ONE OF THE
A ROAD TRIP
TO WINE COUNTRY
E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
25 OF OUR FAVORITE
PLACES TO GRAB A BITE
hiking guide summer
Mountain Lion Rule No. 1:
Never Say “Here Kitty, Kitty”
The White Mountains’
Long & Winding Road
Canela Bistro: Southern AZ’s
Best Bet for “Locally Grown”
RUCKUS IN THE
Arizona’s Guitar Hero
This Guy Is Sitting
on a Real Treasure
Our favorite places to hit the trail!
2 EDITOR’S LETTER 3 CONTRIBUTORS4
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 The Journal
People, places and things from around the state, including
Arizona’s classic guitar hero, the do’s and don’ts around
mountain lions, and one of the best places to get a
fresh meal made with locally grown ingredients.
44 Scenic Drive
Coronado Trail: It’s hard to pick the best road trip
in Arizona, but this one ranks right up there.
46 Hike of the Month
Horton Creek Trail: If water is music to the ears,
this hike is Mozart in Bigfoot’s family room.
48 Where Is This?
14 SUMMER HIKING GUIDE
After photography, hiking is the thing most people write, e-mail
or call us about. We get it. Hiking is a big deal in the Grand Canyon
State. Thus, our annual Summer Hiking Guide. Whether you’re
looking for a strenuous trek in the White Mountains or an easy
stroll along the Mogollon Rim, Arizona has a trail for everyone.
BY ROBERT STIEVE
24 ROCK ART
Normally when we talk about rock art, we’re talking about
pictographs or petroglyphs. This is different. This is photography.
Actually, it’s more than that. According to a panel of mesmerized
magazine staffers, the work of Wes Timmerman crosses into the
realm of fine art. “Paintings, sculptures, masterpieces.” Those
are the words they used to describe this month’s portfolio.
BY WES TIMMERMAN
34 AIN’T THIS MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH?
Father Kino, Wyatt Earp, Geronimo ... none of them would recog-nize
Mount Lemmon and the Santa Catalinas today. The human
population around them, now more than a million strong, has
profoundly altered the character of the mountain range itself.
Biology, ecology, flora, fauna … they’ve all been affected. Time
will tell if there’s enough mountain to absorb the changes.
BY LAWRENCE W. CHEEK PHOTOGRAPHS BY RANDY PRENTICE
40 THE MAN WHO SITS ON THE TREASURE
No. This isn’t a story about Bill Gates or the sniper who guards
the roof of Fort Knox. It’s a story about Bruce Burnham, a white
man who’s spent the last four decades on the Navajo Nation.
Burnham is an Indian trader, or, as the Navajos say, Naalye’he’ ya’
sida’hi — “the man who sits on the treasure.”
BY LISA SCHNEBLY HEIDINGER PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFF KIDA
◗ From a slick-rock knoll in Face Canyon
near Lake Powell, hikers survey
the sandstone buttes of the Navajo
Nation. PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY LADD
FRONT COVER Jenn Hoffman and Scott
Shapiro take in spectacular views
from the General Crook Trail, which
follows the Mogollon Rim.
PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK BEREZENKO
BACK COVER Bright pink blooms of a
New Mexico locust stand out against
a white and green background of
quaking aspen trees in Eastern
Arizona’s Blue Range Primitive Area.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JACK DYKINGA
Photographic Prints Available Prints of some photographs in this issue are available for purchase. To view options, visit www.arizonahighwaysprints.com. For more information, call 866-962-1191.
• POINTS OF INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE
w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m
TALK TO US: In this month’s cover story, we spotlight some of our favorite
summer hikes (see page 14). In 100 words or less, tell us about the most un-usual
thing you’ve experienced while hiking in Arizona. We can be reached
GET MORE ONLINE:
When you’re done hiking, you’re going to want to eat, and that’s where
our Web site comes in. We have plenty of options. Just click “Dining” on
our home page.
Get details on some of this month’s biggest events, including the Grand
Canyon State Summer Games, in our “Events Calendar.”
Check out some of our vintage covers by visiting “Online Extras.”
2 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
Photographer Nick Ber-ezenko
has lived in Rim
Country since 1986, which
has given him an opportu-nity
to shoot some of the
most stunning scenery
in the state. Among his
favorite spots are West
Clear Creek, Fossil Creek
and the Hellsgate Wilder-ness.
Although the weather was uncooperative for this month’s cover shoot, Berezenko,
photo editor Jeff Kida and the cover models (Jenn Hoffman and Scott Shapiro) toughed it
out. “Toward evening, as we worked our way out to the edge of the Rim, clouds rolled in to
the west and the light turned wonderfully golden,” Berezenko says. “Everyone got into the
spirit of how wonderful everything looked in that rich, syrupy light, and we all worked at a
furious pace to produce a variety of different-looking shots with different backgrounds —
but they were all shot within the space of 15 minutes. When the glorious light faded into
night and we could shoot no more, we all high-fived each other. We knew we’d gotten
LISA SCHNEBLY HEIDINGER
Lisa Schnebly Heidinger began writing about Arizona
30 years ago as a cub reporter for the Green Valley
News, and she hasn’t grown tired of it yet. She met
Indian trader Bruce Burnham (The Man Who Sits on the
Treasure, page 40) five years ago, while she was work-ing
on a book. For this month’s story, she invited her
father, Larry, along because he lived near the Navajo
Nation as a small boy. “He had amazing stories I hadn’t
heard before,” she says, “including one about watching a young Navajo man dunked in a
mud pool for some infraction.” Heidinger’s affection for the state is apparent — her dogs
are named Happy Jack and Leupp, and her children are Rye and Sedona. “Sedona was the
one who said, ‘Mama, what is it with you and Arizona towns?’ ” she says. Heidinger is a
regular contributor to Arizona Highways.
Having been a residential general
contractor in Jackson, Wyoming, for
the past 36 years, Wes Timmerman
knows a thing or two about the ins
and outs of home construction. As a
frequent Grand Canyon photographer,
Timmerman also understands the ins
and outs of the world’s Seventh Natu-ral
Wonder. The challenges in compil-ing
this month’s portfolio (Rock Art, page 24), Timmerman says, were in “backpacking in
the backcountry of the Grand Canyon twice per year for the past eight years.” As you’ll
see, the finished product was well worth the adventure. Timmerman’s work also appears
in Teton magazine.
8 0 0- 5 43- 5 43 2
www. a r i zona h i ghways .com
J U N E 2 0 0 9 V O L . 8 5 , N O. 6
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published month-ly
by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Subscrip-tion
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Single copy: $3.99 U.S. Subscription correspondence
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PRODUCED IN THE USA
mount Baldy is sacred to the Apaches. Especially the summit. At 11,403 feet,
it’s a holy place that connects Mother Earth to Father Sky. In Eastern Ari-zona,
that’s about as close as you’re going to get to the heavens. But only if you’re an
Apache. If you’re not, you’re not allowed to the top without a permit. Because of the
spiritual nature of the mountain, the peak is off-limits to all non-natives.
For the average hiker, that’s not a big deal. For “peak-baggers,” a term you’ll see
more than once in this month’s cover story, it presents a conflict — respect versus
laying claim to one of the highest mountains in the state. The solution, of course, is
to get a permit. If you don’t, you could be fined or have your CamelBak confiscated.
By the way, if you are a peak-bagger, the highest point of the ridge isn’t Baldy’s sum-mit,
but an unnamed area (11,420 feet) on Forest Service land to the north.
Sounds complicated, but it’s not. Besides, Baldy is just one of several hikes in our
annual Summer Hiking Guide. In all, we’ll tell you about 12 of our favorites. Some are
simple, some are strenuous, and the rest are somewhere in between. The Sycamore
Rim Trail falls into that category. Located in the Kaibab National Forest, the trail
was first proposed in the ’70s to protect a unique environment of ponds, cliffs and
canyons. Since then, it’s become one of those trails you hit when you’re trying to
impress friends from Michigan, Germany or anywhere else. It’s pretty long — 11
miles round-trip — but it’s pretty easy. For something a little more challenging,
there’s the Mount Lemmon Trail.
Not only is it difficult, it’s unique. Unlike most mountain trails, where you start
at the bottom and work your way toward the top, the Mount Lemmon Trail starts
near the summit and goes downhill from there. So, if you’re a peak-bagger, you’ll
essentially get credit for this one as soon as you step out of the car. That’s what
writer Larry Cheek first did back in 1974. His car was a Fiat roadster, and like so
many people in Southern Arizona, he was continually drawn to the big mountain
that once served as Tucson’s northern flank. But things have changed.
As Larry writes in Ain’t This Mountain High Enough?: “The road is wider. The moun-tain
no longer serves as Tucson’s northern boundary; the city has lapped around
it in the shape of a lopsided horseshoe. [And] in 2003, the month-long Aspen Fire
scorched 132 square miles of the mountain’s forests.” He goes on to write that all of
If you like what you see in this magazine every month, check out Arizona Highways Tele-vision,
an Emmy Award-winning program hosted by former news anchor Robin Sewell.
Now in its fifth season, the show does with audio and video what we do with ink and
paper — it showcases the people, places and things of the Grand Canyon State, from
the spectacular landscapes and colorful history to the fascinating culture and endless
adventure. And that’s just the beginning. “For me, the show is about more than just
the destinations,” Robin says. “It’s about the people behind the scenes. It’s their stories
that make the destinations so interesting.” Indeed, there’s a reason this show wins so many awards — it’s
second-to-none, and we’re proud to have our name on it. Take a look. For broadcast times, visit our Web
site, www.arizonahighways.com, and click the Arizona Highways Television link on our home page.
ROBERT STIEVE, editor
these changes — with more on the way — are
profoundly altering the mountain’s character.
Biology, ecology, flora, fauna … they’ve all been
affected. Whether or not you agree with Larry’s
conclusions, this story is meant to get you think-ing,
because every challenge, environmental or
otherwise, begins with understanding. Just ask
Unless you’ve been to the Navajo Nation, you
probably don’t know Bruce. He’s an Indian trader
— a white man — who’s spent the last four
decades on the reservation trying to bridge a cul-tural
gap as wide as Monument Valley itself. “You
can’t become Navajo,” Burnham says, “but I’m an
in-law to the whole tribe.”
In The Man Who Sits on the Treasure by Lisa Sch-nebly
Heidinger, you’ll learn about a guy who
“worked his way up from a white teenager fasci-nated
with Navajo culture to a position of esteem
and influence.” And he achieved that stature
through assimilation. He learned the language,
he learned the history and he adopted the cul-ture.
But more than anything, he respected the
people. Respect and understanding ... it’s a pretty
simple concept, whether you’re opening a trading
post on the Navajo Nation, or climbing a moun-tain
that’s sacred to the Apaches.
If you’re a frequent
reader of Arizona
Highways, you know
that we launched
our first-ever online
photo contest last
fall. Well, after sorting through thousands of
entries, we’ve narrowed the pool to a group of 40
finalists, including this shot by Kenneth Shar-rocks.
The winners will be announced in our
September issue. Stay tuned.
Director of Photography
BARBARA GLYNN DENNEY
Deputy Art Director
SONDA ANDERSSON PAPPAN
Design Production Assistant
VICTORI A J. SNOW
Director of Sales & Marketing
CINDY BORMANI S
Corporate or Trade Sales
Sponsorship Sales Representation
EMM MEDIA SERVICES LLC
Letters to the Editor
2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009
JANICE K. BREWER
Director, Department of Transportation
JOHN S. HALIKOWSKI
Arizona Transportation Board
ROBERT M. MONTOYA
FELIPE ANDRES ZUBIA, WILLIAM J.
FELDMEIER, BARBARA ANN LUNDSTROM,
VICTOR M. FLORES
International Regional Magazine Association
2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001
MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
Western Publications Association
2006, 2004, 2002, 2001
BEST TRAVEL & IN-TRANSIT MAGAZINE
4 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 5
letters people > dining > lodging > photography > history > nature > things to do > > > > THE JOURNAL
I read your recent article about res-taurants
[Best Restaurants, April 2009].
I’ve been a vegetarian for many years,
and I think it would be nice if you
could do something about vegetarian
and vegan restaurants, since there are
so many of them now in Arizona.
ISABELLA RAVIOLI, FLAGSTAFF
YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE …
I just read Mane Courses in your
February 2009 issue. On page 39 in
the photo caption you state, “... and
makes it drink,” in reference to the
horse. I’ve gotta tell you, at 69 years
young, and being a horseman for
those number of years, I’ve never
found the “make it drink button”
on my saddle. They will or will not
drink. The rider cannot make a horse
drink, but can only give it the oppor-tunity
to do so.
DICK FABIAN, COTTONWOOD
BEST OF SHOW
Your February  issue, which
arrived today, is your “best ever.”
You’ve arrived at a perfect blend of
words and pictures. Prior editors
often relied too much on overdevel-oped
photographs, or overwrought
prose, or hayseed humor. No more.
Iconic Arizona contained more good
material than some past years’ total
issues; the article on the horse trails
interested this tenderfoot; and Roger
Naylor’s piece on Manzanita is the
best restaurant review I’ve ever seen.
I read it over lunch and was ready
for dinner. Your magazine may be
more influential than our Midwest
weather in convincing this Ohioan to
start checking airfares to Phoenix.
R.S. GRAY, SHAKER HEIGHTS, OHIO
I’m an Australian who’s received
Arizona Highways for more than 40
years, after graduating from Palmer
College in Iowa in 1966. The patients
in my clinic also love the enlighten-ing
articles and exquisite photog-raphy.
Despite your second-to-none
photographs, some of them lack a
point of reference to help readers
understand the size of the objects.
Could you establish a reference
trademark — a symbolic person
or recognizable object, imprinted
discretely in a corner, to emphasize
that relationship of man to object of
DR. GORDON BRINSMEAD, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
WING MAN, GOLDEN BOY
Regarding the article about Bill
Brooks [Wing Man] in the January
2009 issue of Arizona Highways, Leo
and Lola Rice, our dear friends and
neighbors, worked for Bill Brooks at
Paso Robles Flying Service/Golden
Carriage Air. Leo was the chief pilot
and Lola worked the counter, plus
being the “Jill” of all trades in the
hangar for Golden Carriage Air. They
told us many wonderful stories about
Bill and Martha and their experi-ences
at Golden Carriage. Leo passed
away four years ago. Lola remains our
MR. & MRS. ALAN R. MORGAN, CAMINO, CALIFORNIA
IN MEMORY OF LONNIE
I was very sorry to read that Lonnie
Yazzie had passed away [Girls Club,
January 2009]. Some friends and I
were fortunate enough to participate
in a weeklong horseback adventure in
Monument Valley a few years ago, and
camped in the same place the “Sisters”
did. Lonnie rode with us every day
and told many stories about the land
and his family’s heritage. At night,
all of the family joined us for dinner,
and afterward, Lonnie and his wife
told more stories around the campfire.
Lonnie was such a happy, cheerful
addition to our experience. Please
pass on my condolences to his family.
BETTY REIM, CAVE CREEK
I grew up in Silver Bell and the article
Another Natural Wonder [December
2008] brought me to tears. Silver Bell
and the surrounding desert is one of
God’s greatest creations. As a young
girl, I — along with many other
kids — would explore and play in
the desert, and now that I’m older, I
realize what we had at our fingertips.
The small mining town of Silver Bell
is no longer there, but those of us
who grew up there will keep it in our
hearts forever. Tennessee is a pretty
state, but it can’t hold a candle to the
awe-inspiring Arizona desert. Thank
you for this very sentimental and
tear-jerking trek back.
VERONICA GILLIAM HERD, COOKEVILLE, TENNESSEE
If you have
we’d love to hear
from you. We can
be reached at
by mail at 2039
W. Lewis Avenue,
85009. For more
Pete and Repeat
Went Out in a Boat
A number of commercial outfitters
offer a variety of rafting trips through
the Grand Canyon. Most trips take
7-18 days, and include a run through
Granite Rapids (pictured). Information:
928-638-7888 or www.nps.gov/grca.
6 j u n e 2 0 0 9
Canela is a restaurant born of oxymorons: a Southwestern bistro, located in Arizona
wine country that serves the local bounty of the desert. Yet somehow, three oxy-morons
make a right. Enter this small, unpretentious converted home and you’ll
be immediately soothed by the warm, Southwestern décor: clay-toned walls, dried chiles,
regional art, native textiles and ceramics. It’s sophisticated, but this is Sonoita, so the tables
are usually more dressed up than the patrons.
“It has a comfortable, Old World feel where you can just be yourself and enjoy the food
and wine of the area,” says Joy Vargo, who owns Canela with her partner, John Hall.
Joy and John took their inspiration from the wine region bistros of California and Wash-ington,
which celebrate local vineyards and farms. Two pages of the wine list are dedicated
to Arizona vino. As chef, John conjures the flavors he remembers from his grandmother’s
cooking (his family goes back several generations in Arizona). The couple were also influ-enced
by their training at the New England Culinary Institute, the Farm to Chef Network,
and their experience at locavore restaurants in Seattle.
“We really believe in the marriage between a restaurant and a farm,” Joy says. “It’s fresh-est,
tastes best and you’re supporting your local economy.”
But it’s one thing to source local food in Vermont or Washington, and another thing to do
so in Southeastern Arizona.
Most farmers in the area only have a small plot of land, and
they’re not used to dealing with the demands of restaurants, Joy
explains. “Sometimes we have to drive past Willcox to find things,
and we can only get one animal here and one animal there, or we
“Locavores” are people who will only eat food that is grown
locally. There aren’t a lot of restaurants catering to this crowd,
but among those that do, Canela Bistro is one of the best.
By KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
A LOT HAS CHANGED SINCE 1959, especially in Tuc-son,
but at least one thing’s stayed the same — almost
every Friday and Saturday night for the past 50 years,
Dean Armstrong and his guitar have entertained diners at
Li’l Abner’s Steakhouse. On this night, his sapphire eyes
shine brightly in the lights as he sings Folsom
Prison Blues, one of the many classic country
and folk songs that he and his group, the
Arizona Dance Hands, play during their two-hour set. As
he has on thousands of weekends before, Armstrong is
wearing a white cowboy hat and a bola tie.
His music career began long before his days at Li’l
Abner’s. It started with a trade between his father and
a neighbor: one cow for one old guitar. That moment
shaped his life for the next 75 years, beginning with
his studies at the Joliet Conservatory of Music, teach-ing
guitar lessons, and eventually playing for troops
around the world during his military service in World
War II. Each place he visited — from Japan and Italy to
Panama and New Guinea — inspired him to move to
Arizona after returning to the U.S.
“I was lonesome for the mountains,” he recalls dreamily.
Born in 1923 on a small farm in Illinois, Armstrong
became another Midwest transplant in Arizona when
he moved to Tucson after visiting an aunt who lived
here. Armstrong and his high-school sweetheart,
Ardith, instantly became an inextricable part of South-ern
Arizona’s music history — the couple recently cel-ebrated
their 66th wedding anniversary.
The Arizona Dance Hands, formed by Armstrong
in 1948, caught Gene Autry’s attention while playing a
radio show, and he decided to make them the staff musi-cians
for his new TV station — in 1953, they became the
first band to do a live television broadcast in Tucson.
Back then, Tucson was a hot spot for celebrities on
their way out West, and many of them stopped at Li’l
Abner’s during their visits. Most came and went with-out
leaving an impression, but one guest playing the
spoons at Armstrong’s table stands out in his memory.
It was no ordinary cowboy jam session, to be sure. The
Godfather himself, Marlon Brando, picked up his uten-sils
that night to make music with Armstrong.
Armstrong’s success as a musician never went to
his head, and he’s been performing community service
throughout his career for everyone from hospitalized
veterans to handicapped children. The Arizona Dance
Hands have been inducted into several music halls of
fame around the country, and
recently, were inducted into the
Tucson Musicians Museum.
“There’s a lot of water under
the bridge,” Armstrong says.
For the past five decades, at least two
things in Tucson have remained the
same: the steak at Li’l Abner’s and the
restaurant’s resident guitar player.
By LAUREN PROPER
have to wait till the animal comes of age.
You have to have patience and learn how to
do things yourself.”
Still, thanks to a half-dozen ranches, a
handful of farms and their own garden, John
and Joy produce a constantly changing
menu that highlights seasonal,
regional food. To wit: A salad
composed of local organic heir-
apples is anointed with sage vinai-grette.
Duck is sauced with green mole
and nestled atop risotto redolent of cumin.
A New York strip steak gets a one-way
ticket to Arizona with nopales (cactus
pads), roasted chiles and cotija (a Mexican
cheese). For vegetarians, poblano chiles
are stuffed with mushrooms, studded with
local pomegranate seeds and bathed in a
red sea of sauce made from Willcox chiles.
For Sunday brunch, you can tuck in to
house-made chorizo with heirloom beans
or blue cornbread pudding with house-made
It’s reminiscent of something in Napa or
Walla Walla, but with a decidedly Sonoitan
“You wouldn’t expect to find something
like this here in Arizona wine country,” Joy
says. “There’s no place like it.”
Canela Bistro is lo-cated
at 3252 Highway
82 in Sonoita. For more
information, call 520-
455-5873 or visit www.
THE JOURNAL > people THEJOURNAL > dining
S O N O I T A
What do you miss
most about Arizona
when you’re in
Wisconsin with the
My family. When I
go to Wisconsin, my
family usually stays
here in Phoenix.
Where’s your favorite
place to play ball in
If I could still play,
it would be at the
spring training home
of the Milwaukee
Brewers in Maryvale.
How do you describe
Arizona to people who
have never been here?
Most people think of
it as strictly a desert,
but there are a lot
more mountains and
pine trees than most
If you could have an
Arizona celebrity as
your neighbor, who
would it be?
Buddy Rice. He’s won
the Indy 500 and the
24 Hours of Daytona.
I’m a big motorsports
If former teammate
were in town for the
would you take him
Anywhere that has
brats and beer, and
then we’d play
golf at the TPC of
What’s your favorite
place in Arizona?
Any stream in the
mountains. I love
— Dave Pratt is the author of
Behind the Mic: 30 Years in Radio.
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
T U C S O N
Li’l Abner’s is located at
8500 N. Silverbell Road
in Tucson. For more
information, call 520-
744-2800 or visit www.
8 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
“WOULD YOU LIKE SOME CHAMPAGNE?” the honeymooners ask as they flutter between
breakfast tables, inviting complete strangers to share in their bliss. Guests are petting
Ginger, the resident Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and anticipating the menu, marked
café-style onto a mirror: artichoke Gruyère frittata, pineapple streusel
muffins, baked tomato, Canadian bacon. Co-owner Gordon Watkins is
poring over a map, advising two Frenchmen about the best viewpoints
around Sedona. When he goes to refill coffees, a California couple shows him a book on
romantic getaways that features the Inn at 410.
As it should. This 19th century Craftsman-style home has been transformed into a B&B filled
with the kind of generous personal touches that inspire camaraderie among guests, including
The home was built in 1894 by J.A. “Slow” Wilson, a member of the Second Boston Party,
which hoisted the original flagstaff that gave the city its name. In 1907, the home was revamped
by wealthy banker Thomas Pollack, who added a carriage house in the back — that building is
now home to an antiques shop and the much-lauded Brix restaurant.
After Pollack’s death, the property changed hands several times,
even becoming (gasp!) a frat house. In 1989, it was transformed into
its current incarnation as an inn.
Over the next several years, guestrooms were decorated to reflect
the inn’s history and Southwest location. The Observatory Suite,
Bed, Breakfast & Beyond
The Inn at 410 is no ordinary B&B. It’s a honeymooners’ delight, complete
with homemade cookies, hiking tips and a champagne toast or two.
By KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
complete with a full kitchen and two-person
shower, is an ode to Northern Arizona’s night
sky. Canyon Memories, another room, fea-tures
a Grand Canyon mural, arts and crafts
décor including Stickley rocking chairs, and
views of the San Francisco Peaks. Monet’s
Garden boasts a Jacuzzi tub and private
porch overlooking the inn’s flower-filled gar-den,
where guests breakfast in summer. And
all the rooms have fireplaces, down blankets
and pillows, and bathrobes.
“It’s a labor of love,” says Watkins, who
brought the inn into the 21st century. He
added a DVD library, Wi-Fi and a compli-mentary
cyber café, while still keeping it old-school
with homemade cookies at afternoon
tea. Watkins and co-owner Kim McCasland
also lend their expertise on hiking and biking
trails, local restaurants and Northern Arizona
“This is a beautiful building in a great loca-tion,
but the experience is really about the
people,” Watkins says. “That’s why we work
really hard to anticipate people’s needs and
go beyond what people expect.”
Now that’s something worth toasting. Pass
The Inn at 410 is located
at 410 N. Leroux Street
in Flagstaff. For more
information, call 928-
774-0088 or visit www.
Digital camera LCD
instant feedback for
checking your compo-sitions,
but don’t use
the image on your
LCD to judge
display a histo-gram
exposure in graphic
form. The far left side
of the histogram rep-resents
(or dark areas) in the
image, and the far right
side represents the
highlights (or bright
areas). A “good” histo-gram
across the graph from
left to right. Dark or
will be heavier on the
left side of the histo-gram,
while bright or
will be heavier on the
right. Making sure your
histograms are not
heavily weighted on
one side of the graph
or the other will result
in better exposures.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Look for
Arizona Highways Pho-tography
at bookstores and www.
Learning From the Prose
“Don’t believe everything you read.”
It’s good advice, especially when it comes to the Internet.
By PETER ENSENBERGER, director of photography
Lately, I’ve been on a quest for photographic wisdom.
So, naturally, I’ve been wading through the hun-dreds
of Weblogs, podcasts, forum sites and Twitter
pages on the subject. Well, after many hours in the blo-gosphere,
here’s my blog on photographers’ blogs.
First of all, I know what you’re thinking. Photogra-phers’
blogs? When it comes to communicating ideas,
most photographers should let their images do the
talking. Not so long ago, I thought the same thing.
Turns out, the pros have a handle on prose. Unfor-tunately,
you’ll have to surf the Web’s rough sea of
rants and raves on your way to finding rational dis-cussions.
Back in the day, good writing had to stand
up to rigorous scrutiny by professional editors before
being unleashed on the world. Today, anyone with
half an idea and an Internet connection can be a self-appointed
authority. When I come across Web sites
offering stimulating ideas, they’re bookmarked for
Not many photography bloggers could measure up
to Susan Sontag’s award-winning book On Photography.
Published in 1977, it’s still the essential study on the
subject. I found excerpts of her eloquent and timeless
observations on www.susansontag.com: “Photographs
are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that
make up, and thicken, the environment we recognize
as modern. Photographs really are experience cap-tured,
and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness
in its acquisitive mood.”
For photographers looking to join the current dis-course,
the blogosphere provides plenty of informed
discussion from all corners of the photographic uni-verse.
Interested in the latest camera gear? There are
reviews galore. Want to learn new techniques? There’s
an impressive cache of photo tips to satisfy every
yearning. Some even add a comedic twist.
It’s hard to top this tip, found on www.digital-pho
tography-school.com: “In cold temperatures, batteries
lose their power quickly, so it’s a good idea to carry
extra. In order to keep your spares from draining in a
cold camera bag, use an old trick for keeping warm in
the cold. Put a hot foil-wrapped baked potato in your
pocket. It will keep your spare batteries warm, give
your trigger finger a place to warm up, and after you’ve
been out shooting in the cold for a while, you’ll have a
This caveat immediately follows: “DPS will not be
responsible for damage caused to the property of those
introducing baked potatoes into their camera bags,
and advises against adding sour cream, butter or any
other condiments to baked potatoes used in this way.”
So, photographers can indeed turn a phrase. But
when you enter the blogosphere, be sure to take along
your sense of humor.
THE JOURNAL > lodging THEJOURNAL > photography
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips and other informa-tion,
highways.com and click
on “Photo Tips.”
F L A G S T A F F
10 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
ETTORE “TED” DEGRAZIA ONCE said that for many years, he
couldn’t trade his paintings for a bottle of whiskey. But in 1976,
when he rode into the Superstition Mountains with art valued at
$1.5 million, the notion of a struggling artist went up in smoke —
literally. There, DeGrazia burned 100 of his paintings to protest
federal inheritance taxes. That’s just one example of the artist’s
Born to Italian immigrants in Morenci on June 14, 1909, DeGra-zia
felt more at home in the Arizona desert than he did in swanky
art circles. While his father worked in the copper
mines, young Ettore scoured the surrounding moun-tains,
picking up the colorful
bits of copper, clay, turquoise
and fool’s gold that inspired him.
After high school, he moved
to Tucson to study art and
music at the University of Ari-zona,
eventually earning three
degrees. In 1941, Arizona High-ways
published the first of many
stories about DeGrazia — the
artist credited the magazine
for launching his career. The
next year, he traveled to Mexico
and sought the advice of famed muralist Diego Rivera. Impressed
with DeGrazia’s sketches, Rivera and fellow artist José Clemente
Orozco took DeGrazia under their wings.
When DeGrazia returned to Arizona, however, he didn’t get the
recognition he craved. Looking more like a prospector than an art-ist
in his scuffed boots, crumpled cowboy hat and grizzled beard,
DeGrazia bucked convention. Rather than waiting for a Tucson
gallery to exhibit his work, he built his own gallery on the city’s
Ten Decades of Ted
This month, Tucson’s Gallery in the Sun
celebrates the 100th birthday of Ted DeGrazia,
one of Arizona’s most colorful artists.
By SALLY BENFORD
outskirts, and when Tucson encroached,
he and his wife, Marion, moved, building
their Gallery in the Sun in the foothills of
the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Demand for DeGrazia’s canvases, cov-ered
with vibrant images of children, the
Southwest and Mexico, grew. In 1960, the
artist moved into the international arena
when his painting, Los Niños, was chosen
as a UNICEF greeting card. He holds the
distinction of being the most reproduced
artist in the world.
Before he died in 1982, he formed the
DeGrazia Foundation to ensure the con-tinuation
of his beloved gallery, which he
described as, “… a place for remembering
— a place in which to begin to believe.”
Today, the gallery is on the National
Register of Historic Places, and each year
more than 50,000 people visit its rotating
exhibits of DeGrazia’s 15,000 collective
works, which include paintings, sculp-tures,
ceramics, etchings and sketches.
Throughout the year, Gallery in the
Sun will commemorate the artist’s cen-tennial
with DeGrazia: 100 Years, 100 Works,
including a special
Weekend, June 13-14.
They’re everywhere and nowhere.
Like James Bond, Jason Bourne
and Keyser Söze, they slink through
numerous countries (from Canada to Argen-tina,
deserts to rainforests), use multiple
aliases (cougar, puma, panther, catamount),
and prefer to work alone.
Not surprisingly, mountain lions are more
closely related to stealthy loners like the
leopard and lynx than the sociable African
lion. And though they’re the most widespread
mammal in the Americas, apart from humans,
they’re arguably the most elusive.
In Arizona, where the population is esti-mated
at 2,500, few people have seen a
mountain lion in the flesh. Experts estimate
that 75 to 95 percent of presumed sightings
are actually hazy glimpses of other animals.
It’s this invisibility that makes them posi-tively
ooze mystery and danger. Yet in the
past century, just 14 people have been killed
by mountain lions in North America. Com-pare
that to 1,300 by rattlesnakes, 4,000 by
bees and 10,000 by deer (car accidents).
But as humans continue to encroach on
mountain lion territory, these shy animals are
becoming both threatened and threatening. By
the early 20th century, hunters and ranchers
eliminated mountain lions from the Midwest
states to the East, leaving only an endangered
few in Florida. On the flip side, mountain lions
are increasingly (though still very rarely) exhib-iting
red-flag behavior: roaming in daylight,
showing no fear of humans, and stalking people.
Last October, game officials shot a moun-tain
lion after it stalked a hiker and his dog
in Madera Canyon, south of Tucson. The
lion had advanced on the man even after he
shouted, waved his arms wildly and fired two
warning shots in the air.
Make no mistake: Cougars are contenders.
They can grow to more than 8 feet long and
weigh 150 pounds, jump 20 feet horizontally
or 18 feet into a tree. They can even swim.
The sight of something running away can
trigger an irresistible predatory response, and
they’ve been known to slaughter more than a
dozen sheep at once.
Yet mountain lions play a vital role in the
ecosystem, keeping deer, elk and peccary
populations in check. And since they roam
so widely — a single male defends a territory
up to 1,000 square miles — protecting their
habitat ensures the preservation of the other
species that share it.
If you encounter a mountain lion, don’t
run or turn away. Open your jacket to appear
larger, wave your arms, speak loudly, throw
things at it (without bending down or turning
away to pick things up) and slowly back away.
Report the incident to the Forest Service or
Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Then consider yourself one of the lucky few
who has seen one.
Heeere Kitty, Kitty, Kitty Just kidding, of course.
The last thing you ever want to do is invite a mountain lion to come closer.
Especially a mother with kittens. BY KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
THEJOURNAL > nature
For information, call
800-545-2185 or visit
■ A post office was
established in Phoe-nix
on June 15, 1868.
Jack Swilling was
■ Arizona mountain
Indian scout and
Weaver died at
Camp Verde (Camp
Lincoln) on June 21,
■ On June 30, 1956,
TWA Flight 2, en
route from Los An-geles
to Kansas City,
and United Airlines
Flight 718, traveling
from Los Angeles
to Chicago, collided
in midair over the
Grand Canyon, near
the confluence of
the Colorado and
Little Colorado riv-ers.
At the time, the
crash was described
as the “worst com-mercial
Our June 1959 issue featured Arizona’s
summer vacations, including the forests of
Northern Arizona, the rodeos and Fourth
of July festivities in Central Arizona, and
the lakes and streams of Rim Country. Of
course, the viewpoints of the Grand Canyon
made the cut as well. Truth be told, not
much has changed in 50 years.
50 years ago
I N A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S
THEJOURNAL > history
Not all birds
but the acorn
storing up to
in a single
in its own carefully drilled hole. The
quirky red, black and white birds live
in extended family groups and make
their homes in dense oak forests, such
as those extending throughout eastern
and southeastern portions of Arizona.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY GALLERY IN THE SUN
T U C S O N
12 j u n e 2 0 0 9
Old Miner’s Day
J U N E 2 7
C H L O R I D E
This is one of the biggest events of the year in
one of Arizona’s oldest silver-mining camps.
The festivities include Old West re-enact-ments,
a parade, musical entertainment, food,
raffles and other activities for both young and
old. Information: 928-565-9777 or www.chloride
Native American Festival
JUNE 5 - 1 3 V ER DE VA L L E Y
Interested in Arizona’s Native American cul-ture?
This nine-day event, which takes place
in Sedona, Clarkdale, Camp Verde and
Cottonwood, focuses on archaeology
tours, Native American music,
dance, fine art, storytelling
and films, as well as presenta-tions
at V-Bar-V, Honanki and
Palatki heritage sites. Infor-mation:
Snowbowl Scenic Skyride
JUNE 1 - 3 0 F L AGS TA F F
There’s no snow, but the views are still spectacular from the Snowbowl
Scenic Skyride. The 25-minute tour tops out at 11,500 feet, where the
views include the Grand Canyon and downtown Flagstaff. While you’re
in the area, listen to a Forest Service specialist discuss the geology and
biology of the region, hike the many trails in
the surrounding wilderness, and play disc golf
on Snowbowl’s course. Information: 928-779-
1951 or www.arizonasnowbowl.com.
THEJOURNAL > things to do
This month, hit the road and head to Eastern
Arizona for the Show Low Days Still Cruisin’
Car Show. Judges will choose the best vintage
vehicles from 30 different car classes, includ-ing
hot rods, muscle cars and trucks, while
car buffs will enjoy the Saturday Poker Walk,
an ice-cream social, oldies music, an arts and
crafts fair, food booths and raffles. Information:
928-537-2326 or www.showlowchamberofcom
Tsunami on the Square
JUNE 2 0 PR E SCOT T
Each June, a tidal wave of culture washes
over downtown Prescott during this unique
performance arts festival. Fire-spinners, jug-glers,
giant puppets, stilt-walkers and dancers
join other entertainers to present free perfor-mances
that also include comedy and theatri-cal
skits, as well as visual and performance
arts workshops for the kids. Information: 928-
445-5540 or www.tsunamionthesquare.org.
J U N E 5 - 7
Arizona’s slot can-yons
are on every
must-see list. Join
LeRoy DeJolie, a
to Arizona Highways,
4-8 in Navajoland
to create images of
Bend. Among other
lessons, DeJolie will
on the proper tech-niques
wonders in the best
To order an official Arizona Highways license plate,
visit www.arizonahighways.com and click the license
plate icon on our home page. Proceeds help support
our mission of promoting tourism in Arizona.
Mind If We
The state of Arizona gave us
our own license plate, and we’d
like you to take us for a ride.
After photography, hiking is the thing most people write, e-mail or call us about.
We get it.
Hiking is a big deal in the Grand Canyon State. Thus, our annual Summer Hiking Guide.
Whether you’re looking for a strenuous trek in the White Mountains or an easy stroll along
the Mogollon Rim, Arizona has a trail for everyone. What follows are 12 of our favorites.
B Y R O B E R T S T I E V E
Water seeps into KP Creek as it flows through the
Blue Range Primitive Area in the Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forests. photograph by jack dykinga
14 j u n e 2 0 0 9
16 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 17
Finger Rock Trail
Coronado National Forest: In Tucson, most folks will tell you that this trail’s
namesake refers to the Wildcats. Sun Devils and Lumberjacks fans might disagree,
but there’s no debate about the landmark itself: It resembles a closed hand with the
index finger extended to make a No. 1 sign. The finger, by the way, is 100 feet high.
The trail itself is equally impressive. It begins as an easy trek among saguaros and
climbs through the Upper Sonoran Zone into a habitat of yucca, live oak and juniper.
Along the way, it gets progressively more difficult, especially for those who opt to
push themselves and continue past Mount Kimball to Linda Vista Ridge. Most hik-ers,
though, choose Finger Rock Spring as the turnaround point. If you decide to go
beyond the spring, pay attention, because the trail gets hard to follow. It’s worth the
effort, though — the higher you go, the better the views are. One last thing, the trail
leads into the Pusch Ridge Desert Bighorn Sheep Management Area, so dogs aren’t
allowed. Wildcats, Sun Devils and Lumberjacks, however, are more than welcome.
Directions: In Tucson, go north on Oracle Road to Ina Road, turn
right (east) and drive about a mile to Skyline Road, which branches
off to the south (right). Follow Skyline to Alvernon Way and turn left
(north) to the trailhead at the end of the pavement.
Elevation: 3,100 to 6,200 feet
Distance: 6.3 miles round-trip
Information: Santa Catalina Ranger District, 520-749-8700 or
Florida Canyon Trail
Coronado National Forest: When you see the name of this hike, you might think
it has something to do with orange trees, or maybe the Miami Dolphins. It doesn’t. In this
case, Florida (pronounced Flo-ree’-da) refers to the Spanish word for “flowered.” Flowers
are one of the main attractions along this quiet hike, especially among the riparian seeps
and springs that make it so appealing in the summer. As you make your way up into the
canyon, the sycamores take center stage, followed by stands of Douglas fir at the head of
the canyon, near Florida Saddle. By all means, appreciate the vegetation along the way, but
don’t forget to look off into the distance — the views are wide angle. Looking back toward
the trailhead, the Santa Cruz Valley and a couple of copper mines can be seen, while up-canyon,
the Santa Rita Crest and the summit of Mount Wrightson stand out. Literally. You’ll
get an eyeful, for sure. What you won’t see are orange trees and Miami Dolphins.
Directions: From Tucson, take Interstate 19 south to Continental Road/
Madera Canyon Road (Exit 63). Go east on Madera Canyon Road for
about 7.3 miles to the Forest Road 62 cutoff, then immediately bear right
onto Forest Road 62A and continue about 3.6 miles. The Florida Canyon
trailhead is on the left, just outside the entrance to the Florida Work
Elevation: 4,340 to 7,800 feet
Distance: 4.6 miles round-trip
Information: Nogales Ranger District, 520-281-2296 or www.fs.fed.us/
1. Florida Canyon Trail
2. Finger Rock Trail
3. Mount Lemmon Trail
4. West Baldy Trail
5. Grant Creek Trail
6. General Crook Trail
7. Groom Creek Loop Trail
8. Sandys Canyon Trail
9. Kendrick Mountain Trail
10. Red Mountain Trail
11. Sycamore Rim Trail
12. Uncle Jim Trail
SANDYS CANYON TR.
RED MOUNTAIN TR.
UNCLE JIM TR.
GROOM CR. LOOP TR. GENERAL CROOK TR.
MT. LEMMON TR.
FINGER ROCK TR.
GRANT CREEK TR.
WEST BALDY TR.
SYCAMORE RIM TR.
KENDRICK MOUNTAIN TR.
FLORIDA CANYON TR.
18 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19
Mount Lemmon Trail
Coronado National Forest: With most mountain hikes, you start
at the bottom and work your way to the top. Mount Lemmon is different.
It starts near the summit, about a mile from the ski resort of the same
name. If you’re a peak-bagger, you’ll essentially get credit for this one as
soon as you step out of the car. Initially, the trail follows an access road,
but then finds its way to the backcountry and winds down one of the
mountain’s most prominent ridges. It’s a rocky route, and it gets steep
in some places, most notably among the switchbacks where the trail
drops off the high ridge of the Santa Catalina Mountains down toward
the Wilderness of Rock. As you’ll see, this trail, which features great views
of Pusch Ridge to the west, provides access to several other trails in the
area. If you veer off, remember: A good topo map is always a good idea,
regardless of whether you’re going up or down a mountain.
Directions: From Tanque Verde
Road in Tucson, drive 4.2 miles
on Catalina Highway to the forest
service boundary and continue
28 miles, past Mount Lemmon
Ski Valley, to the power substation
on Radio Ridge. Hike west on the
trail to a dirt road. Hike down the
road to the trail junction.
Elevation: 7,500 to 9,100 feet
Distance: 5.8 miles round-trip
Information: Santa Catalina
Ranger District, 520-749-8700
Grant Creek Trail
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests: Grizzly Adams wasn’t filmed here, but it might have been. The flora and fauna along the Grant
Creek Trail are reminiscent of John Adams’ stomping ground in the Sierra Nevada. From the lush alpine forests and deep red-rock canyons to the
crisscrossing of wildlife, this trail is ideal for anyone in need of a quiet date with Mother Nature. The trail, which is accessed via the Foote Creek
Trail near Hannagan Meadow Campground, is one of the main routes between the rim and the floor of Blue River Canyon. It winds through an
idyllic forest for the first few miles, and then begins its downward slope. As the gradient steepens, the forest opens up and the panoramas of
the Blue River Canyon take your breath away. By the time you catch your breath, those views will be replaced by close-ups of the red rocks that
form the canyon walls, along with the box elders, cottonwoods and sycamores that thrive in the moist, sheltered habitat. From this riparian rest
area, the trail follows its namesake toward the Blue River. Feel free to hum the Grizzly Adams theme as you make your way.
Directions: From Alpine, drive 23 miles south on U.S. Route 191 to the south end of Hannagan Meadow, turn
left (east) onto Forest Road 29A and continue to the Steeple/Foote Creek Trailhead and parking lot. Access
the Grant Creek Trail via the Foote Creek Trail.
Elevation: 8,800 to 5,440 feet
Distance: 10 miles round-trip
Information: Alpine Ranger District, 928-339-5000 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf
West Baldy Trail
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests: For peak-baggers
in Arizona, Mount Baldy is one leg of the Triple Crown
— along with Humphreys Peak and Escudilla Mountain. The first
2 miles of Baldy cut through a series of wide alpine meadows and
follow the West Fork of the Little Colorado River, climbing gradu-ally.
This is the busiest stretch, but as the trail gets a little tougher,
the crowds thin out — the hike won’t kill you, but the altitude
does have an effect. After the 2-mile mark, the trail enters a thick
forest dominated by spruce, fir and aspen — other than a few
small meadows, the trail won’t break out of the timber until the
top. From there, it climbs gradually to a series of steep switch-backs,
and eventually merges with the East Baldy Trail near the
Fort Apache Indian Reservation boundary. The summit of Mount
Baldy is on the reservation, and it’s closed to nontribal members.
You’ll be tempted to “sneak” to the top; however, this is sacred
land, and it should be respected. Trespassers who ignore the
boundary are subject to fines and could have their packs confis-cated.
If you’re a peak-bagger, here’s the good news: The highest
point of the ridge isn’t Baldy’s peak (11,403 feet), but an unnamed
area (11,420 feet) on Forest Service land to the north.
Directions: From the Eagar stoplight, drive west
on State Route 260 for 17.1 miles to State Route 273.
Turn left and go south for 7.6 miles. The trailhead
is on the right. If SR 273 is closed from its junction
at Forest Road 87 to Crescent Lake for road
reconstruction, parallel park your vehicle at the
junction of FR 87 and SR 273 and follow the
temporary three-quarter-mile trail to the trailhead
at Sheeps Crossing.
Elevation: 9,000 to 11,200 feet
Distance: 14 miles round-trip (from parking lot at
Information: Springerville Ranger District,
928-333-4372 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf
ROBERT G. MCDONALD
20 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
General Crook Trail
Coconino National Forest: For those of you who live in other parts of the world, there’s a little thing in Arizona called the Mogollon Rim. No one really knows how
to pronounce it — Spanish scholars go with “mo-go-yawn,” locals use “muggy-own,” while others simply refer to it as “the Rim.” Whatever you call it, you can’t miss it.
Literally. Named for one of the Spanish colonial governors of New Mexico, the Rim stretches diagonally across most of Arizona. Naturally, its precipitous drop-off is the
main feature of the General Crook Trail, which follows a historic wagon route that was used in the 1870s and 1880s in General George Crook’s war against the Apaches. The
trail itself parallels the Rim for about 25 miles, and the scenery is something special. As Captain George M. Wheeler once wrote: “Mountain, forest, valley and streams are
blended in one harmonious whole … few worldwide travelers in a lifetime could be treated to a more perfect landscape, a true virgin solitude, undefiled by the presence of
man.” Indeed, that’s why we selected this area for this month’s cover shot. Regardless of the pronunciation, the Mogollon Rim is a sight for sore eyes.
Directions: From Flagstaff, drive approximately 55 miles south on
Lake Mary Road (Forest Highway 3) to State Route 87. Go south
(right) on SR 87 for approximately 9 miles to Forest Road 300, along
which there are several access points. FR 300 is graveled and suit-able
for passenger vehicles except during winter when it is closed.
Elevation: 7,900 to 7,000 feet
Distance: 25 miles one way
Information: Mogollon Rim Ranger District, 928-477-2255
Directions: In Flagstaff, go southeast on Lake
Mary Road (Forest Highway 3) for 6 miles and
turn left onto the road that leads to Canyon
Vista Campground. From there, go north for a
quarter-mile to the trailhead.
Elevation: 6,950 to 6,820 feet
Distance: 2 miles round-trip
Information: Peaks/Mormon Lake Ranger
Districts, 928-526-0866 or www.fs.fed.us/
Sandys Canyon Trail
Coconino National Forest: When it comes to summer hikes, Flagstaff has plenty of bragging rights.
Humphreys Peak, the king of the hills in Arizona, is among the many that come to mind. It might be the best
hike in the state, but it’s not for everybody. It’s a serious hike. At the other end of the spectrum is the Sandys
Canyon Trail, which is located just a few minutes from downtown Flagstaff. The trail begins along the rim
of Walnut Canyon — if you look toward the west, you can see Humphreys Peak. After a short trek, the trail
drops down Sandys Canyon into the main gorge. From there, it continues along the Walnut Canyon floor on
an old jeep track to an intersection with the Arizona Trail. Geology is one of the main features of this hike. In
particular, you’ll see a series of petrified Permian Age sand dunes. You might see some horses, as well — a
nearby concessionaire offers guided tours into this scenic canyon. Whether you hoof it yourself, or giddyup
on Old Paint, Sandys Canyon is yet another trail that Flagstaff can brag about.
Groom Creek Loop Trail
Prescott National Forest: At one time, Prescott was the capital city of
Arizona. There are many reasons it was moved to Phoenix. The Groom Creek
Loop wasn’t among them. This challenging trek is one of Prescott’s points of
pride. In fact, it’s one of the best trails in the Prescott National Forest. Along
with the workout, the loop offers more than its share of scenery, especially
from the top of Spruce Mountain, from which you can see Crown King, Prescott
and, on a clear day, the San Francisco Peaks. From the trailhead, the loop (which
is marked Trail 307) passes through an oak and juniper woodland, and one of
the most impressive stands of ponderosa pines in the forest. In all, the trail
climbs 1,200 feet over 3 miles through the upper Wolf Creek drainage to the
top of Spruce Mountain. From there, the trail heads southwest and follows the
South Spruce Ridge for about 1.6 miles to the junction with the Isabella Trail,
which connects to Walker Road (pay attention to the trail signs). The loop then
begins a long, twisting descent down the mountain to the trailhead, which is
just a short drive from one of Prescott’s other points of pride: Whiskey Row.
Directions: In Prescott, take Gurley Street east to Mt. Vernon
Avenue (Senator Highway, Forest Road 52). Turn south and
drive approximately 6.5 miles to Forest Road 52A at Groom
Creek. Continue on FR 52A for 4.5 miles to the picnic area.
Elevation: 6,400 to 7,750 feet
Distance: 8.7-mile loop
Information: Bradshaw Ranger District, 928-443-8000 or
6 Kenneth Kline and Gabrielle von
Mazo hike along the General Crook
Trail. photograph by nick berezenko
22 j u n e 2 0 0 9
Uncle Jim Trail
North Rim, Grand Canyon: “The North and the South.” Mention that to most Americans and they’ll start rattling off names
like Gettysburg, Fredericksburg … and maybe even Ken Burns. Here in Arizona, the North and the South are two rims of the Grand
Canyon, and they’re very different. Consider the hikes. On the South Rim, the trails are usually crowded. On the North, they’re not. If
you prefer the latter, head north to the Uncle Jim Trail, which is named for “Uncle Jim” Owens, a game warden who reportedly killed
500 mountain lions to strengthen the area’s deer population. Like other trails on the North Rim, this one winds through a mix of
ponderosa pines, white fir, Douglas fir, blue spruce and quaking aspens. Mule deer are common, too. The first mile of the trail parallels
the Ken Patrick Trail, so don’t be confused. As you get rolling, check out the views of Roaring Springs Canyon. They’re incredible. Of
course, great views are typical at the North Rim, including those from Uncle Jim Point, which is a great place to sit and contemplate
the merits of the two rims. They’re both special, but as you’ll see, the North wins when it comes to solitude.
Directions: From the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim, drive north for 3 miles to the signed right
turn for the North Kaibab Trailhead. Uncle Jim shares a trailhead with the North Kaibab Trail.
Elevation: 8,240 to 8,320 feet
Distance: 5 miles round-trip
Information: Backcountry Office, Grand Canyon National Park, 520-638-7875 or nps.gov/grca
Kendrick Mountain Trail
Kaibab National Forest: There’s a lot of history on this mountain. Two
things in particular stand out. The first is just below the 10,418-foot summit. That’s
where you’ll see the old lookout cabin, which was built in the early 1900s and is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The second dates back to the year
2000. That’s when a devastating fire touched most of the Kendrick Peak Wilder-ness
Area. Fortunately, the recovery process has begun, but it’ll take decades, even
centuries, before it’s fully restored. Meantime, a hike to the peak offers a great
lesson in ecology. It also offers impressive views of the Grand Canyon to the north
and Oak Creek Canyon to the south. In addition, it’s a good place to see wildlife,
especially elk and mule deer. The trail itself includes a trek through ponderosa pines
and climbs into the mixed conifer forests of Douglas fir, white fir and Engelmann
spruce. At the top is the cabin. Check it out, look into the distance and consider this
possibility: If people would stop throwing their cigarettes out the window, history
would quit repeating itself.
Directions: From Flagstaff, drive northwest on U.S. Route 180 to
Forest Road 193, about 10 miles north of the turnoff for Arizona
Snowbowl, and turn left (west) onto FR 193. At the end of that
road (about 3 miles), make a right onto Forest Road 171 and go 2
miles to Forest Road 190. Turn right onto FR 190 and go 1 mile to
the parking area.
Elevation: 7,700 to 10,418 feet
Distance: 8 miles round-trip
Information: Williams Ranger District, 928-635-5600
Red Mountain Trail
Coconino National Forest: “Go Big Red.” That’s what Arizona fans were
chanting back in February, when the Cardinals played the Steelers in the Super
Bowl. About 740,000 years earlier, a volcano erupted 25 miles northwest of
Flagstaff. Coincidentally, that was the last time the Cardinals were in the Super
Bowl. The eruption formed what is known today as Red Mountain — “Go Big Red”
— which is technically a volcanic cinder cone that rises 1,000 feet above the sur-rounding
landscape. The trail is easy and winds through junipers toward a broken
rise of cinder and red rocks. The last half-mile of the hike follows a normally dry
streambed. The reward at the end is a large natural amphitheater that cuts into the
cone’s northeast flank. Erosional pillars, called hoodoos, decorate the amphitheater,
and many dark mineral crystals erode from its walls. As you look around, remind
yourself that you’re actually standing inside an ancient volcano. It’s an experience
almost as rare as watching the Cardinals play in a Super Bowl.
Directions: From Flagstaff, drive northwest on U.S. Route 180 for
approximately 25 miles to Milepost 247. Turn left at a large Forest
Service sign that announces the Red Mountain Geologic Area.
Drive about a quarter-mile on the dirt road to a parking space at
Elevation: 6,800 to 7,200 feet
Distance: Approximately 2.5 miles round-trip
Information: Peaks/Mormon Lakes Ranger Districts,
928-526-0866 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino
Sycamore Rim Trail
Kaibab National Forest: People like to poke fun at the 1970s. Bell-bottoms,
shag carpeting, 8-tracks … they were out of sight back then, but now, they’re punch
lines. Of course, the ’70s produced some gems, too, including the Sycamore Rim
Trail, which was proposed in 1975 to protect a unique environment of ponds,
streams, cliffs and deep canyons. The route was originally cleared and marked in
1979. Since then, it’s been improved with treadwork over its entire length. About 3
miles from the trailhead, the loop hits the rim of Sycamore Canyon, and continues
along the boundary of the Sycamore Wilderness Area. Moving north and west
for the second half of the hike, the trail cuts through a ponderosa pine forest that
leads to the top of KA Hill, which offers a great look at nearby Garland Prairie. The
views are out of sight, man.
Directions: From Flagstaff, go west on Interstate 40 for approxi-mately
25 miles to Garland Prairie Boulevard, Exit 178, turn left
and go south on Forest Road 141 for approximately 12 miles to
Forest Road 56. Turn right (southeast) onto FR 56 and continue 1.5
miles to the trailhead parking lot.
Elevation: 6,000 to 6,700 feet
Distance: 11 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Information: Williams Ranger District, 928-635-5600 or
ROBERT G. MCDONALD
ROBERT G. MCDONALD
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
Normally when we talk about rock art, we're talking
about pictographs or petroglyphs.
This is different.
This is photography. Actually, it's more than that.
According to a panel of mesmerized magazine staffers,
the work of Wes Timmerman crosses into the realm of
fine art. "Paintings, sculptures, masterpieces."
Those are the words they used to describe this
by wes timmerman
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
26 j u n e 2 0 0 9
Q: Over the years, Arizona Highways has published hundreds — maybe thousands
— of photos of the Grand Canyon. Frankly, we thought we’d seen it all, but
your work is different. What makes it unique? — Jeff Kida, photo editor
A: In September 2000, after an incredible river trip through the Grand Can-yon,
I started thinking about creating a body of large-format photographic
work within the Canyon — it’s a landscape of immense possibility, in both
science and art. One day, while at Cape Royal, on the perch above Angels Win-dow,
I decided it was time to commit. In the course of backpacking hundreds
of miles over the past eight years, I’d barely scratched the surface of the
world within a world. The creative possibilities are as staggering as the
scale of the Canyon itself. No two trips have been the same for me, and each
has revealed a different aspect of the landscape. My work has focused more
on the nature of the rock than the horizon. The “feeling” that there’s some-thing
here to express photographically comes from my collective subconscious;
something that is ever-changing; something that’s being updated and refreshed
with each exposure. — Wes Timmerman
◗ Wedged into
the diorite sur-face
in time, a pluton
coated in red silt
reflects the sun-set
Lichen grows on
the surface of a
coated with des-ert
of the natural
study in texture
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
◗ Many side canyons
blends of textures,
colors and shapes,
cienegas off the
main river channel.
28 j u n e 2 0 0 9
30 j u n e 2 0 0 9
◗ Deep within the Canyon’s interior, morn-ing
light bathes an ephemeral stream with
a warm glow, highlighting the contrasting
colors of earth and sky.
LEFT: Over millions of years, wind and
water carved Tapeats Sandstone, creating
deep, sinuous passages throughout the
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
32 j u n e 2 0 0 9
◗ As water carved deeper, smoothly
beveled rocks took shape in the
Canyon’s Inner Gorge.
LEFT: The flat, shiny surface of Brahma
Schist in the lower reaches of the
Canyon catches the brilliant blue reflec-tion
of the sky above, adding contrast to
the dark rock wall.
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
Father Kino, Wyatt Earp,
Geronimo ... none of
them would recognize
Mount Lemmon and the
Santa Catalinas today.
The human population
around them, now more
than a million strong, has
profoundly altered the
character of the moun-tain
range itself. Biology,
ecology, flora, fauna …
they’ve all been affected.
Time will tell if there’s
enough mountain to
absorb the changes.
ENOUGH?B Y L A W R E N C E W . C H E E K
P H O T O G R A P H S B Y
R A N D Y P R E N T I C E
◗ The lights of a bustling Tucson glimmer below the Santa
Catalina Mountains on the city’s north side.
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 35
36 j u n e 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 37
Now it is 2009 and everything has changed. The road is wider
and luxuriously outfitted with pullouts and guardrails, and the For-est
Service charges $5 for the drive. The mountain no longer serves as
Tucson’s northern boundary; the city has lapped around it in the shape
of a lopsided horseshoe. In 2003, the month-long Aspen Fire scorched
132 square miles of the mountain’s forests. I’m no longer as interested
in driving up the Santa Catalina range as in hiking through it. And Fiat
no longer sells cars in the United States.
Consider these changes in the context of geologic time, and they
seem astonishing. And there are more coming, quickly. The human
sprawl swarming around the mountain’s skirts, now more than a mil-lion
strong, has profoundly altered the mountain’s character. It seems
like time to sound an alarm: Civilization is messing with an ecosystem
that’s still too complex for us to predict the consequences. But first it’s
worth looking at how this mountain has messed with us.
For as long as there’s been recorded history, the Santa Catalina range
has represented escape. Most obviously, from the desert heat: In the
1920s, editorial writers for the Tucson Citizen and The Arizona Daily Star
pecked out rival editorials calling for, respectively, a paved road and
an alpine airport for the mountains. Reluctant voters twice rebuffed
$500,000 bond proposals for the highway, and the airport never got
off the ground. But in 1933, the Citizen’s publisher, Frank H. Hitchcock,
embraced the idea of using prison labor to build the road, and with his
influence, work on the 25-mile-long highway began just three months
later. The mountains resisted more than anyone expected. By the time
the road reached the ponderosa pines, it had taken 17 or 18 years, 8,003
federal prisoners and — even with all that free labor — nearly a mil-lion
A few determined pioneers built a town at the end of the road — Sum-merhaven,
which, until the Aspen Fire, was a motley scattering of cabins
with a year-round population of about 50. It would have grown larger,
except that it contains just 240 acres of private land, surrounded by Coro-nado
National Forest. (Post-fire, Summerhaven is still tightly contained,
but the “cabins” are being replaced by serious haciendas built of logs.
“Some of them have elevators!” an incredulous contractor confided.)
On the lower flanks of the mountain, there’s been nothing to stop
Tucson from oozing onto the foothills, right up to the National Forest
boundary at about 3,500 feet. People who built in these heights won
no reprieve from the desert heat, but when I was a reporter in Tucson
in the 1970s and controversy was raging over the growing crust of foot-hills
houses, I interviewed a psychologist who suggested people were
trying to escape something even more onerous: mortality. “Snuggling
up to something permanent,” he said, “seems to offer us a connection to
permanence ourselves.” No dummy, he lived in the foothills himself.
As Tucson surges around the mountain, people are now escaping
the crush of urbanity. On a perimeter drive around the range — an
improvised 92-mile loop that at this point still includes some dirt roads
and bullet-ventilated highway signs — I stop at Saddlebrooke Ranch, a
new “resort community” that will build out to 5,800 homes. “We’ve got
boomers coming out of the woodwork,” sales consultant Frank Caristi
tells me. “Most of them are coming for the peace, quiet, serenity and
views of the mountain.”
Although Saddlebrooke Ranch qualifies as urban sprawl — it’s a
35-mile expedition to downtown Tucson — I understand the impulse.
The last house I occupied in Tucson squatted in the foothills, on a site
as close as I could afford to the mountain’s southern flank. The Santa
Catalinas filled the windows, an ineluctable reminder of the towering
dominance of nature. This is the most profound thing the big rock
provides for Tucson: perspective.
“We do not know who we are until we look at the mountain,”
Charles Bowden declared in Frog Mountain Blues, his 1987 ode to the Cat-alinas.
I have chewed on that for 20 years, since the book first appeared.
It seemed extreme — Bowden always is. Do people in Dallas or Paris
not know who they are, lacking a handy mountain for reference? But
that book prompted me to start hiking in the
Catalinas, and then I began to understand what
a miracle it was to have mountains bursting out
of your city — mountains in the backyard, a way
to understand civilization in its real perspective
Driving up the Catalina Highway on a summer morning unleashes a sudden rock-slide
of memory: Back to the summer of ’74, with my wife, Patty, and I wedged into
a minuscule turnout at the side of this same road, our brand-new Fiat roadster
wrapping itself in a cloud of steam. It had seemed alluringly romantic, a spirited
top-down drive up the big mountain on Tucson’s northern flank, watching the
desert scenery blur into piñon-juniper woodland and then alpine forest. But the
Fiat was having none of our romance. It would take two more attempts before a
cooling-system improvement got us to the mountaintop without overheating.
“We do not know
who we are until we look at
Charles Bowden, Frog Mountain Blues
◗ Afternoon storm
clouds near Finger
Rock clear to display
a sea of saguaro
cactuses that dot
the Santa Catalinas’
38 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
One Sunday at dusk, a Tucsonan named Bill McManus was plod-ding
the Ventana Canyon Trail some 1,000 feet above the city when he
saw the tawny flash of a golden retriever ahead on the trail. When he
closed to about 40 feet, he realized it was not a canine but a cat — a
“I waited for it to run away,” McManus told me. “But it just stood
there watching me. I tapped my pole against a rock. It walked off the
trail, squatted, as if it was waiting for me to pass. It was acting more
like a dog or somebody’s pet than a wild animal.”
McManus was fascinated, but when the cat slipped into some tall
grass and he couldn’t see it anymore, he says, “I got a little worried.” He
shouted, rapped on rocks with his hiking stick, and retreated down the
mountain — wasting no time, but wisely not running.
McManus’ encounter encapsulated the collision of nature and civi-lization
now occurring on Tucson’s backyard mountain. The big rock
inspires us, entertains us, frightens us. In turn, we are remodeling it,
sometimes inadvertently, through our presence on it and around it.
The best way to think about a desert mountain is as a “sky island,”
an ecosystem dramatically different from its surroundings. There are
about 40 ranges tall enough to qualify as islands in the Sonoran and
Chihuahuan deserts of the Southwest and adjoining Mexican states,
and the Santa Catalina range, peaking at 9,157 feet, is the third highest.
And it’s the only one in Arizona with a major urban area around it.
Ringing the mountain with roads and subdivisions has enormous
implications for wildlife. Large mammals, such as bears, mountain
lions, bighorn sheep and mule deer, become almost isolated on their
island, with difficult migration through desert and grassland to other
mountains. With shrunken territory and lessened availability of mates,
their numbers decline — most dramatically among bighorn sheep,
which numbered about 170 in the Catalinas in the 1970s. The last verifi-able
report, in 2004, counted six.
Climate change, apparently the consequence of an energy-hungry
civilization, is profoundly affecting the biology of the sky island. Bark
beetles, encouraged by drought and higher temperatures, are kill-ing
increasing swaths of high-elevation forest, principally piñon and
ponderosa pines. Some animal species appear to be migrating up the
mountain. A Summerhaven store owner told The Arizona Daily Star she’d
started seeing roadrunners in the neighborhood — at an elevation of
Matt Skroch, executive director of the nonprofit Sky Island Alliance,
told me in his Tucson office that climate change, more than anything
else, is what keeps him up at night, worrying about the mountains.
“The species that occur at the highest elevations, where do they go? The
spruce-fir habitat supports thousands of species. What happens when
that habitat gets pinched off the mountains?”
Biologists are also losing sleep over a seemingly mundane pest —
African buffelgrass, a tough, knee-high, shrubby exotic that over the
past decade has rapidly begun clawing into the foothills of the Sonoran
Desert mountains. It’s choking out native species and ferrying fire
toward the forests. Probably the only way to challenge it is with mas-sive
chemical warfare, which will, of course, affect the entire ecosystem
in unpredictable ways.
This is the short view, and it’s dismaying. But there is a long view,
and its spokesman is an articulate Forest Service biologist named Josh
Taiz. He grew up at the foot of the Catalinas, majored in evolutionary
biology and ecology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and now
works in a cramped office at the back of the visitors center at Sabino
Canyon. Early on a summer morning, we take a little Kawasaki truck
up to a foothill perch where we can look into Sabino’s yawn and across
the craggy face of the Catalinas.
“I’m not sure we can say the Catalinas are healthy or unhealthy,
because we don’t have a baseline of what constitutes the health of the
ecosystem,” Taiz says. “Adaptation and natural selection are at work
constantly. Certain species will thrive in certain conditions, and in
others, they won’t. What we’re seeing now is that these biological
communities are changing — no question about that. We often auto-matically
tag that as ‘bad.’ It may well be. But when I hear ‘bad,’ I say,
‘maybe.’ Wait and see.”
Taiz sketches a portrait of a mountain ecosystem — really, a net-work
of ecosystems — so complex that it still defies modern science’s
ability to predict and explain its behavior. For example, he cites the
Aspen Fire’s vast and obvious destruction, which has yielded some
unexpected benefits for wildlife. “The Mexican spotted owl … intui-tively,
you would have expected the fire to have devastated it, since
it took so much mixed-conifer forest,” he explains. “But 2003-2004
produced the largest number of young since the early ’90s.” The appar-ent
reason is that opening up the forest canopy and increasing mulch
benefited small mammals. Their numbers boomed, which in turn
encouraged their predators: the owls.
We peer across the canyon at the waves of houses pushing against
the mountainside. Chipmunks, Taiz notes, thrive in the vicinity of
humans. This ripples throughout the food chain. The rodents eat the
eggs of ground-nesting birds, which might cause them to decline. Rap-tors
swoop down onto the chipmunks, which might give the big birds a
boost. Where it all ends, nobody knows. “Eventually the system takes
care of itself,” Taiz says. “Maybe not in our lifetime.”
It’s reassuring that a biologist thinks this. Just as the mountain itself
is a reassuring presence. That, in fact, is the core of its importance for
the messy carnival of humanity teeming around it. The mountain tells
us that as there has been a past, there will be a future and that our
mistakes, in the very long view of nature, might be forgivable.
“I’m not sure we can say
the Catalinas are healthy or unhealthy,
because we don’t have a baseline of what
constitutes the health of the ecosystem.”
Josh Taiz, U.S. Forest Service biologist
◗ Carved by prehistoric
Hohokam Indians, a sun
petroglyph decorates a boulder
near Samaniego Ridge.
LEFT: At Catalina State Park,
water flows through the Romero
Pools transforming the smooth
rock formations into sculpted art.
Information: Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District, 520-
749-8700 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado; Pusch Ridge Wilderness, www.fs.fed.us/
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
If desire could overpower DNA, Bruce Burnham would
be a Navajo. A fourth-generation Indian trader, he’s been the
man behind the counter at R.B. Burnham & Company Trading
Post to several generations. He worked his way up from the
white teenager fascinated with Navajo culture, allowed into
Navajo men’s card games to lose money and, eventually, into a
position of esteem and influence.
“You can’t become Navajo,” he admits, “but I’m an in-law to
the whole tribe.”
His wife is Navajo, and because the culture is matriarchal, so
are his children. He speaks Navajo to the old women wearing
velvet skirts, headscarves and running shoes who come to the
trading post to do business. When he talks about Kit Carson,
the Long Walk of the Navajos to a relocation camp, and their joy
at seeing their homeland again, it’s clear he views history from
the tribe’s point of view. Spry and genial, with a magnificent
moustache and an affable frontier-style manner, he leads visitors
through the store, which evokes trading posts of a century ago.
It’s not filled with tourist-driven curios. Instead, skeins of wool,
bags of flour and oil lamps line the shelves. There’s a pile of dark
woolly pelts, which he identifies as buffalo hides.
“Navajo tradition is that if you have a buffalo hide in your
home, you’ll never be hungry,” Burnham says. Leading the way
to the wood stove in the back room, he asks jokingly if any-one
wants to sit on a buffalo hide “and pretend to be wealthy.”
Maybe he’s only half-joking. He’s aware that tourists take
strange notions about Indians. On the wall is a photo of his wife
and two daughters in beaded Northern Plains Indian dresses,
from a time when they were traveling and selling, and fulfilling
the Bilag ‘aana (white people) expectation of what “real Indians”
Burnham might be Anglo, but his soul is not. Balanced
between the white and Navajo cultures, he can interpret one to
the other. He speaks of roots going deep into your homeland.
“That’s Navajo, to feel connected to the land. Dii’eh shishi k’eyah
means ‘sense of place.’ There’s a sense of belonging; a Navajo bur-ies
the child’s umbilical cord in the corner of the sheep corral.”
No. This isn’t a story about Bill Gates or
the sniper who guards the roof of Fort
Knox. It’s a story about Bruce Burnham,
a white man who’s spent the last four
decades on the Navajo Nation. Burnham
is an Indian trader, or, as the Navajos
say, Naalye’he’ ya’ sida’hi — “the man
who sits on the treasure.”
By Lisa Schnebly Heidinger
photographs by jeff kida
◗ Against a backdrop of Navajo rugs, fourth-generation Indian
trader Bruce Burnham leans on sacks of piñon nuts in the back
room of his Sanders trading post in Eastern Arizona.
42 j u n e 2 0 0 9 w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
everyone who drives through Sanders, Arizona,
would see what resonates so strongly with Burnham about this place.
At the junction of Interstate 40 and U.S. Route 191, it’s quintessential
Navajoland — slightly variegated tones of brown stretch in all direc-tions,
with what looks like a watercolor smudge of sage indicating
where a spring or seep keeps a little vegetation alive. Mobile homes or
small compounds of cinder block houses host pickup trucks parked at
angles against a vast sky with a few fledgling clouds. Quiet and space
are abundant; commerce and company are not.
Burnham came here in 1971 in a pickup carrying all his goods and
his wife. She was 15-year-old Virginia Kascoli Begay, fresh from being
educated in Anglo schools when he first laid eyes on her. (This is sur-prising,
considering that with six daughters and one son, Virginia’s
mother almost never let them go anywhere, probably aware of the
challenge of keeping her eye on that many at once.)
After five years, Bruce and Virginia married. Burnham speaks
almost reverently of the medicine man blessing the corn pollen used in
the traditional ceremony after arrangements had been made. He adds
with relish that the traditional bride price was negotiated by his boss.
“I paid a cow, a concho belt and a new car for her.”
Virginia describes her bewilderment at being put on a bus as a
small child to go to an unfamiliar school. Children were dragged by
the hair, or had their mouths washed out with soap for speaking the
only language they knew.
“No one from home was with me. We didn’t even know what
Christmas was. The dorm attendants were Navajo, and the African-
American teachers treated us better than our own people did [at the
school]. One teacher would hold us on her lap — she understood
However difficult those years might have been, they didn’t damage
Virginia’s ability to love and nurture. Burnham describes his wife’s
nature with a story:
“When most of us see a baby, the first thing we do is start talking
and cooing. But the first thing a traditional Navajo does is ask, ‘Has
your baby laughed yet?’ Because whoever makes the baby laugh first
has to give the party. You put rock salt in the baby’s hand to bless it,
and then some goes on each plate. This means the baby will always
be generous. Virginia doesn’t ask if a baby has laughed. She always
throws the party.”
Burnham adds that the worst thing about Navajo children being
sent away to government boarding schools in the mid-1900s is that
now, every generation speaks English.
“We’re one generation away from losing the language. They say as
the language goes, so goes the culture,” he says. “It used to be we spoke
English, but since our grandparents spoke only Navajo, we still spoke
it at home. Now the grandmothers speak English.”
He says that Native Americans are disappearing into what he calls
“a powwow culture.”
“As a tribe, you want to hold on to your Indian-ness. Tribes come
together at powwows, and the only common denominator they have
is English. If you listen to a chant, which is universal, half the time the
words being sung are in English, like, ‘Watch the fat man jump the
fence.’ We are right on the edge of losing our culture.”
Burnham’s daughter, Sheri, is raising her children in a hybrid cul-ture.
She buried their umbilical cords to connect them to home, but
they also play soccer in Gallup. Her husband, much admired among the
Navajos because he’s a railroad engineer, embraces his wife’s heritage.
Sheri has an accounting business and a degree in communication, and
she’s also the Burnham offspring stepping into the family business.
Bruce and Virginia’s cultures are merged in their daughter. The
three of them have established a useful dynamic — Sheri and Bruce
both speak up rapidly and easily, with Virginia occasionally amending
or interpreting something for an outsider. The couple’s parental pride
in Sheri is palpable, although, like most offspring, she seems unaware
of it. The young woman who once stood on a soda crate to ring up
orders as a little girl now has a crib for her own son in the back room.
“This has been our life,” Sheri says. A
combination of her mother’s petite dark-haired
looks and her father’s outgoing
manner, Sheri has a direct gaze and a defi-nite
way of speaking. She recalls selling
piñon nuts that Navajos would bring in
to trade for goods.
“We’d clean them, roast them, salt
them and sell them at school,” she says.
“I remember being dropped off with a
25-pound bag of nuts for teachers. Then
I’d come home and stock shelves. When
my parents were making jewelry, it was
our job to put hot wax on the backs of the
stones and put sticks on them. My sis-ter
stuck turquoise up her nose instead
of beans. We played with pawn the way
other children played house.”
Sheri’s siblings are credits to their par-ents:
Dionne works in advertising in Houston; Patrick and his wife
run a studio specializing in Native American dance in Gallup; Aus-tin
now lives and works in Albuquerque. Burnham says he always
expected more of Sheri than his other children in terms of the busi-ness,
because they worked so well together. Virginia smiles.
“My husband sent her on a selling trip when she was 17, pulling a
trailer with a quarter-million dollars’ worth of Indian art in it,” she
says. “He handed her a schedule.”
Sheri winces at the memory of her first trip. “That was a baptism by
fire,” she says. “I’d fractured my ankle playing softball the night before
I left, but I told my folks it wasn’t broken, and I went to Portland,
Oakland, San Francisco, Pasadena and some other places in Texas. I
could barely walk when I got home.”
Burnham’s great-grandfather was an intrepid Mormon who used
his trade routes between the towns his wives lived in to support the
various families. He was killed when one of his wagons rolled. Burn-ham’s
grandfather was 13 when he became the man of the house. Sheri
grew up on these stories, and the message was clear: In this family,
you don’t whine and you don’t make excuses. You step up and get it
done. And you take care of your community.
This also means selling some products most tourist-centered trad-ing
posts do not. “Like cotton rope,” Sheri says, getting into the spirit.
“A certain brand of cigarettes only one customer buys. A kind of bird-seed
for another. Lamp wicks. We have evaporative cooler pumps,
lamb nipples, sheep paint.” (Clearly, the last falls into the category of,
“If you have to ask, you don’t need it.”)
The Burnham trading post takes pawn to give cash or credit to
customers, and if it’s not claimed in time, the goods can be sold again
as dead pawn. But while some traders profit from these deals, Burn-ham’s
longtime customers know he can be counted on to keep their
possessions safe for them.
“One woman always brings in the same basket, mainly to keep her
children from selling it,” he says. “I always ask to buy it, but she’s had
it since her kinaalda — her coming-of-age ceremony. She’ll never sell. I
think she leaves it with me so her children don’t walk away with it.”
Burnham is proud of his latest way to put money in the hands of his
people — auctions. He and Sheri went to auctioneer school and now
sell rugs made by Navajo weavers at the Smoki Museum in Prescott,
at Hubbell Trading Post and other nonprofit venues. He gets animated
talking about how much weavers can make from the frequent auc-tions,
and how it helps the nonprofits he works with. This is the new
direction Burnham is taking. There’s a mixture of joke and truth in
his statement that it’s a good thing Sheri is coming in, because in his
fifth decade as a trader, he’s getting to a point where he’s bad for the
“Your first 10 years, you do the stocking and sweeping up,” he
says. “No one talks to you; no one trusts you. Your second decade,
you’re learning how to deal with people — like when to tell a man
you don’t have any jeans his size because you know he can’t afford
them. He knows you know, and you’re looking out for him. By your
third decade, you’re selling to the children of the children you sold to
when you started. They trust you. The women come, and take both
your hands in theirs to ask you something, and you can’t turn them
“Yesterday, Virginia gave me $120 before I left the house, and by the
time I got to work, it was gone,” he says.
Navajo term for Indian trader is Naalye’he’ ya’
sida’hi, which translates to “the man who sits on the treasure.” The
trader is the man who sits on the treasure — not as a tight-fisted old
bugger, but keeping it safe, protecting it. So when people need their
share, they know he has it for them.
It’s clear Burnham values being of service more than he values
turning a profit. This is evidenced by the fact that the trading post
maintains the tradition of donating a Pendleton blanket or shawl each
time there’s a death among his customers.
“I give out 40 or 50 Pendletons for burial blankets every year,”
he says. “In Navajo, that’s the most unselfish act, to give to a person
who doesn’t have the option of giving back. You love their loved ones.
Whatever they need.
“A girl whose mother worked for me, she calls me ‘father.’ It’s a
special privilege for me. I get sentimental. I can see my position here.”
He pauses, shakes his head. “Why didn’t I get smarter sooner?” Burn-ham
clearly sees that the treasure he sits on has little to do with pawn
jewelry and much to do with the trust of other people.
Trading posts like Burnham’s have dwindled from more than a
hundred to a handful. Traditions are vanishing. But by creating the
auction business, Burnham keeps his family in the business of helping
the community prosper. This is his gift to the Diné, “The People.”
And his gift to his daughter might require a change in wording so
that in the future, the Indian Trader will be “the person who sits on
the treasure.” In Sanders, for at least one more generation, that person
will be a Burnham.
buys. A kind of
wicks. We have
(Clearly, the last falls
into the category of,
“If you have to ask,
you don’t need it.”)
◗ Colorful skeins of wool yarn line the walls behind mother and daughter traders, Virginia and Sheri Burnham, as they plan a Navajo rug auction.
When You Go
DIRECTIONS: From Flagstaff, go east on Interstate 40 to Sanders, just west
of the Arizona-New Mexico border. Burnham Trading Post is located at Exit
339 at Sanders, the junction of I-40 and U.S. Route 191. An alternate route
from Phoenix is U.S. Route 60 through Globe and Show Low to Eagar, then
U.S. 191 from Eagar through St. Johns to Sanders.
INFORMATION: 928-688-2777 or www.rbburnhamtrading.com
44 j u n e 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
we’ve been down this road
before. Of course we have.
We’ve been covering the scenic
wonders of Arizona for more than 80
years, so it only stands to reason that
Arizona’s version of “the long and
winding road” would have found its
way into the magazine on many occa-sions.
That said, it’s always worth
another look. Like the Beatles’ swan
song, this road trip is a classic.
Designated a scenic road in 1989,
the Coronado Trail winds for more
than a hundred miles from the twin
cities of Eagar and Springerville in
the north to the twin cities of Clif-ton
and Morenci in the south. In
between, the four-hour route follows
the trail used in 1540 by Spanish
explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coro-nado
as he searched for the fabled
“Seven Cities of Cibola.” He wasn’t
joy-riding in an Escalade, but he
surely marveled at the views, which
begin among the rolling grasslands of
From there, the southbound route
climbs into the spruce-fir forests near
Alpine, a Swiss-like village settled in
the late-1870s. Just south of Alpine is
Hannagan Meadow, which is named
for Robert Hannagan, a Nevada
miner who did some cattle ranching
in the area. Take note: This is the
only spot along the way to gas up and
grab a Diet Coke. In addition to food
and fuel, Hannagan Meadow and the
nearby Blue Range Primitive Area
offer some of the most incredible
scenery in the state — it’s no coin-cidence
that several of the hikes in
this month’s cover story are located
in this neck of the woods. Among the
highlights are three beautiful rivers
— the Black, the Blue and the San
Francisco — and the surrounding
mountains, which reach heights of
more than 11,000 feet.
As you cruise along, keep your eyes
peeled. Within a stone’s throw of
the road are more than 100 species of
fish and wildlife, including elk, deer,
antelope, black bears, squirrels, bald
eagles and 160 other kinds of birds.
The fishing is great, and the stands
of aspen, oak, maple, mountain ash,
fir, spruce and juniper will make
wherever you came from seem like a
million miles away.
Like many roads in Arizona, the
Coronado Trail is a four-season won-derland.
Fall colors are incredible.
Spring wildflowers are spectacular.
Winter snows make the area the
state’s cross-country skiing mecca.
And this time of year, the cool tem-peratures
speak for themselves.
The next stop is the Blue Vista rest
stop at the edge of the Mogollon Rim,
which allows you to see forever on a
clear day. From there, the road works
its way south to Clifton and Morenci,
and tests your nerve with some hair-raising
curves. Although the twin
cities at the end of the road aren’t as
scenic as their sisters in the north —
strip mining has a way of doing that
— they do have gas stations, which
will come in handy if you decide to
turn around, and you probably will.
As you’ll see, the long and winding
road is always worth another look.
Note: Mileages are approximate.
DIRECTIONS: From Payson, go east on State Route 260 to Eagar. The Coronado Trail follows
U.S. Route 191 for 123 miles from Eagar to Clifton, through the Apache-Sitgreaves National
Forests. There are several sharp curves and steep drop-offs along this narrow road — in
some cases, there are no guardrails, and in some areas, speeds may slow to 10 mph.
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: Accessible to all vehicles.
INFORMATION: Alpine Ranger District, 928-339-5000 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov or dial 511 to get information
delays, weather and more.
winds past some
of Arizona’s most
OPPOSITE: The East
Fork of the Black
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more scenic drives, pick up
a copy of our 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 www.arizonahighways.com.
TRAIL It’s hard to
pick the best road
trip in Arizona, but
this one ranks right
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RANDY PRENTICE
B L U E R A N G E
P R I M I T I V E A R E A
A P A C H E - S I T G R E A V E S
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T S
San Francisco River
S T A R T H E R E
To Show Low
A R I Z O N A
N E W M E X I C O
46 j u n e 2 0 0 9 a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 47
month OF THE
horton was an elephant who heard a Who. He was
born in the imagination of Dr. Suess, and was recently
“voiced” by Jim Carrey in an animated film. Horton Creek
has nothing to do with any of that, and
no matter how hard you listen, you won’t
hear a Who along this trail. You will,
however, hear water, which in Arizona is
always like music to the ears.
The trail, which is named for the
creek which is named for settler L.J. Hor-ton,
begins at the foot of the Mogollon
Rim, about 150 feet from the Upper
Tonto Creek Campground, and follows
an old logging road that parallels the
stream. The first quarter-mile or so is
an easy pine-needle-covered path that
cuts through a grove of ponderosas and
aspens. To this point, you won’t hear any water, but once
you pass through the Forest Service gate, you’ll hear the
creek. Unless, of course, you’re hiking with friends who
prefer reciting lines from Will Ferrell movies to listening
to the calming sounds of running water.
For most of the hike, you’ll be within a hundred feet of
the creek. By all means, hop off the trail and get your feet
wet. There are several creek crossings — mostly boulders,
which are slippery when wet — and they’re worth the
side trip. You’ll also notice some idyllic campsites, which
you’ll want to keep in mind for another day.
Continuing uphill, past the lush colonies of roses, wild
grapes, ferns and strawberries, you might start feeling a
burn in your quads. It’s not poison ivy, although that dia-bolical
plant does grow in the area. The burn is from the
incline, which is unexpected — this hike is deceptively
steep, and gains more than 1,000 feet in elevation. Another
challenge, as you get farther up, is a bed of rocks caused
by an old rockslide. Be careful, the trail follows the rocks,
which drool at the thought of twisting unsuspecting
Eventually, you’ll leave the rocks, and at the 1.5-mile mark,
you’ll see a monstrous alligator juniper to your left — this
tree is to junipers what the General Sherman is to Sequoias.
The surrounding maples and Douglas firs are worth noting,
as well. The views are worth a thousand words.
The nature of the trail stays the same until you near
the top, where you’ll hit a series of switchbacks that
lead away from the creek — don’t be fooled by that. At
the 4-mile mark, the Horton Creek Trail intersects with
the Highline Trail, which is a 40-mile marathon hike for
those who don’t have to be at work on Monday.
Just beyond that intersection is Horton Spring, which
pours out of the rocks about 30 feet above the stream and
nurtures the lush surroundings of horsetails, mosses and
grasses. These are the headwaters of the creek, and if ever
there were a place to relax and get lost in your imagina-tion,
this would be it. You won’t hear a Who, but who
LENGTH: 8 miles round-trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 5,360 to 6,700 feet
DIRECTIONS: From Payson, drive 17 miles
east on State Route 260 to Tonto Creek
Road (Forest Road 289, near Kohls Ranch),
turn left and drive 1 mile to the Upper
Tonto Creek Campground; the trailhead is
at the campground.
INFORMATION: 928-477-2255 or www.
LEAVE NO TRACE ETHICS:
• Plan ahead and be prepared.
• Travel and camp on durable
• Dispose of waste properly and pack
out your trash.
• Leave what you find.
• Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
• Be considerate of others.
◗ Horton Creek
(above and oppo-site)
boulders as it
flows from the
base of the
Mogollon Rim to
Tonto Creek, near
HORTON CREEK TRAIL
If water is music to the ears,
this trail is Mozart in Bigfoot’s
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK BEREZENKO
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit our “Hiking Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
M O G O L L O N R I M
Upper Tonto Cr.
T O N T O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
A P A C H E - S I T G R E A V E S
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T S
T R A I L H E A D
48 j u n e 2 0 0 9
Win a collection of our most popular books! To enter, correctly identify the location featured above and e-mail your answer to
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April 2009 Answer:
Longhorn Grill in
to our winner,
Lura Reines of Delray
BY TOM BEAN
It wasn’t inten-tional,
but the first
part of this lake’s
name is apropos
for the wetland it
is. Grasses brush
and the air is aflut-ter
with bald eagles,
coots and migrating
waterfowl. Yet as
marshy as it is,
during droughts the
water can vanish. In
that case, you can
still set up camp
and enjoy views
of the mountains
rising blue in the
you visit the peaks
themselves, be sure
to wear some flow-ers
in your hair.
Forever Resorts is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and provides reservations services for Antelope Point Marina. Antelope Point Marina is owned and operated by Antelope
Point Holdings, LLC, an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Forever Resorts is a Committed Equal Opportunity Service Provider.
Mother Nature invites you to join her aboard a Forever Houseboat at Lake Mead, Lake Mohave or Lake Powell.
Luxury houseboats that sleep 4-to-12 adults. For fun and frolic or rest and relaxation, add ski boats, wakeboards,
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WHERE BLUE WATER MEETS BLUE SKY
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