Meet the State's
at Oak Creek
M A Y 2 0 0 8
sedona The Ultimate Guide to Red Rock Country
Featuring: Hiking, Biking, Fishing, Dining & More
Is a Vortex, Anyway?
contents may 2008
No matter what you decide to do in Sedona,
chances are at some point you’re going to get
hungry. At arizonahighways.com, you’ll get
the lowdown on a few of our favorite Sedona
restaurants, along with information about Hopi
pottery artists and our online trip planner.
WEEKEND GETAWAY Nestled in the hills of Southern
Arizona, Patagonia Lake is a fishing and camping
DISCOVER ARIZONA Plan a trip with our calendar
Photographic Prints Available
n Prints of some photographs in this issue are available
for purchase, as designated in captions. To order, call
866-962-1191 or visit arizonahighwaysprints.com.
2 EDITOR'S LETTER
4 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state,
including Arizona's first "cactus cop," the D'Backs' Conor
Jackson, a really big breakfast in Prescott, and the best
place to spend the night in Oak Creek Canyon.
44 BACK ROAD ADVENTURE
Rock Art Road Trip: Located on the South Rim, this scenic route
offers vintage Arizona scenery and a dose of art history.
48 HIKE OF THE MONTH
The Dogie Trail: It’s a wilderness area now, but
back in the day, cowboys pushed cattle along
this spectacular trail in Sycamore Canyon.
THE DARK SIDE Rays from the setting sun burst from beyond
Capitol Butte and darken Mitten Ridge’s eastern face in the
Coconino National Forest near Sedona. Photograph by Larry Lindahl
n To order a print of this photograph, see information above.
FRONT COVER Sunset light and a clearing storm double the
dramatic impact of Cathedral Rock’s reflection in Oak Creek at Red
Rock Crossing. Photograph by Robert McDonald
n To order a print of this photograph, see information above.
BACK COVER Beginning near a.d. 600, the Southern Sinagua
people, followed by the Yavapai and Apache people around
a.d. 1400, lived and left their pictographic marks in the Red Canyon
area of the Coconino National Forest. Photograph by Larry Lindahl
n To order a print of this photograph, see information above.
14 Sedona Side Trips
Here’s the thing about Sedona: All you have to do is
drive through to be blown away. That’s not advisable,
though. There are too many opportunities off the
beaten path. Hiking, biking, fishing, fine dining …
these are just some of the reasons to park the car.
BY KELLY KRAMER
20 Portfolio: Seeing Red
The double-decker buses in London, the square in
Moscow, the Coke can, Bonnie Raitt’s hair, the little
girl who was chased by the Big Bad Wolf … a lot of
icons in this world are red, but few can compare to
the rocks in Sedona. In this month’s portfolio, we’ll
give you a better look at Arizona’s second natural
wonder. If you think you’ve seen Sedona, think again.
30 Along for the Ride
Sedona is a mountain-biking mecca — one of the
best in the world. For some hard-core riders, it even
outranks Moab. Although our writer leans more
toward timid, we sent her out anyway. With
a group of extremists, nonetheless.
BY LORI K. BAKER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM BEAN
36 A Force to Be Reckoned With?
Even in Sedona, it’s hard to get a straight answer on
what a vortex is. However, most New Age disciples will
tell you it’s a place with increased energy that ampli-fies
whatever you take into it. That’s what they say. Is
there something to it, or are these people just nuts?
BY JACKIE DISHNER
40 Prehistory Lesson
Although New Age gets most of the attention in
Sedona, there’s an Old Age that’s worth learning
about, too. The people are known as Sinagua, and
their ancient cliff dwellings are just a dirt road away.
BY SCOTT THYBONY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LARRY LINDAHL
by Robert Stieve editor’s letter
bell rock gets a lot of attention.
It’s one of the first things people
see when they roll into Sedona, and
everybody stops. “Stand over there,
little Johnny, and let me take your
picture.” Like El Capitan and Old
Faithful, Bell Rock finds its way into a
lot of photo albums, and rightfully so
— it’s a photogenic landmark in a land
blessed with photogenic landmarks.
Cathedral Rock, Steamboat Rock, Chimney Rock … it
doesn’t take long to fill a digital camera in this neck of the
woods. Still, driving through Sedona, bumper-to-bumper with
RVs the size of New Jersey, you can’t help but wonder what
it was like before the invention of the internal combustion
engine. Turns out, you can still experience that Sedona, the
one Native Americans and pioneers experienced, but you’ll
have to veer off the beaten path and park the car. It takes some
effort, but it’s worth it. Of course, if you prefer pink Jeeps to red
rocks, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
In this month’s issue, we’ll tell you about both sides of
Sedona — the man-made alternatives and Mother Nature’s
handiwork. For starters, there’s our feature titled Sedona
Side Trips. In it, writer Kelly Kramer spotlights 10 of the best
things to do in and around the state’s second natural wonder,
including hiking, biking, fishing and fine dining. There are
helicopter tours, too, as well as spa treatments in Boynton
Canyon, one of the best places in the world for a sunset hike.
And then there’s the Center for the New Age, which is where
you’ll find clairvoyants, clairsentients and clairaudients. These
are just some of the practitioners at the center who will help
you harness your spiritual energy through chakra-balancing
and aura-cleansing. They also lead guided tours into the area’s
If you don’t know what any of this means, you’re not alone.
The New Age world is uncharted territory for most people.
That’s why we sent Jackie Dishner to Sedona to find an answer
to a single question: What exactly is a vortex, anyway? In
A Force to Be Reckoned With?, she shares what she learns.
Although it might seem like a simple assignment, finding
an answer took some effort. Among other things, Jackie had
to “experience” all six of Sedona’s known vortex sites. She also
endured a few rounds of chakra-balancing and aura-cleansing,
all of which were intended to open her heart, mind and soul to
the spiritual nature of the journey. “If it sounds ambitious,” she
writes, “it was. This was the trip that taught me to see with my
You’ll have to read her story to find her answer, but even
then, you might have a hard time getting your arms around it.
That’s when you switch from new to old. Despite the intrigue
of Sedona’s New Age culture, its Old Age culture is worth
exploring too. And it’s relatively easy.
As Scott Thybony writes in Prehistory Lesson: “Just west of
Sedona … where paved roads turn to dirt, you’ll find traces
of people who managed to thrive centuries ago in the dry
uplands. They left behind stone walls and archaic images
painted in the shelter of overhanging cliffs. Two of the best-preserved
sites are the remarkable cliff houses of Honanki and
For our story, Scott explored Honanki, which contains a
warren of rooms last occupied by Pueblo Indians 700 years
ago. If you’ve never been to one of Arizona’s ancient ruins, this
story, which features some incredible photography by Larry
Lindahl, is going to light a fire. Although you won’t be alone —
Honanki gets about 35,000 visitors annually, compared to the
4 million people who converge on Bell Rock every year —
you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
More importantly, if you’re looking for a taste of what
Sedona was like before the invention of the internal
combustion engine, this is it. As you’ll see, the surrounding
landscape is filled with landmarks worthy of a place in your
photo album. Even without the requisite shot of little Johnny.
— Robert Stieve
MAY 2008 VOL. 84, NO. 5
80 0 - 543 - 5432
ar i zonahighways . com
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2 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 3
C O N T R I B U T O R S
“There are no soft landings in mountain bik-ing,”
says Lori K. Baker of her harrowing first
try at the sport (see Along for the Ride, page
30). But as a freelance writer who’s flung
herself down ski slopes, piloted stubborn sled
dogs, and dangled from trees for Arizona
Highways stories, she was ready to conquer
her fear. “Outdoor wilderness sports are a
great exercise for self-empowerment,” Baker
says. This story only reinforced that notion.
Not only was she out of her element, she
was out with a group of extremists. Now that
she’s back and the bruises have healed, she’s
“more willing to take risks” in other areas of
her life. A Mesa native, Baker has also writ-ten
for Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal,
Parenting, Child and McCall’s.
While photographing Prehistory Lesson (page
40), Larry Lindahl got firsthand experience as
an ancient Sinaguan. Well, sort of. Lindahl
volunteered to help stabilize the Honanki
ruin, the largest Sinagua dwelling in Sedona.
He gathered precisely fitting sandstone slabs,
then hauled 5-gallon buckets filled with earth
and water to make mud “cement.” “We
noticed in gathering the heavy stones that we
mysteriously felt a sixth sense telling us when
a stone was going to fit without measuring
it,” he says. “It connected us to the past in a
very tangible way.” A frequent contributor to
Arizona Highways, Lindahl also contributes
to Outdoor Photographer, Discovery Channel
and Everyday With Rachel Ray.
Scott Thybony says he’s always found a
resonance with traditional peoples (see
Prehistory Lesson, page 40). “I respect people
who sacrifice material well-being for other
values,” says Thybony, who’s lived with
Arctic Inuits and herded sheep for a Navajo
medicine man. Exploring the ruins around
Sedona, he was struck by the “overlapping
of various chapters of history and prehis-tory”
— from 12,000-year-old Clovis hunters
to ancient Yavapai cultures. The author of
dozens of books, Thybony has also written
for National Geographic, Smithsonian and
Outside. Despite winning prestigious literary
awards, he takes special pride in his Colorado
River Jerry-Rigging Award for fixing a broken
motor with beer cans and driftwood.
Sedona’s landscapes are
among the most beautiful
in the world. If you don’t
believe that, just look at
our portfolio on page 20.
LORI K. BAKER SCOTT THYBONY
Cameras and mountain bikes do not mix,
Tom Bean learned while photographing
Along for the Ride (page 30). “A mountain
bike isn’t a great platform to carry tripods,”
Bean notes. “The only way to do it is in a
heavy backpack, which doesn’t give you the
best posture.” Nevertheless, Bean and his
equipment survived Sedona’s rocky terrain
(mostly) unscathed. Trained as a wildlife biolo-gist,
Bean didn’t even own a camera when
he started working as a national park ranger.
After teaching himself photography, he got
his first professional job taking photos of the
Grand Canyon. Since then, he’s contributed
to National Geographic Traveler, Audubon
and several Smithsonian books.
TOM BEAN LARRY LINDAHL
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 5
P E O P L E R E S T A U R A N T S L O D G I N G P H O T O G R A P H Y H I S T O R Y N A T U R E T H I N G S T O D O
4 m a y 2 0 0 8
I’ve lived most of my life in New York
state, and I’ve read your magazine for as
long as I can remember. In 1995, I
finally had a chance to see some of the
beauty you feature when my World War
II Army unit had a reunion in Salt Lake
City. We flew out, and when the reunion
ended, we got a rental car. First stop was
Zion, then Bryce Canyon, and then Page,
where we stayed two nights. We visited
Glen Canyon Dam and took the five-hour
boat ride to Rainbow Bridge. You
should be aware that the boat captain
told us the entire lake was in the state of
Utah, including the dam. I’d believed
him until your current issue [February
2008] arrived with different information.
Richard Scroxton, Liverpool, New York
I commend you for your wonderful
articles and photos of Lake Powell. I
started enjoying this wonderful lake in
the late ’70s and followed its rise to full
level. Every year was a new adventure as
the shoreline changed, and I always felt
that all of the boaters and visitors were
experiencing a true wonder. Early on,
environmentalists were broadcasting the
“travesty” of Lake Powell. I felt the impor-tant
aspect and benefit of the lake was
that most of the hundreds of thousands
of visitors over the years would never
have the time or ability to explore this
backcountry beauty without the develop-ment
of the lake. I was gratified to see the
reluctant but supportive comment at the
end of Reflecting on the Water [February
2008]: “I’m in one of the most beautiful
places on Earth, and no longer appalled!”
Maybe it’s too bad that Lawrence Cheek
wasted so many years waiting.
Roger Giles, Knoxville, Tennessee
Thanks for the Memories
While it’s good to hear that fine dining
has come to Williams, please don’t knock
a place like Rod’s Steak House [The Jour-nal,
February 2008]. Forty-one years ago,
on our way to the Grand Canyon for our
honeymoon, my husband and I stopped
in Williams to eat our wedding din-ner
at Rod’s Steak House. It was a good
meal, and as we were on our way out, an
older gentleman, dressed in a dirty white
cowboy shirt and jeans, a bottle of whis-key
in one hand and some cigars in the
other, stopped us and inquired, “Son, is
that decorated Volkswagen bug out there
yer car?” My husband hesitantly replied,
“Yes.” Well, the gentleman said, “My name
is Rod, and I’d like to buy you and yer
pretty bride a drink.” He ushered us back
to a table in the dining room and did just
that. It’s one of the nicest memories we
have, and every year, on our anniversary,
we raise a wee glass and toast Rod.
Susan Hunnicutt, Fayetteville, Arkansas
editor’s note: What a wonderful story,
Ms. Hunnicutt. Thank you for sharing. Rod’s is
indeed a classic. Our intent was not to be critical
of Rod’s, but rather point out that Williams has
expanded beyond just steakhouses. It’s great to
have options. Happy anniversary.
As I do every month, I’m enjoying the
January 2008 issue of Arizona Highways.
I have one tiny complaint: Why is the
little map of Arizona with points desig-nating
the current articles no longer in
the magazine? I always looked at that to
see what articles I wanted to read first,
and where they were located. Fifteen
years ago, a friend and I worked out of
Winslow for six weeks on the Navajo
Reservation, leading summer Bible
schools. It’s one of the high points of
my life. I love Northern Arizona and its
native people. Anyway, see what you can
do about that map, and thanks for the
world’s best state magazine!
Margo Cooke, Anderson, South Carolina
editor’s note: We’ve missed it too, Ms.
Cooke, so we’re bringing it back next month.
High Water Mark
I don’t know what changes you made
recently, but the magazine that featured
Lake Powell [February 2008] was the
best issue in a couple of years. Finally,
someone there gets it and made an issue
about the beautiful Arizona landscapes.
If you’ll bring back the destination
articles, I’ll start buying this magazine
again. Keep up the good work.
Eric Evans, Phoenix
Sister Bourne’s Last Dance
Regarding the article about Beaver Creek
[Beaver Creek Country, January 2008],
your readers might like to know more
“stories of days gone by,” as your writer so
aptly puts it. In Eulalia “Sister” Bourne’s
book Ranch Schoolteacher [University
of Arizona Press, 1974], she tells the
heartwarming story of her sojourn as the
teacher in a one-room school in Beaver
Creek from 1914 to 1916. She describes
her time there as the most treasured of all
the places she lived and taught. Unfortu-nately,
she was fired from her cherished
job because she had danced the one-step
at a birthday party at Back’s Ranch.
Shirley Tribolet, Tucson
If you have thoughts or comments about anything in Arizona Highways, we’d
love to hear from you. We can be reached at email@example.com, or
by mail at 2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85009. For more information,
Tempe’s 90-year-old Hayden Flour Mill —
slated to be resurrected as office, restaurant
and shopping space — towers above 9-year-old
Tempe Town Lake. An aquatic playground
for rowers and sailors, the lake also hosts
concerts, fireworks and festivals.
n For more information, visit tempe.gov/lake.
Great Lake, Great Article
I’d like to congratulate you and Lawrence Cheek on your article on
Lake Powell [Reflecting on the Water, February 2008]. I’m a subscriber,
I live at Lake Powell, and it’s so refreshing to see such a fair and
balanced article about the lake that puts it and its debated origins into
proper perspective. Gary Ladd’s pictures are wonderful, as usual.
Thanks again for such an insightful article.
Dan Scannell, Page
6 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 7
sunlight crept across the hushed, de-serted
wilderness near Agua Fria National
Monument when seven men poured out of a
pickup. They strapped a homemade “cradle” to
a saguaro, shoveled around its base, wrapped a
chain around the root, and ripped it from the
Concealed behind a tree and filming as they
extricated 16 more was Jim McGinnis, who
pursued the thieves and arrested the driver.
The company the men worked for was fined
Officially, McGinnis is a special investiga-tions
supervisor for the Arizona Department
of Agriculture; unofficially, he’s the state’s first
certified “cactus cop.”
McGinnis joined the ADA in 1979 as a bor-der
plant inspector, eventually going through
the police academy to become a peace offi-cer
enforcing native plant law. “I’m not badge-happy,
though,” says McGinnis, whose re-laxed
demeanor and motorcycle-wheeling
ways make him an unlikely Wyatt Earp of na-tive
plants. He protects everything from barrel
cactuses to ocotillos to livestock, but his pri-mary
concern is saguaros.
It’s not illegal to uproot saguaros, but it re-quires
permits, fees and tags, which oppor-tunists
ignore and crooks concoct elabo-rate
schemes to avoid. The Sonoran icons can
fetch $40-$75 per foot on the black market,
and often get sold to homeowners who think
they’re a steal. And they are.
McGinnis also cracks down on vandals who
hack at saguaros with machetes, shoot them
full of arrows and blast them with shotguns.
“If it’s not going to live, I’ll fine them based on
the value of the cactus — $55 per foot,” Mc-
Ginnis says. “If it’s a 20-footer, that’s a felony.”
Sadly, McGinnis is fighting an uphill battle.
In 2001, six full-time cactus cops patrolled the
state, holding stakeouts into the night. After
budget cuts, just two remain.
“I get a call almost every day,” McGinnis says,
“but I only get out three times a month.” Divid-ing
his time between protecting livestock, sell-ing
permits and administrative duties, he filed
only 19 cactus cases in 2006. Out of how many?
“More than I care to think,” he sighs. “They
could be stealing 100 a day and I’d never know.”
McGinnis has spoken to media outlets
worldwide trying to stir up concern for the
native plant program, which receives money
only from the sale of tags and permits. He’s
lobbied to put the native plant fund onto the
list of programs people can donate to when
they file their taxes. The move could garner
$60,000 to $200,000 a year, enough to hire a
few more investigators. Unfortunately, it was
rejected — because it wouldn’t fit on the front
side of the tax form.
McGinnis remains determined. “I like the
whole concept of protecting something that’s
been associated with Arizona since as long as
I can remember,” he says. “It’s a noble cause.”
— Keridwen Cornelius
P E O P L E
remember back in january, when you made that resolu-tion
to eat healthy and lose some weight? If you’re like most
Americans, you didn’t make it past the Super Bowl. And that’s
OK. In fact, as long as you’ve blown it, you might as well head
to Zeke’s Eatin’ Place and really fall off the wagon.
If you’ve never been to Zeke’s, a small diner just off State
Route 69 in Prescott, the motto is this: “No one goes away
hungry.” After one meal, you’ll know they’re serious.
Bob Williams owns the restaurant with his wife, Tracey,
who was the inspiration for the diner’s Western theme. “She’s
a country girl deep down,” Williams says. “We just expand-ed
Among other things, cow skulls and framed images of John
Wayne adorn the walls. There’s something almost intimidat-ing
about having the Duke look down at you while you’re eat-ing.
It’s as if he’s saying, “You’d better clean your plate, pilgrim.”
In addition to the Old West,
there’s a history lesson as well.
Old photos of Prescott, dat-ing
back to the early 1900s, are
scattered under clear glass cov-ering
the tabletops. Small flyers
advertising local businesses ac-company
Of course, the food is the
main attraction at Zeke’s, where
the hearty meals are geared
more toward Hoss than Little
Joe. “We’re a man’s man’s place,”
Williams says with a laugh.
“We’re meat and potatoes. It’s in-your-
face type food.”
What most people put in
their face is breakfast. Even
during the lunch hour, Wil-liams
says, most people order
breakfast, with omelets being
the most popular items. These
aren’t ordinary omelets, though.
The nearly foot-long monsters,
which include anywhere from
five to seven eggs, span an en-tire
plate and are served with
a towering pile of crispy hash
browns and a choice of toast,
pancakes, or biscuits and gravy.
The basic pancakes are about
7 inches in diameter. If you’re
more adventurous, try the wagon-wheel pancakes, which are
roughly the size of hubcaps. Although it’s not on the menu,
Zeke’s even has a pancake challenge.
“If you can eat three pancakes in 20 minutes or less, we buy
your meal and give you a T-shirt,” Williams says. “We make a
spectacle of it, but only about 15 people have ever done it. It’s
just funny to see their faces when the pancakes come out.”
Breakfast is served until 2 p.m., but Zeke’s also has a lunch
menu available beginning at 9:30 a.m. The menu features
soups, salads, sandwiches and “midday meals from the chuck
wagon.” Like breakfast, the lunch portions are huge.
Try the Southwest turkey melt. It’s a real knife-and-forker,
thanks to the red chile mayo that covers the oven-roasted tur-key,
green chiles, pepper jack cheese and bacon piled high on
As a side dish, you’ll have to choose between fries or a salad.
Although the healthy voice in the back of your head will be
whispering “salad,” if you’re going to fall off the wagon any-way,
you might as well fall hard and go for the crisp, expert-ly
seasoned fries. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll resolve to go
back and try them again.
n Zeke’s is located at 1781 E. Highway 69 in Prescott. For more informa-tion,
call 928-776-4602 or visit zekeseatinplace.com.
— Hilary Peele
Eggs Come First
Even during lunch, omelets rule the roost at
Zeke’s Eatin’ Place in Prescott. If you’re on a
diet, you’re in trouble. These things are huge.
R E S T A U R A N T S
by Dave Pratt
AH: If you were trying to
convince Derek Jeter or any
of the other Yankees that
Arizona is one of the most
beautiful places in America,
where would you take them?
CJ: Greer. People think Arizona
is just a desert, and Greer is
definitely one of the most beau-tiful
places in the state. You just
don’t expect to see so much
green in Arizona.
AH: When you go hiking in
Arizona, what’s the one
thing — other than water —
that you always carry in your
AH: If you were making a
solo road trip to Sedona,
which would you choose: a
Harley or a Mustang
CJ: I’d go with the Harley,
because … well, it’s a Harley,
and there’s nothing better than
AH: What’s your favorite
place in Arizona?
CJ: Chase Field.
AH: If you had been put
in charge of designing the
new “Arizona” quarter, what
would you have put on it?
CJ: The Arizona Diamondbacks’
AH: What three words best
CJ: Hot, hot, hot! Just kidding
… entertaining, charismatic,
— Dave Pratt is the host of the
“Dave Pratt in the Morning” show
on KMLE 107.9 FM in Phoenix.
Jim McGinnis has a lot of job
responsibilities, but protecting
saguaros from poachers might
be the most important.
Teresa Smith, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place
8 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 9
with the possible exception of el tovar, which
has the unfair advantage of being perched on the edge of the
world’s seventh natural wonder, Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge
is arguably the most scenic place to spend a night in Arizona.
Lodge, hotel, B&B, campsite … good luck finding accommo-dations
with a better view.
Located in the heart of Oak Creek Canyon, about 8 miles
north of Sedona, Garland’s is surrounded by millions of years
of red-rock geology, towering pines, hearty oaks and a healthy
dose of pioneer history. Like most of the canyon, the Garland
property was homesteaded in the 1800s — the first structure,
now the kitchen, was built in 1908. It wasn’t until the 1920s,
however, that the lodge really started to take shape. That’s
when the Todd family began building cabins to accommodate
guests from Flagstaff and miners from Jerome, who came to
fish in Oak Creek.
In 1972, Bill and Georgiana Garland, longtime friends of
the Todds, bought the lodge and started laying the ground-work
for what would become one of the most spectacular
overnight stays in the Southwest. In addition to the rocks and
the trees and the birds in the sky, there’s the creek, for which
the canyon is named. The hikes along the water are wonderful,
and the fishing is even better — fly fishermen have been
known to make day trips from as far away as Fountain Hills.
The pools of the creek are stocked with rainbow trout from
May through September, and native brown trout are present
as well. It’s not surprising, then, that trout shows up regularly
on Garland’s menu, which is every bit as impressive as the
The emphasis on food dates back to Georgiana, who con-tributed
a slew of old family recipes. Today, that dedication is
carried on by Amanda Stine, Garland’s resident chef for the
past 25 years. Recently, Stine and Mary Garland coauthored
Sharing the Table at Garland’s Lodge, a critically acclaimed
cookbook that features more than 275 of the lodge’s recipes,
some of which you’ll get to sample firsthand.
As if the surroundings aren’t enough, a stay at the lodge also
includes afternoon tea, an elegant dinner and a hearty break-fast,
which is cooked to order. The breakfast menu chang-es
daily, and the dinner menu includes things like tomatillo
bisque, mixed greens with spicy slaw and pumpkin seeds in a
cumin-lime vinaigrette, and grilled Alaskan king salmon with
mango Serrano salsa.
After a meal like that, you might expect the sleeping quar-ters
to be a little anticlimactic, but they’re not. Among other
things, the large cabins at the lodge come with wood-burn-ing
fireplaces, and the small creekside cabins feature porch-es
overlooking Oak Creek. Other than a room perched on the
edge of the Grand Canyon, it doesn’t get any better than this.
n Garland’s is open April 1 through November 15, and is located on
State Route 89A, 8 miles north of Sedona. For more information, call
928-282-3343 or visit garlandslodge.com. — Robert Stieve
Rooms With a View
Not only is it situated in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the
food at Garland’s is every bit as impressive as the surrounding landscape.
L O D G I N G
“how do i become a working photographer, and
where do I get started?” I get asked that a lot. Turns out, there
are as many answers as there are professional photographers.
Here’s how John did it. Not John Doe, but John W. McDonough,
one of the premier staff photographers at Sports Illustrated.
If you’re not familiar with his name, you know his work.
For more than 25 years, “Johnny Mac’s” photography has
graced the pages of SI (including 70-some covers), each
one depicting his vision, dedication and talent. From Super
Bowls and Final Fours to the Olympics and the World Series,
he’s lived a sports shooter’s dream. And it all began here in
Arizona. Sort of.
John was in his 20s with a newly inked degree in English
literature from Indiana’s De Paw University when he wrangled
a summer job as a sports writer/editor at a local newspaper in
Indiana. It’s not unusual for writers at smaller publications to
photograph their own stories, and that’s what forced John to
pick up a camera for the first time.
His start, however, was a little rough. On his first assign-ment,
he loaded the company-issued camera incorrectly. The
result? No photos. Hoping to keep his job, he started checking
out a camera on weekends to practice his skills, shooting
everything from landscapes to peewee football games, and
then having the film processed. After one of those weekend
outings, a photo-lab tech invited him into the darkroom to
discuss one of his images. That’s what ignited his lifelong
passion — when he saw that first black-and-white print
magically appear in the developing tray, McDonough knew
that photography was his calling.
From Indiana, McDonough followed Mitzi, his then-girlfriend
and now wife, to Arizona and applied to a number
of college photography programs. He eventually connected
with Con Keyes at Arizona State University. Keyes was
instrumental in guiding the photojournalism careers of many
of his students. John was no exception. From those classes
came an opportunity to shoot occasional assignments for The
Arizona Republic. Eventually, McDonough was offered a staff
position at the state’s largest paper. He worked long hours, and
his reputation as a sports shooter and a meticulous technician
began to grow.
With the encouragement of established photographers,
McDonough traveled to New York to show his portfolio to
editors at Time and Sports Illustrated. By that point, he was
ready to move on, and he relocated to Los Angeles, where
he freelanced for the Los Angeles Times, Sport and Sports
Despite his success, John still has as much passion for
making photographs as the hungriest rookie, and he believes
the power of the still image is alive and significant. He takes
it seriously. For example, when he shoots an NBA game, he
uses up to 10 digital cameras, all placed in various locations
throughout the arena, where each one can be triggered
remotely from his baseline position on the floor. Backboards,
catwalks, low angles and high, McDonough has embraced
technology. And he’s made it work with his personal style and
Long ago he realized that it’s critical to be open and
receptive, which in turn allows him to work and keep his
“photographic mistress.” As Joseph Campbell said, “If you
follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has
been there all the while, waiting for you and the one that you
ought to be living.” — Jeff Kida, Photo Editor
P H O T O G R A P H Y
When it comes to sports photographers,
former ASU student John McDonough is one
of the best. Just ask Sports Illustrated.
Follow the Focus
Whether you’re shooting scenics,
sports or wildlife, here are some tips
from longtime professional John
McDonough. New cameras are get-ting
better all the time. If you’re in
the market, look for something that
will allow you to shoot in a variety
of situations. Highly recommended
are digital single-lens reflex cameras
(dSLR) for their interchangeable lenses
and shorter shutter delay. In addition
to that, the image quality using higher
ISOs with the larger dSLR sensors has
never been better. If you decide to
shoot moving subjects, practice and
learn to follow the action. Rather than
reacting, work on anticipating what
will happen next. As you become
more confident, begin to crop your
images in the camera’s viewfinder.
P H O T O T I P
For more photography tips and information, visit arizonahighways.com
and click on “Photography.”
editor’s note: Look for Arizona Highways
Photography Guide and other award-winning
books at arizonahighways.com.
image of LeBron
a 300 mm lens
his ISO to 1600,
was 1/1000 sec.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH / SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
to be the premier photo-graphers
of the Grand Canyon in the
early 1900s, you needed the
artistic eye of Ansel Adams,
the business mind of Bill
Gates, the heart of Sir Ed-mund
Hillary, the guts of
Evel Knievel and the legs of
Lance Armstrong. In other
words, you needed to be
Ellsworth and Emery Kolb.
In 1900, 25-year-old Ells-worth
Kolb journeyed west
from Pittsburgh to see the
world “with $2 in his jeans,”
recalled brother Emery. He
found a job at Grand Canyon
Village and invited Emery to
join him. Soon, the Kolbs
bought a photography shop
in Williams, paying the
$425 sum in installments.
On weekends, the broth-ers
photographed tourists at
the Canyon’s Bright Angel
trailhead — without the ben-efit
of a studio, running water
or even shelter. Their dark-room
was a dusty prospect-ing
hole covered by a ratty
blanket. They rinsed glass
plate negatives in muddy cow
pond water hauled from 11
miles away. They slept on the
cold, hard ground.
— slightly — when the
Kolbs constructed a studio
perched on the Canyon rim,
and a darkroom at Indian
Garden halfway down the
Thus began a daily mara-thon.
mule parties below the trail-head,
the brothers sprinted
300 feet back up to their stu-dio
to make proofs. Then
they dashed 4.5 miles into
the Canyon to meet the
mule party at Indian Garden
and took orders for prints.
Barely catching their breath,
they huffed 3,360 vertical
feet back to the studio in
time to deliver the pictures.
Sometimes, they ran that
round-trip three times a day.
With the invention of the
motion-picture camera, Ells-worth
and Emery seized an
opportunity for fame. In
1911 they set off in two boats
to run the Green and Colo-rado
rivers from Wyoming
to Mexico to shoot the first
motion-picture film of the
Grand Canyon. Back then,
the undammed rivers were
deadly, and the Kolbs cap-sized
countless times, nar-rowly
Through snow flurries, near-starvation,
and rain and
sandstorms that wreaked
havoc on their equipment,
the brothers’ determination
They finally succeeded,
their movie launching a sen-sation
as Emery lectured to
crowds around the coun-try.
Ellsworth wrote a book,
and National Geographic de-voted
an issue to the accom-plishment.
Eventually, their partner-ship
split up, but Emery con-tinued
his love affair with
the Canyon, working at the
studio until his death in
1976, at the age of 95. You
can still visit the studio,
which houses art exhibits, a
bookstore and a tribute to
the Kolb brothers and the
3.5 million Grand Canyon
tourists they photographed.
n Information: 800-858-2808 or
— Keridwen Cornelius
Arizona Highways has always touted the beauty of Eastern Arizona
— 1958 was no exception. Among other things, our May 1958 issue
featured spectacular photographs of the lakes, rivers and meadows
of the White Mountains. Fifty years later, the area is still one of the
best places to spend your summer vacation.
y ears ago in arizona highways
T H I S M O N T H I N H I S T O R Y
■ On May 20, 1937, Amelia Earhart began the first leg
of her mysterious last flight after taking off from
Oakland, California. The first stop for the famous
“Lady Lindy” and her Lockheed Electra was in Arizona
at the Tucson Municipal Airport.
■ On May 24, 1869, Major John Wesley Powell began his
epic journey down the Green and Colorado rivers for
his exploration of the Grand Canyon.
■ On May 30, 1899, Pearl Hart became the first (and
last) woman to rob a stagecoach. Hart and Joe Boot
held up the Globe stage, making off with $450 and a
revolver. A few days later, the couple was captured in
the hills surrounding Globe.
10 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 11
the usery mountains
near Phoenix seem to be
all grays, pale browns
and dull greens this late
spring day, and so I’m sur-prised
when I see a few
small dots of brilliant
color gleaming from the
lower branches of a des-ert
tree. Curious, I take a
closer look at what proves
to be a congregation of or-ange-
red milkweed bugs.
The insects have gathered
on the seedpods of a vine
that’s crept into the lower
branches of a paloverde.
Appropriately, the large
milkweeds have chosen to
perch on a climbing milk-weed
To inspect the bugs, I
carefully lift a seedpod,
which looks a lot like
those of the desert milk-weed.
the seedpod, I real-ize
that it reeks. I hasti-ly
drop the pod and then
wash my hands with water from my canteen, but I won’t es-cape
the nauseating scent of the milkweed until I can scrub
up with soap.
Anything that smells as bad as climbing milkweed must be
poisonous, and, in fact, the milky sap of many members of the
milkweed family contains deadly cardiac glycosides. These
toxic and bitter compounds are used to treat people with con-gestive
heart failure, but they’re strictly off limits for the rest of
us because the glycosides damage healthy hearts.
Of course, milkweeds don’t make cardiac glycosides to poi-son
(or cure) humans. They engage in chemical warfare to
repel plant-eating animals. The plant’s dreadful smell and poi-sons,
however, haven’t fazed the milkweed bugs. That’s be-cause
of these insects’ special digestive system. Its enzymes
not only permit the bug to feed safely on milkweeds, but also
sequester the plant’s poisons. Eventually, the unaltered glyco-sides
are moved from the gut to a thin flat sac right below the
surface of the thorax and abdomen. Should a bird grab and
squeeze the bug, the epidermal compartment breaks, spilling
its foul contents into the mouth of the predator.
So it makes sense that the bright-red milk-weed
bugs hardly bother to move when ap-proached.
They instinctively know they’re safe
from attack. It also makes sense that the bugs are
attracted to each other by the strong odors they
release; the more that gather together, the more
conspicuous a warning they offer to those birds
that might otherwise be tempted to sample a
milkweed-bug hors d’oeuvre. Should one bug fall
to a naive predator, the other bugs nearby will
surely be left alone by the newly educated bird.
— John Alcock
These Bugs Stink
Insects aren’t as interesting as coatimundis and cougars.
Still, milkweed bugs are kind of cool. Stinky, but cool.
N A T U R E
They started with nothing, but the Kolb
brothers would eventually make photo-graphic
history at the Grand Canyon.
H I S T O R Y
It’s said that you have to kiss a lot of toads to
find a prince, but stay away from the Sonoran
Desert toad, also called the Colorado River
toad. These large toads secrete a milky-white
venom from glands located behind their eyes.
The powerful poison protects the toads from
potential predators by acting as a hallucino-gen
— and that’s no fairy tale.
COURTESY NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY, CLINE LIBRARY
Ellsworth and Emery Kolb
12 m a y 2 0 0 8
Spring is Here
Holy Trinity Monastery is the
setting for Fiesta de la Primavera
in the Southern Arizona town of
St. David. Celebrate spring in the
high desert on May
10-11 with more
than 150 booths
featuring arts, crafts and food.
There’s also entertainment, and
the monastery grounds house
an art gallery, museum, library
and bird sanctuary trail.
n Information: 520-720-4642 or
may 3-4 is the last weekend to “Cowgirl Up”
at Wickenburg’s Desert Caballeros Western Museum.
The West’s best women artists (57 in all) show their
work during one of the country’s most prestigious female
artist exhibitions. Nearly 200 pieces of Western paintings,
drawings, ceramics and sculptures are on display and for sale.
n Information: 928-684-2272 or westernmuseum.org.
Join Friends of Arizona Highways and PhotoShop expert Steve Burger
October 24-27 during the height of fall color in Sedona. Learn how to
use image-editing programs to enhance your photographs.
n Information: 888-790-7042 or friendsofazhighways.com.
Where the Boys Aren’t
DESERT CABALLEROS WESTERN MUSEUM
He’s not as famous as Daniel Boone,
but Arizona’s most renowned
mountain man, Bill Williams, is
the inspiration behind Rendezvous
Days, his namesake
town’s annual event.
Now in its 29th year,
this Memorial Day
weekend event kicks off with a
Western-themed parade, when the
Bill Williams Mountain Men ride
horseback dressed in 19th cen-tury
buckskins. Rounding out the
weekend are a carnival, barbecue,
historic walking tours, mountain-men
displays and a rodeo. And at
night, the Cataract Creek Gang
invades Main Street with a cowboy
n Information: 800-863-0546 or
T H I N G S T O D O
Cinco de Mayo the irish have St. Patty’s
Day and fools have April 1,
but any self-respecting Ari-zonan
waits for the month of
May to really kick it up during
the state’s favorite celebration,
Cinco de Mayo. Festivities
honoring Mexico’s defeat of the
French army at the battle of
Puebla on May 5, 1862, take
place around the state.
Chihuahua races to a
Tucson 10K, Arizonans take
Cinco de Mayo seriously. For
a comprehensive listing of
statewide celebrations, visit
We’ve Got Jack
Discover the beauty of the
Grand Canyon through the eyes
of Pulitzer Prize-winning photog-rapher
Jack Dykinga. This month,
Dykinga discusses his new book,
Images: Jack Dykinga’s
Grand Canyon, during a free
lecture series sponsored by the
Grand Canyon Association. Pub-lished
by Arizona Highways, the
book features 80 photographs
made from 35
Canyon. During his
presentation, Dykinga shares his
experiences in photographing
the area, as well as his insight
on the Canyon’s most beautiful
locations. The lectures take place
at Northern Arizona University’s
Cline Library, May 14, 7 p.m.;
the Glendale Public Library, May
15, 7 p.m.; and Prescott’s Shar-lot
Hall Museum, May 18, 1 p.m.
n Information: 800-858-2808 ext.
7036 or grandcanyon.org.
in Williams JEFF KIDA
DAVID H. SMITH
may 1 4 &-1 518 may 3-4
may 5 may 10-11
Offer expires May 31, 2008. Use promo code 585 and item code #ACRS4. Shipping and handling not
included. You can also visit our retail location at 2039 W. Lewis Avenue in Phoenix.
Our newest book, Secret Sedona: Sacred Moments in the Landscape,
features the spectacular photography and personal observations
of longtime Sedona resident Larry Lindahl. Plus, Larry shares
more than 20 of his favorite hikes in red-rock country.
An Insider’s Guide
Order now and save 15% off the retail price of $12.95.
Visit arizonahighways.com or call 800-543-5432.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s
more to Sedona than Main Street.
In fact, there’s a world of beauty,
history and intrigue just off
the beaten path.
Psst! We’ve Got a Secret.
14 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 15
Sedona >side trips> Here’s the thing about Sedona: All you have to do is drive
through to be blown away. That’s not advisable, though. There are too many opportunities off the beaten path.
Hiking, biking, fishing, fine dining … these are just some of the reasons to park the car. BY KELLY KRAMER
SUNSET BOULEVARD After an adventurous day, find a perch like
Airport Mesa (also a vortex) and watch the sunset tint Steamboat
Rock and Coffee Pot Rock paprika red. Photograph by Nick Berezenko
n To order a print of this photograph, see page 1.
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > BOB & SUZANNE CLEMENZ
BOB & SUZANNE CLEMENZ
16 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 17
Sedona is spirit country. At least to
the thousands of people who visit each year to explore the
vortexes of Boynton Canyon and local buttes, as well as
the area’s countless Native American spiritual landmarks.
But it’s also a great place from which to launch excursions
of a more terrestrial nature — whether of the hiking,
biking, fishing or dining variety. There’s no limit to the
number of adventures that Red Rock Country has to offer,
so pack a bag and hit the road. Sedona’s waiting.
[ SEDONA ADVENTURE OUTFITTERS & GUIDES ]
Oak Creek has long been known for its water adven-tures,
from fishing and kayaking to skimming without a boat
down Slide Rock. But thanks to Sedona Adventure Outfitters &
Guides, the creek’s pristine waters have also become a popu-lar
destination for tubing, a lazy-day sport to top all lazy-day
sports. Pick up a posse of tubes at the company’s boathouse,
along with safety gear (life jackets and helmets) and water
cannons, and venture to one of four sites the adventure outfit-ters
recommend for some of the best tubing: Slide Rock State
Park, Grasshopper Point, Red Rock Crossing or Mormon
Crossing. Although there aren’t any rapids along the creek,
you’ll find a few spots where the current picks up a bit, and
pools deep enough for swimming and lounging, so be pre-pared
with sunscreen, hats, water and snacks.
The boathouse is located at 2020 Contractors Road in Sedona. For
more information: 928-204-6440, 877-673-3661 or sedonatubing.com.
Bikes & Beans
[ SEDONA BIKE & BEAN ]
Weekend adventurers are known for their dine-and-dash
mentality — not in the juvenile thievery connotation of the
phrase, but rather in the grab-a-bite-and-get-on-the-road sense
of it. That’s what makes Sedona Bike & Bean so great. Here
you can rent a mountain bike for exploring Sedona’s countless
trails (see Along for the Ride, page 30), and grab a latte for the
road at the store’s nine-seat coffee counter. Many bike tours,
including some along the trails near Bell Rock just outside the
Bike & Bean’s windows, depart from the shop. They’re led by
360 Adventures (360-adventures.com), an Arizona-based out-fit
that also offers rock-climbing, hiking and backpacking
excursions. Full-suspension bicycles rent for $50 per day.
Sedona Bike & Bean is located at 6020 Highway 179 in Sedona. For
more information: 928-284-0210 or bike-bean.com.
[ PINK JEEP TOURS ]
That flash of pink darting across your hiking trail isn’t a
new species of desert animal, but an entirely distinct variety of
Arizona adventure. For more than 45 years, the folks at Pink
Jeep Tours have trekked countless families across the desert in
their famous, bright-pink, open-air Jeeps. The craze began
when local developer Don Pratt took potential clients on tours
to scope out real-estate opportunities. Broken Arrow Estates
was one of Pratt’s 13 area developments, and today, the Broken
Arrow tour is one of the company’s most popular. The two-hour
scenic drive rumbles over red rocks and into canyons,
resting at Chicken Point and Submarine Rock. Other tours
explore 700-year-old Sinagua cliff dwellings and Chimney
Rock, Lizard Head and other named rocks.
The Pink Jeep Tours office is located at 204 N. Highway 89A in
Sedona. For more information: 800-873-3662 or pinkjeep.com.
Hit the trail [moderate]
[ DEVIL’S BRIDGE TRAIL #120 ]
Just outside of civilization, the nearly 2-mile roundtrip
Devil’s Bridge Trail #120 is the perfect trek for hikers who haven’t
yet broken in their boots. Sufficiently challenging but not at all grueling,
the trail begins at 4,600 feet and gradually increases to an elevation
of right around 5,000 feet, traversing juniper-strewn washes.
About three-quarters of a mile from the trailhead, the path opens up
to a stunning view of the bridge, the largest sandstone arch in the
Sedona area. Vibrant red and patinaed with green moss, the 50-foot
arch is wide enough to walk across but tall enough that it would hurt
to fall, so exercise caution. Whether you choose to take the topside
trail— which follows a natural rock staircase— or not, be sure to pack
your camera. Here is some of the area’s most beautiful scenery,
particularly when skies are sunny.
Devil’s Bridge Trail #120 begins 12 miles west of Sedona, off unpaved
Forest Service Road 152. For more information: 928-282-4119 or
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Sedona Bike & Bean
Pink Jeep Tours
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
18 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 19
ages combine air and Jeep tours with picnics for two-hour
Arizona Helicopter Adventures launches from the Sedona
Airport, on Air Terminal Drive, in Sedona. For more information:
928-282-0904, 800-282-5141 or azheli.com.
An Edible Experience
[ L’AUBERGE RESTAURANT ON OAK CREEK ]
It takes a lot of fuel to power through a lengthy bike
ride or a strenuous hike, which is why it makes sense to dine
at L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek. Whether you decide
to visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner, rest assured your meal
will be served with a hearty side dish of gorgeous scenery.
Located on 11 acres in the Coconino National Forest, the
inn is known for its magnificent view of Oak Creek and
the surrounding red rocks. But each dish that comes out of
L’Auberge’s kitchen is equally stunning. The fare combines
contemporary American cuisine with classic French influ-ences,
from the acclaimed apricot brioche cristo stuffed with
prosciutto and served with blueberry compote and Chantilly
cream to Dijon-crusted Colorado lamb chops.
L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek is located at L’Auberge de
Sedona, 301 L’Auberge Lane, in Sedona. For more information:
800-905-5745 or lauberge.com.
[ CENTER FOR THE NEW AGE ]
Sedona is home to six vortexes, believed by many to
be hubs of spiritual energy (see A Force to Be Reckoned With?,
page 36). And at Center for the New Age, located at the exact
geographical center of the city, spiritual guides can help visi-tors
harness their own spiritual energy through guided vortex
tours, chakra-balancing and aura-cleansing. The center’s
psychics and spiritualists also lead reservation-only seminars
and “circles” like the recent “Psychic Message Circle” and “Past
Life Regression” series or opportunities to connect spiritually
with your pets. For those interested in superficially tapping
their sacred selves, tarot card and palm readings are a regular
occurrence at the center, and a friendly staff can help guide
them through countless books, crystals and reports available
Center for the New Age is located across from Tlaquepaque Arts
& Crafts Village on State Route 179. For more information: 928-
282-2085, 888-881-6651 or sedonanewagecenter.com.
[ THE HOOK UP OUTFITTERS & GUIDE SERVICE ]
From Oak Creek Canyon to the less-visited Beaver Creek,
Marshall Lake and Verde River, the area presents ample fly-fishing
opportunities. And the water, typically calm and clear,
is perfect for the beginner angler looking to get hooked. Join
The Hook Up Outfitters & Guide Service for its Sedona Red
Rock Trout Adventure. During half-day or full-day excursions,
an expert fisherman gives simple instruction as he guides
you to the area’s most populous fish districts. And The Hook
Up hooks you up with Orvis gear, from rods, reels and lines
to waders and boots. Even though catch-and-release fishing
Hit The Trail [ moderate ]
[ DEVIL’S BRIDGE TRAIL ]
Just outside of civilization, the nearly 2-mile round-trip
Devil’s Bridge Trail is the perfect trek for hikers who haven’t
yet broken in their boots. Sufficiently challenging but not at all
grueling, the trail begins at 4,600 feet and gradually increases
to an elevation of right around 5,000 feet, traversing juni-per-
strewn washes. About three-quarters of a mile from the
trailhead, the path opens up to a stunning view of the bridge,
the largest sandstone arch in the Sedona area. Vibrant red and
patinated with green moss, the 50-foot arch is wide enough
to walk across but tall enough that it would hurt to fall, so
exercise caution. Whether you choose to take the topside trail
— which follows a natural rock staircase — or not, be sure to
pack your camera. Here is some of the area’s most beautiful
scenery, particularly when skies are sunny.
Devil’s Bridge Trail begins 12 miles west of Sedona, off unpaved
Forest Service Road 152. For more information: 928-282-4119 or
Hit The Trail [ expert ]
[ A.B. YOUNG TRAIL ]
There’s a lot to like about A.B. Young Trail. The first lik-able
thing has to do with the fact that the trail starts at the
Bootlegger Campground, and, as far as we’re concerned,
there’s no finer name for a campground. The second plus is
that the strenuous 2.4-mile hike into the wilderness around
Oak Creek Canyon leads to a stand of ponderosa pines that
might just take your breath away. That is, of course, if the
1,600-foot ascent over 1.5 miles doesn’t do it first. C.S. “Bear”
Howard constructed the trail in the 1880s, but its namesake, A.B.
Young, supervised its revitalization by the Civilian Conservation
Corps during the 1930s. Today, the trail is a favorite among
dyed-in-the-wool hikers, who love its views of Oak Creek
Canyon and unique rock formations.
A.B. Young Trail begins approximately 10 miles north of Sedona
off State Route 89A, at Bootlegger Campground. For more infor-mation:
928-282-4119 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino.
[ ARIZONA HELICOPTER ADVENTURES ]
If you’ve had enough of exploring Sedona’s trails by foot,
Arizona Helicopter Adventures offers plenty of opportunities
to get a bird’s-eye view of some of the city’s famous scenery.
The company offers its Red Rock Roundup — including
Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, the Chapel of
the Holy Cross, Snoopy Rock and Submarine Rock — and
Ancient Ruins tour of Boynton Canyon and the Mogollon
Rim, from the perspective of a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. The
“Sedona Deluxe” package combines the best of both tours.
During your flight, the pilot provides a narrative history of
the area, along with answers to your toughest questions. Most
tours are short, ranging from 13 to 35 minutes, but a few pack-is
standard practice, you’ll head home with something better
than a 10-pound trout — vivid memories of wide-open spaces,
views of the San Francisco Peaks and the cool satisfaction of
getting your feet wet in one of Arizona’s precious waterways.
For more information: thehookupoutfitters.com or 623-412-3474,
[ MII AMO SPA, ENCHANTMENT RESORT ]
Nestled in the heart of Boynton Canyon, the Enchant-ment
Resort is Sedona’s premier hotel. The resort pays homage
to the area’s Native American heritage, and its spa, Mii Amo,
does the same. Named in honor of the Yuman word for jour-ney,
Mii Amo’s spa menu emphasizes both spirituality and
serenity, with treatments such as the Mii Amo Spirit experi-ence.
During this 60-minute session, spa-goers are treated to a
“sage clearing,” for which they state an intention: health, abun-dance
or another similar sentiment. Next, a spa technician
anoints the body’s chakras to help restore energy flow and
positive thinking. Most treatments are infused with the same
spiritual sensitivity, but there are a few standard offerings, as
well, like deep tissue massages and signature facials.
Mii Amo is located at the Enchantment Resort, 525 Boynton
Canyon Road, in Sedona. For more information: 888-749-2137 or
NOTE: There is a substitute image on the alt photo
layer for this spot—delete the layer if not needed.
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exero consequat atuerciduis am, verci ex euiscipis
Kelly Kramer is a Phoenix-based writer and a regular contributor to Arizona
Highways. In addition to eating cheeseburgers and cupcakes, she loves
fly-fishing on Oak Creek. Although she’s more than capable of cleaning her
own fish, she usually leaves that to her husband, Nick.
L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek
The Crystal Grotto at Mii Amo Spa
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 21
The double-decker buses in London, the square in Moscow,
the Coke can, Bonnie Raitt’s hair, the little girl who was chased
by the Big, Bad Wolf … a lot of icons in this world are red, but few
can compare to the rocks in Sedona. In this month’s portfolio,
we’ll give you a better look at Arizona’s second natural wonder.
If you think you’ve seen Sedona, think again.
The red rocks of the Camel Head
formation tower over junipers,
piñon pines and Arizona cypress
in Marg’s Draw in the Munds
Mountain Wilderness just
minutes southeast of Sedona.
Photograph by Elias Butler
n To order a print of this
photograph, see page 1.
20 m a y 2 0 0 8
A P O R T F 0 L I O
22 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 23
Drought-resistant and hardy, a
piñon pine tree clings to its red-rock
toehold while a rainbow from
a passing shower arcs down the
“spout” of Coffee Pot Rock.
Photograph by Larry Lindahl
n To order a print of this
photograph, see page 1.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 25
Versatile soaptree yuccas
(above) — traditionally used
by Indians for soap, food and
basket-weaving materials —
bloom in early summer
near Courthouse Butte.
Following a winter storm,
early morning mist lifts near
Coffee Pot Rock (right),
shredding at the promise of
a clear, blue sky. Photograph
by Larry Lindahl
n To order a print of this
photograph, see page 1.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 27
With Wagnerian intensity,
billowing clouds cast shadows
on Cathedral Rock (center,
right) and its environs in this
view from Red Rock Loop
Road. Photograph by Bob &
n To order a print of this
photograph, see page 1.
GET A GRIP
Alder, oak and fir trees
(above) survive on narrow
ledges on the slick-rock
canyon walls of the West
Fork of Oak Creek near its
source in the Red Rock-
Secret Mountain Wilderness.
Photograph by Robert
IS THAT A BRACT?
Actually a tiny yellow flower
surrounded by rose-colored
bracts, owl clover — known
in Spanish as escobita, or
“little broom” — carpets a
meadow near Red Canyon
west of Sedona. Photograph
by Robert McDonald
n To order a print of this
photograph, see page 1.
A R I Z O N A H I G H WA Y S . C O M 29
Sedona is a mountain-biking mecca — one of the best in the world. For some hard-core riders,
it even outranks Moab. Although our writer leans more toward timid, we sent her out anyway.
With a group of extremists, nonetheless. BY LORI K. BAKER PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM BEAN
ALONG FOR THE RIDE
DIFFERENT SPOKES Move over, Moab. Sedona offers at least as
much scenery as that mountain-biking mecca in a more manageable
package. Backdropped by Cathedral Rock, cyclist Saori Watanabe coasts
the popular Templeton Trail.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 31
32 m a y 2 0 0 8
SSusan Amon, a mountain-biking guide, waved us on.
I was linked up with a group of experienced mountain bik-ers
on Sedona’s Templeton Trail, where high red-rock ledges
flaunt panoramas of the spires of Cathedral Rock and Munds
Mountain Wilderness, and jut out over deep green valleys mat-ted
with piñon pines and shaggy junipers. Instead of pedaling
ahead, I lurched to a stop, kicking up a tiny fantail of red dust
and braking before a vast expanse of buffed Creamsicle-colored
sandstone, frighteningly called slick-rock.
On my left were boulders and prickly pear cactuses bearing
purple fruit and beavertail pads with spines like barbed wire.
On my right was a 50-foot sheer drop-off that could be an acci-dental
high-dive for a “Fred” like me. In mountain-biking lingo,
a Fred is someone who’s decked out in all the right gear — in
my case, brand-new black Lycra shorts, a spandex shirt, helmet
and gloves — and still can’t ride on anything rockier or steeper
than a flat slab of asphalt.
Suited up, I felt confident and cocky. But that fraudulent feel-ing
evaporated the second I eyed the ledge. I held my breath as I
grimly imagined plummeting for a few eternal seconds, my tinny
cries too weak to echo off the rugged cliffs of Munds Mountain,
and then disappearing into a puff of flesh, bone and mangled
bike metal like Wile E. Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon.
I thought about all that I’d leave behind — a husband who
still didn’t know how to boil an egg, a teenaged son who’d just
begun driving and dating, an overfed Sumo wrestler cat named
Oreo and all those deadlines. Then I remembered my fellow
mountain bikers’ strict “no rider left behind” policy. And how I
couldn’t dial 911 for emergency air-evac services for high anxi-ety.
That’s when I took a deep breath, stared straight ahead and
started pedaling madly over the slick-rock.
Hardcore bikers love this slick, eroded rock — their bikes’ fat
rubber tires cling to it like a cockroach on a tenement ceiling.
The wonder of slick-rock is that it can help you defy gravity and
keep you heading up steep slopes like Spiderman.
Somehow I didn’t fall or go “endo” — a term that’s short for
end-over-end, a slapstick maneuver of flying over the handle-bars
unexpectedly. I owe that to Sedona MTB Adventures’ other
tour guide, Andy Reinert, a calm and reassuring 40-year-old
extreme snowboarder who’d braved snowdrifts in Alaska for
eight years before catching Red Rock Fever and moving to
Sedona. He patiently taught me that skilled mountain biking is
actually counterintuitive: “When you go slower, the bike tends
to be more unstable. Speed is your friend,” he said. “And if you
look at a rock or a cactus, you’ll hit it. Always keep your eyes on
where you want to go.”
That’s the irony of mountain biking in Sedona, which has
killer views — literally — if you can’t resist the urge to sightsee
in the saddle. Here, spectacular clay-red sphinxlike formations
— Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Capitol Butte and Cathedral
Rock — burst 500 to 2,000 feet out of the green valley floor and
change color and character as the sun crosses the cobalt-blue
sky overhead. Layers of limestone and sandstone strata of buff,
orange and salmon hues speak of millions of years in geologic
time — the Supai group, the Hermit formation and the Schnebly
Hill formation. Each has withstood the eroding forces of water,
ice and windblown particles in a different way, creating mes-merizing
formations, some with whimsical names like Rabbit
Ears and Snoopy Rock.
Mountain bikers from all over the world come to Sedona
for these up-close-and-personal views of Red Rock Country,
PEDAL PUSHERS Darlene Ryan and Peter Rosenthal cycle the Bell Rock
Pathway (opposite page) in the Coconino National Forest, with Courthouse
Butte presiding over the trail.
SLICK-ROCK SINGLETRACK Andy Reinert, Saori Watanabe and Aaron
Lisco (back to front) test their mettle on the Templeton Trail (above, right), a
mostly flat stretch with technical descents at the end.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 33
34 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 35
along with more miles of single-track (rough, narrow paths no
wider than a bike) than its mountain-biking rival, Moab, Utah.
“Sedona is way better than Moab,” says Aaron Lisco, a 34-year-old
mountain biker from Hawaii who’d just spent the last three
months pedaling across six Western states with his girlfriend.
“It has everything Moab has in a tight little package — and there
aren’t as many Freds.”
In Sedona, an arterial network of more than 100 miles of
mountain-bike trails begins at Bell Rock Pathway, a 3.5-mile
trek where novice riders on rental bikes can feel safe on the
wide paths and gently sloping red gravel winding past Bell Rock
and Courthouse Butte. Experienced riders can move quickly
on to explore the many loops, fingers and forks of more chal-lenging
single-tracks like the Llama Trail, where Bell Rock and
Courthouse Butte tower overhead, and other time-whittled
monoliths — Cathedral Rock, Thumb Butte, Twin Buttes and
the giant stone varmint, Rabbit Ears — loom in the distance.
Other classic rides include Broken Arrow, a 3-mile jaunt with
a stop at the Devil’s Dining Room — a landmark sinkhole pro-tected
by a fence — and views of Submarine Rock, Twin Buttes
and gorgeous red spires. Another favorite, Little Horse Trail,
takes mountain bikers past the base of the ruddy rocks of Twin
Buttes to a landmark appropriately called Chicken Point, a slick-rock
saddle between two red buttes.
I vowed to return to Sedona to test-drive more of its trails
— after I’d mastered a few more mountain-biking maneuvers on
the terra firma of my neighborhood park.
Until then, sipping a latte at Bike & Bean, the local moun-tain-
biking hangout, sounded like my kind of afternoon. I set
up an appointment with Cosmic Ray, a 61-year-old mountain-biking
guru and the author of Fat Tire Tales and Trails: Arizona
Mountain Bike Trail Guide (Gem Guides Book Co., April 2004).
I wanted to learn the secrets of the mountain-biking culture
in Sedona from a man who’d been into the sport since the late
1970s, when riders drove “crazy junkyard bikes” assembled
from parts of old motorcycles and paper boys’ bicycles. (Today,
top-of-the-line mountain bikes sell for more than $4,000.)
Inside Bike & Bean, a combination bike shop and coffee bar
in the Village of Oak Creek, the air smelled of rubber tires and
steamed milk. A bike mechanic named Gonzo clicked through
gears, trued wheels, traced trail routes … and whipped up lattes,
cappuccinos and iced mochas. With a slight limp, I sidled up to
the bar sided with corrugated tin, rested my scraped-up elbows
on the concrete countertop and ordered the house special, a
Before long, Cosmic Ray zoomed into Bike & Bean’s parking
lot on his BMW motorcycle. Wearing a white polo shirt with
the insignia, “Take risks. Go fast,” he thrust out his hand and
introduced himself. First off, I had to know how he got the
nickname Cosmic Ray, and fully expected to hear yet another
New Age yarn knitted into the folklore of Sedona, official home
of energy vortexes and a harmonic convergence. “Well, my
name isn’t as interesting as it sounds,” he admitted, explaining
that it dated back to when he owned Cosmic Cycles, a bike shop
We then talked books. In his witty and whimsical guide,
Cosmic Ray ranks Arizona’s mountain-biking trails as easy,
moderate and difficult. He warns that some are extreme — a
“possible bloodbath.” I flipped to the back of his guide, a glossary
of mountain-biking lingo.
“You’ve got to tell me a few words I can toss around so I won’t
sound like a total Fred.” Pointing to my skinned elbow, he read,
“Bacon: scabby trail jerky, road rash.” He went on, “You can use
some of these terms casually in a conversation, like a ‘mutant,’
someone who is crazy about mountain biking — they’re twisted
and bent. Oh, and look out for the ‘HOHs’: hateful old hikers.”
I thought back on the day’s mishaps, including when I nearly
had a “yard sale,” a big wreck that scatters your stuff everywhere.
Of course, there were exhilarating moments, too, like the sense
of sailing free and unencumbered down an easy downward
slope of Bell Rock Pathway. And then there was the 51-year-old
extreme mountain biker who told me that one of the greatest
spiritual lessons mountain biking can teach you is letting go of
fear. “It unlocks the child within, that joy and freedom,” he said.
“It’s a powerful thing.”
No wonder I felt so reluctant to harness myself into the driv-er’s
seat of a Toyota for a two-hour commute back home to Mesa.
I’d discovered that life’s journeys are more exhilarating if you’re
not what mountain bikers call a “cager” — a person trapped in
WHEEL IN THE SKY Darlene Ryan’s wheel frames Courthouse Butte
(left) while she catches her breath on the Bell Rock Pathway, a 3.5-mile trail
linking Oak Creek Village with Sedona.
PREHISTORIC PEDALER? The tip jar at the Bike & Bean (right) in
Oak Creek Village features a “bikopelli” design, a visual play on the
ubiquitous art depicting the deity Kokopelli.
… one of the greatest spiritual lessons mountain biking can teach you is
letting go of fear. ‘‘It unlocks the child within, that joy and freedom … ”
Freelance writer and editor Lori K. Baker really brought home the “bacon”
(mountain-biking lingo for road rash, or scabby arms and legs) after this
assignment. She lives in Mesa.
Tom Bean of Flagstaff prefers to photograph natural landscapes with a
human presence as a way to entice others into enjoying the outdoors. He
has photographed people hiking, backpacking, swimming, birding, llama
trekking, and now mountain biking in the fabulous red-rock country. But he
says it’ll be a long time before he tries mountain biking with 30 pounds of
camera gear and a tripod on his back again.
36 m a y 2 0 0 8
t o Bwe itrhe?ckoned
Even in SEDONA, it’s hard to get a
straight answer on what a VORTEX is.
However, most NEW AGE disciples will tell
you it’s a place with increased ENERGY
that AMPLIFIES whatever you take into it.
That’s what they say. Is there something to it,
or are these people just NUTS?
BY JACKIE DISHNER
You wouldn’t call us New Age. But there we were, my
boyfriend and I, surrounded by a background of red rocks and
bright-green manzanitas, having our aura photos taken, getting
our chakras cleansed, and even meditating with a yogi. Why? I
wanted to learn about the famed vortexes in Sedona.
If it hadn’t been for four simple words and a question mark
— WHAT IS A VORTEX? — on the cover of a thin guidebook,
we might not have thought to do this. Both of us had been to
Sedona many times, and even though we were well aware of the
fascination with the vortex concept, it had never been ours …
until I saw that book.
It wasn’t even Larry Lindahl’s red and blue photograph of
Cathedral Rock — considered the most photographed vortex
in Sedona — on the cover that attracted me. It was those four
words and the question mark. I didn’t know the answer, and I
thought it was time to find out.
So, I called Dennis Andres, the book’s author, and asked if he’d
be our guide. We spoke for an hour about vortexes, and Sedona
in general, and I mentioned that I wasn’t sure I understood the
energy force. I wasn’t even sure if I believed in it. Before we hung
up, he told me to remember one thing: “It’s OK to be skeptical.
Just don’t be cynical.”
We wound up experiencing the area’s six known vortex sites
— Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, Cathedral Rock,
Chapel of the Holy Cross and Schnebly Hill Road — each hidden
within the vast reaches of what’s become known as the “New
Age Capital of the World.” In between hikes, we scheduled a few
massages, the necessary meals at several restaurants, chakra
cleansings, energy balancing and time for those aura-reflecting
snapshots — all of which was intended to help open the heart,
mind and soul to the spiritual nature of the journey.
If it sounds ambitious, it was. Memorable, too. This was the
trip that taught me to see with my eyes closed.
Representatives at Sedona’s visitors center will tell you the
city has earned a reputation as a spiritual mecca because of its
vortexes. This “global power spot” regularly draws healers, intu-itives,
artists and spiritual guides. We met several of them dur-ing
our weekend tour. One woman, who goes only by the name
Sheila, told us the reason she settled in Sedona was because
of a bird. As she drove into town, she said, “I felt as though I’d
been transformed into an eagle soaring over the red rocks.” To
her, the message was clear: Stay put. So she did. She now serves
sandwiches at Dahl & DiLuca’s A’roma on State Route 179.
“Is the energy magnetic?” I wanted to know.
“No, not really,” Andres answered. “There’s no scientific evi-dence
to fully support that theory.”
According to Andres’ definition, a vortex is a place in nature
Pot O’ Gold A rainbow arches over Sedona’s Cathedral Rock (left),
the location of what is said to be one of the area’s most significant vortexes.
Photograph by Bob & Suzanne Clemenz
Rock Art Fashioned by hikers, a rock design (right) resembling a
medicine wheel sits trailside in Sedona’s famous red dirt. Photograph by
38 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 39
of energy” to see, as some people
“People were getting confused,
even angry, because they’d hear
so many different answers about
the vortex,” he explained on our
tour. “I’d often hear, ‘I just want
to know what it is.’ ”
The problem is, there’s no spe-cific
spot where you can go, he
says. There’s no “X” on the map.
No road signs. And when you get
there, “you never know what’s
going to happen, because men
and women respond differently,”
I can attest to that. Just a day
earlier, we were flying over the
red rocks, getting the bird’s-eye
view by helicopter of Cathedral
Rock up ahead, when Ralph
Gannarelli, the not-as-funny-as-he-
thinks pilot for Maverick
Helicopters, said to his five pas-sengers:
“Look ahead! There’s a
vortex. Sometimes you feel noth-ing,
but other times …”
I felt a huge bump in the cabin,
and heard myself scream as Bruce
Hornsby sang, “… That’s just the
way it is,” in the background.
“A lot of people say they get a
feeling of euphoria or lighthead-edness
when they get inside these
vortexes,” Gannarelli said. “They
might even feel dizzy. I had one
woman who said she felt centered.
How are you feeling, Jackie?”
So much for his tip, I was think-ing,
as I said, “I wouldn’t call it
I preferred to experience the
vortex from the ground, the way
Mr. Sedona offered — through
guided imagery, rather than forced fear.
Back on that rough road, we pulled over to a trailhead on
Munds Mountain — a rusty-red surface coated with basalt rock
patches. Two hours into the hike on Cow Pie Trail, we stopped
at a clearing about the size of a football field, and found some
boulders to sit on near the edge of a cliff.
Sedona seemed to spread her layered manganese, sandstone
and iron arms out wide to welcome us. We could see for miles.
To my right stood Mitten Ridge, the Mogollon Rim and Marg’s
Draw. On the left, we could see Airport Mesa, downtown Sedona
and Teapot Rock. Patches of pale-green, blue and white lichen
beamed up from the face of the boulders where we sat.
“Imagine 56,000 visitors in Sedona, and not one of them, other
than us, are on this plateau,” Andres said. It was just us and a
lone swallow playing in the wind — its occasional calls the
For the next few minutes we sat and watched the stillness,
and Andres slowly guided us into our own imaginations. In
mine, I saw myself flying like the swallow, down into the can-yon,
soaring just like Sheila’s eagle, and then coming back up to
the edge of the cliff. Fifteen minutes later, I heard the swallow
call out again, and I opened my eyes to see more vibrant colors
on the canyon walls. That pale-green lichen looked more like
lime-green. Even the swallow, which I thought had been all
black, showed his white-tipped wings.
At the end of the weekend, Johanna Maheshvari Mosca, our
yoga instructor from Sedona Spirit Yoga & Hiking, took us to
the top of Cathedral Rock for some breathing exercises, and
offered the best take-home lesson: “What’s here are the steps as
we take them, the blue sky, your smile, your breathing,” she said.
“It’s about being present in the moment. In a community intent
on spiritual growth, you can’t help but become a part of it.”
And, according to Andres, a core idea of New Age think-ing
involves establishing a more balanced relationship with
the planet. If that means spending more time in Sedona, then
maybe I’m a little more New Age than I thought.
Jackie Dishner is a Phoenix-based writer who plans to return to Sedona
as often as possible. Although the vortex might not have claimed her as a
resident, it’s claimed her as a visitor.
where the Earth is exceptionally alive and healthy, its natural
beauty reflected in the elements of land, light, air and water.
Additionally, he believes a vortex is a place on the planet with
increased energy that magnifies or amplifies whatever you bring
into it. Because no one experiences a vortex in quite the same
way as someone else, defining a vortex becomes an individual
lesson and rests with how well you trust your own intuition.
So, the believers urge visitors to take the Jeep tour, sign up for
an outdoor yoga hike, and — to find out how much and what
type of energy your body emits — have your aura photo taken
at the vortex of your choice. The photo will reveal a blurry ring
of colors around your head, neck and shoulders. They say the
farther out the ring extends, the more connected you are to
your true self.
We began our journey in Andres’ four-wheel-drive SUV on
Schnebly Hill Road to Cow Pie Trail. As the SUV rocked up and
down over the rugged dirt terrain and around sharp curves —
its wheels spinning too close for comfort along the cliff’s edge
— we spotted at least a dozen touring Jeeps of various colors —
pink, turquoise, red, green. From a distance, they looked like a
blooming floral bouquet.
Andres has been giving private tours as “Mr. Sedona” for more
than 10 years. Taking couples, singles and groups to vortex sites,
he uses guided imagery to help them connect with the energy
field he says you won’t be able to see with your eyes open.
There’s nothing there, he admits. There’s no “swirling ball
Secret Spaces Framed by the walls of a small side canyon, Secret
Mountain (above) dominates the horizon in Boynton Canyon. Photograph by
Take a Hike A hiker follows a Boynton Canyon trail (opposite page)
beneath towering red-rock cliffs. Photograph by Larry Lindahl
Location: Sedona, 115 miles north of Phoenix.
Information: Dennis Andres, 928-204-2201 or
sedonaprivateguides.com; Maverick Helicopters, 888-261-
4414 or arizonahelicopteradventure.com; Sedona Spirit Yoga
& Hiking, 888-282-9901, 928-282-9900 or yogalife.net.
Although New Age gets most
of the attention in Sedona,
there’s an Old Age that’s worth
learning about, too. The people
are known as Sinagua, and their
ancient cliff dwellings are
just a dirt road away.
To the west of Sedona lies a maze of red-walled
canyons and sandstone spires seemingly
holding up the weight of a solid blue sky. It’s a
land of lost mountains and secret canyons. If you
have any doubt, pull out the map. It shows you
where to find Lost Mountain, and plots each con-tour
of Secret Canyon. But even with a map in
hand, an air of mystery remains.
Where paved roads turn to dirt you’ll find
traces of people who managed to thrive centuries
ago in the dry uplands.
They left behind stone
walls embedded in cliffsides and archaic images
painted in the shelter of overhanging cliffs. Two
of the best-preserved sites are the remarkable cliff
houses of Honanki and nearby Palatki.
B Y S C O T T T H Y B O N Y
P H O T O G R A P H S B Y L A R R Y L I N D A H L
ANCIENT IMPRINT The fingerprints of the original
architects are still visible in the mud plaster of certain
prehistoric structures of the Loy Canyon Sinagua Ruin.
Centuries ago, intruders might have been deterred
by this defensive wall that sits high above the Loy
Canyon Trail in the Coconino National Forest.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 41
42 m a y 2 0 0 8
Coconino National Forest archaeologist Peter Pilles
leads an eager throng to the Honanki site at the base of Loy Butte.
The group follows the trail into an alcove. Their leader wears
a trim, gray beard and a faded Smokey the Bear cap sporting
the words “Only You.” At its peak, the cliff dwelling contained
more than 70 rooms, he explains, and points out a section that
might have been four stories high. Keeping an eye out for Jake
the Snake, a rather docile rattlesnake who occasionally greets
visitors, the group continues to an area where the rooms caught
fire, forcing the Sinaguans, the original architects, to rebuild.
Honanki contains a warren of rooms last occupied by Pueblo
Indians 700 years ago. Well-laid masonry, built without trowel
or level, merges with the sandstone cliffs lifting from the juniper
flats below. Archaeologists call the prehistoric people who first
lived here the Sinagua — a term of convenience because we
don’t know what they called themselves. We can only imagine
what joys and tragedies permeated their lives, but enough of their
former home remains to connect us with their intriguing past.
A ruin stirs the imagination. At Honanki Heritage Site, a
lone raven perches on an ancient wall rising from the rubble.
The bird stands silent watch over a place once filled with the
voices of children playing, the barking of dogs and the chopping
sounds of stone axes on wood.
“There’s a very strong connection between the people who
were here before and us,” says Forest Service volunteer Ron
Krug. “If you listen real hard, you can hear them.”
Ron acquired his interest in the past as a kid hunting arrow-heads,
and it resurfaced when he retired to Sedona. He began
volunteering to record, and sometimes excavate, the profusion
of ancient sites found in the region.
Site hosts at Honanki, provided by Pink Jeep Tours, greet
35,000 visitors each year. Because of the increase in foot traffic,
the Forest Service began a multiyear project to improve trails,
document rock art and conduct limited excavations. Volunteers
have helped to stabilize the standing walls, some of which still
bear the original mud plaster. If you look closely, the finger-prints
of the prehistoric masons are visible today.
Pilles explains that the cliff dwelling was the center of a wider
community extending far beyond a single site. “We focus on
the core sites like Honanki,” he says, “but we need to focus on
Below the ruins a dirt road continues to the home of Roger
and Ellie Daisley. They first visited Honanki 10 years ago while
searching for a ranch to buy. “A raven kept flying back and forth
as we were leaving,” Ellie recalls. “ ‘What’s down this road?’ I
“ ‘The map says it’s a dead-end.’ ”
“ ‘We have to follow it.’ The raven flew up the road and landed
on a ‘For Sale’ sign. We looked at the buttes, saw the beauty and
said, ‘Home!’ ”
As the most recent occupants of a place where the timeline
reaches back long before the cliff dwellers, the Daisleys’ con-nection
to the past is direct and often tactile. Inside their house,
Roger sits holding a fluted spear point in his open hand. More
than 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age when mam-moths
grazed below the red-rock cliffs, a hunter passed this way.
All he left behind was an unbroken Clovis point, finely worked
from black rhyolite, thought to have come from a source north
Steve Strauss, a neighbor of the Daisleys, found the artifact
while digging a basement. The backhoe hit bedrock about 10
feet down, and the last scoop of dirt uncovered the spear point.
Ellie sent photos of it to Pilles, who checked the site without
turning up additional Clovis points. “I keep waiting to find that
mammoth tusk sticking up from the ground,” she says.
Early travelers passing through red-rock country often noted
the ancient cliff dwellings and speculated on their origins. Must
have been the Aztecs, some thought, or perhaps the Lost Tribes
of Israel. It was left to the archaeologists to sort things out.
With shovel in hand, Jesse Walter Fewkes probed Honanki
and Palatki in 1895. The Smithsonian scientist gave the cliff
houses Hopi Indian names, since he was searching for evidence
linking the sites to Hopi traditions. Honanki means “Badger
House” and Palatki translates as “Red House.” Certain Hopi
clans, and the local Yavapai people, claim an ancestral link to
the ancient inhabitants and a spiritual connection to many of
the sites. For the Yavapai, the red-rock landscape of Sedona
represents the middle of the world — and their home.
The southern Sinagua people appeared in the Verde
Valley around a.d. 650, and a northern branch settled near the
San Francisco Peaks. As farmers, they depended on the rains
and winter snows. In the south, the Sinagua reached their peak
between a.d. 1150 and 1250, before the climate grew drier. By
the end of the 13th century, some of the local people left their
cliff homes in search of water, and joined the larger pueblos
we now call Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle, both built near
Pilles believes others might have remained in the area and
dispersed into family groups. This was during a period when
the Yavapai Indians, who lived by hunting and gathering wild
plants, began moving into the valley. “The upland Sinagua,”
Pilles says, “had a lot in common with the Yavapai, and some
probably adopted the Yavapai lifestyle.”
While the Sedona region is not true desert, archaeological
deposits are dry enough to preserve centuries-old cotton fab-rics.
Cotton played a key role in the Sinagua trade network,
and farmers probably grew it locally. Using upright looms, they
wove such items as blankets, kilts and bags in intricate open-work
patterns, creating some of the finest textiles in the prehis-toric
The fabrics stand the test of time, as one local discovery
proves. When volunteer John Sturgis, who has worked on many
archaeological projects around Sedona, was helping to stabi-lize
a room at Honanki, the crew uncovered pieces of a cotton
tunic and leggings. “It was exciting to find,” he recalls, “and it
got more exciting a couple of days later. We were out at Hopi
[Reservation] for one of the ceremonials, and the people were
wearing the same things we’d found. They wore almost exactly
what we had excavated from deposits 800 years old!”
Six miles by road from Honanki stand the remains of Palatki,
tucked into a sandstone amphitheater of Red Canyon. Here,
the deep colors of rock and sky appear to have been trowled on
thickly from a painter’s palette.
One trail leads to the dramatic cliff dwelling and the other
climbs to The Grotto, a recessed ledge sunk deep in the shad-ows.
As your eyes adjust to the grainy light, images of horned
animals, human forms and stylized snakes appear on the back
wall. Rendered in red, white and yellow, these pictographs date
back thousands of years and give us a glimpse into the ancient
Interpreting rock art has proved extremely difficult, even
for the experts, but some enthusiasts can’t resist. “People get
really nervous when you can’t tell them what it means,” Palatki
Heritage Site volunteer Bonnie Bower says, adding, “I get ner-vous
when they start telling me what it means.”
A connection with the past doesn’t depend on decoding the
rock art. When photographer Larry Lindahl was exploring a
nearby canyon below Secret Mountain, he spotted a hidden ruin.
He climbed to the site and found an unusual pictograph on the
wall, a circular maze design painted in white.
“There below it,” he said, “was the sandstone slab used to mix
the paint. The white pigment was smeared back and forth with
an arcing motion, where the artist was grinding the pigment
with his fingers. It bridged the gap between now and 800 years
ago. I sensed the presence of the artist who was there with his
wet paint. It was definitely a time-travel moment.”
A longing to experience the past leads some to replicate it
and others to channel it. But at certain moments, the hard facts
of a standing wall or a simple swirl of paint are enough. Out in
the red-rock canyons, the flow of time can eddy back on itself,
letting the past brush against the present.
Location: Honanki Heritage Site and Palatki Heritage Site,
off Forest Service Road 525, accessed 5 miles west of uptown Sedona.
Travel Advisory: Reservations are required to visit Palatki.
Call 928-282-3855. A Red Rock Pass is required to park on national forest
land in the Sedona area.
Warning: Forest Service Road 525 is a graded dirt road. Check road
conditions with a ranger before traveling it during or after wet weather.
Information: 928-252-4119 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino.
BURIED TREASURE Roger
Daisley holds a Clovis point
(above) fashioned from
Pictographs (left) such as this
Sinagua painting of an 18-
inch shield offer keys to
decoding the past.
SACRED SIGHT Palatki Ruin
(below, left), Hopi for “Red
House,” takes on a hue true
to its name in the light of
the setting sun.
A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 43
44 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 45
“it looks like an elk to
me,” says Bob Blasi, a fire-prevention
officer for Kaibab
National Forest. I agree. The
brown and orange animal,
with its tail pointed jauntily in
the air, does resemble an elk
with large antlers. My husband,
Richard, is more dubious.
“Why is it so fat with such short
legs?” he asks. Who knows?
Maybe it just ate too much.
We’re not scrutinizing one
of the stately elk that wander
this terrain near the South
Rim of the Grand Canyon,
but a 12-inch-high pictograph,
an ancient painting on rock.
At some time, someone, for
some reason, chose to record
animal figures on the wall
of Rain Tank Wash near
Tusayan. We walk from one
image to another like three
art critics at a swanky gallery.
Brown and orange seem to
be the artists’ colors of choice,
along with a few red paint-ings
to add variety.
These enigmatic depictions
are “displayed” on limestone
overhangs along the wash.
Although dry now, the arroyo
begins as a spring, one of only
a handful on the South Rim,
and develops into the main
tributary off the Tusayan
Plateau. Blasi has taken us
to where the ravine deepens
into a small canyon.
A trail leads along the can-yon
bottom, bordered by pon-derosa
and piñon pines, sage,
and junipers that soften the
stark Kaibab limestone walls.
On both sides, small overhangs
formed where the underlying
limestone eroded away.
A moderate, short climb
up the right side of the gully
leads to a shallow cave where
we immediately spot the “elk”
figure. Deer, snake, mountain
sheep and elk images are
identifiable, but we can only
guess at the meaning of a
20-inch brown oval outlined
in orange. I think it’s a shield.
Blasi guesses a turtle. Richard
This is the lure of rock art.
When, why, or by whom were
these figures made? Kaibab
Forest archaeologist John A.
Hanson identifies the early
Native American culture in
the area as the Cohonina,
who resided there from
about a.d. 700 to 1150. Were
these images made by the
Cohonina? It’s possible, but
there’s no proof. Anasazi, or
even an earlier culture, might
have left their marks, but
experts generally agree that
the figures are at least 1,000
years old. Here, at the Rain
Tank Wash site, we find more
of the fragile pictographs
(painted designs) than the
durable petroglyphs (pecked
into stone). Other painted
images probably existed, but
the natural flaking off of rock
has destroyed them.
Natural weathering isn’t
the only thing damaging
the symbols. Unfortunately,
much rock art is lost to hu-man
ignorance. Someone has
used chalk to outline a snake
figure, and spots of modern
red paint dot the wall. Oil
from hands can also dam-age
the images, and the rock
flakes off very easily.
This obviously was a
well-used location, as smoke
smudges the overhang’s ceil-ing,
rock art lines the walls,
and metates or grinding
stones are worn into large
boulders. There are no signs
by Janet Webb Farnsworth photographs by Robert McDonald
Located on the South Rim, this scenic route offers
vintage Arizona scenery and a dose of art history.
back road adventure
GOT ELK? Experts believe this elk-like
pictograph (below) in the Rain
Tank Wash near Tusayan is at least
1,000 years old. But who painted it,
and why does it resemble the portly
animal figures in France’s Lascaux
cave? Nobody knows.
Rock Art Road Trip
THE DAILY GRIND This overhang
(above) in Rain Tank Wash served as
a “kitchen” where prehistoric women
ground grains and seeds in limestone
mortars called metates.
SUN GODS Sunset outlines rock
formations of Brahma Temple and
Zoroaster Temple (above), named
after the Hindu creator god and the
Persian prophet of Zoroastrianism,
46 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 47
of stone foundations, so this
was probably a rock shelter
used for short stays. Maybe
someone painted the figures
while sitting out a rainstorm
or enjoying a few days in the
Wandering along the
outcropping, I notice faint
petroglyphs etched into the
stone. Orderly sheep figures
march behind an elk, and a
2-foot centipedelike creature
decorates the ceiling.
In the center of the site
I spot something unique.
Two sheep petroglyphs are
chipped atop pictographs. It
seems the pictographs were
painted before the petro-glyphs
were added. No one
knows the age of either set
of images — there’s no reli-able
way to date rock art.
Archaeologists usually try to
estimate the date from pot-tery
and nearby ruins, but
this isn’t an exact science.
Farther down the canyon,
sage emits its pungent smell.
The raucous calls of Steller’s
jays warn that we’re invading
their territory. We scramble
up slopes looking for picto-graphs
and find a red circle,
perhaps a sun, with rays
fringing it. A design once dec-orated
the center, but it’s been
obliterated by six bullet holes.
Damage like this makes some
people argue that all rock art
should be off limits to the
We could spend the rest of
the day in Rain Tank Wash
just enjoying the scenery and
searching for rock art, but
we’re getting hungry and
decide to backtrack on the
Forest Service roads that
brought us here and head
north on State Route 64 to
explore the hamlet (popula-tion
562) of Tusayan. Five
miles from Grand Canyon
National Park’s South
Entrance, this small-town
gateway to the “rim of the
world” offers several local eat-eries.
We find specialty cof-fees,
Internet access and a gift
shop at Happy Trails Tusayan,
American cuisine and home-made
pies at Café Tusayan,
Mexican and Southwestern
fare at Canyon Star Tusayan,
and Italian at We Cook Pizza
and Pasta Tusayan. Now we
have to choose.
n For more back-road adven-tures,
pick up a copy of our new
book, The Back Roads. Now
in its fifth edition, the book
($19.95) features 40 of the state’s
most scenic drives. To order a
copy, call 800-543-5432 or visit
Warning: Back-road travel
can be hazardous. Be aware of
weather and road conditions.
Carry plenty of water. Don’t
travel alone, and let someone
know where you’re going and
when you plan to return.
Additional Information: Kaibab
National Forest, 928-638-2443.
Travelers in Arizona
can visit az511.gov or dial
511 to get information
road closures, construction,
delays, weather and more.
ALL ABOARD The Grand Canyon Railway travels
between Williams and the Grand Canyon’s South Rim
every day. For information, visit thetrain.com.
CO C ON INO PL ATEAU
Williams To Flagstaff
Rain Tank Wash
Grand Canyon Railway
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN
Banana yucca plants soak up rays
from the rising sun, which provides
dramatic backlight to Vishnu Temple
in the Grand Canyon.
Note: Mileages are approximate.
> From Williams, head north on State Route 64 approximately
50 miles to Forest Service Road 347.
> Turn left (west) and go 6 miles to Forest Service Road 306.
If you cross the Grand Canyon Railway tracks, you’ve gone about
.25 miles too far.
> Turn right (north) onto FR 306 and continue 1.25 miles to Forest
Service Road 2615.
> Turn left onto FR 2615 and drive 5 miles until the road is blocked
by large rock piles. Warning: This dirt road becomes treacherous
during and following rain.
> Park here and hike a quarter-mile to a half-mile to limestone
overhangs on left. Faint footpaths lead to the hunting-shelter/
pictograph area. Look closely to find pictographs; they are not
marked by any signage.
48 m a y 2 0 0 8 A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S . C O M 49
hike of the month
it’s important to know
that I can’t sing. At ball-games,
I lip-sync the national
anthem. Around candlelit
cakes, I hum Happy Birthday.
I steer clear of karaoke bars,
American Idol auditions or
anywhere my tuneless wail-ing
could wilt human ears.
So, when I say I belted out a
few numbers along the Dogie
Trail in Sycamore Canyon,
you’ll grasp the sense of isola-tion
engulfing this rugged
Verde Valley wilderness.
According to the trail reg-istry,
only two people had
hiked the Dogie during the
previous month. I signed in,
already with a song on my
lips, and scanned the skyline
stacked with the familiar
sandstone drama of nearby
Oak Creek Canyon. Less
crowded Sycamore Canyon
offers the same crimson-and-cream-
colored cliffs and
crumpled buttes, punctuated
with terraces of piñon pines
The trail carves a corridor
through a scratchy tangle
of manzanitas and shrub
oaks as it descends into the
canyon. Not overly steep, the
rockiness of the trail requires
attention during this segment.
Along a ridgeline north, I
spotted a favorite formation.
It appears first as an exposed
slab, but as I continued, a
keyhole of light flickered in
the lower corner. I kept walk-ing
as it widened to a “win-dow,”
and then a long slice of
sky emerged. Only from that
vantage point could I detect
the separate column standing
like an upraised arm wav-ing
goodbye. You won’t see it
listed on maps, but it’s “adios
rock” to me.
Cowboys once pushed
cattle herds from the Verde
Valley to Flagstaff through
Sycamore Canyon. Traces of
that era remain, notably the
stock tanks. The trail side-swipes
the most prominent
of these about 2 miles in.
Even the name is a holdover
— dogie is “cowboy” for a
motherless calf. It’s a perfect
description for this trail,
evoking an orphaned sense of
After passing the tank, the
trail parallels Sycamore Creek
for the last 3 miles. This sec-tion
of canyon creates an illu-sional
oasis. The Dogie dips
in and out of drainages, many
pouroffs dropping to the
creek bed. Cottonwoods and
willows line the banks, but
despite those implications,
water remains almost as
scarce as visitors.
Still, hiking in on the heels
of recent rains, I kept an eye
peeled for lingering pools to
experience that sheer, sweet
joy of finding moisture where
none normally exists — it’s a
I crossed the rocky band
of the creek, then clambered
onto the shaded shelf guard-ing
the west bank. From
there, the Dogie ends a half-mile
beyond, at the junction
with the Sycamore Basin Trail.
That’s when I caught a star-tling
Sun skipped across a deep
pool sheltered by drooping
cottonwoods, and I knew
immediately where I was
stopping. I had jerky in my
backpack, a Little Feat song
in my head, and it was time
to break out both, which I
did. The moral of the story?
The next time you’re hiking
Sycamore Canyon and hear a
javelina with the hiccups, it’s
probably just me singing. Feel
free to harmonize.
by Roger Naylor photographs by Robert McDonald
The Dogie Trail
SANDSTONE SOLITUDE Sedona’s
Dogie Trail in the Sycamore Canyon
Wilderness offers magnificent views
of sandstone ramparts (above) a
quarter-mile west of the wilderness
boundary gate. A slice of sky sneaks
through adjoining pillars of a red-rock
butte (right) as piñon pine and
juniper trees adorn the jagged cliffs
It’s a wilderness area now, but
back in the day, cowboys pushed
cattle along this spectacular trail
in Sycamore Canyon.
on l i n e For more hikes in Arizona, visit our hikes archive at arizonahighways.com.
Length: 10.8 miles round-trip.
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet.
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous.
Payoff: Seclusion, red-rock views and wildlife.
Location: About 50 miles south of Flagstaff (14 miles west of Sedona) on
paved and graveled roads.
Getting There: From Sedona, drive southwest 5 miles on State Route 89A.
Turn north onto Forest Service Road 525 and follow the signs to Sycamore
Pass. Turn west onto Forest Service Road 525C and continue for 9 miles to the
parking area. The last half-mile might require a high-clearance vehicle.
Travel Advisory: Spring and autumn are the best times to visit. No motorized
or mechanized vehicles (including bicycles) are allowed in Sycamore Canyon
Warning: The canyon floor can be very hot during summer months. Always
carry plenty of water, at least 1 gallon per day per person.
Information: 928-282-4119 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino.
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