache
scouts, on the sharp edge of the bitter
contradictions that attended the Indian Wars
in the United States. After the Civil War, many
blacks headed west to start a new, free life.
Many joined an all-black cavalry unit
based at Fort Huachuca and spent
years chasing Apache raiders
like Geronimo. Commanded
by white officers, the
black soldiers faced many of
the same racist attitudes as the
Apaches they hunted. In a final
twist, only the use of Apache scouts from other
bands enabled the cavalry units to track the
renegades. The Indians dubbed the black enlisted
men “Buffalo Soldiers” because of their courage,
tenacity, combat prowess and appearance on the
battlefield. — Sharlot Hall Museum
Ironies of History
Plants That Heal
charles kane combines his love of plants and 15
years of experience with herbal medicine in his recently
published Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest. The
comprehensive field guide to plants from acacia to yucca
instructs on collection, preparation and use of the Southwest’s
botanical bounty. Each plant’s chemical makeup, medicinal uses
and distribution are detailed
in an accessible format.
Kane believes one
must interact with the
land to truly understand it. Part
folk medicine, part scientific study, Herbal
Medicine is enhanced with more than
250 detailed color photographs and 80
vivid watercolors by Frank S. Rose, who has
been painting wildflowers and other plants
for decades and is a signature member of
the Southern Arizona
— Kimberly Hosey
6 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6
if you notice adults chasing butterflies along the
historic streets of Patagonia or in Ramsey Canyon in
southern Arizona, don’t be alarmed. They’re like census
volunteers, only they’re counting butterflies.
Each year, the North American Butterfly Association
(NABA) sponsors butterfly counts, in which volunteers
conduct a one-day census of all the elusive, airborne
lepidoptera they can spot, chase or stalk in a 15-mile
diameter. During a past census, folks logged 5,609
butterflies — everything from acacia skippers and acmon
blues to variegated fritillaries and Western pygmy-blues
in the Patagonia, Portal and Ramsey Canyon areas.
While NABA conducts most butterfly counts
nationwide on the Fourth of July, Arizona’s headcount
occurs in August.
Information: Southeast Arizona Butterfly Association,
(520) 742-0071, www.naba.org/chapter/nabasa/home.
html. — Lori K. Baker
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 7
TOP TO BOTTOM: PETER ENSENBERGER; MARTY CORDANO
Colorado River in
fifty years ago this month,
insurance salesmen Bill Beer and John
Daggett successfully swam through
Grand Canyon wearing wet suits and
long johns for insulation and military
neoprene packs for storage. The idea
came from a mutual friend, John Bursell,
in a discussion of the dangers of such a
The going was hypothermic in the
60-degree water and especially rough
when John was trapped briefly under a
boulder in President Harding Rapid in
Marble Canyon. The deafening rapids beat them
against boulders. Swimming at eye level limited
vision and planning. The partners would disappear
from sight as each left the naturally occurring
pool of water, sometimes called a lake, before
When Bill and John exited the Canyon at the
South Rim’s Bright Angel Trail to unload movie film,
the National Park Service attempted to halt the
remainder of the trip. The men had been feared
lost, and the media had learned of the story.
Bill said with excitement, “We probably know
50 guys who, if you stop us, will be up here next
week jumping in trying to be the first ones down.
We already made it this far. We’ve a lot better
chance of finishing than anybody you know. So
if you don’t let us through, you’re going to be
Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent
John McLaughlin advised against the remainder of
the swim, but legally could not stop them. “We
can’t stop you fellows . . . but we don’t want you
to go through.”
The duo battled the 280 pre-Glen Canyon
Dam river miles from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead in
26 days, frying Spam in a skillet over driftwood
fires. Today, the National Park Service prohibits
swimming in the Colorado River. — Flood Hefley
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY, CLINE LIBRARY, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
AND ARCHIVES, BILL BELKNAP COLLECTION
FRANK S. ROSE
FRANK S. ROSE
Wish Upon a Star
potter martha kelly
captures nature’s colorful palette
in her Patagonia studio, putting
pigment to clay in slashes of
brilliant blues, bold purples and
bright greens. In addition to her
studio work at Shooting Star
Pottery, the artist teaches classes
to Santa Cruz County’s
disadvantaged youths and
offers evening workshops
for local adults. Under her
tutelage, students discover
every aspect of creating
their own clay masterpieces.
— Carrie M. Miner
The Chase for Butterflies
8 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 9
HERE , GERONIMO F INAL LY gave himself up
to roam no more forever.
Here, the one-armed Maj. John Wesley
Powell’s heart plunged at the roar of the rapid.
Here, the ferociously brave Gus Begold died
with an arrow in his gut.
Here, the relentless Massai launched his
murderous one-man war.
Here in Skeleton Canyon, in the Grand
Canyon, in Prescott, in the Chiricahua
Mountains, great and ruthless people did brave
and terrible things.
Why is it that we yearn to stand in that
same place, hear that same roar, glimpse that
same bend of the river? They have been dead
a hundred years or more, yet when we find
the precise spot they stood, it still chills our
spines. Perhaps it is because we travel first in
our minds and only then seek the landscapes
of our imaginations. Whatever the explana-tion,
history travel is booming—especially
here in the West, which played such a vital
role in national culture and character.
So here’s our treasure map to find the back
trail of daunting giants and endearing fools,
with a mixture of gripping history and mod-ern
landscapes—all designed to get you out
there, covered in goose bumps.
p h o t o - i l l u s t r a t i o Find 18 of our favorite Arizona history travel destinations n b y r a e c h e l r u n n i n g
at arizonahighways.com (Click on “August Trip Planner”).
M O D E R N A D V E N T U R E R S
F O L L O W T H E PAT H O F
R E N E G A D E S , R E B E L S A N D
O N E - A RME D H E R O E S
10 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 11
A N A D V E N T U R E P H O T O G R A P H E R F O L L OWS
I N T H E W A K E O F A G R A N D C A N Y O N E X P L O R E R
German-born John K. Hillers originally signed on to Maj. John Wesley Powell’s second
voyage down the Colorado River as a boatman. When E.O. Beamon, the professional
photographer hired for that 1871 survey, left after a dispute with the irascible Powell,
fate and Hillers’ burgeoning interest in photography ultimately cast the eager assistant
in the role of the famous explorer’s visual chronicler. The black-and-white photograph
above was made by Hillers during Powell’s second expedition down the Colorado and
through the Grand Canyon. Author John Annerino rephotographed the area near river
mile 34 (right) with a dramatic seasonal twist as rust-colored floodwaters coursed over
the Canyon’s sandstone walls following a powerful thunderstorm.
t ex t an d p hoto g ra p h s b y Jo h n A n ne r ino
bl a c k- an d -whi t e p hoto g ra p h s b y Jo h n K . H i l l e r s , 1871
12 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 13
huddle in a small neoprene boat, shivering. My blis-tered,
wet hands still clench the wooden oars. My sun-burned
feet stew in an inch of cold gray water. And my
weathered brown knees ooze with pink rasp marks from
heavy metal camera boxes. I glance up. Between sheets
of rain that slice the air like saw blades, I peer down the
storm-wracked corridor of stone. The serpentine river slides
silently beneath the slippery skin of our boat and twists and
turns through the rain, mist and black cliffs until it disap-pears
in the wrath of this 1.8 billion-year-old Grand Canyon
that roars with lightning. There is no turning back — now.
We are being pulled down the river of no return as inexo-rable
as the man I’ve imagined all these years — John K.
(“Jack”) Hillers, who photographed the legendary explorer
John Wesley Powell’s trip down this same river in 1872.
Thunder booms, echoing off Canyon walls deposited by
primordial seas. It booms again and again, rattling me with
fear as eddies and whirlpools swirl around our boat. I
crouch lower in my rowing seat, wondering when we’ll be
blown out of the water by a bolt of blue lightning, or oblit-erated
by a house-sized boulder exploding from the rim-rock.
I turn to my partner, a gray shadow drenched in the
deluge. He heaves-ho on the bow line and ties off our boat
to a tamarisk tree.
“So what do you want to do?” he yells.
Wind, rain and thunder continue to hammer us, but we
can only wait. We are roughly a mile ahead of the rest of
our expedition, shivering upstream in immense Redwall
Cavern, in which Hillers sheltered in 1872 on Powell’s sec-ond
“Let’s wait for the Disney ending,” I shout back.
A beam of heavenly light illuminates the weeping abyss
with the false hope the storm is about to break. In an eye-blink,
dark clouds smother the light, and a black squall
marches up Marble Canyon as pellets of rain ricochet like
diamonds off the surface of the muddy river.
Thunder booms again, and the boat bounces wildly. I bolt
upright, expecting to see a hail of stones tumbling from the
Virtually unchanged in the 134 years since Hillers made the first
photograph of the site (above), 100-foot-high Deer Creek Falls offers the
same visual drama (opposite page) for modern explorers. A consummate
craftsman, Hillers’ photographic achievements are remarkable considering
the physical challenges in getting a bulky view camera, glass plates,
chemicals and a darkroom tent to his Grand Canyon locations.
‘ Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky,
one so merges with sunlight and air
and running water that
whole eons . . . might pass
in a single afternoon.’
— LOREN EISELEY, 1946, The Immense Journey
14 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 15
rimrock. But it’s my partner making the boat move, not the
rockfall I’d feared. His name is Rob Elliott, a 45-year river-running
pioneer and outfitter who has rafted rivers from
China to Siberia. My rivers have been closer to home, the
Green, the Yampa, Cataract Canyon, the Forks of the Kern
and the Salt. But I left off rowing and pursued my passion
for photography, writing and exploration, and now have
returned after a 14-year hiatus to follow in the wake of
Hillers, one of my photographic inspirations. Rob has joined
me on my quest, generously providing the boat and oars.
We have darted ahead of our main party to river mile
34 seeking a vista that boatman Hillers photographed on
Powell’s second expedition in 1871-’72. My quest is not
only to test myself against these great rapids, but to mea-sure
myself against Hillers’ vision. Although Timothy H.
O’Sullivan took the first known photographs of the Grand
Canyon as he struggled upstream as far as Diamond Creek
with the Wheeler expedition in 1871, Hillers in 1872 became
the first to photograph the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry
to Kanab Creek.
I have studied Hillers’ photographs and journals for years,
since I have been impelled to seek that same spirit of image
and adventure. Through weeks of toil and deprivation that
21st-century photographers rarely face, Hillers had overcome
Grand Canyon Trails Follow
Path of History by Kimberly Hosey
The Grand Canyon boasts many hikes along both the North
and South rims that brim with history and range in difficulty
from easy day hikes to treks for experienced backpackers only.
The North Bass Trail
The 14-mile path begins at Swamp
Point on the North Rim and ends
at the cable system site on the
north side of the Colorado River.
The original Puebloan trail was
first improved by a prospector
in the 1860s or 1870s, then
upgraded again in the late
1890s by William Wallace Bass,
a trail-builder, settler, miner
and promoter who spent
40 years at the Canyon.
Getting There: The trailhead, at
an elevation of 7,500 feet, begins
at Swamp Point. From Flagstaff,
take U.S. Route 89 north 116 miles.
Turn left (west) on U.S. Route 89A. Turn left (south) on State Route
67 at Jacob Lake. Drive south for 26 miles, just past Kaibab Lodge
and DeMotte Park. Turn right (west) onto Forest Service Road 22.
Drive 2 miles and turn left (south) onto Forest Service Road 270.
Drive 2 miles and turn right (west) onto Forest Service Road 223.
Drive 5.5 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 268. After
about a quarter-mile, bear left at the fork onto Forest Service Road
268B. Continue approximately 1 mile to the park boundary. After
you enter the park, turn right (west) onto Swamp Ridge Road.
Continue west for about 7 miles to Swamp Point and North Bass
Information: (928) 643-7395; www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/recreation/.
The North Kaibab Trail
This route is one of the corridor trails and therefore
crowded in summer, but among the easiest to access.
The trail runs 14 miles from the Rim to Bright Angel
Campground and the Colorado River. The top portion, 4.7
miles from the trailhead to Roaring Springs, is steep and
the most difficult section. The 28-mile round-trip is not
recommended as a day hike, but good day hikes along the
trail from the Rim include Coconino Overlook (3 miles round-trip),
Supai Tunnel (4 miles) and Roaring Springs (9.4 miles).
Getting There: Follow directions mentioned above from Flagstaff
to State Route 67. Drive about
14 miles to the North Kaibab
Trailhead, about 2 miles north
of the North Rim visitor area.
The trailhead shares a parking
lot with the trailhead for the
Ken Patrick and Uncle Jim trails.
Information: (928) 643-7395;
This newly reconstructed trail is
the best history-laced day hike
from the South Rim, according to
Mike Anderson, park historian.
Originally designed and built
by Peter D. Berry to carry
copper ore by mule from the
Last Chance Copper Mine, the
trail was closed by a landslide
for most of 2005. It provides
the best access to Horseshoe
Mesa and the remains of the
mine, which was active from
1892 to 1907. The trail boasts
extensive log‑cribbing and hand‑laid cobblestone rip‑rap tread.
Getting There: From Flagstaff, take U.S. Route 89 north to State
Route 64. Turn left (west) on State 64 toward the east entrance
on the South Rim. Continue north for 14 miles on 64, (also called
Desert View Drive and East Rim Drive). Take the left (west) turnoff
to Grandview Point. From the overlook, Grandview Trail drops into
Information: (928) 638-2443; www.kaibab.org/bc/gc_tr_gv.htm.
Hikers on the Grandview Trail.
Changes In Plant Life
Made near the point where the Colorado River leaves Marble Canyon
and begins its tumultuous charge through the narrows of the Grand
Canyon, Hillers’ photograph (above) and Annerino’s re-creation (left),
demonstrate both the immutability of the rock and the changeable
nature of the life near the river. Although many of the geologic
formations are the same, the river’s plant life has changed significantly.
Tamarisk, an invasive exotic tree species, introduced to the Southwest
early in the 20th century as an ornamental plant or for erosion control,
has taken over the banks opposite the camera viewpoint. A particular
problem in the Canyon, tamarisk crowds out native species and overruns
the river’s beaches and sandy inlets. Eradication efforts have so far
produced only mixed results.
A view from the North Kaibab Trail.
s i d e t r i p s
16 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 17
dwarfing our 18-foot boat. Catapulted into a deep black
trough, we slide straight up the face of the wave. It collapses
over us like a falling roof as I cling to the oars. All I can see
is the dark blur of bubbles. All I hear is muffled gurgling. All
I feel is the force of the river.
The boat makes a slow steep climb as I plant my feet and
get ready. If the angle increases, I will swim for the bottom
before Rob’s body slams into mine or the boat flips on top
of us. But we keep burrowing up through dark water until
we break through into sunlight, gasping for air, dizzy with
a mixture of adrenalin and joy.
Later, in camp, I walk down the shoreline, staring into
the great river and letting tears run down my stubbled
cheeks to feel that connection with the one river I’d feared
I’d lost forever.
My river journey continues through a succession of infa-mous
rapids as I continue past one surprisingly little-changed
vista Hiller had documented after another. We
come at length to Kanab Creek, where Powell had ended
his second expedition, fearing the weakened condition of
his leaky wooden boats. On September 9, Hillers wrote:
“Quite a surprise at breakfast this morning. Major told us
that our voyage of toil and danger was at end on the river.
Everybody wanted to praise God.”
As we pull into Kanab Rapid, it dawns on me that, in
some respects, my river journey has also ended where
Hillers had left the river. In other respects, it is just begin-ning.
Lava Falls, that ultimate test of Colorado River boat-men
and women, lies just ahead. But I suddenly realize I
would rather photograph it than row it. My memory of
paddle-captaining Lava Falls 14 years earlier in a puny
Avon Redshank raft at 33,000 cubic feet per second remains
vivid and bright, and nothing I do this day can improve
upon that near-perfect run.
Thanks to a friend, Ron, who has helped me climb back
in the saddle, I have peered through Hillers’ prism and
rowed in his wake until the river brought me back home.
The images, the adventure, friendships and discoveries have
created new memories I will carry with me long after the
callouses have peeled and I hear the siren call of this river
mistress once again.
I load two motor-driven Nikons with fresh rolls of film,
cinch down my lifejacket, take a perch on a wave-battered
anvil of black rock and photograph six white boats running
the frothing brown rapids of the most legendary big drop
in North America. Who could ask for more?
John Annerino of Tucson is the author and photographer of numerous
books and calendars, including the forthcoming landscape photography
book, Desert Light (fall 2006) and calendar La Virgen de Guadalupe.
the challenges of photographing the least-inhabited,
last-explored region in the contiguous
United States. Although my journey includes the
relative safety and comfort of a modern river
expedition, the storm recalls a passage from
Hillers’ diary: “Being wet from head to foot
anyhow . . . had to hunt for shelter from the
beating rain. Got in the river under the side of
the boat. . . . Heard angel’s whisper of falling
I sit in the stinging rain quaking like a leaf
until I, too, hear the first clear whispers of fall-ing
water. The thunder falls silent. The wind
stands still. The rain stops. I take off my sun-glasses
and stare at the mud-streaked stereo-scopic
reflections. The faces are humbled by the
great storm, but the eyes still burn with passion to redis-cover
a connection with the great river. As far downstream
as I can see, terra-cotta waterfalls cascade hundreds of feet
over cinnamon-red walls into a chocolate brown river. We
are sitting in the midst of a living mural that is more Jules
Verne than Thomas Moran. We push off from Hillers’ cam-era
perch, and I begin photographing a scene he undoubt-edly
witnessed long before.
Downstream two days later, our six-boat oar-and-paddle
expedition prepares to enter the narrow gorge between the
ancient opaline walls of Vishnu Schist. Powell called those
somber depths the “Great Unknown.”
On the eve before entering the frighten-ing
abyss, he wrote: “We are three-quar-ters
of a mile in the depths of the earth,
and the great river shrinks into insig-nificance.
. . . We have an unknown dis-tance
yet to run; an unknown river to
explore. What falls there are, we know
not; what rocks beset the channel, we
know not; what walls rise over the river,
we know not.”
I contemplate the one-armed explor-er’s
misgivings that night. Am I ready for
the gorge? I’m not sure. I’ve had the
experience of rafting the unknown river
that awaited Powell’s heavy wooden
boats, but still I find myself fearfully overthinking the
upcoming Hance, Sockdolager, Horn Creek and Granite
Rapids. Soothed by the starlit river lapping against glisten-ing
boulders, I make a simple decision: “Just do what you
used to do.” I stow my cameras and prepare myself to
navigate what Hillers called the “hell holes” and “busters”
that had almost swallowed the Emma Dean’s and Cañonita’s
daring crews 133 years earlier.
The next morning I hear the roar of Hermit Rapid as I
push my oars into the slick current. We roller-coaster
down the booming wave train, the wall of brown water
Riding Out the Roar
Paddle captain Jeff Pomeroy (left) eyes his
line through Upset Rapids at river mile 150
on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon
Raft the River
Flagstaff is the rendezvous and departure point for many Grand Canyon
river trips. Sixteen river outfitters are authorized to run trips through the
heart of the Canyon. Mid-May
through mid-September is the most
popular period to raft the Canyon.
Make your trip reservations a year
in advance. For a complete list of
river outfitters and information
on how to launch a private river
trip, contact the Grand Canyon
River Trip Information Center,
(800) 959-9164 or www.nps.
gov/grca/river. The outfitters
listed are some that offer oar-powered,
paddle and motor trips.
5- to 16-day Trips
Arizona Raft Adventures
4050 Huntington Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
P.O. Box 310
Flagstaff, AZ 86002
Grand Canyon Dories
P.O. Box 216
Altaville, CA 95221
Weekend River Trips
through the Western
Hualapai River Runners
P.O. Box 246
Peach Springs, AZ 86434
river mile 168. I sit in the
like a leaf
until I, too,
Kristen Huisinga guides a group
across Havasu Creek.
s i d e t r i p s
18 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 19
S K E L E T O N C A N Y O N ’ S G H O S T S S T I L L S I G H
W H E R E O L D M A N C L A N T O N D I E D
A N D G E R O N I M O S U R R E N D E R E D
have come seeking the place where the West
died finally with a whimper after so much
banging about. But the aptly named Skeleton
Canyon yields no hint of what happened
between its low walls, along this fitful creek,
beneath these sinuous trees.
Somewhere, just up-canyon, N.H. “Old Man”
Clanton — famous for his family’s feud with Wyatt
Earp — slaughtered a party of Mexican smugglers
in the aptly named Devil’s Kitchen, a contortion
of lichen-mottled volcanic rocks. Two weeks
Death of the West
I Jagged Hideout
This view of the Peloncillo Mountains
from the mouth of Gold Cave takes in a
swath of rugged wilderness that
sheltered Geronimo and other Apaches,
by providing a protected route into
Mexico. Ultimately, Geronimo
surrendered for the last time in
Skeleton Canyon in these mountains.
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or
b y P e t e r A l e s h i r e p h o t o g r a p h s b y C l a y M a r t i n
20 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 21
sent a single officer and relatives of Geronimo’s tightly knit
band into Mexico to convince the renegades to surrender.
Geronimo yielded reluctantly to the longing of his warriors
for their families and agreed to meet with General Miles in
Geronimo camped high in the rocks near where I now
stand, where he could still escape the approach of treach-ery.
Miles hesitated in an agony of indecision, hoping the
soldiers would kill Geronimo and relieve him of the politi-cally
risky task of negotiating the surrender. But the wary
war shaman gave the soldiers no opening, so Miles eventu-ally
rode into Skeleton Canyon for the fateful meeting.
Miles noted that Geronimo was “one of the brightest,
most resolute, determined-looking men that I have ever
encountered. He had the clearest, sharpest, dark eyes I
think I have ever seen.”
Geronimo rode down alone and unarmed to meet with
Miles. The warrior listened carefully to the interpreter who
said, “General Miles is your friend.”
“I never saw him, but I have been in need of friends,” said
Geronimo. “Why has he not been with me?”
Bitter laughter sounded among the watching officers,
drawing a puzzled look from Geronimo.
Miles stated his terms, which he would soon violate. He
arranged stones on the ground to illustrate that Geronimo
would go to join the other Chiricahua Apaches, whom
Miles had already removed to a disease-ridden camp in
Florida. After two years, they could return to Arizona.
Geronimo and Miles met again in the same spot the next
day, this time with the other warriors and Naiche, the son
of Cochise and the real leader of the band. As Geronimo
related years later, “We stood between his troopers and my
warriors. We placed a large stone on the blanket before us.
Our treaty was made by this stone and it was to last till
the stone should crumble to dust; so we made the treaty,
and bound each other with an oath. We raised our hands
to heaven and took an oath not to do any wrong to each
other or to scheme against each other.”
Miles quickly discarded his politically unpalatable prom-ises,
although he did stave off voracious demands to simply
hang Geronimo. The Chiricahua Apaches — the Army scouts
and children born on the reservation along with Geronimo’s
few renegades — were loaded onto cattle cars and spent the
next 27 years in exile. The survivors were finally allowed to
settle on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico
after Geronimo died of pneumonia, drunk in a ditch, for his
“Power” had promised that no bullet could kill him.
I wander aimlessly among the grove of bone-white syca-mores
growing in the intermittent creek where Geronimo
met with Miles. I stoop to examine a once-molten ooze of
quartz and granite and wonder if it might be the rock by
which Geronimo swore his oath. The sycamores seem slen-der,
too young to have witnessed that shattered promise.
But then my eye goes to the massive stump of a piñon on
the bluff overlooking the stream. Surely that tree stood and
swayed as Geronimo decided, at last, to trust a general.
The Apaches believed that the life force pervades all
things. They say a man gains insight by “sitting in wisdom,”
meditating on the lessons the trees and rocks and wind of
a certain place have to offer.
So I make my small, silent camp nearby, where I can
listen to the rocks of the place where the Old West died in
a flurry of gunfire and broken promises.
I wake in the night. Somewhere a whippoorwill mourns.
Then I hear an owl calling, calling, calling.
Biologists will tell you that owls call in the mournful
darkness to make a listening rabbit lose its nerve and
betray its position. Geronimo would have said that owls
call out from the spirit world, telling secrets about death.
I only know that I lie very still for a while, listening.
Peter Aleshire is editor of Arizona Highways and author of four books
about the Apache Wars, including The Fox and the Whirlwind, the
paired biography of Geronimo and Gen. George Crook. He also wrote
“The Last Renegade” beginning on page 26.
Clay Martin has been exploring the empty spots on the Arizona map
for 25 years, first as a field geologist and more recently as a landscape
photographer. He lives in Westminster, Colorado.
later, Mexicans bent on revenge killed Clanton in nearby
Near here, Geronimo finally yielded to Gen. Nelson
Miles. He fell to false promises, not bullets, but Geronimo’s
surrender effectively ended the Indian Wars.
After years of imagining this remote canyon in the
Peloncillo Mountains at the junction of Arizona, New
Mexico and Mexico, I finally set out to find it and per-haps
understand the terrible struggle for so harsh a place.
I made the 300-mile drive from Phoenix out Interstate
10 into New Mexico, then south on State Route 80 back
into Arizona before turning off the pavement at Skeleton
Canyon Road and rattling 6.5 miles along the graded dirt
road, past the stock tank and through an unlocked cattle
fence across the public road near a ranch house and then
into this haunted canyon.
The dirt road deteriorated into a jeep trail leading into
Devil’s Kitchen, a jagged stand of volcanic rocks near where
the Clanton gang ambushed a band of Mexican smugglers.
Clanton was the irascible head of a gang of rustlers
known as the Cowboys, later made infamous by hat-ing
Wyatt Earp. Clanton’s gang routinely used Skeleton
Canyon as a route south into Mexico.
Mexican smugglers also used the canyon. In July 1881,
Clanton’s men ambushed one such smuggler pack train
in Skeleton Canyon. Reportedly, Old Man Clanton and
gunfighter “Curly Bill” Brocius set up the ambush, but
Clanton’s sons might have actually arranged it, accord-ing
to Alden Hayes in his book Portal to Paradise. Some
accounts say the robbers killed six to 19 Mexicans and
made off with $765,000 in Mexican silver. Later, pass-ing
cowboys reportedly used the bleached skulls of the
Mexicans as wash basins. However, The Tombstone Epitaph
in August 1881 reported the haul at $4,000 and death toll
at four. Hayes put the take at $700 and the death toll at four,
plus one badly wounded man who fled with a load of silver.
Treasure hunters have scoured the canyon ever since.
About two weeks later, Old Man Clanton and five cow-boys
camped with a herd of cattle in adjacent Guadalupe
Canyon. Clanton was up at dawn, rattling about with the
pots and pans to start breakfast, with the help of Harry
Earnshaw and Billy Lang. As Charlie Snow, the night
herder, rode up, Lang noted the restlessness of the cattle.
“Charlie, get your gun,” he said. “I think there’s a bear
Just then, a storm of gunfire broke over them. Old Man
Clanton and several others died immediately. The wounded
Snow rode half a mile down canyon before slipping from
the saddle. Billy Beyers fled, but was hit a short distance up
the canyon. Earnshaw and Lang got a little farther before
Lang went down, shot in both legs. He provided enough
covering fire for Earnshaw to flee with only the crease of a
bullet across his nose. Lang killed one of the attackers and
wounded another before they killed him.
The wounded Beyers rolled into some bushes and watched
as the Mexican gunmen ran into camp to strip the bodies.
Still half hidden, he stripped, tossed away his ring and lay
face down on top of his clothes, playing dead. Assuming
his body had already been plundered, the Mexicans ignored
him. They were probably Sonoran militia, taking revenge
for the smugglers’ murders and rustling.
Earnshaw made it out of the canyon and hours later
staggered into another ranch. A hastily assembled rescue
party found Beyers barely alive and delirious.
I linger awhile in Devil’s Kitchen, watching a gyre of
vultures on the strengthening uplift. Skeleton Canyon has
always been good to their kind.
After climbing back into my Jeep, I rattle another 4 miles
down the canyon, until the trail dies in a barrier of bedrock.
So I retrace my steps past Devil’s Kitchen, seeking the real
object of my quest — the place Geronimo surrendered.
At length, I find a previously overlooked sign marking
the site of Geronimo’s 1886 surrender. The soldiers had
built a pile of stones to mark the spot, but the stones have
long since been carried away — so I had missed it. Standing
beneath the spindly sycamores, I picture that fall day when
the mythic West gave way to the modern age.
By the time Geronimo surrendered here on September
3, 1886, he was the most infamous outlaw in America.
A war shaman who believed himself immune to bullets,
Geronimo spent his whole life at war, mostly in Mexico,
where he extracted his insatiable revenge for the treacher-ous
killing of his wife, mother and children.
At one point, a quarter of the U.S. Army and a similar
number of Mexican troops chased him back and forth
across the border — with Skeleton and Guadalupe canyons
among his favored escape routes
and ambush sites.
Eventually, the vainglorious
General Miles realized he could not
catch the wind in his hands, and so
and the Chiricahua
Apaches with a
from which they
resisted the U.S.
Cavalry for 15 years.
death in 1874, his
men secretly buried
By Clint Van Winkle
Part of the “sky islands,” the Dragoon
Mountains guard the secrets to
some of Arizona’s most interesting
history. From Apache warrior sites to
ghost towns, the Dragoons offer an
enticing look into Arizona’s past.
within the canyon. A
hike through the
canyon on Cochise
Trail will allow
visitors to see for
themselves why the
Apaches felt safe in
Location: 90 miles
southeast of Tucson.
Getting There: From
Tucson, take Interstate
10 east for 72 miles;
turn right (south)
onto U.S. Route 191.
Turn right (west)
onto Ironwood Road.
Forest Service Road
84) to campground.
Take Cochise Trail
279 on foot from the
Forest and Willcox
Playa Wildlife Area.
Station; (520) 364-
West of Cochise
just off of Cochise
Trail, the boulders
are littered with
pictographs. A pile
of rocks marks the
site where Cochise
negotiated a peace
treaty with Gen. Otis
Howard in 1872—
are detailed in
Making Peace with
Cochise: The 1872
Journal of Captain
Joseph Alton Sladen.
Although the exact
surrender site may
be hard to locate,
visitors can hike the
eastern portion of
Cochise Trail. The
drive to the trailhead,
provides a close-up
view of the area.
Location: 90 miles
southeast of Tucson.
Getting There: From
and continue north
on Forest Service
Road 687. Council
Rocks is at GPS
110°.19.33’W. It is
also possible to hike
Cochise Trail, but it is
a strenuous hike
miles of rugged
There aren’t any
signs marking the
Council Rocks site,
but with the use
of a map or GPS,
visitors can locate
(Forest Service Road
345) Scenic Drive
Station, (520) 364-
Council Rocks (left) in the Dragoon
Mountains near Tombstone.
Native Americans mashed up the stems and fruit of claret cup
hedgehog cacti and baked small, sweet cakes. These days the brilliant
flowers attract mostly hummingbirds, which stick their whole heads
into the funnel-shaped flower cup and get covered with pollen.
s i d e t r i p s
22 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 23
This view of the Peloncillo range
looking south from Ash Peak toward
Whitlock Peak demonstrates why the
rugged, remote mountains leading
from Mexico into the United States
made a perfect route for Apache
raiders, Mexican smugglers and
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191
or visit arizonahighways.com.
24 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 25
After Geronimo surrendered near
here, the Peloncillos became much
safer for smugglers and rustlers
like the Clanton Gang, which
reportedly traveled through the
canyons of these mountains to
steal cattle from Mexican ranches
before their face-off with the Earp
brothers made them infamous.
n To order a print, call (866) 962-
1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
26 a u g u j u l y 2s t0 0260 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 27
warm wind filters through the mingled
oaks and pines at the base of the spec-tacular
spires of ancient ash turned to
stone. I pause and listen for an odd echo of sound
somewhere behind me. The sound stops immedi-ately,
the rustle of the leaves indistinguishable from
the whisper of my imagination here among the cluster
of stone pillars named for the last great Apache renegade.
“Big Foot” Massai fought alongside Geronimo, escaped from
a train carrying him to exile and staged one of the most
astonishing cross-country escapes
A PA C H E W A R R I O R M A S S A I
C R O S S E D H A L F A C O N T I N E N T
T O W A G E H I S O N E - M A N W A R
b y P e t e r A l e s h i r e
Rhyolite rock pillars contrast with the
darkening sky at sunset in Chiricahua
National Monument’s Heart of Rocks.
george h.h. huey
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or
(Text continued on page 30)
28 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 29
Massai waged a long, terrible, lonely war for years after even Geronimo surrendered,
taking refuge in traditional Apache haunts like the Chiricahua and Dragoon Mountains
(above). The “sky island” provided vital resources, including medicines made from the
Arizona sycamore that included treatments for indigestion and skin rashes. george stocking
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
30 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 31
s i d e t r i p s
the other non-Chiricahua Apache bands still living at the
San Carlos Reservation, for fear the soldiers would again
send him to Florida.
“To his bitter anger he found his people had been cowed
by the government, and he wrathfully left them — to declare
war on the whites and redmen alike,” Miles wrote. “He saw
himself as the sole remaining true Apache. The rest of the
tribe had deserted the faith of their fathers.”
So began Massai’s long, lonely war against whites, Indians
and Mexicans alike. He hid in New Mexico and southeast
Arizona where he stole horses, killed settlers and eluded
His feats of endurance and cunning soon seemed super-human.
He could cover 70 miles in a single day, riding his
horses to death, stopping to cut a meal from the warm car-cass,
then running on foot for hours. This enabled him to
outdistance soldiers, who could hardly eat their government-issued
mounts. Once, he reportedly wiped out an entire unit
of Mexican cavalry by luring them into a shallow gorge just
in time to be swept away by flooding from a mountain
On another occasion, an Apache scout found Massai’s
camp and hurried back to report the find to Chief of Scouts
Al Sieber. But Massai spotted the scout’s tracks, followed him
to the fort and dropped the scout with a single rifle shot as
he stood in Sieber’s doorway about to make his report.
Massai also turned his bitter rage on Apaches remain-ing
on the reservations. Repeatedly, he kidnapped women
from the reservation to share his exile. Some, he reportedly
murdered. Others died simply trying to keep up with him
as he fled his pursuers. One he came to love. When she
became pregnant, he returned her to the reservation so
that his child might survive.
On one of Massai’s sweeping raids in 1892, he stalked
Stafford and his family on a picnic in Bonita Canyon. After
coming across Massai’s distinctive moccasin print on the
road, Stafford gathered up his family and fled. Stafford
raised a posse that tracked Massai until his trail disap-peared
in a seemingly impenetrable wall of brush near the
cluster of stone pillars that now bears his name.
Massai’s ultimate fate remains a mystery.
Betzinez said that Massai and his son were one day chas-ing
a horse near the Mescalaro Reservation in New Mexico
when a shot rang out, prompting the boy to flee without
ever knowing if his father had been hit. But Massai’s family
never heard from him again.
Of course, even if Massai eluded that bullet and fled
with a flick of the reins, he would have died long ago. So
why should I take fright at a rustling of leaves? Why did my
heart hammer, as though I’d discovered a moccasin print
stalking everything I hold dear?
Turning, I walked quickly back toward the sound, burst-ing
through a screen of bushes and looking a trifle wildly
around the small clearing.
Nothing. Only the wind. I walked around the edge of
the clearing, groping for some sign. In the soft dirt, I found
a single, scuffed print that appeared to belong to a bear.
Or something very much like a bear — now gone.
Soleful Sites by JoBeth Jamison and Clint Van Winkle
While working his way through southeastern Arizona, Massai was
known to cover up to 70 miles a day. Perhaps you could, too, but with
so much to see, we’d be willing to wager you’d get sidetracked.
1 Chiricahua National Monument
Follow in Massai’s “Big” footsteps.
Location: Southeast of Willcox.
Getting There: From Tucson, take Interstate 10 east 75 miles
to Willcox and State Route 186. Follow State 186 south for
31 miles to State Route 181 and turn east to the monument.
What to See: Not so far away from the entrance, off Bonita
Canyon Road, is the historic Faraway Ranch where Swedish
pioneers settled after Geronimo surrendered. Stop for a
walk through Echo Canyon where you can hear yourself
think beneath mirroring rock formations. At the end of
Bonita Canyon Road, find the 7,000-foot Massai Point and
an uncanny view of Cochise Head rock. To learn about the
monument and area history, visit the Chiricahua Ranger Station and
Visitors Center located approximately
1.5 miles inside the monument.
Information: (520) 824-3560; www.
2 Fort Apache Historic Park
See the site of the Massai
Location: South of Pinetop.
Getting There: From Phoenix, take
U.S. Route 60 145 miles northeast
to State Route 73 at Carrizo. Drive
south on State 73 approximately
23 miles to Fort Apache.
What to See: On a brief hiatus
from the Apache warpath in 1885,
Massai made his way to be with
his family on the reservation near
Fort Apache. This former army
post comprises 288 acres and more
than 20 buildings dating from the
1870s to the 1930s. Run by the White
Mountain Apache Tribe, Fort Apache
also houses the Apache Cultural Center, a re-created Apache
village, a military cemetery and ancient ruins and petroglyphs.
Information: (928) 338-4625; www.wmonline.com/attract/
3 Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrante
The 18th-century fortress looms as the most intact survivor of a
network of defensive sites constructed by the Spanish. However, the
structure was abandoned in 1780, because of numerous raids by
Apache warriors. Now, visitors can imagine what it must’ve been like
to live as a Spanish soldier at the fort as they view the ancient ruins.
Location: 100 miles southeast of Tucson on the San
Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
Getting There: From Tucson, drive 40 miles east on Interstate
10 to State Route 90. Go south 20 miles to State Route 82. Turn
left (east) onto State 82 and drive 9 miles to Kellar Road, then
2 miles north down the driveway to the parking lot.
What to See Nearby: Fairbank ghost town, Lehner
Mammoth and Murray Springs Clovis Sites.
Information: (520) 439-6400; www.blm.gov/az/nca/spnca/spnca-info.htm.
4 Johnson Historical Museum of the Southwest
Formerly known as the Slaughter Ranch, this was the home
of Texas Ranger and cattleman John Slaughter, who served
two terms as the sheriff of Cochise County, which included the
rough-and-tumble town of Tombstone. Registered as a National
Historic Landmark, there are five fully restored buildings on this
144-acre spread. The historic ranch once served as the assembly
area for troops ready to repel an attack led by Pancho Villa.
Location: East of Douglas, 135 miles southeast of Tucson.
Getting There: From Tucson, take Interstate 10 east for 42
miles to State Route 80 at Exit 303. Take State 80 southeast
to Douglas. Travel east on 15th Street/Geronimo Trail to
the Slaughter Ranch gate with the letter “Z” over it.
What to See Nearby: Cochise County Historical Society, San
Bernardino National Wildlife refuge and the Gadsden Hotel.
Information: (520) 558-2474; www.slaughterranch.com.
of all time to return
to these haunted mountains and a one-man
war for another 25 years.
Now I’m walking near Massai Point in the
Chiricahua Mountains, close to the place
where Massai in 1892 stalked a rancher and
his family. J. Hughes Stafford, a Civil War
veteran and rancher, survived his encounter
with Massai, unlike perhaps 100 other people
who died at Massai’s hands during his quarter-century
reign of terror as the last Apache
“Wounded Warrior.” Now I have come to this
same place, seeking to understand the ferocity
of Massai’s long search for a warrior’s death.
Then the leaves rustle again and a shiver of
understanding runs up my spine.
Massai’s daughter, Alberta Begay, provided one of the
few accounts of his early life in a 1959 article in True
West magazine. Jason Betzinez, who rode with Geronimo,
also recounts Massai’s life in his 1959 book I Fought with
Geronimo. I also unearthed an account by Morgan Miles in
the 1953 issue of American Mercury titled “The Wounded
Warrior,” together with partial accounts in Dan Thrapp’s
biography of cavalry scout Al Sieber and Arizona’s Names
by Byrd H. Granger.
Trained as a warrior from childhood, Massai learned
to run all day with water held in his mouth to enforce
proper breathing, with heavy burdens lashed to his back.
Constantly in the company of his childhood friend Gray
Lizard, Massai practiced his skills as a hunter. As a boy,
he killed a charging bear. Because the Apaches hold bears
sacred, the boy then hurried home for purifying rituals.
Massai’s training came just in time for the most intense
period of the Apache Wars, as Gen. George Crook deployed
thousands of cavalrymen and hundreds of
Apache scouts, taking adroit advantage of the
bitter divisions between different bands. The use
of the Apache scouts proved crucial, since they
alone could cling to the trail of a raiding party.
Accounts differ as to what role Massai played
in these early maneuvers as he moved from the
warpath to the reservation and back again.
Betzinez reports that Massai worked as an
Army scout in the campaign against the Apache
chief Victorio, but Massai’s daughter seemed
to counter that claim by describing his bitter-ness
against the Apache scouts who hunted
Massai left the reservation to join Betzinez
and others in Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains,
but then stole Betzinez’ horse and returned quietly to the
San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Not long after,
Geronimo recruited him for another breakout.
“Who will join me in driving out the White Eye?”
Geronimo asked the assembled group of warriors, accord-ing
to the account of Massai’s daughter.
“We are a free people,” said White Cloud. “Among the
Apaches, there is no compulsory military service.”
“So be it,” said Geronimo. “Let each man decide for him-self.”
Massai and Gray Lizard immediately volunteered.
Geronimo fled the reservation and returned to the warpath
in 1885. Once more tiring of warfare after several months,
Massai returned to his family on the reservation near Fort
By then, the Army had decided to relocate all of the
Chiricahua Apaches to Florida, hoping to finally break
the resistance of Geronimo’s warriors, who had eluded
roughly 10,000 Mexican and U.S. troops. When Geronimo
learned all his family members left behind on the reserva-tion
had already been sent to Florida, he also surrendered
to the Army.
But as the Army prepared the captives for the trip east,
Massai again reconsidered his surrender. First, he tried to
stir up revolt among the dispirited prisoners at Holbrook,
before they boarded the train for exile in Florida.
“When he found no one was paying attention to him
and that nobody would join him in an effort to escape, he
quieted down and remained peaceable with the rest of us,”
On the train, Massai and Gray Lizard spent three days
loosening the bars on the cattle car in which they rode. Then,
as the train slowed on a long incline outside of St. Louis,
they pulled loose the bars and both men slipped through
the window, dropped to the ground and rolled into a clump
of bushes. So started an epic journey, across 1,500 miles of
unknown, thickly populated territory.
The pair traveled by night, guided by the stars. They
stole supplies and guns from a group of prospectors, which
enabled them to bring down a deer, supplying them with
venison and water sacks fashioned from the deer’s stom-ach.
Each night, they covered about 30 miles until they
arrived at last at their homeland in New Mexico where they
parted company. Gray Lizard was a Tonkawa, and could
return to his own people still living on a reservation in
New Mexico. But Massai wouldn’t risk returning to any of
Peter Aleshire is editor of Arizona Highways. He also wrote “Death of
the West” beginning on page 18.
Fort Apache hosted Massai’s family
reunion before he staged his one-man
war. Theodore Roosevelt also stayed in
these officers’ quarters. jerry jacka
Mexican goldpoppies cluster near a lone saguaro on the San
Carlos Apache Reservation. The reservation, created in 1871, is
home to San Carlos Apaches, as well as elk, mule deer, turkeys,
black bears and mountain lions and a portion of the world’s
largest stand of ponderosa pines. robert g. mcdonald
Trained as a
run all day
held in his
(Continued from page 26)
32 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 33
’m standing under a perfectly blue sky watching the intersect-ing
waters of Turkey and Arrastra creeks splash over my feet.
In this otherwise silent forest with light twinkling through
the pines and the exhilaration of spring air swelling my lungs,
the sound of the water makes a symphony unlike any other.
I live curled up at my desk, awaiting such moments. We all do, I
suppose. A pity, but the beauty of this place demands patience.
As I listen to the cymbal-crash of the colliding creeks, I think
about a fellow named Gus Begold, who near this spot in the
Bradshaw Mountains south of Prescott fought for his life
against marauding Indians in a story so
T R E A S U R E H U N T E R S S E E K T R A C E S
O F P R E S C O T T G O L D M I N E
W I T H A B L O O D Y H I S T O R Y
b y L e o W . B a n k s
Dawn’s golden light illuminates prickly
pear cacti near Agua Fria National
Monument while in the distance, the
snow-capped Bradshaw Mountains
harbor treasure. jerry sieve
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191
or visit arizonahighways.com.
(Text continued on page 36)
34 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 35
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Between 1865 and 1869, the blood-soaked
banks of Turkey Creek were
the scene of at least 12 Indian
attacks on the Bully Bueno mine. In
the summer of 1869, the Indians
dealt a deathblow to the gold mine
by torching the mill, storehouse,
sawmill and other buildings,
effectively putting the Bully Bueno
out of business. chuck lawsen
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191
or visit arizonahighways.com.
36 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 37
impossibly Hollywood I can’t get it out of my
Begold and another man, identified in news
accounts only as Chambers, were asleep in their
cabin one night in 1866 when Indians paid a sur-prise
visit. Awakened by a bright light, they dis-covered
the renegades had torched their cabin.
Realizing that ambushers awaited outside, the
men pulled a shelf off the wall to use as a shield.
Begold flung open the door and a cloud of arrows
“came hissing at him out of the darkness.”
When the firing stopped, Begold grabbed a
shotgun and went back outside, only to be struck
in the gut with another arrow. He collapsed back
into the cabin.
After tending his partner’s wound, Chambers grabbed
the shotgun and punched out a gun port in the chinking
between the logs. When he spotted a renegade, Chambers
gave him both barrels and “the would-be arsonist dropped
like a stone.”
I know it’s nonsensical reflex, but all morning I’ve been
hiking with my eyes down, hoping to discover that arrow-studded
board. Prescott residents Dwight Bennett and
Dick Huffman and I have all come to this place looking for
the gold mine that Begold and Chambers were guarding.
It had a fabulous name, an alliterative mix of English
and Spanish, a burst of verbal exuberance only gold could
produce. They called it the Bully Bueno.
The forest long ago swallowed the mine’s hoisting works,
stamp mill and other large remnants. Yet the Bully Bueno
story speaks to Prescott’s beginning, and therefore Arizona
Territory’s beginning, the power of gold, and the character
of the brave and foolhardy pioneers who hoped to build a
life in a wild place.
The tall, analytical Bennett, a former Prescott
schoolteacher who loves prowling ghost towns
and abandoned mines, used early maps to pin-point
the Bully Bueno’s likely location, near
the intersection of two creeks some 3 miles
south of Palace Station.
We get an early bit of luck when Huffman
spots a tailingslike mound, perhaps residue
from the milling process. Bennett plunges a
shovel into the mound, while Huffman sifts
the dirt through his fingers.
“See, it’s more fine than the dirt from the
ground, and the color is lighter,” says Huffman,
a retired miner with 39 years experience. “I
think we’ve found the mill site.”
After a moment scanning the surrounding terrain, Bennett
chooses the best place to start looking for the mine itself, on
the hillside bordering Turkey Creek’s east bank. “I think
that’s our best bet,” he says eagerly. “Let’s go.”
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, native George Harlan
Vickroy probably experienced the same excitement in the
fall of 1865, when he and partners Jack Swilling and Henry
Bigelow began working the Bully Bueno under the auspices
of the Walnut Grove Gold Mining Co.
Vickroy had gotten a promise of protection from
Arizona’s military commander, Gen. James Carleton, and
startup capital from Eastern investors who believed that
Arizona was civilized enough for large-scale mining.
Both assumptions were pipe dreams. The initial detach-ment
of soldiers soon packed up and went home, despite
the excitement generated by the new mine just two years
after the gold strike on nearby Lynx Creek, which led even-tually
to the founding of Prescott.
“My mill was the first in the Territory, and the whole com-munity,
as well as the civil and military authorities, were anx-ious
to see it erected and in operation,” Vickroy said later.
With $77,000 in seed money, he purchased a 20-stamp
mill, a 40-horsepower engine, 26 wagons and 268 mules,
“with needful appurtenances, assay outfit, etc.,” as Vickroy
put it, and hauled them to Prescott. Using a 16-mule team,
the miners hauled the massive equipment south of Prescott
along the Agua Fria River to near present-day Mayer,
according to the Journal of Arizona History.
They began building a road west through the wilderness
to the Bully Bueno. Daniel Ellis Connor, who helped in that
effort, wrote: “The Indians who saw those great boilers, as
they came over the road, thought that they were great guns
which the pale faces were going to locate on Turkey Creek.”
Vickroy said it took two weeks to reach the mine, “and
[we] had some fighting with these Indians every day.”
On September 21, 1865, the very day they reached the
mine, the Indians drove off Vickroy’s entire beef herd of 22
head. The next day at nearby Pine Flat the Indians attacked
again, killing one teamster, capturing eight mules and
burning one wagon. The attacks continued with shock-ing
regularity, one involving more than 200 warriors. Yet
Vickroy and his partners persisted.
The three of us, hiking the slopes above Turkey Creek
some 140 years later, get a taste of that same bonanza spirit
when Huffman discovers a quartz rock flecked with gold.
A minute amount, but Huffman grins. “When you see
that sparkle, you know what you’ve got,” says the normally
subdued 69-year-old, holding his find up to the sun. “It
might not be much gold, but it’s in there.”
Bennett hovers nearby, giving the yellow metal the once-over
through his bifocals. “I think most of the gold these
days is in the winter visitors,” he cracks.
After Huffman’s ministrike, we broaden our search.
As we hike, accompanied at times by a doe peering at us
through the pines, its saucer ears at full attention, the dis-cussion
returns to the relentless attacks that eventually
engulfed the old Bully Bueno.
Between September 1865 and early July 1869, Indians
descended on the mine 12 times, leaving nine men dead,
two wounded and another crippled.
Vickroy did everything he could, responding to each
attack by hiring replacement workers. He even traveled
to Washington to complain to U.S. Army Commander
Ulysses S. Grant.
One of Vickroy’s hired men — Cornelius Jeff Davis —
least found humor amid the constant harassment. He told
Prescott historian Sharlot Hall of the time some of the
mine’s Philadelphia owners visited and left behind suit-cases
When the Indians came calling, Davis and another
man donned those fancy outfits and hats and ran around
camp, trying to convince the raiders the mine was well-guarded
— and by men with a sense of fashion. It appar-ently
worked because the Indians, uncharacteristically, left
By early 1869, the mine could no longer pay its employ-ees.
The deathblow came that summer. According to a
statement Vickroy gave to Congress, as part of an 1874
request for reimbursement, “a large force of Indians
attacked the premises and burned the mill, store-house,
saw-mill, superintendent’s house, boarding-house, black-smith
and carpenter shops, and stables destroying machin-ery,
tools, and supplies, together with all the books, papers
We never do find the mine or the vein of gold in our long
tramp through the woods. But we find treasure of a differ-ent
sort — in a spring day in Eden, visiting a rich history.
Gus Begold survived his arrow wound when Chambers
slipped away and returned with a rescue party and a doctor.
But Begold carried that arrowhead in his gut for 29 years
before it killed him, a harsh reminder of the blood and
sacrifice that marked life at the Bully Bueno.
Location: The Bully Bueno Mine site is
somewhere in the Prescott National Forest,
about 21 miles south of Prescott.
Getting There: To reach the intersection of Turkey
and Arrastra creeks from Prescott, drive 21 miles
south of downtown Prescott on State Route 69 to
Mayer. Turn onto First Street in Mayer and follow
it west as it enters the National Forest as Yavapai
County Road 177. Follow this road to the site of
the old mining town of Goodwin and turn left,
or south, onto Forest Service Road 9268U. From
Goodwin to where the two creeks intersect is just
over 2 miles. The total distance from Mayer to the
intersection is 14.5 miles. Visitors can also get to the site by driving 21.5 miles
south of Prescott on the Senator Highway, which begins in downtown Prescott,
and following it south past Palace Station, then farther south on FR 9268U.
Attractions: Palace Station in Crook’s Canyon on the Senator Highway
was built in 1875. The log house, now a private residence, is one of the
few remaining stagecoach stations from Arizona’s early days and is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Respect the privacy of
those living in the cabin by staying back of the property’s fenceline.
Travel Advsory: Yavapai County Road 177 and the Senator Highway have
rough spots requiring at least a high-clearance vehicle, and possibly four-wheel
drive. County 177 also passes through private land at Pine Flat. Adhere to all
no-trespassing signs and respect posted mining claims. Wear sturdy hiking
boots, bring plenty of water and carry a Prescott National Forest map.
Additional Information: For information on antique shops and other
attractions call the Mayer Chamber of Commerce, (928) 632-4355.
Tucson-based Leo W. Banks enjoys writing about the early
history of Prescott and the Territory. He also wrote the hike
story on page 44.
The view from Mount Union takes in Big Bug Mesa in the
mineral-rich Bradshaw Mountains. george h.h. huey
Go for the Gold,
or the Copper,
or the Silver …
By JoBeth Jamison
The mining industry of the central
Arizona Territory contributed to much
of the state’s economic wealth and also
made it rich with unique history, haunts
and folklore. Here are a few spots to
Sharlot Hall Museum
Location: 15 W. Gurley St., Prescott.
Getting There: From Interstate 17, take State
Route 69 northwest for 33.8 miles to State
Route 89 and turn left. Take State 89 south
for 1.5 miles. (89 becomes Gurley Street.)
Claim to Fame: Marking the Territory.
An astonishing, solid copper dress made to represent
Arizona’s mining industry earned Territorial historian
Sharlot Hall national headlines when she hand-delivered
Arizona’s electoral votes to President
Coolidge in 1925. The dress, now housed at this
former governor’s mansion, still turns heads, but the
woman who wore it was by far the greater treasure.
The frustrated daughter of a workhorse father and
an intellectually inspiring mother, Sharlot longed to
leave Dewey and become a writer. She did just that,
while writing, collecting and exploring the history of
her home territory, now abundantly and beautifully
displayed at this renowned Prescott museum.
While You’re There: Enjoy the area’s treasured
premining history at the Smoki Museum of
American Indian Art and Culture, or discover
the art of the American cowboy at the Phippen
Museum, or simply dig into Prescott’s rich
array of restaurants, shops and saloons.
Information: (928) 445-3122; www.
Location: 14 miles southwest of Wickenburg.
Getting There: From I-17, take State Route 74
west to U.S. Route 60. Turn right onto U.S. 60
and drive northwest 36 miles to Wickenburg.
Proceed on 60 approximately 2 miles west of
Wickenburg to Vulture Mine Road and turn
left (south), driving 12 miles to Vulture Mine.
Claim to Fame: High times and a hanging tree.
Some folks think this place is creepy. How could
a mine named after a dark-winged, carrion-feasting
lurker who regurgitates rotting carcasses
in self-defense, possibly be creepy? The Vulture
Mine, located on the Hassayampa Plain, once
sparkled as Arizona’s most prosperous gold mine.
After the mine and the supporting community of
Vulture City shut down in 1942, rumors surfaced
that the abandoned shafts and structures were
haunted by the spirits of more than 18 men who
were hanged there for stealing some of the
stash. In 64 years, the rumors have never died
because, rumor has it, they’re true. Creepy.
While You’re There: Rush on out Wickenburg
way for a Wild West wander through the Desert
Caballeros Western Museum, relax at the
Hassayampa River Preserve, check out the Jail
and Joshua trees and make another days-of-yore
stop at the Robson’s Arizona Mining World.
Information: (928) 684-5479; www.jpc-training.
Near Wickenburg, the assay office of Arizona’s most productive gold source, the Vulture Mine, still houses much
of the mine’s original equipment and, some say, ghosts. george stocking
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Prescott National Forest, (928)
443-8000. For conditions of roads in Yavapai County, (928) 771-3177.
(Continued from page 32)) Chambers
s i d e t r i p s
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 39
from a place called Roosevelt in Arizona
Territory. On the front was a picture of
burros laden with wood and on the back
“This is a most wonderful country,”
the sender wrote. “Wish you prairie kids
could see these mtns. & canyons.”
That same year a postcard went to
Los Angeles from a place called Bisbee.
On the front was a photo of a town full
to the rooftops with people celebrating
the arrival of the first
streetcar. Another card
went out that year with
an image of the manly
men of the Normal
School in Tempe, later
known as Arizona State
University. Cheap and quick, postcards
were the e-mail of the early l900s. You
could buy them two for a nickel down
at the News Store in Phoenix in l908.
Affix a green Ben Franklin 1-cent stamp
and the postal system would take them
far and wide with its daily delivery
service. And, they had pictures.
They had pictures of main streets and
banks and awning-shaded office build-ings
and shops and saloons and two-and
three-story hotels where you stayed
or wished you had. The choices at the
Postoffice News began with churches
and included the public library and the
high school. Last on the
list was the category
called “The Desert.”
Who needed to look
at the desert when you
had booming towns,
mines hiring and 400
men needed to build a highway from
Prescott to Phoenix? You could send
that image of growth and stability, of
citified living in Winslow and Oatman
Pe n n y Po s t c a r d s a n d a Q u i c k S c r awl
C a p t u r e E v e r y d a y L i f e
Soon after the introduction of
the postcard in the early 1900s,
collecting became a worldwide
phenomenon. Millions of cards
printed from amateur snapshots
and professional photographs
were sold, exchanged and
collected. This dapper young
collector with a pocketful of
postcards proudly pours over his
collection. In 1908, a postc a rd a r r ived in Oa k Pa rk, I l l inoi s,
b y K a t h l e e n Wa l k e r
I m a g e s f r o m t h e
c o l l e c t i o n o f
J e r e m y R o w e
P h o t o g r a p h y
GOT MILK? Uncle Bill, the traveling milkman (above), makes a delivery at a home next to the
railroad tracks in Metcalf, the Greenlee County town that developed around the Shannon Copper Co.
mines, circa 1910.
40 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 41
and Miami to the disbelievers back in Philadelphia
and Salt Lake City and New York. You could also
send a picture of yourself.
Smaller cameras costing as little as the $l
Brownie of l900 and faster film gave birth to the
first generation of amateur photographers. No
more massive equipment, no need for subjects to
stare motionless and grim-mouthed into the lens.
You could get a quick shot of your family, friends or
be snapped sitting pretty on the back of a burro.
Whether the image was yours or a profession-al’s,
you could send cards of parades in small
towns where more people marched than watched,
or of drilling contests in towns where onlookers
crammed together to see miners proving their
brawn over chunks of granite.
The wild and woolly West of the penny dreadful
novels had become towns like Tucson. By l900,
the population was more than 7,500 with three
daily newspapers. By l907, you couldn’t find a
legal poker game in Tucson. In l9l0 Tombstone,
you could forget the O.K. Corral. They were
running church service information on the front
page of the Sunday Tombstone Epitaph. Bisbee had
several movie houses by then, and the postcards
kept going out.
In some cards, the Old West lived. They carried
the images of a time where stagecoaches still ran,
horses still hauled, mules still balked, milk came in
cans, women wore long skirts and men always
donned hats. They also told of a time where jobs
were to be had in gas stations. The first car had
Parades were popular social events that
drew miners from miles around (above).
Brass bands were popular, and many
became the pride of the camps and
towns. These marching musicians led the
1910 Labor Day parade in Miami.
MOUNTAIN (MAIL) MEN
Morenci was a bustling community that
grew around the Arizona Copper Co. and
Detroit Copper Co. mines in Greenlee
County. This mailman (left) is loaded and
ready to start his route, circa 1910.
History ’s snapshot
arrived in Tucson just before the turn of
The three C’s of Arizona earned daily
headlines during the years of the post-card
heyday. Copper exports were up,
cattle prices holding their own, cotton-growing
perfect for local agriculture. And,
the future industry of tourism had begun.
The population of 1913 Phoenix stood at
21,000, with an additional 3,000 visitors
showing up for the winter. And the cards
Yuma got mixed reviews. “This with-out
a doubt is the worst town I was ever
in,” harrumphed one visitor.
“Well, Yuma is quite a town if they would
only get rid of the saloons,” commented
another. That card could have rightly been
sent from any number of Arizona towns.
One man in Yuma chose to blame his
lack of work on a hiring preference for
“Indians & Mexicans.” His was not the
only postcard with a benign civic image
on one side and the face of prejudice on
Violent images earned the 1-cent stamp
as well. The revolution south of the bor-der
left bodies behind as camera fodder.
Someone made three cards out of a hang-ing
in Prescott — prisoners standing, sit-ting
However, the postcards soon faced
visual competition. By l9l7, newspapers
like Clifton’s The Copper Era had pho-tographs
of what made news and put
them on the front page. Every day mil-lions
of Americans enjoyed moving pic-tures
in local theaters and the instant
give-and-take of their own telephones.
The heyday of postcards was coming
to a close, the images to be relegated to
But, the faces still look out, from
buggy or burro’s back, from behind a
bar or shop counter, from a place in
a parade. They smile, look proud and
hold one second for the camera and for
all those who might look back.
FIRST AIR-CONDITIONED THEATER
Motion pictures were popular, but
projector fires and explosive film
combined to make them a dangerous
pastime. An entrepreneur in Warren, a
new community near Bisbee in southeast
Arizona, tried a concrete outdoor
“Airdome,” circa 1908, to make movie-viewing
THE GOLD ROAD
Photographer N.E. Johnson documents
the active center of Oatman during its
boom (below) in the Tom Reed-Gold
Road district in northwestern Arizona.
Thousands of miners and speculators
flocked to the boomtown after a major
gold strike in 1915.
ADDITIONAL READING: For more about
early photographic images of the West, see
Photographers in Arizona: A History
& Directory, Jeremy Rowe, Carl Mautz
Publishing, Nevada City, California, l997.
Kathleen Walker of Tucson often uses historic
photographs as her first step in researching
articles on Arizona.
42 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6
every time my family drove though Quartzite on the way to Los
Angeles, my dad would say the same thing: “Hey, anybody wanna
see Hi Jolly’s Tomb?” And from the backseat: “Awww, Dad . . .”
As a native of Yuma, my dad considers himself an Arizona
authority, even though his expertise sometimes proves more
fanciful than fact-based. Dad loved dispensing Arizona trivia,
although by the time I was a teenager his Southwest lecturing just
made me snooze. Granted, the very first time we visited Hi Jolly’s
Tomb, I listened wide-eyed as he read the plaque on the tomb. The
pyramid-shaped grave tells the story of Hi Jolly, an Arab-turned-
famous for herding camels across the desert.
“They say some of Hi Jolly’s camels still roam these parts,” said
Dad. Wow. And for days after that first visit, I begged him to take
me on a camel hunt. But by the third time we stopped at Hi Jolly’s
Tomb, he had to wrench me away from my magazine.
“Ugh, not again,” I whined.
Eventually, my dad stopped regaling me with Arizona lore, and
the minute I graduated from high school, I contracted a chronic
case of wanderlust and left Arizona.
It took 12 years for me to understand my father’s love for our
home state. Before I could recognize Arizona’s quirky beauty, I had
to move across the country and bury myself in urban skyscrapers. I
never intended to move back to Arizona. After all, what did it have
to offer besides crazy camel men buried in funny-looking tombs?
But after eight years, I felt choked by crowded skylines and moved
back on a whim.
My dad had long ago ceased telling his Arizona stories, but one
night as we laughed over old memories, I brought up old Hi Jolly.
“Remember how we visited his tomb a million times?” I asked.
“More like three or four,” he countered.
“You told me camels still roam the desert!”
“They might,” he insisted, recalling how he used to search for
camels as a little boy in Yuma.
“I suppose Hi Jolly’s story is sort of interesting,” I said. Two
days later he handed me a packet of papers, all about Hi Jolly and
Arizona’s camel days. I confess they sat in a pile on my desk for
three months. For weeks, he called to ask if I’d read them, but after
I repeated, “Uh, gosh, not yet,” several times, he stopped calling.
Last week, I finally picked them up and read about Hi Jolly and the
Turns out the camels were part of a $30,000 government plan
during the American Indian Wars to create a new supply route
from Texas to California. With Hi Jolly’s help (real name Hadji Ali,
but no one could pronounce it), the Army herded 33 camels across
uncharted terrain. Although the experiment proved successful,
the Civil War exploded and the Army forgot about the camels.
And, what do you know? Dear old Dad was right. Most of the herd
escaped into the desert, and for years, stories popped up about
wild camels causing havoc in Phoenix and camel ghosts haunting
I stayed up until 2 in the morning reading and called him the
next day. “Dad! It’s true! There really could be wild camels roaming
He didn’t say anything, but I could hear him smirking over
“And did you know there’s a camel farm south of Yuma? We
This time I really could hear him jump out of his seat and run
over to his calendar. Since then, my dad and I have explored all
corners of Arizona. Thanks to him, I see my native state with new
eyes. I used to see just shrubs and cacti, and now I see paloverdes
sheltering young saguaros during their arduous journey toward
spiny adulthood. I see the charm in names like Big Bug Road and
Sore Finger Road. I see the comedy and tragedy of Arizona — a
devastating forest fire juxtaposed with a sidewalk egg-frying
challenge in Oatman. I am proud to be an Arizonan.
When I come over for dinner, I watch my dad’s eyes light up
as he remembers some new piece of Arizona trivia he’s wanted to
tell me all week, and I feel my eyes light up, too. Like most teens, I
used to think my father was a fuddy-duddy — and perhaps I’ve just
turned into a fuddy-duddy, too, but I prefer to believe I’ve finally
figured out that, like Arizona, my dad is pretty fascinating.
Nowadays, I listen to his stories with genuine interest. And
when I have kids of my own, I know exactly what I’ll say as we pass
through Quartzite: “Hey, anybody wanna see Hi Jolly’s Tomb?”
“Awww, Mom . . .” by Kathryn Eastlick along the way
Rediscovering Dad at Hi Jolly’s Tomb
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episode led to years of
The trail also passes
the replica of an Apache
rancheria, complete with
brush wickiup, and Fort
Bowie’s cemetery. It holds
numerous white headstones
with the simple inscription,
“Killed by Apaches.” Its
most famous occupant?
Probably a 2-year-old
Apache child named Little
Robe — Geronimo’s son.
But the most historically
important stop along the
route wasn’t man-made. As
we approached it, Patrick’s
reaction said it all: “Dad!
Water! Coming out of the
Exactly. The spring at
Apache Pass gushes year-round
and was the pivot
point in the struggle to
control this area. Without
it, Butterfield never would’ve
routed through Apache Pass,
which would have made the
soldiers unnecessary — and
Fort Bowie, too. After all, the
military built the post to
secure the pass for wagon
travelers moving east and
west during the days prior to
Construction began in
1862, and in its mid-1880s
heyday, the fort garrisoned
304 soldiers, and maybe 50
civilians in dozens of wood-frame
and adobe buildings
set on a sloping hillside. The
military abandoned it in 1894.
Today, visitors can inspect
its ruins, mostly chest-high
adobe walls and a few stone
foundations. “People are
surprised by the remoteness,”
says Ranger Larry Ludwig.
“They often ask, ‘Why’d they
put it all the way up here?’ ”
Patrick and I sat on a
bench outside the visitors
center to have a snack and
rest, full of gladness that they
put it “all the way up here.”
Great places should require
effort to reach.
But the sweat we expended
amounted to almost nothing
next to the grit of those who
came here in the mid-19th
century. Fools? Adventurers?
I can’t say. I do know they
showed courage we can’t
fathom, as we imagine their
lives from the safety of a
shaded porch on a winter’s
day in the civilized 21st
fools might be too strong
a word. But they certainly
were some combination of
impetuous and prideful. I’m
speaking of those who came to
settle Apache Pass, conquer it,
fight for its precious water and
otherwise remake it to their
I took my son, Patrick, to
hike to it with me. I want him
to know about the Territory
that became the state of
Arizona and the hardships
its settlement demanded. If
there’s a better place to do that
than this beguiling passage
through the Chiricahua
Mountains foothills to Fort
Bowie in southern Arizona,
I’m unaware of it.
At just 1.5 miles, few hikers
will find the trail to the post
ruins overly demanding.
Patrick and I hiked on a late
winter morning, a brilliant
sunlight showering down on
the saltbush and the sumac,
and the maple, white oak and
walnut trees that decorate
this surprisingly lush desert
We spent as much time
reading interpretive signs as
we did hiking. Rich history
Beginning in the late 1850s,
the Butterfield Overland Mail
Co. operated a stage station
in the pass, and in February
1861, Lt. George Bascom had
his seminal encounter with
Cochise on this ground. The
bitterness from that bloody
A trickle of water in Apache Pass once
spurred battles and heartbreak
Location: Fort Bowie is 30
miles southeast of Willcox.
Getting There: From Tucson,
take Interstate 10 east 75 miles
to Willcox and State Route 186.
On State 186, drive 30 miles
southeast to the upaved turnoff
to Fort Bowie National Historic
Site. Turn left (east) and drive 8.2
miles to the Fort Bowie trailhead.
Hours: The visitors center is open
daily, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except
Christmas. Fort Bowie ruins trail
hours are sunrise to sunset. Peak
season is March through May.
Additional Information: (520)
STORMY PAST Summer storm clouds provide
a fitting backdrop for the adobe ruins of Fort
Bowie. Stories of bloody clashes over access to
spring water at Apache Pass fill the fort’s
tempestuous history. george stocking
44 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6
by Leo W. Banks hike of the month
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 45
REMAINS OF THE DAY Stone foundations survive from the 1850s,
heyday of the Butterfield stage station at Apache Pass in the foothills
of the Chiricahua Mountains. dave bly
Dos Cabezas n
CHIRI C AHUA MT S .
Dos Cabezas Mts.
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.
extra water, check. Full gas tank, check. Spare tire, check.
Ever since the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de
Coronado marched through Arizona’s borderlands in 1540,
scarce water and road adventures have posed challenges, so
modern travelers should go prepared. The countryside remains
so undeveloped, it seems out of place in time, which explains
why so many famous Western movies have been filmed there.
Only a few old ranch buildings dot the grassland savannahs
and oak forests along the 60 miles between Sierra Vista and
Nogales, a town that straddles the Arizona-Mexico border.
When you venture into the backcountry on Forest Service
Road 61, you’ll leave behind electric service and land-line
telephones, and probably not see overhead wires anywhere
except at the now-shuttered border crossing of Lochiel, 19
miles east of Nogales.
Except for U.S. Border Patrol vans scouting for smugglers
and illegal border-crossers, the all-weather, graveled Forest
Service Road 61 through the Coronado National Forest is often
traffic-free. “There’s no water or gas stations,” warns Forest
Service official William A. Wilcox. “That’s a cold, hard fact.”
On a desert morning in early summer, the four-wheel-drive
van left the National Park
Service visitors center at the
Coronado Memorial, 20 miles
south of Sierra Vista, and
rumbled up corduroy
switchbacks carved by Civilian
Conservation Corps workers
during the Depression. The
road officially becomes FR 61 at
6,427-foot Montezuma Pass.
From the pass, the view
stretches across 100 square
miles of enigmatic border. Like
a brushstroke across a large
canvas, the San Pedro River
flows out of Mexico through a
greenbelt noted for birding, in
an otherwise brown sea of
grass that history has often
In his search for the fabled
Seven Cities of Cibola,
Coronado cut a swath north
through here, all the way to
present-day Kansas. During the
last two Mexican revolutions,
major battles were waged along
the border. The Mexican bandit-general
Pancho Villa enjoyed
these same sights. Forty-niners
attempting a shortcut to
California’s gold fields often perished in the broiling desert.
Nowadays, Mexican immigrants slipping over the border call
the area El Camino del Diablo, the “Devil’s Road.”
Climb the groomed quarter-mile trail from the Montezuma
Pass parking lot to the picnic ramada atop 7,401-foot
Montezuma Peak for an eagle’s-eye view of where FR 61 will
take you. You can see 60 miles east, west and south into
Mexico — all of it smugglers’ country.
“There’s no question illegal stuff goes on out there,” says
Wilcox. “If people see something strange,” he advises, “they
ought to drive by it.” His fire crews sometimes encounter
armed men. “We’re real cautious now,” Wilcox says, “and we
expect the public to be the same way.” Travel on 61 is
considered safe, but Wilcox urges caution when camping
Our survival checklist included sandwiches and ice-cold
sodas, full water jugs and full tank of gas. The morning began
cool as the air-conditioned SUV descended from the pass into
dense scrub oak forest for 1.5 miles to the side road up
Copper Canyon to Forest Trail 771. At a razed ranch house
where a water tank stands on Oak Spring, three small deer
flashed their white tails in alarm, before melting into the
Besides deer, javelinas, cougars, bobcats and coyotes prowl
61. A few intermittent seeps offer places to spot them.
At 7 miles, desert-tough cattle stood their ground in the
trickle of green, scummy water that remained from rain runoff
several weeks before in Bear Creek. Sierra Vista photographer
David Bly reported that a flowing Bear Creek pools into a
natural “cowboy bathtub” just below the bridge on 61.
Five more miles and a right fork in the road turns to popular
Parker Canyon Lake recreation area, where fishing and boating
are possibilities. Instead, we stayed with 61 as it drifts closer to
the border. The white bonnets of prickly poppies along 61
drooped as the daytime heat rose.
A side road, Forest Service Road 4764, makes a 1.25-mile
beeline to an unguarded fenced vehicle crossing at the
international line. It was time for the tourist two-step: one step
over the line into Mexico and
one step back. Not very daring
as unauthorized border
crossings go, but probably not
unnoticed. An array of U.S.
Customs Service and Border Patrol sensors listen for crossers.
Maybe it was coincidental, but just after regaining 61 a
Border Patrol agent seemed busy at rigging a tire drag behind
his patrol truck. The route is swept daily for spotting the
footprints of illegal crossers.
The road lifted out of scrub oak past a ranch at School
Canyon and onto grassland bench. A two-story, five-bedroom
brick ranch house familiar to Western movie fans commands
the high ground about 20 miles west of Montezuma Pass. The
house appears in such movies as McLintock, Tom Horne, and
Young Guns II. Now owned by the state of Arizona, the San
Rafael Ranch and its 3,550 acres is officially a state park, but it
is only open to the public for scenic driving and photographing
the surrounding valley. Future plans for the park include
guided nature walks and a historic house tour.
Just beyond the old ranch lies the former border crossing of
Lochiel, its government buildings buttoned tight. A concrete
Seen from the Crest Trail (left),
Forest Service Road 61 traverses
through Montezuma Canyon and
the Coronado National Memorial,
the remote terrain bordering
Mexico once tread by Francisco
Vasquez de Coronado and his
Spanish expedition in the 16th
46 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 47
by Tom Kuhn photographs by Dave Bly back road adventure
Travelers explore the aquatic
depths of Bear Canyon in a
History ’s “cowboy bathtub” built for three.
Bumpy Back Road
Coronado, Pancho Villa
and John Wayne
All Passed by This
Sierra Vista to Nogales Route
HUACHUC A M TN S.
Marcos de Anza
Duquesne FR 61
Santa Cruz River
San Pedro River
memorial to Fray Marcos de Niza, whose tales
of golden cities prompted Coronado’s
Southwestern explorations, stands neglected
just outside town.
From Lochiel, 61 climbs gradually into juniper for 5 miles, to
a turnoff into Duquesne, where
silver and lead went bust. The
ghost town has since been revived
as a private summer home
community. Just past Duquesne,
61 brushes past the ore loader of
the caved-in Pocahontas Mine,
before slipping through a
mountain pass into the lush Santa
Cruz Valley and onto paved State
Route 82 to Nogales.
Two-tenths of a mile down 82,
Kino Springs Road leads to the
circular turnabout of the Yerba Buena Ranch House once
owned by movie stars Stewart Granger and his wife, Jean
Actor John Wayne, Granger’s pal, maintained a guest
bungalow at the ranch property. Both ranch house and
bungalow have undergone changes under the private
ownership of King Springs Gold Club; however, Granger’s
wood-paneled study is preserved and open to the public for
viewing. Coronado often marched on an empty belly. But, after
exploring the borderlands, you can cut the road dust at Sierra
Vista or Nogales waterholes where iced beverages and spicy-hot
Mexican food are served, so near this land that time forgot.
Note: Mileages are approximate.
> Begin in the town of Sierra Vista on State Route
90; drive south, then continue south on State Route 92.
> Drive on State 92 for 15 miles, and turn onto the signed road to
Coronado National Memorial; continue for 6 miles to the memorial.
> Continue past the National Park Service visitors center. The
road becomes graded dirt and climbs to Montezuma Pass where it
enters Coronado National Forest and becomes Forest Service Road 61.
> Stay on FR 61 for about 12 miles to a junction. Follow the direction sign
and bear left to stay on FR 61. Right turn leads to Parker Canyon Lake.
> After about 6 miles, the San Rafael ranch house appears
on the right; drive another 2.5 miles to Lochiel.
> From Lochiel, 61 turns northwest through Duquesne and
Washington Camp, up and over the Patagonia Mountain range,
then west, where it’s known as the Duquesne Road.
> After about 15 miles, 61 arrives at paved State Route 82. Turn left;
after .2 of a mile, watch for Kino Springs Road to Yerba Buena Ranch
House. At State 82, turn left to go to Nogales and connect with Interstate
19 to Tucson. Or, turn right to go to Patagonia and back to Sierra Vista.
back road adventure
48 a u g u s t 2 0 0 6
FIELDS OF GOLD Before passing by the remnants of the collapsed Pocahontas gold
mine (above) near Duquesne, Forest Road 61 hits a mother lode of Viguiera
multiflora, or showy goldeneye, in Coronado National Memorial (right).
SAFE HOUSE Built in 1900, the San Rafael Ranch
(above) near Patagonia was carefully preserved by
generations of the Greene family. Now owned in
part by Arizona State Parks and The Nature
Conservancy, the property will be federally protected
and open to the public for generations to come.
Vehicle Requirements: Two-wheel-
drive vehicles are
acceptable for this route.
Warning: Back-road travel can
be hazardous. Be aware of
weather and road conditions.
Carry plenty of water. Don’t
travel alone, and let someone
know where you’re going and
when you plan to return.
Coronado National Forest, (520)
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