in the Parks
S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 6
SPECIAL ISSUE: Complete Guide to 28 State Parks
Adventures in State Parks
We devote this special issues to splashing,
crawling, zipping, strolling, paddling, ambling
and jogging through Arizona’s 27 state parks,
a glittering charm bracelet of treasures.
FRONT COVER Early morning sun adds a soft touch to water
tumbling over “The Chute” in Slide Rock State Park, north of
Sedona. See story, page 8. randy prentice
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
BACK COVER Kelly Jackson, assistant park manager for
Kartchner Caverns State Park, stands on the lighted walkway in
the Throne Room. From the ceiling, stone draperies hang from
flowstone. See story, page 16. peter ensenberger
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com. september 2006 contents
8 Untamed Luxury: Slip-sliding
Through Sedona by roger naylor
A 30-mile quest through an Oak Creek vortex
raises the question: Did she marry an idiot?
16 Bats in Wonderland
by gregory mcnamee
Kartchner Caverns proves that people and bats
can go happily down the same rabbit hole.
20 A Walk in the Park
A scenic savor of the places beloved by state
visitors, feathered, four-footed and otherwise.
30 Tough General vs.
Toughest Town by leo w. banks
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s 1882 Tombstone
visit mingled cheers, hypocrisy and danger.
34 Splash of Magic by leo w. banks
The Colorado River in western Arizona casts its liquid
spell over three shoreline hangouts.
photographs by randy prentice
40 Anza All Over Again
by leo w. banks
Re-enactors buckle on their armor to honor
the explorer that historians have slighted.
42 Adventures in State Parks
by sally benford, kimberly hosey and jayme cook
Check out these cool facts about
each of the 28 state parks.
2 DEAR EDITOR
3 ALL WHO WANDER
Awe in the heart of the Earth.
We found our Mittens, and
the thumb is okay.
5 TAKING THE OFF-RAMP
46 ALONG THE WAY
Heroes and villains get all
mixed up at Fort Verde.
48 HIKE OF THE MONTH
The Verde River Greenway
shows sometimes it’s good
to go to the dark side.
In 1957, the Arizona Legislature and Gov.
Ernest McFarland created the Arizona
State Parks Board, and 2007 marks its 50th
anniversary. Arizona’s state parks protect
our precious natural and historic sites,
improve our quality of life and preserve
the state’s unique and rich cultural
heritage. To discover Arizona’s state parks
for yourself, go to arizonahighways.com
and click on September “Trip Planner” for:
• A complete state parks guide
• Archive of state parks stories
HUMOR Our writer says
“When in Rome . . .”
ONLINE EXTRA Tag along on a
trek to Arizona’s outback.
WEEKEND GETAWAY Discover
how the Mount Lemmon hamlet of
Summerhaven is rising from the ashes.
HISTORY Learn about the Ghost
Mansion of the Hualapais.
EXPERIENCE ARIZONA Plan a trip with
our statewide calendar of events.
Adventures in State Parks
We devote this special issue to splashing,
crawling, zipping, strolling, paddling, ambling
and jogging through Arizona’s 28 state
parks, a glittering charm bracelet of treasures
that will turn 50 years old next year.
GOLD IN THE HILLS The Superstition
Mountains and a nearby parade of
chainfruit cholla cacti catch the evening
light, as seen from Lost Dutchman State
Park east of Phoenix. See state parks
guide, page 42. george stocking
Sedimentary Layers of Puns
You complimented geologist Karl Koenig
for making a “Gneiss catch” (“Dear Editor,”
“Big Boulder Boo Boo,” June ’06). I’m just
a layman, but I say schist happens, even
though a lot of people take it for granite.
Steve Scarano, Vista, CA
(Groan . . . pause) Good line. But don’t go by me. My
friends say I’m very igneous — one quartz short of a
gallon. — Ed.
For the first time in 25 years, I’m hesitating
to renew my subscription to a magazine
that was always my refuge from politics
and political correctness, an important
consideration for a freelance political
columnist. Under your editorship, the
magazine is no longer a refuge. In the June
2006 issue, Tony Hillerman is quoted
(“Land of Mysteries”) as saying that
Navajos look down on the greedy
guy — “the one who’s got more than he
needs and is not sharing it with the people.”
The implication is that the white man is
greedy and Navajos aren’t. What politically
correct hogwash! What hypocrisy!
So-called greed is what created the
savings and division of labor necessary
for industrialization and produces the
medicine used by the Navajos and that
funds their schools and social welfare
programs, not to mention Navajo coal
royalties and gas pipeline royalties.
I hope you stop your foray into politics
and return to nature photos and
historically accurate stories.
Craig J. Cantoni, Scottsdale
We aren’t hammering together any political soapboxes.
Certainly, I’ve known both generous white guys and
greedy Navajos. However, you also can’t deny that the
Diné culture puts less stress on acquiring stuff—which
might partially explain why the Navajos have so much
less stuff. — Ed.
Get Your Raptors Straight
The June 2006 issue had a glaring error,
where your noted biologist or whoever
identified a prairie falcon on her wrist
as a red-tailed hawk. A beginning birder
should know the difference. I hope that
the misidentification is a clerical error
and not the expert’s belief.
Hugh and Leona Thomas, Paso Robles, CA
Good catch. Poor editing. — Ed.
Whicker or Whinney?
You Arizona folks must have unique
horses. In my neighborhood they whinny
or neigh. What is a whicker? My spell
check is no help.
Bruce Boyd, Erie, PA
Spell check? Ha! What does Bill Gates know? I got
“whicker” (also “wicker”) right here in my dictionary.
Means to “neigh” or “whinny.” So, all horses can
whicker. Arizona horses just do it better. — Ed.
Too Many Pictures
I have been reading your magazine
for years. What there is to read, that
is. The photography is great, but is
overwhelming. Also, the June 2006 issue
looks more like a flower and garden
magazine. Your magazine is “63.2 percent”
photographs. Personally, I think it is too
much. I think the photos should support
the stories and not vice versa.
Phil Obenauer, Mary Esther, FL
Ironic: I’m a word guy, but surveys suggest the
photographs are our readers’ favorite thing. So we
use big pictures, although nothing gets me as excited
as a well-turned phrase. — Ed.
Had a Good Laugh
I had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed Robin
Clayton’s account of her trip to the North Rim of the
Grand Canyon (“Nervous Nellie on the Edge,” June ’06),
and her visions of her son launching himself over the
edge. I was a Nervous Nellie, too, thoroughly annoying
my two sons on a North Rim trip several years ago. It
made me laugh to realize how normal my fears were,
as was the bickering among families on vacation. Her
story also reminded me to admire and affirm my
children’s sense of adventure, a good reminder when
one of my teenaged sons set out on a hiking trip to the
Rocky Mountains this summer.
Julie Swiatek, Indianapolis, IN
That’s the thing about parenting: Just when you’ve organized your life around the realization that the little
darlings will walk out in front of cars if you don’t watch them, they want a driver’s license! — Peter Aleshire, Editor
i stand hushed and marveling in the belly of the beast.
No, not the belly. The heart. Almost, I can hear it beat.
No, not hear it. Sense it. Feel it. I would have to stand in the
moist, limestone lungs of Kartchner Caverns State Park for
10,000 years holding to a single thought to actually hear the
But almost. Almost.
Strange, really: The caverns and my brave and careless
species are the same age. Five million years ago, my first
recognizable ancestors set out from Africa to conquer a planet.
And 5 million years ago, the fall of the
water table enabled the cave system
at Kartchner to evolve. Kartchner’s
bizarre rock formations took shape over the last 200,000 years,
making it the crown jewel of a beleaguered system.
In that time, we Homo sapiens have spread across the planet,
dammed the rivers, polluted the air and so separated ourselves
from such places that now they seem like movie sets.
All the while, the cave has been sprouting stalactites, soda
straws, stalagmites and semitransparent draperies of stone in
an extravagance of geochemistry.
And because I am Homo sapiens and so connect all things to
myself, I believe that the cave needs my protection — and that
in return it will transform me.
Alas, I have not earned transformation, for I am quick and
small and careless. But mayhap I shall earn redemption by
standing perfectly still, steeped in awe. Maybe the airlock doors
and the closures for the sake of the bats and the reverence for
each drip of stone will mitigate the sins of my kind.
Providing we summon the foresight and will to protect the
Earth’s most remarkable places.
Consider Arizona’s 28 state parks, including Kartchner,
which required a $35 million investment and brilliant
planning to open one of the world’s 10 most diverse caves to
the public without killing it. The state’s precious collection of
parks hoards wonders of every variety: lakes, rivers,
travertine arches, ancient cities, tumbled presidios, haunted
prisons and slopes of miraculous wildflowers.
Of course, I am biased. I admit this. I have donned Civil War
wool and fought again the battle of Picacho Peak. I have jet-skied
the Colorado River. I have chased butterflies on the banks of
Sonoita Creek. I have bruised my butt in the sluice of Slide Rock.
I have stood in the bedroom of a beautiful dead girl in Riordan
Mansion. I have sat all morning among the poppies in the land
of the Lost Dutchman. So do not ask me to be calm about our
endangered state parks, which we celebrate in this issue.
After an investment spanning decades, a budget shortfall
drained the juryrigged patchwork of funds that sustains
the parks. The parks virtually eliminated new acquisitions
and upkeep and cut operating funds to the bleeding bone.
While state park visitation rose by a million in the course of a
decade, overall funding fell. Mercifully, this year looks a little
better — so far.
Fortunately, the public charged into the breech. Fees paid by
the 2.4 million annual visitors staved off disaster. Volunteers have
kicked in thousands of hours. Moreover, lovers of these treasures
have formed the Arizona State Parks Foundation — (602) 920-
4505; www.arizonastateparksfoundation.org — to raise money to
support the parks.
In the meantime, I have come here to this deep place to
listen — maybe to understand Homo sapiens and limestone caves.
The 2.4 miles of tunnels that form this great cave are alive, its
formations blood red and womb warm. The 400-foot-long Big
Room, the 230-foot-long Rotunda Room and the 170-foot-long
Throne Room are adorned with dreamscape improvisations of
stone — helictites, turnip shields, flowstones, columns, totems,
birdsnest needle quartz and one 21-foot 2-inch calcite soda
straw stalactite. Translucent curtains of stone and bristles of
wire-thin spikes hang from the distant ceilings. The formations
festooning the 330 million-year-old Escabrosa limestone gleam
in the 99.4 percent humidity, still growing drip by drip. The
minerals dissolved in saturated, pressurized groundwater
crystallize when they reach the cave’s open air and so create
these fantastical shapes.
At one point, the cave stewards feared that despite elaborate
care they’d caused a 3-degree rise in the cave’s temperature. But
further study showed other caves in the area had also warmed,
perhaps a portent of pollution-caused global warming.
Suddenly, standing in the lungs of the Earth, I realize that I
have it backward.
We cannot protect the cave — the cave must protect us.
We are quick and small and careless. We have come this
little way in this little time — a few drips of stone. We could
take sledgehammers and pound all these wonders into curio
shop knickknacks and the cave would not care. For the cave,
10,000 years are but a breath, and a million years but a phase.
But after we shattered the stone, we would be left standing,
bereft in the dark.
For only that ache of wonder can redeem us.
And with that thought, I hear the single, 10,000-year beat of
the heart of the Earth.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 3
Lost in the
Heart of the Earth
Elissa Aleshire ponders
the formations that have
grown in Kartchner Caverns
in the past 200,000 years.
For more letters, see arizonahighways.com (Click o online n “Letters to the Editor”).
2 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
firstname.lastname@example.org dear editor
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.
highways on tv
Produced in the USA
SEPTEMBER 2006 VOL. 82, NO. 9
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
Art Assistant DIANA BENZEL-RICE
Map Designer KEVIN KIBSEY
Production Director KIM ENSENBERGER
Promotions Art Director RONDA JOHNSON
Webmaster VICKY SNOW
Director of Sales & Marketing KELLY MERO
Circulation Director HOLLY CARNAHAN
Finance Director BOB ALLEN
Information Technology CINDY BORMANIS
Inquiries or orders Toll-free: (800) 543-5432
Phoenix area or outside the U.S. (602) 712-2000
Or visit arizonahighways.com
For Corporate or Trade Sales Dolores Field (602) 712-2045
Letters to the Editor email@example.com
2039 W. Lewis Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85009
Director, Department of Transportation
VICTOR M. MENDEZ
ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION BOARD
Chairman James W. Martin
Vice Chairman Joe Lane
Members S.L. Schorr, Delbert Householder,
Robert M. Montoya, Felipe Andres Zubia,
William J. Feldmeier
International Regional Magazine Association
2004, 2003, 2001, 2000 Magazine of the Year
Western Publications Association
2004, 2002, 2001 Best Travel & In-transit Magazine
Society of American Travel Writers Foundation
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published monthly by the
Arizona Department of Transportation. Subscription price: $21 a
year in the U.S., $31 in Canada,
$34 elsewhere outside the U.S.
Single copy: $3.99 U.S. Send subscription correspondence
change of address information to Arizona Highways,
2039 W. Lewis
Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85009. Periodical postage paid at Phoenix, AZ
and at additional mailing office. CANADA POST INTERNATIONAL
PUBLICATIONS MAIL PRODUCT (CANADIAN
SALES AGREEMENT NO. 41220511. SEND RETURNS TO QUEBE-COR
WORLD, P.O. BOX 875, WINDSOR, ON N9A 6P2. POSTMASTER:
send address changes to Arizona Highways,
2039 W. Lewis
Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85009. Copyright
© 2006 by the Arizona
in whole or in part without
permission is prohibited. The magazine does not accept and is not
responsible for unsolicited
all who wander by Peter Aleshire, editor
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 5
arizona oddities, attractions and pleasures
4 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
by Peter Ensenberger, director of photography, firstname.lastname@example.org viewfinder
it was an episode so insignificant it barely registered a
blemish on the enduring landscape. It marked a nanosecond
on Earth’s geologic timeline just like thousands of times before.
Only this time there were witnesses. Bearing cameras. One of
them chose to exploit his good fortune.
Monument Valley’s heroic icons sit atop the southern crest
of the Monument Upwarp for a hundred-mile stretch across
the Arizona-Utah line. Erosion has gloriously exposed large
blocks of sculptured sandstone with Anglo names befitting
each formation, like Eagle Mesa, Bear and Rabbit, Rooster
Rock, Elephant Butte, Totem Pole and The Mittens. From this
indelible landscape, 50 million years in the making, comes
the romanticized view of the mythical windswept buttes and
spires of the American Southwest.
Only here, it’s no myth. Crumbling monoliths scattered
across the Colorado Plateau rise hundreds of feet from the
desert floor, providing definitive images of the West depicted
in movies, magazine ads and TV commercials. Monument
Valley is familiar even to those who’ve never been there.
The lucky few tourists who were there at 12:45 p.m. on
May 18, 2006, witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. A
huge slab of East Mitten butte finally gave in to the effects of
wind and weather, and came crashing down in a sandstone
avalanche. The gentle forces of erosion scored another
dramatic victory against the rock.
By all accounts it was a spectacular event, leaving in its
wake barely a scar on the face of the vast plateau. Onlookers
were awestruck, giving thanks to the heavens for being in the
right place at the right time to witness this timeless occurrence.
Among those present that day were Craig and Roylene Garrett
of Madison, Wisconsin, and their guide, Kent Hugh. Roylene
had the presence of mind to capture the avalanche on film and
generously share the moment with the rest of the world (see
Also present that day was another witness with a camera
and a much different intent. This witness chose to perpetrate
a hoax on the world. He couldn’t resist spinning a false
account of the incident in an e-mail message claiming East
Mitten’s “thumb” had collapsed, forever changing Monument
Valley’s most iconic view. He even went as far as attaching
photographs of a “thumbless” East Mitten to support his
deception. It didn’t take long for e-mail networks to spread
the fraudulent message far and wide. Like an urban myth, the
story grew as it circulated.
I first heard about it when the magazine’s publisher called
me into his office to show me a surprising e-mail he’d just
received with the words “No More Mitten” in the subject line.
Having dealt with Internet hoaxes before, we treated news of
the fallen thumb with skepticism. But it looked so real on his
As the rumor gained momentum, my in-box filled with
messages about the Mitten e-mail, all asking the same
question: Can it be true? A call to the Monument Valley Navajo
Tribal Park visitors center laid the hoax to rest. The thumb
still stands. But as the bogus message continued to make the
rounds over the next several days, the anonymous perpetrator
must have enjoyed his brief moment of dubious renown. Who
knows what hollow thrills he got from his infamy?
As geologic events go, this Monument Valley avalanche was
no different than those witnessed by Ice Age Paleo-Indian
hunters who inhabited the region about 10,000 b.c., Archaic
hunter-gatherers around 6000 b.c., and Anasazi farmers in a.d.
1200. Except that their recording of such an episode was more
likely to have been pecked into a rock.
I wonder if they embellished the story in their petroglyphs.
Find expert photography advice and information at arizonahighways.com
(Click on “Photography”).
ON MAY 18, 2006, the erosive effects of wind and weather caused exfoliation
of a huge slab of sandstone, creating a cataclysmic landslide on East Mitten butte
in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The photographs above show the sequence
of the rockslide and ensuing dust plume captured by Roylene Garrett, an amateur
photographer from Madison, Wisconsin, visiting Monument Valley with her husband,
Craig. “The ground shook and the sound was like thunder,” she said. “We had
witnessed an event that may not have happened to this rock formation for a thousand
years. Truly awesome.” — Peter Ensenberger
Walls Came Tumblin’ Down
BEFORE AND AFTER Photographing East Mitten butte from just the right
angle (above) cleverly concealed the formation’s thumb, while still showing
the debris left from the rock fall. Juxtaposing this “after” view of East Mitten
against a “before” photograph (top) of West Mitten led many recipients of a
bogus e-mail message to become ensnared in the hoax. Viewers had to look
closely to discern the trickery.
A Hoax, 50 Million Years in the Making
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 7
it was a publicity stunt gone
haywire when a plane crashed in the
forest near Payson in September 1927. Its
cargo? A lion that movie mogul Louis
Mayer, head of MGM, planned to unveil
in New York City as his corporate logo.
Charles Lindbergh had just completed
his groundbreaking trans-Atlantic flight,
and everyone in America was airplane
crazy. Mayer’s idea: Hire a pilot to fly Leo
the lion from L.A. to New York—the first
to go from coast to coast nonstop—in a
plane built by the same company that built
Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis.
The seeming glitch came when engine
trouble forced pilot Marty Jensen to put
down in Hell’s Canyon, later renamed Leo’s
Canyon. It took three days for Jensen to
walk to Payson to alert the world.
Rather than sinking Mayer’s idea, the
wreck garnered extensive coverage. But the
publicity went worldwide when the shrewd
Mayer, learning that the caged lion had
survived, announced that he’d spare no
expense to save it. The lion, rescued seven
days after the crash, lived.
Now, Prescott resident Scott Gifford,
owner of NostalgAire, an aircraft
restoration firm, is rebuilding Jensen’s plane,
in part with items retrieved from the site,
including fuel tank and landing gear.
Gifford calls his plan to restore the original
plane a lifelong dream. “It’s expensive and
time-consuming, and I work on it when I
can,” says Gifford, who’s also seeking
corporate sponsorship for the project.
“But someday this airplane will be
returned to flying condition, and we’ll
complete the original flight to New York.”
Information: (928) 777-8195; www.
nostalgaire.com —Leo W. Banks
6 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 TOP TO BOTTOM: NIKKI KIMBEL; SAN DIEGO AEROSPACE MUSEUM (2)
at the rancho de la osa, (Ranch
of the She Bear) you can hold a Mexican
cannonball, a relic of the Mexican Revolution
found in the stucco walls of the hacienda
dining room. Nestled under large eucalyptus
trees along the Mexican border, the ranch
borders the Buenos Aires National Wildlife
Refuge. Its gracious hacienda, furnished
with Mexican antiques, recalls a time when
the Ortiz brothers, Ignacio and Tomás,
received this land grant from the King of
Spain in 1812. Today, guests take meals in
the hacienda dining room, in a secluded
courtyard or at a cookout under the stars,
and enjoy the pool, horseback riding, biking
Over the years, Rancho de la Osa has hosted
many famous people, including Lyndon B.
Johnson, Adlai Stevenson, Tom Mix and Zane
Grey. Other guests included the drafters of the
Marshall Plan after World War II. In 1935, six men,
including Secretary of State William Clayton, an
active drafter of the Marshall Plan, and Secretary
of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, staked Dick
Jenkins to the purchase of the ranch.
Information: (800) 872-6240 or (520) 823-
4257; www.ranchodelaosa.com. —Jane Eppinga
Prince and a
he was known as The
Prince of Tombstone, for he
owned quite a bit of where
that city now stands, plus
mines said to be worth a half-million
dollars. His income was
$4,000 a month, which was
not at all bad during the years
1879 to 1882 for Edwin Fields,
an entrepreneur who made
millions selling mining claims in
Alas, he lost it all
speculating on grain prices at
the St. Louis Board of Trade.
He spent the rest of his life
working menial hotel jobs
and died in the poorhouse—a
To make things worse,
according to the Arizona
Sentinel of February 22, 1896,
on that date the body of the
former “prince” was lying on
a dissecting table in the school
of anatomy in Chicago.
— Ruth Burke
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: 2C IMAGERY/AZ MINING AND MINERAL MUSEUM; EDWARD MCCAIN
take a 2-mile walk across America. Little America, that is.
Situated on 500 secluded acres of ponderosa forest, Flagstaff’s oldest
and largest resort features its own recreational trail. Though the
landmark property has undergone several spectacular renovations to
accommodate the needs and wants of today’s traveler, visitors and
locals seem to appreciate that the decor has stayed the same since the
hotel opened in 1974.
The little-known loop trail is located behind the hotel’s four lodges
and main building and is suitable for hiking, walking, jogging, biking
or horseback-riding. Starting just west of the pool, the path meanders
along the southern end of the scenic greenbelt acreage for 1 mile
before circling back, making it ideal for sheltered strolls, brisk sprints,
breathtaking mountain views or just a breath of fresh air.
Information: (800) 352-4386; www.littleamerica.com/flagstaff.
the Lion’s Plane
Peaceful Ponderosa Pathway
— JoBeth Jamison
8 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 9
Untamed Luxury Scrambling Park to Park Through Sedona by Roger Naylor
UP THE CREEK
Author Roger Naylor treks along Oak
Creek (left) en route from Slide Rock to
Red Rock for a two-day, 30-mile-long
Sedona hiking adventure. The waters
near Grasshopper Point (far left) and
Red Rock Crossing, in view of
Cathedral Rock (above and right)
wend their way quietly through the
ROBERT G. MCDONALD
10 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 11
Yet when confronting a near-disabling expe-rience,
only a single image unfurls across
my peepers . . . the face of my wife. Unfortunately,
she’s not wearing the loving, support-ive
expression I normally see, but instead
the look triggered whenever I start describ-ing
my plans for some half-baked adven-ture.
Like the one I’m on now.
I’m slipping off a sandstone shelf about to
plunge several feet into the frigid waters of
Oak Creek, and all I have for comfort is a
vision of my wife’s I-can’t-believe-I-married-an-
idiot eye roll.
The scheme seems simple enough. I’m
walking from Slide Rock State Park to Red
Rock State Park. Separated by a dozen or
so miles as the raven flies, these Arizona-owned
parcels bracket Sedona geographi-cally.
More importantly, they represent the
yin and yang of the Sedona experience.
Seven miles north of Sedona, nestled in Oak
Creek Canyon, Slide Rock is the glamour spot.
Stone banks throttle the creek into a nar-row
frothy chute, a natural water ride that
encourages thrill junkies to self-administer
high-velocity wedgies amid a chorus of joy-ous
shrieks, while the slightly less daring
splash about in shaded pools.
Red Rock offers a more nuanced but
equally satisfying encounter, without hav-ing
to dislodge a wet bathing suit. Southwest
of town, the park protects a bit of wilderness
snatched from the feverish teeth of develop-ment.
Now it serves as a natural laboratory
where staff and volunteers conduct daily
bird-watching tours, wildflower hikes,
moonlight hikes and geology discussions.
Slide Rock offers action, goose bumps
and fireworks, while Red Rock has a jazz
beat. I intend to experience both, up close
Which explains why I’m about to do a
backward half gainer off a sandstone ledge.
But before I fall, my boot snags a rock and
I lurch forward and grab a fistful of bear-grass.
I lie sprawled for several minutes, my
heart flopping like a trout on a dancehall
floor. Sitting up, I brush the confetti of rab-bit
pellets and dead bugs from my hair.
“So,” I ask the lingering vision of my eye-
REFLECTING ON THE VORTEX
Many hiking trails in Oak Creek
Canyon lead to refreshing
creeks and pools (left) where
hikers can swim or dip their
feet. Oak Creek Canyon is
located in the Coconino
National Forest, one of six
national forests in Arizona.
They say your entire life flashes before your eyes during near-death experiences.
ROBERT G. MCDONALD
Stone banks throttle the creek into a narrow frothy chute…
Author Roger Naylor hiked the Oak Creek area
before the June Brins Fire, which damaged and
closed a number of trails. Call the Forest Service’s
Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 282-4119 for
trail closure updates. Find Naylor’s hike route map
on our Web site, arizonahighways.com.
Vultee Arch (left) in Sterling
Canyon is named for Gerard
Vultee, a California aircraft
designer who in 1938 crashed
his plane 1 mile from the
sandstone arch. The easy 1.7-
mile Vultee Arch Trail tucked
in ponderosa pines is popular
year-round. larry lindahl
12 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 13
rolling spouse, “who’s the idiot now?”
Then back to the quest. I’m working down-stream
from Slide Rock as the butter-soft sun
seeps over the canyon rim at the Sterling Pass
trailhead just off State Route 89A.
I have planned to walk from park to
park along the creek in a jitterbug of wad-ing,
swimming, rock-hopping and tear-ing
through bank-side bramble patches as
snarled as Medusa’s stylishly fanged perm.
But early research revealed that Oak Creek
passes repeatedly through private property,
making extended passage impossible.
So instead I have mapped out a mean-dering,
30-mile route over trails, jeep
roads and through town, while repeatedly
crossing the creek. I will spend tonight in
Sedona and finish tomorrow afternoon. A
lengthy hike, but legal—which is crucial. I
can’t begin to describe the facial expression
my wife wears when she’s raising bail.
Sterling Pass Trail scrambles up the
western wall of Oak Creek Canyon through
shaggily elegant timber. I’m huffing might-ily
as I hit a final spitcurl of switchbacks
before the forest canopy opens, revealing
an array of sharply rising cliffs.
Descending into Sterling Canyon, I hit
the Vultee Arch Trail and detour up a side
fork to the arch. “Never pass up a chance
to view a natural arch” is my motto. It’s like
seeing the Earth raise an eyebrow.
Popping out on Vultee Arch Road, a rut-ted
jeep track, I chew up a couple of quick
miles to Brins Mesa Trail. I climb through
a grove of Arizona cypress onto juniper-bedecked
grasslands, ringed by dramatic
formations, my leg muscles now warm and
stretched like boardwalk taffy.
Fatigue falls away as I roll on up Jim
Thompson Trail, knife past the prow of
Steamboat Rock and enter a shaded glade in
Wilson Canyon, near Midgely Bridge. That
familiar giddiness takes hold. If there’s such
a thing as runner’s high, I’m experiencing
the slow-mo equivalent. Call it hiker’s glee.
I can walk forever! I sneer at the saps
climbing out of their fuming iron beasts to
savor views from the bridge. Bipeds rock! I
will print the slogan on T-shirts. I’ll make a
fortune. I also vow to walk to Ohio to visit
I dip under the highway and zigzag down
to the creek on Huckaby Trail. With sure-footed
grace, I scramble through under-brush,
vault debris snags and leap from
boulder to boulder with ease. I am a crea-ture
utterly at home. My ego-fest is inter-rupted
only when I fall, assurance over
teakettle, into the stream.
Later this evening I am less endorphin-crazed.
A long spa soak and heaps of appe-tizers
have whisked me into a gooey custard
of contentment. I sprawl on my streamside
balcony watching ducks drift past while
twilight bruises the sky. People flock to
Sedona for the red rocks, but it is the opera
of the creek that sings these canyons to life.
I have picked the Inn on Oak Creek be-cause
it’s an easy walk from Marg’s Draw
Trail, but approached my first-ever stay in
a bed and breakfast with trepidation. I pic-tured
strangers sitting around a long plank
table making awkward small talk and eat-ing
from a communal bowl. Kind of Oliver
Twist on holiday.
Imagine my surprise as I stumble into
the lobby, dirt-streaked and bedraggled,
receiving an effusive welcome. The fire-place
crackles and sunshine pours through
a wall of windows, illuminating cheese
spreads and bacon-swaddled morsels that I
promptly windmill into my ravenous maw.
Ignoring my rough trail manners, Letty
Cummings shows me around.
“This is a former art gallery converted to
an 11-room inn. Each room features a gas
fireplace, a spa tub and is individually
designed and decorated with its own theme.”
I give a nod. “Those garlic stuffed dates
wrapped in bacon? Please, ma’am, I want
On this night I saw enough logs to build
my own inn. Maybe my wife’s whirling
orbs nailed it. I have been an idiot, with
Sunset reflects at Red Rock
Crossing as dusk falls over
robert g. mcdonald (left and
n To order a print, call
(866) 962-1191 or visit
A CAUTIOUS CROSSING
Naylor takes one careful step at a time to cross a log bridge over Oak Creek.
Water quality is tested daily by the Arizona State Parks. larry lindahl
Location: About 119 miles north of Phoenix.
Slide Rock State Park: 6871 N. State Route 89A. A former homestead, now a 43-acre
park. Park opens at 8 a.m. Closing hours vary seasonally. No camping is permitted.
Entry fee is $10 per vehicle (up to four people), Memorial Day weekend through Labor
Day weekend, $8 per vehicle rest of year, $2 per person for walk-ups. Park rangers
offer natural history tours in spring and fall by appointment. (928) 282-3034.
Red Rock State Park: 4050 Red Rock Loop Road. A 286-acre park opened to educate
visitors about ecology and environment. Park opens at 8 a.m. Closing hours vary
seasonally. No camping is permitted. Entry fee is $6 per vehicle (up to four people), $2
per person for walk-ups; under 14, free. Self-guided and ranger-led tours are available,
as are field trips and video and slide programs. Six miles of interconnected trails are
well-maintained. Swimming/wading in the creek is not permitted. (928) 282-6907.
The Inn on Oak Creek: 556 State Route 179, (800) 499-7896, www.InnOnOakCreek.com.
Additional Information: Red Rock Ranger District, (928) 282-4119; www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino.
These canyons are half-wilderness and half-resort …
14 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 15
my ratty sleeping bag and rolled up T-shirt
for a pillow. This is my new favorite way
At breakfast I plow through a lavish
spread of granola and maple yogurt, sun-dried-
gingerbread teacakes with lemon
sauce, eggs over medium with Swiss cheese
and caramelized onions, buttery toast and
pistachio-crusted trout. You know . . . same
ol’, same ol’.
Waddling to Marg’s Draw, I catch a seduc-tive
aroma and realize it’s me. Normally,
when overnighting in wild country, I don’t
smell this good. Must be the chamomile-and-
nettle conditioner the inn provided.
That’s the gist of the Sedona experience, the
overlap of scenery and comfort, of danger
and luxury. These canyons are half-wilder-ness
and half-resort, accessible to not just
the grizzled but the pampered as well. I’m
considering switching teams.
The final day of my journey swings first
through the Munds Mountain Wilderness,
over Broken Arrow Trail (named for a
movie) and across Little Horse Trail. A
short connector trail, H.T., slips under State
Route 179 through a tunnel and puts me on
Templeton Trail beelining toward Cathedral
Rock. I curl around the base of Cathedral
then switchback down toward the creek.
Just above the water I step off-trail to let
two mountain bikers pass.
The second biker slams into a rock and
flies over his handlebars. The crack of his
helmet on a boulder echoes like a pistol
shot. I assume he’s severely mangled. His
buddy rushes to his side to administer
the universal medicine of guys: merciless
It works. Scraped and battered, he sits up.
Turns out, Ed Norton and Neil Ross regularly
travel from Flagstaff to bike Sedona trails.
“It’s great to undertake a rewarding physi-cal
activity in a place where spiritual forces
gather,” says the bruised Norton. He points
out the location of a vortex at the creek’s
edge marked by stacks of prayer rocks. We
part friendly, though no one comments on
how nice my hair smells.
I follow the creek to Baldwin Trail, which
curves away from the water. An unmarked
sand path leads me through the cotton-woods
for a winding quarter-mile. I step
from the trees into a postcard. I’m stand-ing
at Red Rock Crossing, a crystal stream
reflecting nearby Cathedral Rock, one of
the most photographed spots in the world.
My journey is nearly finished. At Baldwin
trailhead I’ll follow forest roads to Red Rock
State Park’s East Gate. I crouch at water’s
edge, mulling the last two days, when I’m
struck by a revelation.
I should have asked Norton if, before he
sets out on some crazy skull-splitting bike
ride, his wife rolls her eyes a lot.
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
Waterproof boots or shoes
are advised while hiking in
Oak Creek Canyon. Many
trails cross the creek and its
slippery rocks (left).
The Munds Mountain Wilderness
stretches across 18,150 acres of
the Coconino National Forest,
offering stunning views of rust-red
rock formations, including
Snoopy Rock (on his back in
center) and Camelhead Formation
(to the immediate right of
Snoopy). Sections of the
wilderness border the villages of
Oak Creek and Sedona, granting
easy access to hiking trails, picnic
spots and horseback-riding.
morey k. milbradt
n To order a print, call (866) 962-
1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
VISIT FEE AREAS. Grasshopper Point
and Red Rock Crossing/Crescent Moon
Ranch offer loads of natural beauty and
stream access, plus the comfort of picnic
tables, grills and bathrooms. Red Rock
Passes do not apply. Information: Red
Rock Ranger District, (928) 282-4119.
LODGE ON THE CREEK. By choosing
an inn, cabin or resort located on the
creek, you’ll have guest-only access to a
private section of the stream.
TAKE A TRAIL. A few national forest
service trails such as Allens Bend, Huckaby
and Templeton lead to the creek.
WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT. If you
see houses on the bank, chances are
you’re trespassing. While each property
is site-specific, most boundaries extend
to the middle or other side of the creek.
KEEP IT LEGAL — OAK CREEK ACCESS
To splash or not to splash, that is the question. More importantly, where? Determining
where public land ends and private land begins along Oak Creek can be difficult. Here
are a few rules to follow to allow you to get wet, legally. A Red Rock Pass is required for
vehicles parking on national forest land in Red Rock Country.
Roger Naylor lives in Cottonwood with his ever-patient
wife. His favorite part of undertaking an
all-day hike is—the hiking. All day.
ROBERT G. MCDONALD
16 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 17
Bats in Wonderland
Prove That Cave
Lovers and Bats
Can Go Happily
Down the Same
by Gregory McNamee
On a warm fall day in 1974, two young
men, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, fell
down a rabbit hole on a path that would take
them into a wonderland. Well, not a rabbit
hole, really, though rabbits took shelter in it
from time to time. They actually descended
into a sinkhole that water had worn into
the porous limestone of the Whetstone
Mountains of southeastern Arizona.
The two Tucsonans, along with other geol-ogists
and cavers, had been poking around
in the foothills of the Whetstones for years,
playing the geological odds they would find
such an entrance into the earth. Tufts had
even explored this sinkhole in 1967 before
moving on to cave-rich country higher up
in the mountains. Though others had come
and poked into it in the meanwhile, the dark
pit remained a mystery.
At the bottom of that 15-foot-deep hole,
Tufts (who died in 2002) and Tenen felt some-thing
that they had not noticed before: a
draft of moist air coming from somewhere
within the earth. The cave was exchang-ing
its air — literally breathing. Moreover,
they could smell the acrid, loamy tang of bat
guano, proof positive that a cave lay some-where
Tenen and Tufts had found the entrance
to one of Arizona’s most treasured natural
wonders, Kartchner Caverns. A masterwork
of geological forces in pristine condition,
the extensive limestone cave was home to
a small population of Myotis velifer, or cave
myotis, a species of the widespread bat fam-ily
called Vespertilionidae, whose Latin name
hints at a bat’s favorite time, twilight. Most
of the world’s vespertilionids are cave dwell-ers,
though some members of the family’s 355
species make their home in wells, mineshafts,
tunnels, tree hollows and even buildings.
The myotis of Kartchner Caverns had hit
the jackpot: they had found a cave undis-turbed
by humans, so far as anyone knew,
since the dawn of time. Numerous spots
along the ceiling of what would eventually
be called the Big Room, a football-field-long
jumble of stalactites, stalagmites, pools,
Welcome to the Bat Cave Kartchner Caverns, a “living” cave discovered in 1974, kept secret until 1988
and finally opened in 1999, is fed by a supply of groundwater percolating through limestone, allowing glistening,
widely varied formations to grow from the seeping, redeposited calcium carbonate. It also serves as a “maternity
ward and nursery” for myotis bats from May to mid-September. arizona state parks
18 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 19
shields and flowstone, were covered with the bats’ oily
footprints, and mounds of guano rich enough to sus-tain
a thousand gardens lay on the cave floor.
The only real hitch, from a bat’s point of view, was
a peril attendant in getting into and out of the cave. A
wily tribe of ringtails (Bassariscus astutus), creatures
nicknamed “miner’s cats” though related to raccoons,
had learned to wait at the tiny entrance that Tenen and
Tufts found, there to snare a meal on the wing.
The ringtails notwithstanding, Kartchner Caverns
has long been a summer migratory home and nursery
for a population of 1,000 to 2,000 Myotis velifer. The
bats begin arriving there in mid- to late April from
their Mexican wintering grounds. They alight on the
rough surface of the cave ceiling, making use of cracks
and fissures to stabilize themselves. Then they settle
in, head down and wings folded. Pregnant females give
birth in late June to a single “pup,” or rarely, twins.
The youngsters are wholly dependent on their
mothers, clinging to them like increasingly heavy
fruit. Several times a night, a mother will tuck her pup
away in some sheltering niche on the ceiling and fly
out of the Big Room to catch insects; on returning,
she locates her youngster by its individual
smell and the sound of its cry, as distinct
as a human baby’s voice.
So it goes for a few weeks, until about early August,
when the colony’s young are capable of both flight
and hunting. After training the young in both skills,
the colony moves in early to mid-October as the
Chihuahuan Desert nights begin to cool. Then mother
and pup make their way down into Mexico. Just what
the fathers do during the migration is a subject that
scientists are now studying. A standard compendium
of the bats of the world, though, puts it thus: “Males do
not exhibit an active interest in the young.”
Other creatures besides the occasional ringtail owe
their livelihoods to the bats. Some, such as certain
snakes and owls, feed directly on the vespertilionids.
Other creatures feed indirectly, dining on what the
The Kartchner Caverns myotis colony, by a couple
of estimates, removes half a ton of insects from the
skies around the cave, including plenty of mosquitoes,
a bane to any summer evening.
A half-ton of insects adds up to a substantial haul
while the bats are resident in the great limestone cave,
and that in turn means a steady supply of guano. In a
perfect example of the great biologist Charles Elton’s
“food chain,” a variety of fungi and bacteria break the
guano down and in the process become food for creepy-crawlies
such as nematodes, mites and lice, which in
turn feed spiders, scorpions, centipedes and crickets,
all found in a great abundance in the moist, warm
cave. In fact, almost all of the 39 species that live in the
cave depend on bat guano for their survival, directly
On finally entering the limestone cavern after wid-ening
the entrance (thereby making the ringtails’ work
more difficult), Tenen and Tufts knew at once that
they, too, had hit the jackpot, the kind of discovery
that cavers spend their lives seeking and rarely find.
To protect their treasure, they swore other cavers to
secrecy, then launched a sometimes-James Bondish
campaign to enroll Kartchner Caverns as a state park
and thus preserve its sensitive environment. The pro-cess
took some 14 years, partly because the discoverers
and the scientists insisted that the park safeguard the
The Greta Garbo of bats, Myotis velifer wants noth-ing
more than to be left alone, as scientists discovered
when early work on the park subjected the colony to all
kinds of human-associated stimuli, ranging from the
occasional clicks of an infrared camera to shuffling feet
and the usual throat-clearing and muffled conversa-tions
of a tour group. Each click and whisper alarmed
the bats, raising the terrible possibility that in fleeing
the disturbance, a mother might drop a newborn pup
on the hard floor below.
Thanks to the Arizona State Parks’ leadership, those
shy bats and their young are safe. The park closes the
Big Room during the bats’ half-year residency, affording
Myotis velifer a unique sanctuary — for no other park
in any other state has given such extensive protection
to a species that is not yet endangered, but vulnerable
to disturbance. That the bats are generous enough to
share their homes with us while they’re away is a boon.
It’s fitting that we honor their privacy when they’re at
home, deep in Kartchner Caverns’ wonderland.
While hanging upside down
may not make much sense
to upright-walking bipeds,
it makes perfect sense to
bats. The position is ideal for
takeoff (bats become airborne
by hang-gliding rather than
launching like birds). Hanging
comes naturally, thanks to an
adaptation that makes bat
talons, connected by tendons
only to the upper body and
not to muscles as in a human
fist, clench tight when relaxed.
Going Batty More than a thousand female cave myotis
bats bear and tend young among Kartchner’s shield
formations, spearlike stalactites and the larger ground-dwelling
stalagmites, massive columns, fried-egg
formations and fragile draperies, birdsnest needle quartz
and hollow soda straws. Throughout the summer, the
colony consumes about half a ton of insects. david elms jr.
Taking a Bite Out of the Biters
Bats, nature’s bug patrol, play their role
happily. Humans nursing itchy welts and
fearing the mosquito-spread West Nile virus
(in 2005, there were 3,000 verified cases of
West Nile in the United States alone) can take
heart. Seventy percent of the world’s bat species and almost all U.S.
bats, including myotis, feed mainly on mosquitoes and other insects.
Guano has long been prized as nature’s
best fertilizer. Nitrogen-rich bat guano
feeds plants for vigorous, leafy growth.
Growers of spinach, lettuce and herbs
have taken advantage of the batty brew,
as have farmers of tomatoes, peppers,
cucumbers, cantaloupe and many other
fruits and vegetables.
Circle of Life
In the food chain, guano, or bat
dung, keeps cave life going.
Cave myotis bats produce
copious amounts of guano,
which is fine with the bacteria
and fungi that feed on it, as well
as the mites, lice and nematodes
that sup on this product and the
arachnids and insects that feast on
those critters. Skeletal myotis remains and
guano as old as 50,000 years have been
found in the Throne and Rotunda rooms
of Kartchner Caverns.
Gregory McNamee of Tucson grew up in the shadow of Virginia’s
cave-rich Blue Ridge Mountains and has been poking around
Arizona since 1975. He has an intemperate fondness for bats.
Bats have long been admired and maligned, studied and avoided.
From Batman paraphernalia to Web sites suggesting “bat guano
for Mother’s Day,” the bats inspire the unlikely. In a peculiar plot,
World War II-era American researchers “recruited” thousands
of Southwestern bats, planning to attach small fire bombs to
the mammals and send them to Japan, where they envisioned
countless infernos when the bats went to roost.
Ecology of Guano by Kimberly Hosey
BAT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL; © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/DANE WIRTZFELD; RYAN TACAY; TARA URBACH
20 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 21
a wa l k i n t h e p a r k
Arizona’s state parks
reveal their scenic sides
A POR T FOL IO
Many of the state’s 28 state parks preserve bits of history or
chances to hike, splash and fish. But these special places also
protect some stirring scenery and vital wildlife habitat. So
here’s a sampling of places beloved by people, javalina, deer,
ducks and trout, including Sedona, the Colorado River’s coves,
the Santa Catalina Mountains and Picacho Peak, famous for
the poppies captured here by photographer George Stocking.
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 23
An amber glow reflects off Lake Havasu’s
tranquil surface at Cattail Cove State
Park. The lake, formed when the
Colorado River was dammed near Parker,
is a 45-mile aquatic retreat for sailing
into quiet coves, skimming the surface
on water skis or jet skis or fishing for
largemouth and striped bass, bluegill
and crappie. morey milbradt
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or
C AT TA I L COV E S TAT E PA R K
22 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
L A K E H AVA S U S TAT E PA R K
Lake Havasu State Park and its surrounding wilderness host a plethora of wildlife, including (left to right) javelinas, mule deer and ruddy ducks.
left and center: paul and joyce berquist; right: tom vezo
24 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 25
Ocotillos and saguaros crowd the
landscape as blue-hued layers of the
Santa Catalina Mountains rise in a
panorama from the north side of
Montrose Canyon in Catalina State Park.
Park visitors enjoy bicycling, camping,
hiking, horseback-riding, wildlife-viewing,
picnicking and touring an
ancient Hohokom village.
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191
or visit arizonahighways.com.
C ATA L I N A S TAT E PA R K
26 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 27
A sun-kissed sandstone
column towers over a
stand of fir and pine
trees in Oak Creek Canyon,
above Slide Rock State
Park. The park, originally a
homestead and apple farm,
has become world-famous
thanks to its natural
receiving hordes of
swimmers every year to
glide down the slippery
sandstone. robert g.
n To order a print, call
(866) 962-1191 or visit
S L I D E ROC K S TAT E PA R K
28 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 29
A stand of trees (right) shades Queen Creek at Boyce Thompson
Arboretum State Park. The park’s 323 acres enclose Arizona’s oldest
and largest botanical garden. paul gill
n To order a print, call (866) 962-1191 or visit arizonahighways.com.
BOYC E T HOMP SON A R BOR E T U M S TAT E PA R K
D E A D HOR S E R A N C H S TAT E PA R K
The nearly 180-mile-long Verde River running through Dead Horse Ranch State Park is one of the desert’s last free-flowing
rivers sustaining a lush riparian area and a large wildlife population, including (clockwise from top left) the rarely sighted
elf owl, great egret, black-tailed jackrabbit and Harris’ hawk.
top left, top right and bottom right: paul and joyce berquist; bottom left: tom vezo
30 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 31
Sherman’s 1882 Tombstone Visit Mingled Cheers, Hypocrisy And Danger
The streets of Tombstone
weren’t this quiet during 1882.
Gen. William Tecumseh
Sherman was famous for
his scorched earth tactics
during both the Civil and
Indian wars. Ironically, his
father named him after
the famous Shawnee
Indian chief, Tecumseh.
arizona historical society
e arrived in the young mine
camp on Goose Flats to a hero’s
welcome: William Tecumseh
Sherman. Everyone knew the
name of the tough-as-steel general who
broke the Confederacy’s will on his brutal
march from Atlanta to the sea during the
Tombstone had never entertained any-one
so famous, as many townspeople
turned out in 1882 to watch as the griz-zled
Commander of the Army stood on
the balcony of the Grand Hotel to accept
Although just a footnote in history
books, Sherman’s visit provided a rous-ing
and funny look at the workings of
power, politics and local patriotism on
the frontier. It also coincided with ongo-ing
construction on the fancy new county
courthouse, built for the then-lavish price
of $50,000. That courthouse, now a state
historic park, has become one of the
key attractions in a place known for its
vital — and violent — Western history.
Sherman’s visit brushed against that
Wild West history, not to mention that
timeless underpinning of politics in any
era — hypocrisy. Just eight years before,
Sherman had described Arizona as “an
vs. Toughest Town by Leo W. Banks
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION, CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS, [LC-DIG-CWPB-07136]
32 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 33
immense, miserable country full of
Apache Indians” that should be handed
back to Mexico.
This wasn’t an offhand remark in an
unguarded moment. He said it in testi-mony
But the hypocrisy was mutual. Ariz-onans
pretended to like Sherman, too, hop-ing
the publicity would encourage Eastern
capitalists to invest in Arizona’s mines,
ranches and banks if they could only con-vince
Sherman that the Territory had
advanced beyond its reputation as a nest of
cutthroat Indians and toothless outlaws.
Tough work, that. Sherman would find
out the hard way that reputations are
He rode into a cauldron.
Consider the timing:
The O.K. Corral fight took place seven
months prior to his arrival, and Morgan
Earp’s death by assassination only 30
days before. Such events in the infamous
Cowboy War had battered Arizona’s repu-tation.
By May 1882, Earp and his vengeance
posse had left town for the final time and
President Chester Arthur nearly sent fed-eral
troops to enforce the law as news-papers
demanded an end to the “social
smallpox” of the cowboy-gangsters.
“Let it be published…” wrote Prescott’s
Arizona Democrat, “that bad men will
be hunted down like wild beasts if they
come to Arizona to ply their nefarious
calling. … We have a standing gallows in
our jail yard ready to carry out the law
upon murderers, and the trap will be
sprung whenever occasion demands.”
Moreover, Arizona struggled with the
so-called Apache problem. Due to lousy
conditions on their reservation at San
Carlos and a restless warrior spirit, the
Apaches periodically broke out, murder-ing
settlers and stealing horses as they
fled into Mexico.
Sherman hoped to see both situations
up close and report back to Washington.
His Arizona tour began in early April
at Fort Grant and Fort Thomas, near
Safford, then moved north to the San
Tombstone’s newspapers, the Daily
Nugget and the Epitaph, closely tracked
his every move. The rival Arizona Star of
Tucson, fancying itself above such breath-lessness,
cracked, “Half the male citizens
of Tombstone have been placed on the
committee of arrangements to receive
But that wasn’t far from the truth.
Flags and bunting decorated the Grand
Hotel, where Sherman would stay, and
Chinese lanterns hung from its veranda.
Excited crowds lined Allen Street, “anx-ious
to obtain even a momentary glimpse
of the war-worn veteran,” according to
“Shortly after eight o’clock,” the paper
continued, “three covered ambulances,
drawn by six horses each, forced their
way through the eager, cheering crowd,
and halted in front of the hotel. The gen-eral
and party alighted, and were immedi-ately
escorted to their apartments.”
After making supper arrangements
at the swank Maison Doree restaurant,
Sherman appeared on the hotel veranda
to great crowd applause. He thanked the
crowd and said he was “much astonished
and greatly pleased to find such a number
of fine looking, intelligent citizens in this
place so badly thought of outside,” accord-ing
to the Epitaph.
Moments before, on the outskirts of
town, Sherman glimpsed the source of
As his entourage approached the min-ing
camp, a cowboy rode up and asked if
General Sherman was there. Hearing yes,
the ruffian pulled a pistol and fired two
shots in rapid succession.
“That was the signal for a volley,”
reported the Star, “and for a few minutes
the air vibrated with the sharp reports of
pistol shots, bursting of anvils and Chinese
Reporters assured their readers that
Sherman greatly enjoyed the performance,
as did the wives of the officers accompa-nying
him. One said she expected at least
two or three men would be killed every
day in the mine camp, and to her great
disappointment, they “hadn’t a man for
breakfast while they were in Tombstone.”
Sherman and his civic hangers-on,
including Epitaph owner John Clum,
prominent saloon man Milt Joyce and a
beaming Mayor John Carr, crowded into
the Maison Doree, then one of the West’s
Its menu offered wild game, beef, lamb,
poultry, even oysters, along with a wide
selection of wines, all for 50 cents, accord-ing
to Tombstone A.T.: A History of Early
Mining, Milling and Mayhem, by William
To the delight of Tombstone’s honchos,
the general expressed his pleasant surprise
at seeing so many “evidences of American
enterprise” in such a remote place.
The next day, April 8, he saw that enter-prise
up close. Officials of the Tombstone
Mill and Mining Co. lowered their prized
guest 300 feet into the Toughnut Mine,
then he proceeded to descend 600 feet
into the Grand Central. Later, he shook
the hands of everyday citizens at a public
reception at Schieffelin Hall.
Sherman then headed for Tucson, and
in spite of its earlier pretensions, the city
greeted Sherman with the same giddi-ness.
Three thousand people met his train
the night of April 10, along with a brass
band playing “See the Conquering Hero
In his two-day stay, Sherman visited
Fort Lowell and Mission San Xavier del
Bac before attending a grand ball. In its
coverage of the dance, the Star observed,
“While watching him the idea forced itself
that it would be a crime to retire him. The
sound of the music seemed to act on him
like the noise of the bugle on a warhorse.”
But the majority of the coverage dealt
with the women’s magnificent dresses,
the gold-laced uniforms of the officers and
the “easy flow of satin” on the dance floor.
Did this show of sophistication impress
“No doubt it will have a tendency to
convince them,” wrote the Star, “that we
are not all savages in Arizona, and that
culture and elegance can be found outside
the sacred precincts of Boston.”
Not savages. Those two words summa-rize
everything that the citizens of the
Territory wished to convey. And it seemed
to work, with Sherman predicting great
things for Arizona’s future.
On the Indian question, he advocated
a military reorganization of Arizona and
opposed removal of Arizona’s Apaches to
the Indian Territory, saying they should
be “civilized where they are.”
He also praised the success of the
San Carlos Agency and its head, Joseph
Tiffany. Sherman said the Indians there
wanted to settle down and own stock and
land, and “appeared to understand indi-vidual
responsibility for their acts.”
On the cowboy lawlessness, the general
said little for publication, but, in a private
telegram to Washington, suggested either
a federal posse or U.S. troops.
But shortly after Sherman’s departure
from Tucson, word began dribbling out
that his open appreciation for Arizona
wasn’t entirely sincere.
When citizens from Globe pressed him
to support establishment of a military post
in San Carlos, Sherman instead blasted
Arizona. As the Epitaph put it, Sherman
said, “… the whole Territory ought to be
turned over to the ‘Injun’, and expressed
a profound sympathy for every white man
in it, and the imbecility which induced
anyone to stay here, once having been
inveigled into it.”
Then the paper added wryly, “He must
have changed his views before arriving
Sherman’s hypocrisy drew the Epitaph’s
withering sarcasm. The paper remarked
that the general might change his mind in
time, adding that “the daintiest luxuries
are often at first offensive to the senses.”
It continued: “For instance, it requires
a cultivated taste and smell to appreci-ate
the ravishing excellence of Limburger
cheese, but when one reaches the proper
height of aesthetic culture in the direction
of taste and smell, he often prefers this
dainty to any other cheese in the world.”
But Sherman’s political game blew
up entirely on April 19, when some 700
Apaches broke out of San Carlos. In
their southward charge across Arizona,
the hostiles killed 42 people and swept
the region of stock, according to Federal
Control of the Western Apaches, 1848-1886,
by Ralph Hedrick Ogle.
The dead included San Carlos Chief
of Police A.D. Sterling, whose body was
mutilated and his head chopped off. Much
as they disliked Sterling, the renegades
hated Tiffany even more. Historians gen-erally
lay blame for this bloody outbreak
on his corrupt and thieving management
at San Carlos.
The whole mess badly tainted Sherman,
who, on April 14, had sent a telegram to
Washington praising Tiffany as a “man of
character,” describing his agency as well-organized
Then the general’s disaster nearly turn-ed
Sherman, the savior of the Union, com-mander
of the entire U.S. Army and advo-cate
of total war against the West’s hostile
Indians, very nearly encountered total war
himself, according to Dan Thrapp, author
of The Conquest of Apacheria.
Traveling with a small escort group en
route to Fort Grant, Sherman missed the
escaping Apaches by the “narrowest of
Thrapp relied on information provided
by Will Barnes, who later became a well-known
author. Although Barnes badly
mangled his dates, his intimate involve-ment
makes the substance of his account
Sitting in the telegraph office at Fort
Apache at the time of the breakout, he
said that military authorities at Prescott’s
Fort Whipple and Fort Grant spent “some
mighty anxious hours until he [Sherman]
was reported safe into Grant.”
Thrapp commented that the “savages …
had missed their biggest game.”
If the Apaches had bagged the general,
his tour would’ve been national news. As
it turned out, most of the crazy events
of April 1882 have fallen into history’s
But we can assume that Sherman remem-bered
them well, because they proved
Arizona Territory to be wilder than even
our toughest general realized.
‘. . . bad men will be hunted down like wild beasts if they
come to Arizona . . .’ —Prescott’s Arizona Democrat
Leo W. Banks also wrote the following two stories.
He lives in Tucson.
arizona historical society
34 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 35
e can name many things to
cherish about the desert in winter, from the
quality of the light to the bearded, wild-eyed
characters this dry land seems to attract in
But water in the desert is the closest we come
to universal magic.
It never fails to thrill and helps explain the
allure of a 38-mile stretch of western Arizona
from Parker north to Lake Havasu City.
The area sports three Arizona state parks,
all with exciting water recreation, including
some of the best bass fishing in the West, as
well as a calm kind of RV camping.
For those more inclined to explore, with or
without the accompaniment of water, visitors
to the Parker-Havasu strip can also hike into
a hidden slot canyon, enjoy country music at a
River ’s Spell Slows Time in String of State Parks
by L eo W. B ank s p hoto grap h s b y R an d y P r e nt i c e
S P L A S H O F M A G I C
m o r n i n g g l o r y
Sunrise comes quietly over the Bill
Williams River near its western Arizona
confluence with the Colorado River. The
Bill Williams is named after a pioneering
mountain man who traversed Arizona in
the early 1800s.
36 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 37
lost desert saloon, and even take part in exciting treasure
hunts using maps posted online.
But the area’s principal attraction might be prac-ticing
the art of loafing, usually on the banks of the
The latter is an art form that 61-year-old retirees
Cindy Mattson and sister-in-law Linnea Mattson seem
to have mastered. The women and their husbands
escaped the rain in the Northwest and landed at an
RV rental spot at Buckskin Mountain State Park, 12
miles north of Parker.
I found them at a picnic bench on the river’s edge,
enjoying the sun while Linnea crocheted a rug. Their
winter life consists of wandering
Arizona’s deserts, finding a place to
hole up for a couple of weeks and
doing whatever the day brings.
They have just two criteria: The
weather should be warm and dry,
unlike their soggy home, and they
try to avoid oversized RV parks. “At
those places you get big rigs with
attitude,” says Cindy, who spent her
work life in the insurance business. “This is different.
The people are so friendly.”
Linnea, a retired teacher, eyes the placid river at her
shoulder and says, “What’s not to like? It’s beautiful phys-ically,
and the clientele is quiet. Powerboats aren’t our
thing. We like to sit by the water and listen to the birds.”
It’s a free form of entertainment. It soothes and enriches.
Just like the occasional nighttime concerts they enjoy,
provided free of charge by wild burros braying in the
nearby Buckskin Mountains.
When they crave the bright lights, the women some-times
head down to the Blue Water Casino. Their hus-bands
float down the Colorado in kayaks and meet
them there. The living is so easy they don’t even have
to paddle. The current carries them the whole 9 miles.
The Mattsons aren’t sure where their wanderlust
will take them after Buckskin, but they’ve got plenty of
options. A few miles up the road, Cattail Cove State Park
also offers boat ramps, hiking trails and campsites.
“We have a reputation as a quiet
winter getaway,” says park man-ager
Gary Peaslee. “Thirty of our
campsites are beautiful coves that
you can’t get to except by boat, and
they’re very popular.”
Buckskin also hosts ranger-led
hikes and Saturday night camp-fires,
while Cattail offers stargaz-ing
lectures and talks on venomous
The one critter all visitors want
to know about is that slithering
desert celebrity, the rattlesnake.
Peaslee tells a wonderful story — a
cautionary tale — about an inquis-itive
woman who spotted a small
Dusk heralds a
twinkle of lights at
Parker Dam, the
deepest dam in the
at the helm
(below) poses in
front of his pride
and joy: the bar
at Nellie E.
Saloon, a popular
near the Buckskin
A slick-rock slot in Sara Park
Canyon, just south of Lake
Havasu City, poses a challenge
Location: Parker is 169 miles northwest
of Phoenix. Lake Havasu City is 206
miles northwest of Phoenix.
Getting There: From Phoenix, take
Interstate 10 west to State Route
95, then go north on State 95
to Parker and Lake Havasu.
Attractions: The Blue Water Resort
and Casino, 11300 Resort Drive, Parker;
toll-free (888) 243-3360. In addition
to the casino, the facility includes
restaurants, a hotel, swimming pool,
outdoor concert amphitheater, a
164-slip marina, a doublewide boat
launch ramp and a waterside cantina.
The road off State 95 to the Nellie E.
Saloon is suitable for a passenger vehicle.
The saloon has a full bar and grill. Open
from noon to sundown on Saturdays
and Sundays from Labor Day weekend
through Memorial Day weekend. Closed
during the summer. The saloon has no
published phone number and the owner
discourages visitors during off-hours.
Buckskin Mountain State Park, State
Route 95, 11 miles north of Parker, (928)
667-3231. The River Island facility, a
mile north of Buckskin, is part of the
Buckskin park. This facility offers a
group-use area, a sandy beach, a rest
room with showers, a boat launch, and
a ranger station. (928) 667-3386.
Additional Information: Cattail Cove
State Park, (928) 855-1223; http://www.
Lake Havasu State Park, (928) 855-2784;
havasu.html; Bill Williams River National
Wildlife Refuge is in Parker, (928) 667-
4144; www.southwest.fws.gov. All three
parks are open 365 days a year and have
RV campsites, hiking trails and boat
launch ramps. Specific services vary at
each one, so call ahead, or log on to
www.azstateparks.com, and search
for the park you want. To geocache
(hunt small treasures by GPS) while in
the area, log on to geocaching.com.
38 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 39
Western diamondback and reached down to pick it up.
The baby rattler jerked its head around and bit the
woman’s thumb. She promptly dropped it. But think-ing,
falsely, that she had to capture the snake so her
doctor would know what kind it was, she picked it
up again with the other hand, and the snake bit that
Although both thumbs turned black, the woman
survived, and she learned the first lesson about snakes
and scorpions: Let them be. The episode occurred in
summer, but rattlers follow no schedule. If it’s warm
enough, they’ll come out to bedevil the foolish.
Driving State Route 95 is part of what makes this
trip so pleasurable. The scenery stuns with remark-able
consistency. Moonlike black mountains border
the winding road for much of the 38 miles, and on
many of the turns the vista opens to blue lake, boats
on the water and palm trees shading secluded inlets.
I stopped at an overlook at Parker Dam, between
Buckskin and Cattail, a 320-foot mass of concrete,
much of it underwater, completed in 1938. It’s worth
seeing, if only for its eye-popping quality.
Another must-stop: The finger of land that juts out
into the Colorado River on the far western end of the Bill
Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. A hiking trail
runs along this narrow, roughly 150-yard peninsula,
with benches and interpretive signs along the way.
Other places along State 95 don’t show up on tourist
brochures. Like the Nellie E. Saloon. Reaching this
desert outpost requires some effort, and a modicum
of nerve, but the payoff makes it worthwhile.
Cienega Springs Road connects with the highway
about 4.5 miles north of Parker, then rolls and dips
into the Buckskin Mountains. Five miles of dirt road
brings visitors to the saloon, which opened in its pres-ent
form in 1988, on the site of an old mining camp.
It looks the part, a weather-beaten, cement-block
structure with a stamped tin ceiling, and it’s accessible
by a covered walking bridge. But the oddest aspect of
the place sits on the roof — solar panels. “We might
be the only solar-powered saloon in the West,” says
61-year-old owner Ken Coughlin.
The Nellie E., named for an old mining claim, has
another distinction: It’s open only during daylight
hours, noon to sunset. In spite of these eccentric quali-ties,
or perhaps because of them, the bar has become
a popular spot to have a drink and listen to live music
in a unique setting.
I found treasure of a different sort in a hidden slot
canyon, which, like the desert bar, lies off the beaten
track. Sara Park Canyon is located just south of Lake
Havasu. But the sign on 95 only says “Sara Park.” Travel-ers
must drive for a mile behind the park to reach the
From there, I walked more than a mile along a
sandy wash into the canyon, using two massive black
ridges on the horizon as my guide. The closer I got to
the canyon, the more these ridges pressed together,
until they literally squeezed against my shoulders.
By then these once-dark rock masses had become
lavender cliffs that soared straight up, turning an end-less
canopy sky into a thin sliver of blue as I entered
the shadowy slot.
Just up the highway, in booming Havasu, city
leaders tout the London Bridge as its main tourist
attraction, and rightly so. All this water in the desert?
Duward Cooper marvels at it.
“I came here in 1986 from San Diego, and I had
no idea Arizona had a lake like this,” says Cooper,
now a year-round Havasu resident. “A 40-mile lake?
Impossible in this desert.”
But at Lake Havasu State Park, ranger Tim Kristof
says that in all the conversations he’s had with first-time
visitors, whether RV campers, hikers enjoying
its sunset walking trail, pleasure boaters or serious
fishermen, the most common reaction is surprise at
the size of the lake.
“People are shocked at how big it is, and how blue,”
says Kristof. “Everybody knows the Colorado River in
the Grand Canyon is gray and muddy, and they expect
it to be that way here, too. But Havasu is an Indian
word that means blue-green.”
For Cooper, though, a 75-year-old retired Navy
welder, the word means great fishing.
I caught up with him on a cold morning at Windsor
Beach, part of this popular state park, and we talked
about the passion he still feels for his boat, his gear,
the peace of the water in the early hours, and espe-cially
for bringing home a bag full of striped bass.
“Oh, it’s the best fish there is. The meat is white and
so mild people mistake it for lobster,” says Cooper,
whose bearded, grizzled face shows his lifetime love
for the water.
Then he turns toward Havasu, now a mass of white-caps
from the howling wind. “I love this lake at the
crack of dawn,” he says. “It’s almost like a sea. I can’t
get enough of it.”
There was magic in his eyes. Water in the desert
S h e p i c k e d i t u p a g a i n w i t h t h e o t h e r h a n d ,
a n d t h e s n a k e b i t t h a t t h umb , t o o .
Bridge, one of
over the Colorado
River after city
founder Robert P.
million for the
Leo W. Banks also wrote the preceding story.
Randy Prentice would like to return to these state parks someday
soon — to do some serious bass fishing. When considering
possible places to retire, this area of Arizona looks a little bit
more inviting to him with each visit. He lives in Tucson.
luck on a calm
south of the Bill
(right) of Lake
Havasu City has
an angle on
in Lake Havasu.
40 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 41
include stage performances, mariachi
music and Aztec dancers. Characters roam
the grounds in period clothing portraying
the people of Tubac during Anza’s time.
In past years, interpretive ranger Terri
Leverton says the park has featured
speakers on the Spanish Conquistadores,
and it has drawn visitors to its 1885
schoolhouse to hear what it was like to
attend school in Tubac in the 1800s.
The park also has one of the best small
museums in the state. Using displays,
photographs, folk art and rarely seen arti-facts
— Tohono O’Odham war sticks, cop-per
bell pendants, Spanish swords — the
museum skillfully and visually lays out
the history of human development in the
Santa Cruz Valley.
But the most popular event during Anza
Days might be Sunday morning’s high
Mass at the mission at Tumacacori
National Historic Park. Performers attend
in costumes similar to those Anza and
his followers wore.
At its conclusion, the actors meet out-side
and mount their horses. In imitation
of Anza’s departure, the priest blesses
them. Then, with the choir from the high
Mass accompanying, the priest sings the
alabado, or “hymn of praise,” the same song
Anza expedition members heard while
leaving for California.
These modern re-enactors only travel as
far as Tubac, 4.5 miles away, where Garate,
dressed as Anza, talks about the town’s
The Spanish founded the presidio at
Tubac after suppressing the Pima Indian
revolt of 1751. The fort measured 144 by
200 feet, and its 51 soldiers were expected
to prevent further rebellion, protect out-lying
missions and explore the region.
“Soldiers, their families and settlers
built homes around the presidio,” says
Leverton. “If people felt scared, especially
of raiding Apaches, the number one prob-lem,
they’d flee to the presidio. But it
offered more than protection. It was the
center of social and cultural life here.”
At age 23, Anza, born in the summer of
1736 to a Basque father at Fronteras,
Sonora, became the presidio’s second cap-tain.
He bore the full weight of a dream
that his father, as well as the Spanish
Crown, had long held—finding a supply
route across Sonora to the Pacific Ocean.
Apaches killed Anza Sr. before he could
accomplish that goal. But the son suc-ceeded,
and Garate says his accomplish-ment
opened California to future waves
of European settlement, including the
1849 gold rushers.
“His trip to California was a phenomenal
thing,” says Garate. “He settled the West
Coast before we ever got there. If you
include both the exploratory trip and the
colonizing trip, he traveled two to three
times farther than Lewis and Clark. Even
though people no longer remember it,
Anza did tremendous work in securing
To remind the world of Anza’s great-ness,
Garate has spent 14 years writing a
biography of him and his father. The
already-published first volume, Juan
Bautista de Anza: Basque Explorer in the
New World, 1693-1740, deals mainly with
the father. Garate is working on the sec-ond
volume, mostly about Anza Jr.
But if Anza was such a force, why has
his legacy been lost? Historians say that
archival records of his work were shipped
back to Spain, and they were written in
Spanish, both of which limited researchers’
“We’re an English-speaking Protestant
nation, and he was from a Spanish-speak-ing
Catholic nation,” says Garate, chief
interpreter and historian at Tumacacori.
“We don’t remember Anza because he was
working for the wrong government.”
With history so fickle, we need a fun
and interesting celebration like Anza Days.
It elevates the West’s greatest explorer to
his true place in history.
History offers no better evidence
of its fickle heart than Juan
Bautista de Anza II. Does the
name ring a bell? Can you say why he’s
important? Probably not. Few can.
But he played a seminal role in the
early Southwest, earning his place as a
giant of exploration, peace-making, sol-diering
“He did more to impact this region than
anybody, possibly even Father Kino,” says
historian Don Garate, referring to Eusebio
Francisco Kino, the Jesuit who estab-lished
a string of missions in northern
Mexico and what’s now southern Arizona,
including San Xavier del Bac in Tucson.
Anza’s signature accomplishments
came in 1774, when he became the first
European to establish an overland route
through the Sonoran Desert to California,
and in the winter of the following year,
and into 1776, when he returned to the
Pacific Coast on a colonizing trip that led
to the founding of San Francisco.
Both expeditions departed from the
Spanish presidio at Tubac, Arizona’s first
Today, Tubac attracts tourists with
its gift shops, art galleries, restaurants
and Old World charm. But it also offers
a highly entertaining dose of history at
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, one of
Every year, around the third weekend
of October, the park hosts Anza Days, a
celebration of this forgotten hero. Events
Location: 45 miles south of Tucson.
Getting There: From Tucson, drive south on
Interstate 19 for about 45 miles. Turn left
(east) onto the frontage road (Exit 40), and
follow it about 4 miles to the park entrance.
Hours: Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fees: $3, adults; $1, children ages 7
to 13; free, children under 7.
Additional Information: The 2006 Anza Days
takes place on October 21 and 22. Tubac Presidio
State Historic Park, (520) 398-2252; www.pr.state.
az.us/Parks/parkhtml/tubac.html. Tubac Chamber
of Commerce, (520) 398-2704; www.tubacaz.com.
Part of the living history at
Tubac Presidio State
Historic Park includes
portrayals of personalities
who lived there during the
presidio’s Spanish Colonial
days. Mel Whitrock depicts
a missionary in period
dress. arizona state parks
The Anza Days celebration
honors Commandant Juan
Bautista de Anza II. Festivities
include colorful riders (left)
imitating Anza’s departure
from Tubac, Mexican dancing
(above left) and historic re-enactments
by the Los
Tubaqueños group. Lilly
Sheahan (above) of Los
Tubaqueños prepares a meal
reminiscent of the era.
arizona state parks
Leo W. Banks wrote the two preceding stories.
by Leo W. Banks
but Re- enactors
42 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 43
Information: (928) 337-4441; www.
7 Red Rock State Park
Location: Sedona, 40 miles south of Flagstaff.
What to Do: Take a self-guided or
ranger-led interpretive walk through
286 acres of breathtaking trails.
Cool Fact: The 5-mile network of trails consists of
interconnecting loops, which lead trailblazers to vistas
of red rock and the vibrant flora of Oak Creek.
Claim to Fame: The park offers environmental
education through interpretive programs, like guided
nature walks, bird walks and eagle’s nest guided hikes.
Information: (928) 282-6907; www.azparks.
8 Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
What to Do: Tour the Riordan family mansion
and view displays about the family, the Arts and
Crafts movement and Flagstaff’s early logging era.
Cool Fact: A portrait of Timothy Riordan’s daughter,
Mary, creates an optical illusion that causes visitors to
believe the painting’s head turns to watch them as
they move around the room.
Claim to Fame: The mansion is a remarkable
example of the Arts and Crafts movement, filled
with historic artifacts, original Gustav Stickley
handcrafted furniture and personal mementos.
Information: (928) 779-4395; www.azparks.
9 Slide Rock State Park
Location: Sedona, 20 miles south of
Flagstaff off State Route 89A.
What to Do: Oak Creek sluices through
sandstone to provide a natural waterslide. Try
the shallows for wading, deeper pools for
swimming, creekside rock slabs for picnics and
short trails for exploring the park’s 43 acres.
Cool Fact: Listed by Life magazine as one of
America’s 10 most beautiful swimming holes.
Claim to Fame: A historic apple farm remains
from the 1912 homestead of Frank L. Pendley,
who developed innovative irrigation here. Original
orchards, apple-packing barns, the irrigation
system and his house still grace the park.
Information: (928) 282-3034; www.azparks.gov/
10 Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Location: Payson, 106 miles northeast of Phoenix.
What to Do: Trek the half-mile Pine Creek Trail,
climb the 300-foot-long Waterfall Trail that ends
at a waterfall cave, meander along the half-mile
Gowan Loop Trail that leads to an observation
deck at the bottom of the creek or relax with an
overnight stay at the charming historic lodge.
Cool Fact: Prospector David Gowan first discovered
the bridge as he fled from Apaches in 1877. He
hid in a cave inside the bridge for three days
before emerging and claiming rights to the area.
Claim to Fame: Standing at 183 feet high over a 400-
foot-long tunnel, Tonto Natural Bridge is considered
the largest natural travertine bridge in the world.
Information: (928) 476-4202; www.azparks.gov/
SOUTHERN REGION PARKS
1 Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
Location: Superior, 69 miles east of Phoenix.
What to Do: The park offers a wide range of special
programs and events in its naturally beautiful setting
that includes mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, a
desert lake and the natural habitat of a diverse range
of wildlife. Learn about plants of the world’s deserts
and view specialty and demonstration gardens.
Cool Fact: Each year buzzards (better known as
turkey vultures) flock to the park on their migration
from Mexico. In summer, the birds roost in the
eucalyptus grove of Picketpost Mountain.
Claim to Fame: The Arboretum’s 323
acres comprise Arizona’s oldest and largest
botanical garden. It was the first purely
botanical institution in the Western states.
Information: (520) 689-2811; www.
2 Catalina State Park
Location: Catalina, 9 miles north of Tucson.
What to Do: This park boasts eight unique trails,
including the mile-long Nature Trail that uses
informative signs to explain the desert ecosystem.
Cool Fact: Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail leads
hikers through the ruins of an ancient Hohokam
village site that dates back a thousand years.
Claim to Fame: The equestrian center offers horse
lovers a site for off-loading and camping with horses.
Information: (520) 628-5798; www.azparks.gov/
3 Kartchner Caverns State Park
Location: Benson, 45 miles east of Tucson, 9
miles south of Interstate 10 off State Route 90.
What to Do: Check out guided cave tours,
interactive displays, videos and the Discovery
Center, which has fiberglass stalagmite
reproductions to explore by touch.
Cool Fact: The cave’s Big Room doubles as a nursery
roost for thousands of cave myotis bats. Pregnant
females return to Kartchner Caverns around the
end of April, where they give birth to a single pup
in late June. Older life thrived here too — fossils
found here include an 86,000-year-old ground sloth,
34,000-year-old horse and 11,000-year-old bear.
Claim to Fame: The caverns host a cornucopia
of cave oddities, including one of the world’s
longest soda straw stalactites at 20 feet 21 inches
tall, the largest column in Arizona at 58 feet tall,
the world’s most extensive formation of brushite
moonmilk in creamy colored masses, the first
birdsnest needle quartz found in a cave and the
world’s first discovery of “turnip” shields, delicate
globes hanging like Christmas ornaments.
Information: (520) 586-2283; www.azparks.
4 Lost Dutchman State Park
Location: Apache Junction, 35 miles
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (left). les david manevitz Alamo Lake State Park (above). bob and suzanne clemenz
NORTHERN REGION PARKS
1 Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Location: Cottonwood, 90 miles north of Phoenix.
What to Do: This ecological Eden is a nest for
bird-watchers, boasting neo-tropical migrants and
domestic songbirds. Camping, mountain-biking,
hiking, canoeing, picnicking and fishing along
the Verde River are other activities to enjoy at this
423-acre park in the Coconino National Forest.
Cool Fact: In the late 1940s, the Ireys family moved
from Minnesota to Arizona in search of the perfect
ranch. As they surveyed different lands, a very specific
landmark distinguished one ranch — a dead horse.
When it came time to choose, the Ireys children voted
on Dead Horse Ranch and the morbid name stuck.
Claim to Fame: Within Dead Horse Ranch State
Park flows the Verde River Greenway, a 6-mile
stretch of the Verde River that possesses a unique
ecosystem: the Fremont cottonwood/Goodding
willow riparian gallery forest. This bionetwork of
plants and animals is so rare that fewer than 20
such riparian zones are found in the entire world.
Information: (928) 634-5283; www.azparks.
2 Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Location: Show Low, 130 miles southeast of Flagstaff
off State Route 260.
What to Do: Camp, picnic or watch wildlife beneath 100-
foot pines or fish and boat on a tranquil 150-acre lake.
Cool Fact: Thomas Wesley Adair and his family
settled here in 1885 and grew corn, sugar
cane, wheat, beans and other vegetables, but
scoffers said only a fool would farm there.
Claim to Fame: Great blue herons fish the
shallows for rainbow trout, bass, black crappie,
green sunfish, channel catfish and walleye.
Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks
rainbows from mid-May through September.
Information: (928) 537-3680; www.azparks.
3 Fort Verde State Historic Park
Location: Camp Verde, 57 miles south
of Flagstaff off State Route 260.
What to Do: Explore frontier life as you peruse
three historic house museums, complete
with 1880s furnishings. Browse interpretive
exhibits with period artifacts on military life,
Indian scouts and Indian Wars history.
Cool Fact: This site was the primary base
for General Crook’s U.S. Army scouts and
soldiers. On this site in April 1873, Tonto Apache
Chief Chalipun, with 300 of his followers in
attendance, officially surrendered to Crook.
Claim to Fame: This is the best-preserved example
of an Indian Wars fort, and visitors can still get
an authentic taste. A bugle sounds each morning,
and historians in period clothing roam the site.
Information: (928) 567-3275; www.azparks.
4 Homolovi Ruins State Park
Location: Winslow, 55 miles east of Flagstaff.
What to Do: Explore the ancient land of indigenous
peoples, camp, or hike the Nusungvö (“place of
rest”) and the Tsu’vö (“path of the rattlesnake”)
trails for an all-inclusive, educational experience.
Cool Fact: This pre-Columbian site dates
back to the 14th century. The area is
peppered with pottery shards, petroglyphs
and artifacts of the Puebloan Indians.
Claim to Fame: More than 300 archaeological sites
have been identified within the park boundaries,
including four major 14th century pueblos.
Information: (928) 289-4106; www.azparks.
5 Jerome State Historic Park
Location: Jerome, 95 miles north of Phoenix.
What to Do: At the Douglas family mansion,
visitors glimpse Jerome’s mining heyday through
period artifacts, photographs, a video presentation,
minerals, a 3-D model of the town of Jerome with its
underground mines and the restored Douglas library.
Cool Fact: In the 1930s, dynamite blasting
caused parts of the town to shift and crack.
After one powerful dynamite blast, Jerome’s
jail slid downhill a full city block.
Claim to Fame: As home of the United
Verde Mine, the largest copper-producing
mine in Arizona Territory, Jerome was known
as the “Billion Dollar Copper Camp.”
Information: (928) 634-5381; www.azparks.
6 Lyman Lake State Park
Location: Saint Johns, 200 miles northeast of Phoenix.
What to Do: Enjoy a cozy picnic, spend a quaint evening
in an authentic log cabin or a yurt, relax under the shady
ramadas, hit the lake for a boat ride or call ahead to
reserve a guided tour of Ultimate Petroglyph Trail.
Cool Fact: Because of its size, Lyman Lake is
one of the few bodies of water in northeastern
Arizona with no size restrictions on boats.
Claim to Fame: The west end of the lake is an
angler’s paradise, buoyed off as a no-wake zone. The
rest of the lake is a haven for all types of water sports.
State Parks Guide
Pick Your Pleasure —
Fishing, Caving, Playing
by Sally Benford,
and Jayme Cook
44 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 45
east of Phoenix off State Route 88.
What to Do: Although this park is named for
a fabled gold mine, most visitors these days
enjoy camping, rock-climbing, wildlife-watching,
picnicking and hiking on trails with names
like Treasure Loop and Prospector’s View.
Cool Fact: The Lost Dutchman’s Mine legend has
inspired quests, debates, paintings, novels and even
a musical play, spoofy video game and screenplay.
Claim to Fame: Area lore says the Peralta
family of northern Mexico developed a thriving
gold mine here in the 1840s, but Apache raids
drove them away. Decades later, “Dutchman”
Jacob Waltz is said to have located the
mine, guided by a Peralta descendant.
Information: (480) 982-4485; www.azparks.
5 McFarland State Historic Park
Location: Florence, 55 miles southeast
of Phoenix on State Route 79.
What to Do: Tour the original 1878 courthouse,
Florence’s WWII prisoner of war camp exhibit and
former Gov. “Mac” McFarland’s archives. The park
also offers picnic areas and guided walking tours of
Florence’s downtown historic district by appointment.
Cool Fact: In 1888, the local “Vigilance Committee”
stormed the historic building’s sheriff’s office and
dragged two men accused of robbing a stage from
their cells and hanged them in the jail’s corridor.
Claim to Fame: The courthouse is completely
constructed of native Arizona materials and is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Information: (520) 868-5216; www.azparks.
6 Oracle State Park
Location: Oracle, 40 miles north
of Tucson off State Route 77.
What to Do: A 7-mile section of the Arizona Trail
passes through the park as do several other hiking,
mountain-biking and horseback-riding trails. Tour the
historic Kanally Ranch House.
Cool Fact: In 1912, Buffalo Bill Cody played
Santa Claus for miners’ children at Oracle.
Claim to Fame: Located here, Arizona’s Center for
Environmental Education fulfills its mission as a wildlife
refuge and environmental learning center.
Information: (520) 896-2425; www.
7 Patagonia Lake State Park
Location: Patagonia, 60 miles south
of Tucson on State Route 82.
What to Do: With 250 surface acres, Patagonia
Lake offers plenty of water recreation, including
fishing and waterskiing. A full-service marina,
swimming beach, picnic ramadas, hiking
trails and campground round out the fun.
Cool Fact: Mikey Porter, an 11-year-old boy from
Tucson, reeled in a whopper — a world record 2.2-
pound green sunfish hybrid at Patagonia Lake.
Claim to Fame: As famous as the park is
for fishing, it’s just as famous for what’s
overhead. More than 300 species of birds
have been sighted here and the park offers
pontoon-boat birding tours every weekend.
Information: (520) 287-6965; www.azparks.
8 Picacho Peak State Park
Location: Picacho, 60 miles south
of Phoenix off Interstate 10.
What to Do: Hike, climb, bike, camp or picnic
at this state park centered around the spire
of 3,374-foot Picacho Peak. Hoof it to the
summit or stroll along a trail at its base.
Cool Fact: Site of the Battle of Picacho Pass, the
westernmost battle of the Civil War. Every year during
early March, re-enactments and other illustrations
of Civil War history can be viewed from the park.
Claim to Fame: Wildflowers are often the stars here.
During a good year, Mexican goldpoppies cover the
base of Picacho peak in a radiant yellow blanket.
Information: (520) 466-3183; www.azparks.
9 Roper Lake State Park
Location: Six miles south of Safford, 120
miles northeast of Tucson off U.S. Route 191.
Dankworth Pond is 3 miles south of Roper Lake.
What to Do: Fish, relax in the mineral springs’
natural hot tub or tour a model Indian village.
Cool Fact: The peaceful water and boat
limitation to only small electric motors make
this a great place to learn to sailboard.
Claim to Fame: Once a catfish hatchery, the 15-
acre Dankworth Pond now is stocked with rainbow
trout, largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and channel
catfish. The family friendly atmosphere includes
fishing lessons and ranger-led Heart Healthy Walks.
Information: (928) 428-6760; www.
10 Sonoita Creek State Natural Area
Location: Within Patagonia Lake State
Park, 60 miles south of Tucson.
What to Do: Hike along the creek, view wildlife
and attend environmental education programs.
Claim to Fame: Designated as a significant
riparian area, Sonoita Creek is home to black
hawks nesting in the area’s giant cottonwood,
willow, sycamore and mesquite trees.
Information: (520) 287-2791; www.azparks.
11 Tombstone Courthouse
State Historic Park
Location: Tombstone, 70 miles southeast
of Tucson off State Route 80.
What to Do: Explore the original Cochise County
Courthouse, the only publicly owned museum
in Tombstone. Browse through displays of the
shootout between the Earps and the Clanton gang.
Cool Fact: Colorful officeholders here included
lawman, rancher and gambler John Slaughter, a
relentless manhunter. Slaughter hired Deputy Sheriff
Burt Alford, who captured robbers and robbed stages.
Claim to Fame: Memorablia graces the park
from the courthouse’s rough-and-tumble days,
as well as a replica of the courtyard gallows,
where seven men were hanged in the 1880s.
Information: (520) 457-3311; www.azparks.
12 Tubac Presidio State
Location: Tubac, 45 miles south
of Tucson off Interstate 19.
What to Do: History comes to life as you explore
remnants of a 1752 Spanish fort, visit an 1885
schoolhouse or walk the trail of Juan Bautista de Anza.
Cool Fact: Arizona’s first state park, the presidio (fort)
was intended to protect the missions and quell further
uprisings. The oldest of the three Spanish presidios in
the state, Tubac once served as the region’s capital.
Claim to Fame: Two of its displays — the 1885
schoolhouse and the Otero Community Hall —
are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Information: (520) 398-2252; www.
WESTERN REGION PARKS
1 Alamo Lake State Park
Location: North of Wenden, 100 miles
west of Phoenix off U.S. Route 60.
What to Do: An oasis for anglers and nature
lovers, Alamo Lake State Park offers pristine
Sonoran Desert scenery. Watch wildlife or go hiking,
picnicking, fishing or boating. Grab a green chili
cheeseburger at the Wayside Inn & RV Park, where
photos of best catches are plastered on the walls.
Cool Fact: Because the park is far from city
lights and about 30 miles north of the freeway,
campers and stargazers enjoy a spectacular
starlight show under an ink-black sky.
Claim to Fame: Created with the completion of
Alamo Dam in 1968, the lake has become a fishing
haven that also attracts bald eagles. Although its
water level fluctuates sharply (it was once recorded
rising 11 vertical feet in one night), the lake offers
some of the best bass fishing in the state.
Information: (928) 669-2088; www.
2 Buckskin Mountain
Location: Parker, 175 miles northwest of Phoenix.
What To Do: Camp cabana-style, shoot hoops,
serve up some volleyball, explore the network
of hiking trails or cast off toward River Island.
Cool Fact: This state park offers some of the best
views of mountains and wildlife along the Parker
Strip — an 18-mile stretch along the Colorado River
between Parker and Headgate dams.
Claim to Fame: In the hot summer months, Buckskin
State Park and River Island are popular getaways,
providing a water wonderland and aquatic oasis for
boating, jetskiing, swimming and camping.
Information: (928) 667-3231; www.azparks.
3 Cattail Cove State Park
Location: Lake Havasu City, 200
miles northwest of Phoenix.
What To Do: Swim, fish, jetski, camp, sail into
secluded coves or brave Whytes Retreat Trail.
Cool Fact: The area surrounding the park is
a geological paradise teeming with obsidian,
volcanic rock, geodes, turquoise and jasper.
Claim to Fame: The park offers 61 camping spots
in the park, including 28 campsites along the
water’s edge where you can “camp” in your boat.
Information: (928) 855-1223; www.
4 Lake Havasu
Location: Lake Havasu, 200 miles west of Phoenix.
What To Do: Three boat launching
ramps, 42 campsites, scenic trails and jetski
rentals offer tons of fun in the sun.
Cool Fact: A haven for water-sports enthusiasts,
the lake gained notoriety when MTV hosted
its “Spring Break Bash” there in 1995.
Claim to Fame: This water-sport recreation center
is minutes from the famed London Bridge, which, in
1962, was falling down. The city of London sold the
bridge and shipped it to Lake Havasu, where it was
reassembled brick by brick and dedicated in 1972.
Information: (928) 855-2784; www.azparks.
5 Yuma Crossing
Location: Yuma, 245 miles west of Phoenix.
What to Do: Visit the 1907 U.S. Army
Quartermaster Supply Depot, an early adobe
house, a transportation museum, a historic
adobe corral and the park’s visitors center.
Cool Fact: California gold-rushers and
Western pioneers crossed the Colorado River
at Yuma Crossing, where steamships and
paddle-wheelers once plied the waterways.
Claim to Fame: Congress authorized the
Quartermaster Depot in 1865 as a materiel transfer
and distribution point for troops stationed in
Arizona Territorial outposts. The site was also
utilized as a weather station from 1875 until 1949.
Information: (928) 329-0471; www.azparks.
6 Yuma Territorial Prison
State Historic Park
Location: Yuma, 245 miles west of Phoenix.
What To Do: Tour the historic prison, visit the
museum for facts on the prison’s former staff and
inmates, or participate in special events throughout
the year, like the Gathering of the Gunfighters
in January or the Haunted Tours in October.
Cool Fact: The men who constructed the cells also
called them home as the prison’s first inmates.
Claim to Fame: Although this prison has an
infamous reputation for mistreatment of prisoners,
the only punishments were dark cells for those who
refused to follow prison regulations and the ball
and chain for prisoners who attempted escape.
Information: (928) 783-4771; www.azparks.
(Clockwise from above) Dead Horse Ranch State Park, bob and suzanne clemenz; Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, kerrick james; Patagonia Lake State Park, jack dykinga; Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, laurence parent; and Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, jerry sieve.
i wander through the tidy, empty remains of Fort Verde,
all mixed up about my hero. Should I admire Gen. George
Crook, a tough, determined man of uncommon insight
and compassion, who fought Apaches with courage and
compassion? Or should I find the porch on which the bounty
hunters dumped Delshay’s head and pass silent judgment from
the safety of my own century?
But then, if tragedy and irony bother you, best not to visit
places like Fort Verde State Historic Park, the best preserved of
the military outposts from which a few thousand soldiers waged
the brave and terrible war that shaped the most enduring myths
of the West and our national character.
General Crook was an outsized, contradictory figure in that
struggle, which included a bitter 1871-’72 campaign based at
this fort against thousands of Yavapai and Tonto Apaches forced
out of their homes in Prescott and the Verde Valley by an inrush
of prospectors and settlers.
The struggle pitted Crook, who became the nation’s most
effective Indian fighter largely due to his respect for their
culture, and Chief Delshay, who could never stay surrendered.
The unconventional, taciturn, bearded Crook preferred
canvas clothes and a pith helmet to a uniform. He responded
to a string of attacks with a carefully coordinated offensive.
Roving independent commands sustained by scientifically
managed packtrains and guided by Apache scouts from other
bands, clung to the trail of the resisters. The columns of troops
covered thousands of miles in months-long campaigns, never
giving the fleeing bands full of women and children a chance to
rest or reprovision.
Eventually, several thousand Yavapai and Tonto Apaches
surrendered, unable to fight both the Army and the Apache
Delshay, also known as Red Ant, was among the last to
surrender. He deeply distrusted the soldiers, perhaps because
his brother had been gunned down for no reason while visiting
a military post. Delshay himself had been wounded twice while
Maj. George Randall reported that in surrendering, Delshay
“said he would do anything he would be ordered to do. He
wanted to save his people, as they were starving. He had
nothing to ask for but his life. He would accept any terms. He
said he had 125 warriors last fall, and if anybody had told him
he couldn’t whip the world he would have laughed at them, but
now he had only 20 left. He said they used to have no difficulty
eluding the troops, but now the very rocks had gotten soft, they
couldn’t put their foot anywhere without leaving an impression
we could follow, that they could get no sleep at nights, for
should a coyote or a fox start a rock rolling during the night,
they would get up, and dig out, thinking it was we who were
But after a short time on the reservation, Delshay fled with 40
Crook called together the remaining Apache leaders and
gave them an ultimatum: Bring him Delshay’s head or he would
resume war on them all.
Some months later, as Crook sat on the porch of his
headquarters, Apache bounty hunters dumped six or eight
heads on the planking at his feet. One head wore Delshay’s
Crook paid bounties on them all.
Crook tried his best to honor his commitment to the Indians.
The peaceful bands hacked out a 5-mile-long irrigation canal
with sharpened sticks and became largely self-sufficient. But
in 1874 a group of traders eager to make a fat profit by selling
provisions to impoverished, reservation-bound Indians
convinced politicians in Washington to order the removal of the
1,400 surviving Indians over Crook’s protests. Many died on
the grueling 200-mile march to the White Mountains.
Crook observed, “Their removal was one of those cruel
things that greed has so often inflicted on the Indians. When
the Indian appeals to his arms, his only redress, the whole
country cries out against the Indian. As soon as the Indians
became settled on the different reservations, gave up the
warpath, and became harmless, the Indian agents who had
sought cover before, now came out as brave as sheep, and
took charge of the agencies, and commenced their game of
So I stood on the porch of his one-time headquarters at Fort
Verde and tried my best to judge General Crook — who made
his no-win choices in another time, in a different culture.
But I thought then of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Of
misdirected bombs. Of hooded prisoners.
And of the war that never ends.
And the choices that never change.
Brave Men and
Fort Verde Stroll Crosses Line Between Heroes and Villains
Now Available! Our 2007 Calendars
*(shi p p ing & handl ing not included in p r ice )
Enjoy the beauty of Arizona everyday with our world-famous 2007 calendars. Take advantage of
this early discount offer and save $3.00 on each calendar ordered. Don’t delay — this offer expires
September 30, when the calendars go back to regular price.
Log on to arizonahighways.com
Call toll-free 1-800-543-5432
(in the Phoenix area or outside the U.S., call 602-712-2000)
2 Easy Ways To Order
Discover the natural wonderland of the Southwest
with exquisite images of Arizona from some of
the best photographers in the world. Our large wall
calendar includes descriptive text and information about
each location. 13-month calendar with 14 full-color
photographs. 14” by 12”.
#CALSA7 was $13.99 NOW $10.99*
Enjoy the beauty of Arizona throughout the year with
30 full-color photographs. This 13-month calendar
offers generous room for date-by-date reminders, with
a handy Arizona map on the back. 12” x 9”.
#CAL07 was $9.99 NOW $6.99*
2007 Classic Wall Calendar
Featuring some of Arizona’s most notable sites and
unique Southwest wildlife every week of the year.
The weekly grids include holidays and moon phases.
60 full-color photographs delivered to
you in a mailable gift box. 6” by 9”.
#ENG07 was $13.99 NOW $10.99*
2007 Scenic Arizona Calendar
of this offer.
46 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
by Peter Aleshire illustration by Joseph Daniel Fiedler along the way
ACT NOW! Offer expires September 30, 2006.
2007 Engagement Calendar
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 49
the verde river
48 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
by JoBeth Jamison photographs by Richard K. Webb hike of the month
Sometimes it’s good to go to the dark side
a veritable kingdom
of leafy canopies, the Verde
River Greenway, a shady
6-mile stretch of the Verde
River, runs through central
Arizona. In 1986, the State
of Arizona appropriated
$2 million “seed money”
to begin purchase of the
portion of the VRG between
the Tuzigoot and Bridgeport
bridges in Cottonwood.
Managed and operated as a
unit of Dead Horse Ranch
State Park, this important
jewel in Arizona’s ecological
crown is abundant with
natural and cultural
resources, including a
rare Fremont cottonwood/
Goodding willow riparian
gallery forest that helps on
my shade-seeking mission.
Near the day-use area
parking lot, a text-filled trail
marker tells me about the
area and asks me to respect
the fragile ecosystem I am
about to enter. For the gift
of green in a drought-ridden
desert, it’s the least I can do
Exploring the VRG is less
like hiking and more like
visiting a wildlife park. The
lush, level stretch between the
River Day Use Area and the
Verde River Greenway offices
is just 1.5 miles one-way.
While the quantity of miles
would normally take no time
at all, I sense the quality will
tack on at least a few hours.
From the signpost, I head
north a few steps and turn
west into a dry, rock-filled
creek bed that looks like
a side-winding sandbox. I
follow it until I see a smaller,
shaded and foot-friendly trail
to the south, running parallel
with the river. Though a good
portion of VRG’s wildlife is
listed as endangered, it’s hard
to tell from where I stand. I’m
not the only life form here
seeking amnesty from the
sun’s ultraviolet oppression.
The Goodding willow forest,
which seems more like a
jungle without the humidity,
is a biological bonanza.
Symphonies of chirps, chats,
whistles and perhaps even
a “cuckoo” or two broadcast
from the blankets of foliage.
Small fish congregate in
darkened eddies of the
river, and I wonder if they
could be spikedace, a
threatened species known to
inhabit these waters. Fallen
leaves and tree bark rustle,
concealing the culprits that
scurry beneath them while
the tall grass moves and
shakes. As long as the shake
doesn’t rattle, I don’t mind.
Still, I proceed with caution.
tree branches keep the
temperature comfortable, but
the coolest things by far in
this wild kingdom are the
bugs. From the shady shore,
a large turquoise dragonfly
darts to and fro across the
water. His speed confounds
that of my digital camera, but
the hoary skimmer finally
“fros” himself at my feet
and begs me to capture the
dazzling copper luster of his
horizontal wingspan before
lifting off again. In his wake,
a mammoth purple and blue
butterfly dances into view. I
gasp at its velvet beauty and
dare to think it’s not from
around here, but before I
can collect photographic
evidence of my perplexing,
wing-flexing friend, it quietly
vanishes upriver and into
After about two hours of
following the path, I notice
bluffs starting to dominate
the landscape to the south.
I can complete the loop by
taking the long way back
through the park along
Dead Horse Ranch Road in
the company of the blazing
sun, or go solo, back the
way I came. The shady, dark
side beckons, and I happily
retreat into the shadows.
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
Dead Horse Ranch
Length: 3-mile loop.
Elevation Gain: Negligible.
Payoff: Summer shade,
Location: 46.2 miles south of Flagstaff.
Getting there: From Flagstaff, take
Interstate 17 south (approximately
3.2 miles) to Exit 337. Go west to the
stop sign and head south on State
Route 89A. Follow State 89A for 42.3
miles to Cottonwood (where the
road becomes Main Street). Turn
right onto 10th Street and follow
for .7 of a mile to park entrance.
Additional Information: (928)
634-5283 or www.azparks.gov/
FAR FROM ‘DEAD’ The Verde River Greenway (above), part of Dead Horse
Ranch State Park, teems with life. Dragonflies dash and butterflies flutter
near the shore, and a leafy canopy hosts leaping squirrels and chattering
birds. The Verde River (right) conceals endangered fish beneath its
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.