E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EX P E R I ENCE
The Mutant Hummingbird
of Pinal County: It’s Freaky
How Prescott Ended Up in
the Game of Trivial Pursuit
A Medicine Woman Who
Works Magic on Anyone
The Ultimate Guide to
Arizona’s High Country
Recreation & More.
A Lot More!
IN ARIZONA’S GREAT
2 EDITOR’S LETTER 3 CONTRIBUTORS4
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
5 THE JOURNAL
People, places and things from around the state, including a
medicine woman who works miracles in the nation’s fifth-largest
city, Prescott’s brush with greatness in Trivial Pursuit, and a
mutant hummingbird whose parents should have known better.
44 SCENIC DRIVE
Forest Road 249: You won’t see Sasquatch — most likely —
but you could see up to 400 other species of wildlife along
this scenic route in the White Mountains.
46 HIKE OF THE MONTH
Secret Mountain Trail: Because of Facebook, Flickr, et al., there
aren’t many secrets anymore. This gorgeous hike is an exception.
48 WHERE IS THIS?
A COMFORTABLE ALTITUDE
Sitting in Phoenix or Tucson or any of the other desert cit-ies
in the middle of summer, one thought comes to mind:
Why am I not in Flagstaff? Cool temperatures, even cooler
surroundings ... this historic mountain town is the ultimate
high-elevation destination. From vintage hotels, charming
B&Bs and barbecue joints to hiking, biking and a mother
lode of Mother Nature, there’s something for everyone.
BY KELLY KRAMER
28 IT’S ALL UPHILL
From just about anywhere in Arizona, a trip to Flagstaff
means a gain in elevation, and with that come cooler
temperatures, verdant meadows, evergreen forests, spec-tacular
wildflowers and, of course, mountain vistas. In this
month’s portfolio, you’ll see all of those things and more.
BY ROBERT MCDONALD
38 A CHANGE OF HART
Change, it’s been said, is good. In the case of Hart Prairie
Preserve near Flagstaff, change is a matter of survival.
That’s why The Nature Conservancy sponsors volunteer
weekends where participants work to re-create the old-growth
forest that existed before the area was logged.
BY LISA SCHNEBLY HEIDINGER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER SCHWEPKER
◗ A gauzy mist envelops a field of wild-flowers
as the volcanic cinder cone of
Sunset Crater Volcano National
Monument rises in the background.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM BEAN
FRONT COVER Summer thunderstorm
clouds shroud the San Francisco Peaks,
while the range’s Inner Basin bursts with
color from the blooms of Western sneeze-weed.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT MCDONALD
BACK COVER A hiker takes a break near the
Coconino National Forest’s Sunset Trail.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM BEAN
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 issue, we focus on Flagstaff (see page
14). We cover a lot of ground — where to get a great burger, where
to go mountain biking — but we also understand we’ve left out some
local favorites. Tell us what we’ve missed. We can be reached at
GET MORE ONLINE:
While you’re in Flagstaff, you might want to hit the trail. For some
great area hikes, and others around the state, visit our extensive
Get details on some of this month’s biggest events, including
statewide July Fourth celebrations, in our “Events Calendar.”
Want more photography? Check out the 40 finalists in our online
photography contest. See “Photo Contest.”
2 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 3
At 72 years young, longtime Arizona Highways photographer
Robert McDonald is no stranger to adventure. In fact, some
of the images for this month’s portfolio (It’s All Uphill, page 28)
required a trek of several miles and several thousand feet in
elevation. “Making those images required backpacking, camping and carrying camera
equipment — a 60- to 65-pound load,” McDonald says. “Fifteen years ago, when I made
those particular photos, I could carry that kind of load, although it was, at times, exhaust-ing.
Of course, back then, I did have the company of my beloved and now departed Lab-rador,
Cocoa. He carried his own food and water in a doggy pack.” In addition to Arizona
Highways, McDonald’s work appears in Audubon and Browntrout calendars.
THE NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY TEAM
A mechanical engineering and photography student at NAU, Cole Johnson has always
looked at Flagstaff’s Hotel Monte Vista (Flagstaff: A Comfortable Altitude, page 14)
with a sense of pride. “I don’t think you’ll find a hotel like that in any other town,” he
says. “That’s the thing about Flagstaff, we have a very strong connection to our past.
The ‘Monte V,’ as the locals call it, housed stars from the early days of filmmaking. Hav-ing
looked at this downtown staple throughout my college years at NAU, I jumped at the
chance to take pictures of it. I tried to capture the warmth of the sign’s red glow, while
keeping the mysteriousness of it — it’s rumored to be haunted.” For Madison Kirkman
(not pictured), there’s no mystery about her experience. Five years ago, she thumbed
through an issue of Arizona Highways and dreamed of having one of her images published
in the magazine. This month, that dream comes true as the 21-year-old NAU student’s
shot of a vintage Flagstaff steam engine makes it into the cover story. “I started taking
photos in middle school, then realized in high school that it was truly my passion ... or
rather, obsession. Since then, I’ve filled my life with as many
cameras, darkrooms, photos and influences as I could,” Kirkman
says. “When one of my photography teachers, Peter Schwepker,
mentioned the opportunity to photograph for and possibly be
published in Arizona Highways, I jumped at the chance.”
8 0 0- 5 43- 5 43 2
www. a r i zona h i ghways .com
J U LY 2 0 0 9 V O L . 8 5 , N O. 7
Arizona Highways® (ISSN 0004-1521) is published month-ly
by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Subscrip-tion
price: $24 a year in the U.S., $44 outside the U.S.
Single copy: $3.99 U.S. Subscription correspondence
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PRODUCED IN THE USA
room 408. That’s where Bogie slept. It’s a nice room if you can get it. So is the “John
Wayne Room.” Even the “Air Supply Room” isn’t bad. It comes with a haunting
echo of mind-numbing ’80s music, but at the Hotel Monte Vista, you take what you
can get, because rooms in downtown Flagstaff are in short supply.
Of course, when Humphrey Bogart stayed there in the early ’40s, he didn’t have to
wait in line. All he had to do was learn his lines. Like most of the other celebs who’ve
stayed at the historic hotel — Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Jane Russell — Bogie was in
town to work on a movie. The next time you rent Casablanca, watch closely, some of
the scenes were filmed at the Monte Vista.
Sixty-some years later, things at the hotel are about the same as they were back
in Bogie’s day. The rooms, the saloon, the lobby. In fact, other than the arrival of a
few microbreweries and a New Age shop or two, downtown as a whole is the same
small-town sanctuary it’s always been. That’s why we’ve dedicated this month’s
issue to Flagstaff. Well, that and the cool temperatures and the arts and the culture
and the history and the restaurants and the Mother Nature and on and on and on.
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.
In addition to the Monte V, as the locals call it, we’ll tell you about some of the
other places to stay, as well as where to eat and what to do. It’s a long list, which is
something writer Kelly Kramer quickly realized as she was putting together the
outline for the story. At one point, she even called to ask, “Is there any chance we
could dedicate the August issue to Flagstaff, too?”
That wasn’t an option, but as you’ll see in A Comfortable Altitude, we’ve managed to
squeeze in enough to keep you busy for a while. Among the things that did make the
list is Schultz Pass Road, a 26-mile route that cuts through the heart of the San Fran-cisco
Peaks. If you’ve never been, pile in the car and hit the road. That’s what Robert
McDonald does every chance he gets. He’s not sightseeing, though. He’s working.
For decades, we’ve been fortunate enough to feature some of the best landscape
photographers in the world, and when it comes to shooting the San Francisco Peaks,
Robert McDonald is second-to-none. In this month’s portfolio, you’ll see for yourself.
Like all great photographers, his images make you feel as if you’re there. They’re
breathtaking. For an even closer look, you might want to walk in the footsteps 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
Lisa Schnebly Heidinger, who spent a weekend
in the mountains with The Nature Conservancy.
Unlike Mr. McDonald, Lisa wasn’t there with
a camera. She was there with a pair of gloves and
a pickax as part of a volunteer weekend where
participants work to re-create the old-growth
forest that once existed in Hart Prairie. In A
Change of Hart, she recounts her experience, which
included sleeping in a historic cabin. Although
the whole thing sounds like an excuse for tree-huggers
to get together and listen to Neil Young
music, the program is open to anyone who’s
interested in restoring the natural habitat.
Whether you listen to Perry Como or Colbie
Caillat, this is one of those things you’ll end up
writing home about. And if nothing else, it’s an
opportunity to spend a few days in the moun-tains,
where the nights are cool, the stars are
bright ... and talk about a room with a view. It’s
definitely better than the Air Supply Room. And
maybe even better than Room 408.
O n April 13, 2009, the
Arizona Highways family
lost one of its matriarchs.
Sara Jane Cole-Gilmore —
those who knew her called
her Sally — spent more than
30 years at the magazine. In
that time, she wore several
hats, but perhaps more than
anything, she served as the resident historian —
she knew everything there was to know about
Arizona Highways. Her hard work and dedication
helped establish the worldwide reputation of this
magazine, and her legacy will live on its pages.
Thank you, Sally.
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
LEFT TO RIGHT: Kara
Hamilton, Cole Johnson
(in back), Toni Snelling,
Peter Schwepker, Mitch
Arnett and Michael
~ I n M e m o r i a m ~
S a r a J a n e
C o l e - G i l m o r e
4 j u l y 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
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
My compliments to Arizona Highways
for Nikki Buchanan’s recent article
on restaurants [Best Restaurants, April
2009]. Very interesting and well done
— it makes me long to visit my home
TIM RALSTON, NORCROSS, GEORGIA
Before I became a subscriber to
Arizona Highways, and I’ve been one
for a long time, I regularly pawed
through my aunt’s copies of your
magazine when each new edition
arrived. That was in the late ’40s and
’50s. So, while I enjoy all aspects of
the magazine, the “50 Years Ago in
Arizona Highways” column is particu-larly
evocative. Can you tell me what
the per-copy price of the February
1959 magazine was? My recollection
is that the annual subscription rate
was something like $7.50 — inexpen-sive
even by 1959 standards — mak-ing
the price per copy about $0.65. Is
TED MACDERMOTT, AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for your longtime support,
Mr. MacDermott. We sincerely appreciate that.
In 1959, an annual subscription cost $3.50, and
individual copies cost 40 cents.
In your reference to Meteor Crater
[Iconic Arizona, February 2009], the
paragraph under the photograph
reads: “Modern scientists estimate
that the impact of the meteor ... .” As
you’ve probably heard from other
readers, that’s not the correct termi-nology.
Meteors do not strike the sur-face
of Earth. The crater was caused
by a “meteorite.”
WALTER THOMPSON, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
Regarding your story about intern-ment
camps [The Journal, March
2009], I met then first lady Eleanor
Roosevelt soon after I was com-missioned
in the Army Air Corps. I
found her to be friendly, charming
and intelligent, but woefully unin-formed
in some matters. No butter
or sugar on the Japanese internees’
tables? Goodness gracious! The great-est
hardship she ever endured in her
pampered life was if the temperature
of her bath was not drawn to suit her
taste. Executive Order 9066 has been
excoriated as inhumane, hailed as a
great preventive measure, or some-where
in between. It would be dif-ficult
to convince me that FDR took
the wrong stance in that matter.
BOB KUNZMAN, YUMA
In a recent issue, we asked readers to share their
thoughts on Arizona Highways Television.
Yes, we watch it! We Tivo it! The
photography and information are
essential for living in this wonderful
state. We especially love the wild-flower
stories every year. Thanks for
giving us flower names and locations.
There are so many beautiful places
to see in Arizona, but we could never
find some of the really cool places
without you telling us about them —
in both the magazine and on the TV
show. We began traveling out here
in 2003 and fell in love with all of
Arizona; two years ago we moved to
Page. Your magazine will be a part of
our household from now on, no mat-ter
where we live. Keep up the good
work. And kudos to Robin Sewell!
KATHY PHIPPS, PAGE
You printed a letter from John M.
Wigglesworth in your March 2009
issue telling of his experience as a
student at Fort Defiance. His letter
brought up many old memories for
me. I, too, attended grammar school
at Fort Defiance, but years later in
the 1930s. By then there was a two-room
school with husband-and-wife
teachers. Their names were John and
Mildred Herrera. After the 8th grade,
we all went off to boarding school.
Last year I took my children and
grandchildren to Fort Defiance to
show them where I grew up. I looked
for the old school, but couldn’t find it.
There must be a large alumni group
of that school. I wonder if anyone has
a photograph of the old schoolhouse.
JAMES R. HELMS JR., ARCADIA, CALIFORNIA
YEARN TO RETURN, AYE
I love the magazine and look forward
to receiving each issue. With each
edition that arrives, I yearn to return
to Arizona. I especially love explor-ing
the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
Area (Coyote Buttes in particular),
and enjoyed the March 2009 photo
on page 5 in The Journal. Keep up the
EARL FAWCETT, CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA
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
A climber rappels
down a waterfall
in Crystal Canyon
along the San
This is just one of
on the San
CENTER FOR SOUTHWEST STUDIES
Fort Defiance School
6 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 7
If you find yourself in Page with a hankering for steak served on a red-checkered tablecloth,
you don’t need our help. This meat-and-potatoes town is your oyster. If, however, you find
yourself in northernmost Arizona yearning for yellowtail sashimi, we’ll let you in on a little
secret: Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge.
Expect the unexpected at Blue Buddha. Open the door of this unassuming strip mall restau-rant
and you’ll think that a warp in the space-time continuum has transported you to a club in
Manhattan. Groovy music gently pulses through a Zen-like space that’s jazzed up with a glitter-ing
bar and funky light fixtures.
Yet the aesthetics actually work for Page: the turquoise walls and cushy orange chairs evoke
neighboring Lake Powell’s color palette of sky, water and russet sandstone. The bubbly shadows
on the walls and river-rock bar echo the aquatic motif. And in the do-it-yourself spirit of the
town, everything was built by the owner and his employees.
“We wanted to bring something different to the town,” says
owner/operator Twist Thompson. “We knew there was a population
looking for more culture, so we went out on a limb.”
Thompson attended the Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles and
Out of the Blue
The Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge in Page defies expectations. It also
serves up a mean tempura Oreo. That’s right. Tempura Oreo. Sweet.
By KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
BELEN STONEMAN IS A medium between different
worlds: spiritual and physical, Native American and
non-native, living and dead. Visit her at the Sheraton
Wild Horse Pass Resort’s Aji Spa
expecting a massage with a few Native
American touches — maybe a creosote
wrap, perhaps a few incantations to Mother Earth —
and you’ll get more than you bargained for.
Stoneman, 49, is a medicine woman, though she’d
never bestow such an honorific on herself. “I’m just a
facilitator,” she says. “The No. 1 rule for me is that Cre-ator
God and the spirits do everything.”
Five years ago, she began as cultural ambassador
at Wild Horse Pass, Arizona’s only Native American-owned
resort, and two years ago became a healer at Aji
Spa. In both roles, it’s been Stoneman’s
goal to teach non-natives about Akimel
“Everything [at the spa] has the flair
of who we are — all the words and pro-tocol,”
Stoneman says. “I want people to
get an idea of who we are, that we’re not
Stoneman wears traditional dress and
walks barefoot through the spa’s hushed
hallways. Her soothing voice and inner
smile act like a lullaby, making anyone in
her presence feel relaxed and happy.
She begins healings by asking clients
what’s weighing on their minds. Then,
she says, “I pray over them, and I ask
their spirit for permission [to heal them],
because everyone has spirits and guides
and angels, whether they believe it or not.”
She smears them with creosote balm,
checks their bodies’ balance of elements
(earth, fire, water, air) and, through a
combination of massage and something
more mysterious, releases the tension, fear
and sadness from their bodies. These are
ancient techniques, but they’re passed on
to only a select few.
When she was a little girl living in the
Gila River Community, Stoneman’s family
discovered she had a gift. “I used to see
spirits,” she says. “I used to see old people
who passed on, and I would talk to them.
I knew something was going to happen before it would
happen. I tried to be in denial of it, but when you’re in
denial, it gets stronger.”
She studied under medicine men and women on
other reservations, earning the title of healer among
her people. She could have kept doing healings quietly
out of her home, but, she says, her spirit told her she
should share her gift outside the community.
Her family objected, but after several years of nego-tiating,
she finally told them: “There are other people
who need this. The elders didn’t turn away people.
Don’t they say we’re supposed to share?”
And so, through Stoneman, non-natives can get a
better sense of Native American spirituality, their own
spirits and maybe even their futures.
“It makes me feel good when a non-native person
wants to be healed, that they trust and believe enough
that they are willing to go to a person in this field,”
Stoneman says. And when their spirit releases and
allows her to heal them, she
says, “They’re going to leave feel-ing
Belen Stoneman has a gift, but don’t
expect this Native American healer to
pat herself on the back.
By KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
trained his three sushi chefs in authentic
Japanese sushi-making. You’ll find the usual
favorites here: fresh and delicious sushi and
sashimi, miso soup and a selection of sakes.
And those who balk at raw can dip their chop-sticks
into one of several noodle bowls stud-ded
with (cooked) chicken, beef or shrimp.
Yet Blue Buddha doesn’t attempt to imitate
the mom-and-pop sushi joints of Tokyo. For
example, if you’re feeling daring,
you could peruse the bamboo-constructed
menu while sip-ping
a Zen Snow Conetini (a Blue Curaçao
snowball floating in citrus vodka and green
tea), whet your appetite with spicy tuna jala-peño
poppers, continue with a Castle Rock
or Lake Rider sushi roll, and cap it all off with
shockingly good tempura Oreos smothered in
vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
You read it right: tempura Oreos. Sounds
like a freak of nature, but it will change your
life. Or at least your expectations of a sushi
restaurant in Page.
Blue Buddha Sushi
Lounge is located at 815
N. Navajo Drive in Page.
For more information, call
THEJOURNAL > dining
P A G E
If you were trying to
convince Tommy La-sorda
is one of the most
beautiful places in
the world, where
would you take him?
how fond Tommy
Lasorda is of pasta,
so the first thing I’d
do is take him out for
a night on the town in
Old Town Scottsdale.
There are a lot of
great Italian places
there, and we could
him to keep coming
back to Arizona.
training ballpark in
has a great atmosphere.
They get a lot
of our fans out there,
and it’s usually a
sold-out game. After
the game, there are
several great places
to go around the park.
Who would do a bet-ter
job of steering a
raft through the rap-ids
on the Colorado
River: Stephen Drew
or Justin Upton?
Stephen Drew. He’s
an avid hunter and
fisherman, so his
benefit him on the
rapids. Plus, if we got
he’d be able to get us
— Dave Pratt is the
author of Behind the
Mic: 30 Years in Radio.
P R A T T ’ S Q&A
For information, call 602-
225-0100 or visit www.
C H A N D L E R
THE JOURNAL > people
8 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 9
MANY WORDS HAVE BEEN used to describe the epic desolation of Monument Valley,
but “comfortable” isn’t usually among them. The View Hotel changes all that.
Perched on a mesa amid towering monoliths, the View is the first hotel built inside Mon-ument
Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and as you might expect, it offers luxurious access to the
mythic backdrop of John Ford Westerns. Indeed, now you can sip coffee
from your own private balcony and watch the bones of the land drenched
in the shimmery light of sunrise.
“I wanted to create a place so people could come from all over the
world, or just around the corner, to experience this sacred place, and Native American
culture as well,” says Armanda Ortega, owner of The View. Armanda is a member of the
Ortega family, Navajos long known for their entrepreneurial spirit.
“When you’re in Monument Valley you feel like you’re in touch with a different part of the
world,” she says. “I’m glad people are able to enjoy it now for longer than a day.”
Designed to exist in harmony with the magnificent surroundings, the hotel stands only
three stories tall, a low contour conforming to the mesa that over-looks
the valley. The exterior’s reddish hue blends with the rock.
Energy-efficient windows, additional insulation and low-flow water
devices also enhance the hotel’s eco-friendly credentials.
Yet soul-nudging splendor defines The View. Rooms face east,
There’s only one place in the world where you can see Monument
Valley from your hotel balcony, and it’s on the Navajo Nation, at a
place called The View.
By ROGER NAYLOR
each with a sheltered balcony framing an
up-close panorama of iconic formations —
the Mittens and Merrick Butte. In a state
with no shortage of dramatic settings, this
one is hard to beat.
When you’re not sitting mesmerized
in your room, you’ll want to consider a
Navajo-led tour and discover an array of
hidden wonders. The View provides a com-plete
list of available tours. Hotel guests
can also hike the Wildcat Trail, a dazzling
loop that curls among the sand and the
silence around the base of West Mitten.
Ortega understands the desire to con-nect
to this startling landscape.
“Just before opening, my mom and her
whole family came out. My uncles were
building railings, and my aunts were inside
doing the things we needed to do. We
awoke before the sun rose and all went out-side.
We took our corn pollen and prayed,
and it was truly a moment I’ll never forget.
When you wake up with that sun, it’s an
And now it’s an extremely comfortable
one, as well, courtesy of The View Hotel.
The View Hotel is located
in Monument Valley Na-vajo
Tribal Park. For more
information, call 435-727-
5555 or visit www.monu
about your camera
gear. When you’re
your equipment, it
allows you to be
scout your shot. If it’s
a specific location,
check the light in
the morning and
the evening, and
ask yourself: Is one
season better than
another? Third, learn
to be patient. Even
with good planning,
nature operates on
her schedule, not
EDITOR’S NOTE: Look for
Arizona Highways Pho-tography
at bookstores and www.
Tips From Ansel Adams and Josef Muench in the early
days to David Muench and Jack Dykinga today,
our contributors’ list reads like a who’s who
of landscape photographers. George Stocking, Kate
Thompson, Randy Prentice, Edward McCain, Claire
Curran, Nick Berezenko, Larry Lindahl ... the list goes
on. Peter Schwepker is on there, too. In addition to his
many contributions to this magazine (see A Change of
Hart, page 38), Peter teaches photojournalism at North-ern
A few months ago, I had a chance to speak to his
class, and I was impressed with the work his students
are doing. Clearly, they’re learning from the master,
which left me feeling optimistic about the future of
photojournalism. In fact, about a week after my trip
to NAU, I was in a planning meeting with our editor
and art director — we were discussing our “Flagstaff”
issue, the one you’re holding now — and I mentioned
how good these kids were, and how we might be able
to use them in some way for this issue.
Robert and Barb liked the idea, so I called Peter
and discussed the possibilities. We decided to keep
it simple by giving them a list and cutting them loose.
After we hung up, Peter posted an online challenge to
his students: “Gain real-world photography experience
by shooting for Arizona Highways, staying mindful of a
firm deadline and keeping up with such professional
Of course, there
were no guarantees
that any of their images
would make the final
cut — that’s one of
those real-world reali-ties
— but we made it
clear we’d treat them
exactly as we’d treat
the men and women in
the first paragraph of
this column. And that
included paying them
our standard rates.
Turns out, the students
embraced the opportunity, and by the time they were
finished, we had some great images to work with. We
also got some wonderful feedback from them.
Madison Kirkman, who shot the old Baldwin steam
engine on page 24, wrote, “I shot until I couldn’t move
my hands anymore because of the cold, and until I
couldn’t stand the trains passing within 10 yards of me.”
What Madison learned — this was an educational
experience, after all — is that photography is an art
made up of mostly hard
work and long hours
spent in less-than-ideal
conditions. It’s rarely
easy, but the carrot at
the end of the stick is
getting published, and
Madison has now been
published. This time,
it was Arizona Highways,
but there will be other
assignments. She’s very
good. Like many of her
Thanks to all of you
who took the time to
traipse around and
shoot for us. Although
we didn’t use everyone’s
work, we did use a few,
and we were impressed
THE JOURNAL > lodging THEJOURNAL > photography
O N L I N E
For more photography
tips and other information,
highways.com and click
on “Photo Tips.”
M O N U M E N T
V A L L E Y
MITCHELL ARNETT, NAU STUDENT
MADISON KIRKMAN, NAU STUDENT
Laura Sauerman, a Karma restau-rant
employee, offers up a colorful
and delicious tray of sushi, sake, and
This month, instead of just going to the usual well of photographers,
we looked to the students at Northern Arizona University.
By the way, they passed with flying colors.
By JEFF KIDA, photo editor
10 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 11
QUESTION: What annual Arizona event showed up as a question
in Trivial Pursuit?
a. Barrett-Jackson car auction
b. Cactus League baseball
c. Fiesta Bowl
d. None of the above
The correct answer is “d.” None of the above. In the 1985 ver-sion
of the popular board game, a question read:
“What rough-and-tumble Western sport was first
formalized in Prescott, Arizona?” The answer, of
course, was “rodeo,” and today, the Prescott Rodeo is billed as the
“World’s Oldest Rodeo.”
It began in 1888, when the town fathers included a “cowboy
Payson, Pecos and Cheyenne came close, but
it was Prescott that wrangled the honor of being
the world’s oldest rodeo.
By SALLY BENFORD
contest” in Prescott’s July Fourth Frontier
Days celebration, hoping to entice people
to come into town from nearby farms and
ranches. It worked.
That year, cowboys and spectators
were thrilled with contests that included bronco riding, cow-horse
racing and steer roping. Juan Leivas, a cowboy from nearby
Date Creek Ranch, took the honor as “Best Cowboy.” Claiming the
title of “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” however, wasn’t that simple for
Arizona’s original Territorial capital.
For years, Prescott wrangled with a number of towns that
claimed to have held the first rodeo, including Pecos, Texas;
Cheyenne, Wyoming; and, closer to home, Payson. The town of
Pecos held a cowboy contest on July 4, 1883, calling it the first, but
according to Prescott officials, the contest wasn’t formally docu-mented.
Cheyenne’s rodeo began in 1897, nine years after Prescott’s.
And, like Pecos, Payson’s first several cowboy tournaments weren’t
documented. However, the town has hosted events every year since
1884, making Payson’s event the “World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo.”
Drawing on its rich — and strictly American — tradition,
Prescott took center stage in the 1972 movie Junior Bonner, starring
Steve McQueen. Written by Prescott native Jeb Rosebrook and
filmed on location, the story focused on McQueen’s character as an
aging rodeo rider who comes home to Prescott to compete in the
town’s annual Frontier Days Rodeo.
This month, images of cowboys astride bucking broncs will
still ride high at Prescott’s most-antici-pated
event, now in its 122nd year. Small-town
Western ambience fills the streets,
while top PRCA rodeo talent fills the bill
at the arena.
Things didn’t work out with Lyle Lovett
and Julia Roberts, but in some cases,
opposites really do attract. Consider
the unlikely pairing of two adventurous hum-mingbirds
— one a broad-billed and the other
a violet-crowned. Turns out, they were more
than just friends. In fact, they hooked up and
hatched an egg, and their offspring, which
was originally spotted in 2006, was recently
seen again at the Boyce Thompson Arbore-tum
As strange as it might sound, this hybrid
hummer isn’t the first of its kind. Humming-birds
are notorious for hybridizing. But this com-bination
is significant because it’s been more
than a century since the last violet-crowned
and broad-billed hybrid was spotted in the area.
Naturally — or unnaturally, depending on
your point of view — the hybrid has become
the star of Superior, attracting birders, pho-tographers
and freak-show aficionados from
all over. A couple of followers have even given
the bird a nickname, suggesting that “hybrid
hummingbird” didn’t really suit this particular
hummer’s ostentatious appeal.
Paul Wolterbeek, the arboretum’s volun-teer
coordinator, says he and co-worker
Gonzalo Ruiz, a native of Mexico, came up
with the name while carpooling to work.
“I asked Gonzalo what they’d call a ladies’
man back in his hometown — you know, the
flashy, irresistible guy who always has his
suits perfectly creased and looks impeccable,”
“ ‘Oh,’ Gonzalo answered, ‘El Catrin, the
The name stuck, and as you’ll see, the
“dancer” takes after both parents.
In most cases, broad-billed hummingbirds
are relatively small, with a wide tail and a
striking, metallic blue-green breast. The vio-let-
crowned birds are much larger, and have
a snow-white neck with a violet cap and an
olive green body. El Catrin (below) inherited
his intense, iridescent blue color and gray tips
from his broad-billed parent, while his size
and white markings suggest family ties to the
Native to low, wooded canyons, broad-billed
hummingbirds are frequent visitors
to the arboretum, as well as other parts of
Southern Arizona and Central Mexico. Violet-crowned
hummingbirds, however, are found
predominantly in Mexico
and reach the edge of their
breeding range in Southern
Arizona, making them rare for the area. To
date, the arboretum has no recorded history
of a violet-crowned sighting.
Sheri Williamson of the Southeastern
Arizona Bird Observatory says it’s difficult to
pinpoint what caused the parents of El Catrin
to mate, but speculates it was likely a case of
According to Williamson, the violet-crowned
hummer was probably a female
pioneer that wandered out of her native area.
Unable to find another violet-crowned male
to mate with, she was forced to consider
“Once she prepares her nest, her biological
clock is ticking,” Williamson says. “If she
doesn’t find Mr. Right in time, she’ll lose an
opportunity to repro-duce,
so she may settle
for Mr. Right Now, a
male of another species.”
Birds of a Feather? As a general rule, members of the
animal kingdom typically mate with their own kind, but not always. Among
the most adventurous are hummingbirds. By JOCELYN BURAS
THEJOURNAL > nature
P R E S C O T T
This year’s event takes
place June 29-July 5. For
information, call 866-
407-6336 or visit www.
■ On July 17, 1871,
Quechan Indians re-volted
the Colorado River
at Yuma, destroying
and dwellings, and
killing 50 people, in-cluding
■ The last major
Indians and the U.S.
Army occurred on
July 17, 1882, at the
Battle of Big Dry
Wash, near East
Clear Creek on the
■ On July 20, 1942,
the Poston Reloca-tion
Camp, south of
Parker, opened for
the confinement of
The July 1959 issue of Arizona Highways show-cased
the history of Arizona’s Indian tribes,
along with their traditions of dance, rodeo and
cradle-boarding. The issue also featured Hopi
artist Kacha Honawah, who provided detailed
illustrations of the Hopi Niman ceremony,
which is held during late summer.
50 years ago
I N A R I Z O N A H I G H W A Y S
because of its
and its preference
for rocky streams
and rivers, the
sucker fish is
found most com-monly
with a bit of a
current — like the
headwaters of the
It’s most easily
identified by its
and large mouths,
as well as its
broad upper lips.
THEJOURNAL > history
BRUCE D. TAUBERT
ARIZONA STATE LIBRARY
520-689-2811 or www.
Prescott Rodeo, 1910
S U P E R I O R
12 j u l y 2 0 0 9
Set in Stone
JULY 1 - 3 1 TUCSON
For more than 2,000 years, gems, minerals,
copper and even seashells were carried along
well-established trade routes in the Southwest.
Set in Stone, an exhibit at the Arizona State
Museum, spotlights that history with more
than 800 objects, including Native American jewelry, mining tools,
photographs and recordings. Information: 520-621-6302 or www.state
There are many places to get a dose of patri-otic
pride this year. Check out the annual
“firing of the anvil” in Taylor, the coaster race
in Bisbee, the rodeo in Prescott or the small-town
barbecue and ice cream social in Wil-liams.
Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and other
towns have celebrations as well. Information:
This month, head to the high country for the
annual White Mountains Roundup, held in
conjunction with the National Day of the
Cowboy. Along with a cowboy supper and
Western art show, this year’s celebration
poets and musi-cians
takes place at the
Show Low High
1890s Cow Town Festival
JULY 2 5 A PACHE JUNC T ION
Celebrate the Old West during this festival
at Goldfield Ghost Town, which features the
Earp-Holliday Mustache and Beard Contest
and the Fast Draw Shootout. Other festivities
include a parade, an old-fashioned medicine
show, a longhorn cattle drive, cowboy poets,
food, entertainment and a Kids Corral. Infor-mation:
480-982-4131 or www.goldfieldghost
Fourth of July
J U L Y 4
Mountain Man Triathlon
J ULY 1 9 F L AGS TA F F
In the mood for a swim, bike and run amid the cool pines of Northern
Arizona? The Mountain Man Triathlon takes place 9 miles south of
Flagstaff, along Lake Mary Road, and offers fresh air and beautiful
vistas of the San Francisco Peaks. Information: www.mountainmanevents.
Autumn in Arizona
is special. To learn
about the best
places to photo-graph
fall color, sign
up for our workshop,
“Autumn at the North
Rim,” with Peter
dates are Septem-ber
You’ll visit the Grand
Canyon and Kaibab
National Forest, and
learn to make awe-inspiring
along the way.
7042 or www.friends
THEJOURNAL > things to do
J U L Y 2 4 - 2 6
ARIZONA STATE MUSEUM
The state of Arizona gave us our own license plate,
and we’d like you to take us for a ride.
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.
Sitting in Phoenix or
Tucson or any of the
other desert cities in
the middle of summer,
one thought comes to
mind: Why am I
not in Flagstaff?
even cooler surround-ings
... this historic
mountain town is the
destination. From vin-tage
B&Bs and barbecue
joints to hiking, biking
and a mother lode of
Mother Nature, there’s
something for every-one.
What follows are
some of our favorites,
and most are within
walking distance of
Bright purple asters carpet a mead-ow
in the approaches to the San
Francisco Peaks, north of Flagstaff.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT MCDONALD
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 15
A Comfortable altitude
16 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 17
Hotel Monte Vista
The Monte Vista is one of a handful of his-toric
hotels in Flagstaff. Opened in 1927,
the downtown destination quickly became
a go-to lodge for railway travelers, bank
robbers and movie stars — Esther Wil-liams,
Bob Hope, Carole Lombard and
Gary Cooper among them. The 50-room
hotel has been updated with some modern
amenities like cable television, showers
and telephone service, but it remains a
draw for history buffs, due to a few para-normal
guests. Rumor has it that the
ghosts of wounded bank robbers, a baby in
the basement and an ominous bellboy
haunt the premises.
The Hotel Monte Vista is located at 100 N. San
Francisco Street. Call 800-545-3068 or visit
1,000 Years in the Making
A volcano erupts in the San
Francisco Peaks, forming Sunset
Crater, north of Flagstaff.
Spanish explorers under the command of
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited
Northern Arizona near the Hopi mesas,
searching for the “Seven Cities of Gold.”
Franciscan friars visit the Hopi mesas in an
effort to minister to the Native people there.
The friars give the San Francisco Peaks their
name, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Treaty of Gua-dalupe
signed, acquiring the
land that eventually
President Millard Fillmore
signs the first Railroad
Land Grant Act.
A party of Army Corps of
Topographical Engineers, led
by Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves,
discovers the ruins at Wupatki,
north of Flagstaff.
Lieutenant Amiel Weeks Whipple leads an expedi-tion
to scout possible routes for the transcontinental
railroad. While searching for water, party members
discover a spring named for Antoine Leroux. Today,
the spring is a source for Flagstaff’s water supply.
Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale
constructs a wagon road across
New Mexico and Arizona. The Beale
Road passes by the San Francisco Peaks,
drawing emigrants on their
way to California.
where to stayin
Aspen Inn Bed & Breakfast
Not all of the Earps were outlaws and vagabonds.
In fact, Wyatt’s cousin, C.B. Wilson, was fairly tame,
and in 1912 he built what would become the Aspen
Inn Bed & Breakfast. The home is located five min-utes
from downtown Flagstaff and maintains plenty
of historic charm in its Peach, Wyatt, Emily and
Wilson rooms. Breakfast is served daily between 8
a.m. and 9 a.m., and provides the perfect start for day
trips to Walnut Canyon or the Grand Canyon. In the
evening, relax and play a game or two in the inn’s
spacious living room.
Aspen Inn Bed & Breakfast is located at 218 N. Elden
Street. Call 888-999-4110 or visit www.flagstaffbedbreak
Another of Flagstaff’s antique
hotels, the Weatherford was
a favorite of Western novel-ist
Zane Grey — so much so
that in 1997, hotel proprietors
opened a ballroom in his honor.
In one of his most famous nov-els,
Call of the Canyon, Grey
mentioned a fireplace that
hadn’t been used or even
seen in decades. Because of
the book, it was rediscovered
behind partitions in the hotel’s
restaurant (Charly’s). A pet
project of John Weatherford,
a developer who also oversaw
the construction of the town’s
New Weatherford Opera
House — now the Orpheum
— the hotel opened in 1900.
Today, it’s a favorite stop for
travelers with a penchant for
history and literature.
Hotel Weatherford is located at
23 N. Leroux Street. Call 928-
779-1919 or visit www.weather
More great stuff
COLE JOHNSON, NAU STUDENT
LARRY LINDAHL DAVE EDWARDS
A timeline of Flagstaff and the surrounding beauty of Northern Arizona.
Over the years,
for High Altitude
Training, which is
now closed, hosted
athletes from 41
Those athletes won
191 Olympic and
in the past three
18 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 19
In 1912, Flagstaff nearly
became the movie capital of
the world. That’s when Cecil
B. DeMille came looking for a
location where outdoor
shooting would be feasible
year-round. Alas, a snowstorm
drove the legendary
director farther west.
On average, more than 100 trains pass through Flagstaff daily, including some from the Amtrak,
BNSF and Grand Canyon Railway lines.
embarks on his
of the Colorado
July 4, 1876
Emigrants camped at a small spring near the
peaks raise an American flag on a “flag staff”
constructed of a stripped ponderosa pine tree.
The Atlantic & Pacific Railroad
begins construction on a
railroad line from Albuquerque
August 1, 1882
The Atlantic & Pacific Railroad reaches the
Flagstaff area, and the town becomes an
established stop on the route to California.
hotels and saloons.
The railroad depot moves just east of
the settlement. P.J. Brannen and other
merchants follow, building Front Street
and another settlement — New Town.
The original settlement becomes known
as Old Town.
A fire destroys much of Old Town, making
New Town the one-and-only Flagstaff, with
its center at the intersection of Front and
San Francisco streets. Later, Front Street
is absorbed into Route 66.
Flagstaff’s population hovers near
1,500 people, making it one of the largest
towns in the Arizona Territory.
Bed & Breakfast
Built by master stonecutter William Eng-land
and his wife, Barbara Michelbach-
England, in 1902, the England House
features stunning workmanship, includ-ing
pressed-tin ceilings and Coconino and
Moenkopi stones. In 1976, the National
Trust for Historic Preservation proclaimed
England House “clearly among the most
outstanding homes in Flagstaff.” Today, the
home is a draw for travelers with an appre-ciation
for French antiques, velvet couches,
afternoon tea and unobscured views of the
stars from the B&B’s comfortable deck.
England House B&B is located at 614 W. Santa
Fe Avenue. Call 877-214-7350 or visit www.eng
These aptly named cabins, peppered
throughout neighborhoods surrounding
downtown, range in size from one bed-room
with one bath to four bedrooms and
two bathrooms. The 1920s-style homes are
equipped with televisions, DVD players
and phones, but, more importantly, they
come with picnic tables, picnic baskets,
bicycles, tennis racquets and barbecue
grills. The cottages are within walking
distance of Northern Arizona University,
Lowell Observatory, parks, shopping and
restaurants, and they’re just a short drive
from several museums.
Call 888-774-0731 or visit www.comficottages.com.
where to stay in flagstaff
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
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East Cherry Inn
Aspens, oaks and a hammock. What better combina-tion
for a relaxing summer escape? At East Cherry
Inn Bed & Breakfast, you can enjoy Flagstaff’s natural
beauty — the quaint inn resides within its own pri-vate
wooded hamlet — in a space all your own. The
1,200-square-foot Southwest Suite includes a private
entrance, kitchenette, living room, spacious bath-room
and enormous private patio. With a maximum
capacity of only two guests, this charming B&B is one
East Cherry Inn is located at 427 E. Cherry Lane. Call 800-
456-0682 or visit www.bbonline.com/az/eastcherryinn/.
The Inn at 410
Bed & Breakfast
There are plenty of reasons the Inn at 410 is
considered “the place with the personal touch.”
With fireplaces and refrigerators in each guest
room, a well-equipped fitness facility, spa
products and three private suites with Jacuzzi
tubs, you might think you’ve wandered into a
five-star resort. But really, it’s just the 10-room
pet project of owner Gordon Watkins, who has
taken his background in operations and development
for Ritz-Carlton and used it to create a
stunning, personal experience for visitors who
appreciate the inn’s countless charms.
The Inn at 410 Bed & Breakfast is located at 410 N. Ler-oux
Street. Call 800-774-2008 or visit www.inn410.com.
20 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 21
where to eat
divide, and Flag-staff
May 26, 1894
Flagstaff becomes an incorporated town.
September 11, 1899
Northern Arizona Normal School opens its doors
to 23 students and one professor.
The Hotel Weatherford
El Tovar Hotel
at the Grand
Emery and Ellsworth
Kolb construct a
photography studio at
the Grand Canyon’s
Bright Angel trailhead.
Charles “Buffalo” Jones
establishes a preserve
at the Grand Canyon’s
You’d think Bigfoot would be a menace at any barbecue
joint — what with his poor manners and oversized
appetite. But regulars with a Bigfoot-sized love of ribs
will think they’ve died and gone to hog heaven at Big-foot
Bar-B-Q. Located in the Basement Marketplace
at the Old Town Shops downtown, this local favorite
features a slew of hickory-smoked meats, as well as
some unconventional entrees, like the New Orleans-style
catfish po’ boy. And as every good barbecue joint
should, Bigfoot makes a mean fruit cobbler. Served with
or without ice cream, it’s a smokin’ deal at $1.99.
Bigfoot Bar-B-Q is located at 120 N. Leroux Street. Call 928-
226-1677 or visit www.bigfootbbq.com.
Karma Sushi Bar & Tapas
There are plenty of spiritual folks in Flagstaff who live by the concept of Karma, and
one visit to Karma might just make you a believer, too. With a menu that features
countless special rolls and some standard Japanese fare, Karma is a standout among
Flagstaff’s ethnic restaurants. And even though it’s more hip than other restaurants in
the area — an extensive sake menu draws a young, recession-oblivious crowd — it’s
a great place for a relaxed evening with friends.
Karma is located at 6 E. Route 66. Call 928-774-6100 or visit www.karmaflagstaff.com.
Where Karma is hip, Downtown Diner takes
a kitschy approach to its standard fare of
burgers, fries and shakes. The only down-town-
area restaurant that opens for breakfast
at 5:30 a.m., the diner specializes in classic
American cuisine, like “T-Bird” turkey sand-wiches
and “Big Daddy” cheeseburgers. But
there’s one dish that doesn’t fit the standard
bill: trout, which is delivered fresh daily from
Sedona. The chef marinates and smokes it,
then serves it up to hungry locals and visi-tors
Downtown Diner is located at 7 E. Aspen Avenue.
Call 928-774-3492 or visit www.downtowndiner
Martanne’s Burrito Palace
There’s always a gaggle of people waiting to get
into local favorite Martanne’s Burrito Palace,
and with good reason. The huevos rancheros
are to die for, as is this smallish restaurant’s en-tire
menu of rocking breakfast and lunch fare,
all served in monstrous portions. But gird your
stomach if you deign to try the chorizo — it’s
known to inspire perspiration among the hap-pily
Martanne’s is located at 10 N. San Francisco Street.
A favorite Flagstaff
breakfast spot, La Bel-lavia
is also known for
its trout — in this case,
in the form of the trout
and eggs breakfast
plate, which includes
two eggs, any style, pan-fried
trout, an English
and potatoes or
one ginormous pancake.
Other top menu picks
include blueberry pan-cakes,
drinks and a healthy side
dish of local art. Although
it’s small, La Bellavia does
feature a decent-sized
patio — perfect for sunny
La Bellavia is located at 18
S. Beaver Street. Call 928-
Flagstaff is a main
distribution hub for
some of America’s
Among the big ones
that have set up shop
within the city limits
are Nestlé Purina Petcare,
SCA Tissue and
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Flagstaff’s Arizona High Spirits Distillery, the
first legal distillery in the state, opened in 2005.
Among its most popular products are prickly
pear vodka and American vodka.
22 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 23
1. Beaver Street Brewery:
This well-loved brewery combines burgers,
beer and a friendly atmosphere for the perfect night out. Try the Rail
Head Red brew, a favorite among Flagstaff locals. Call 928-779-0079 or
2. Café Espress: With a pretty patio and a vegetarian-friendly
snack menu, Café Espress takes coffeeshop fare to new heights.
3. Flagstaff Brewing Co.: The folks at Flagstaff Brew-ing
Co. describe their clientele as “Beer lovers, dancing deadheads and
outdoor enthusiasts who congregate to share their latest adventures
while enjoying the brewery’s latest creation.” And, of course, there are
burgers, too — plenty of them. Call 928-773-1442 or visit www.flagbrew.com.
4. Rendezvous: Located in the Hotel Monte Vista, Rendez-vous
is part bar and part coffee shop. During the daytime, its friendly
staff slings espresso and sweet treats; by night, it’s a martini-lover’s
dream. Call 800-545-3068 or visit www.hotelmontevista.com.
5. Macy’s: Macy’s has been serving up stellar coffee, pastries and
vegetarian fare for nearly 30 years. In fact, it was the first commercial
coffee roaster in Arizona — long before Starbucks moved in. And Tim
Macy’s dedication to quality shows in every drop of espresso he brews.
Call 928-774-2243 or visit macyscoffee.net.
Cuveé 928 Wine Bar & Café
With a lighter “panini” menu for lunch or dinner
and a more substantial “plate” menu for dinner,
Cuveé 928 Wine Bar & Café is Flagstaff’s primo
spot for great wine and innovative cuisine. From
hot-and-sour-glazed meatballs and iced-tea-cured
pork loin to grilled prawns and goat cheese
bruschetta, Cuveé’s owners have taken standard
fare and transformed it into a treat for your taste
buds. And when it comes to dessert — ooh la la —
try the barely baked chocolate cake or the house-made
bittersweet chocolate truffles with one of
Cuveé’s delicious wines by the glass.
Cuveé 928 is located at 6 W. Aspen Avenue. Call 928-214-
9463 or visit www.cuvee928winebar.com.
Vegetarians will delight in Dara Thai, with its
menu of veggie-friendly options, including noodle
and rice dishes, and vegetarian curries. But omni-vores
needn’t shy away — orange chicken, satays
and Evil Jungle Princess (traditional Thai chicken
and vegetables) are among the most-often ordered
menu items. The friendly staff can adjust spice lev-els
to your liking, because while some like it hot,
newcomers to flavorful Thai food might prefer to
take baby steps toward iron-stomach status.
Dara Thai is located at 14 S. San Francisco Street. Call
In 2005, Men’s
Flagstaff No. 2
on its list of “Best
Places to Live.”
included the town
on its list of “10
Great Towns That
Will Make You
TO THE MOON
From 1963 to 1972, Flagstaff was a major player in the space
race, when young geoscientists stationed at the U.S. Geological
Survey’s in-town astrogeology branch helped plan the six
Apollo missions to the moon.
Famed novelist Zane Grey
visits Northern Arizona for
the first time, and stays at the
Hotel Weatherford on many
Phone service reaches Flagstaff,
and the Telephone Exchange building
The Normal School’s
athletes are, for the
first time, referred to
The New Weatherford
Opera House (now the
The Grand Canyon is
awarded National Park
in the Grand Canyon.
This famed snack spot is tucked inside the Hotel Weatherford and serves some
of Flagstaff’s best Southwestern cuisine, including Navajo tacos, enchiladas,
Durango tacos, steaks and prime rib. Try owner Sam Greene’s namesake “Sam’s
Special” posole, a wickedly good combination of New Mexico hominy and green
chile pork, served in a giant flour tortilla with a garnish of lettuce, onions, black
olives, tomatoes, cilantro and cheese.
Charly’s is located at 23 N. Leroux Street. Call 928-779-1919 or visit www.weatherfordhotel.com.
Coffee, beer and burgers are the staples of a college diet — just ask any of the
students at Northern Arizona University. Of course, even if you’re no longer an
academic, you’ll still appreciate these Flagstaff hotspots:
The Northern Arizona
is converted to
Northern Arizona State
John Weatherford constructs the
San Francisco Mountain Boulevard,
which was later purchased by the
where to eat in flagstaff
TONI SNELLING, NAU STUDENT
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
THE MEAD COLLECTION
24 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 25
ALL THE WORLD’S
Flagstaff’s theater scene is
an impressive one. Its community
Theatrikos, was founded
in 1972 in the basement of
the Hotel Weatherford and
hosts five productions each
year. In 2002, the group
moved to a new venue —
the Doris Harper White
Clyde Tombaugh, a scientist
at Lowell Observatory, dis-covers
Planet X, later named
The Flagstaff City Council
passes the nation’s first ordinance
governing outdoor lighting
in an effort to keep light pollution
to a minimum.
Desert View Watchtower
opens at the Grand Canyon.
The Navajo Ordnance Depot
is constructed 10 miles west
of Flagstaff. During World
War II, the depot had 800
Today, the depot is known
as Camp Navajo.
Sears and J.C. Penney
Flagstaff to set up
shop in the new
what to doin
Rock In the Pines
Pine trees are ubiquitous in Flagstaff, but unless you’re a one-man
band, you probably won’t have an opportunity to rock
out beneath them. That is, of course, unless you pay a visit
to the Pine Mountain Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County
Park — think Woodstock without the mud. Pine Mountain’s
lineup includes B.B. King and John Hiatt, as well as the Flag-staff
Symphony Orchestra and a three-day bluegrass festival,
featuring Del McCoury. And, really, what could be better
than bluegrass beneath the cool pines?
Pine Mountain Amphitheater is located off Interstate 17 at Exit 337.
Call 928-774-0899 or visit www.pinemountainamphitheater.com.
Blow Off Steam
After moving from Philadelphia to Arizona, Old Baldwin Steam Engine No. 25
has spent most of its life in Flagstaff. When it was purchased by the Arizona
Lumber & Timber Co. in 1917, it was used to haul timber all over the Grand Can-yon
State. Since being purchased by the city of Flagstaff in 1995, the big engine
that could serves as a reminder of the city’s railroad-centric history. Access is
limited to viewing only — the engine is located behind a fence — but visitors
can plainly see how No. 25 earned a nickname of “two spots.” Canvas water bags
once hung from the engine’s windows, resulting in two areas where the number
5 was rubbed away.
Old Baldwin Steam Engine No. 25 is located at 1 E. Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff.
to the “Other” Canyon
Most folks don’t talk about Flagstaff to potential visi-tors
without mentioning Arizona’s grandest of gulches,
but while the Grand Canyon might be most popular,
Walnut Canyon is stunning in its own right. With
trails that appeal to novice and veteran hikers alike,
Walnut Canyon features ruins of the Pueblo people
who lived there some 800 years ago. The canyon also
harbors mule deer, a variety of bird species, elk, black
bears and mountain lions, and abundant plant life, from
yuccas to Douglas firs.
From Flagstaff, travel approximately 7.5 miles east on Inter-state
40 to Exit 204 and continue south 3 miles to the canyon
rim. Call 928-526-1157 or visit www.nps.gov/waca.
Take a Drive
If you’re into panoramic vistas and snapping stunning photographs, Schultz Pass
scenic drive should do the trick. Rambling through the San Francisco Peaks and
Elden Mountains, the drive is a 26-mile loop over a combination of paved and gravel
roads, so be sure your vehicle can handle rocky terrain. But don’t feel obligated to
stay in the car. The route offers easy access to hiking trails and picnic areas, and
occasional glimpses of local wildlife, like elk and mule deer.
From Flagstaff, drive approximately 2 miles north of the city on U.S. Route 180. Turn east on
Forest Road 420, just beyond the Museum of Northern Arizona. Follow the route over Schultz
Pass to U.S. Route 89, where you’ll turn right to return to Flagstaff.
Geologist Eugene Shoemaker moves the
U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeologic Studies
unit from Menlo Park, California, to Flagstaff.
Between 1963 and 1972, the branch hosted
200 field-training exercises for NASA
astronauts near Sunset Crater, Cinder Lake,
Meteor Crater (pictured) and the Hopi Buttes.
DAVID H. SMITH
MADISON KIRKMAN, NAU STUDENT
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
NAU CLINE LIBRARY
DAVID H. SMITH
26 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 27
Inspiration is easy to come by in Flagstaff, which is why so
many artists are drawn to the area. To see their work, check
out some of these popular galleries:
1. Arizona Handmade Gallery: This destination gal-lery
features works by more than 50 Arizona artisans, with price and
pomp ranging from gift-suitable to collector-credible. Call 928-779-3790
or visit www.azhandmade.com.
2. The Artists Gallery: Voted “Best of Flagstaff,” this
gallery offers visitors a chance to meet regional artists and purchase
their work. Call 928-773-0958 or visit www.theartistsgallery.net.
3. Coconino Center for the Arts: Variety is the
spice of art at the 4,000-square-foot Coconino Center for the Arts,
where rotating exhibits feature the work of regional artists. Call 928-
779-2300 or visit www.culturalpartners.org.
4. The Museum Shop: Specializing in
Native American art, the Museum of Northern
Arizona’s museum shop is a collector’s dream. Call
928-774-5213 or visit www.musnaz.org.
5. West of the Moon Gallery:
This funky gallery has grown significantly from
15 artists in 2000 to approximately 50 today. It fea-tures
plenty of quirky local and regional art. Call
928-774-0465 or visit www.westofthemoongallery.com.
6. Fire on the Mountain Gallery: This private
gallery features the stunning glasswork of former jeweler and
metal craftsman George Averbeck, who is an instructor at Coconi-no
Community College. His work can also be found at the Arizona
Handmade Gallery. Call 928-779-3790 or visit www.azhandmade.com.
Catch a Flick
Although Flagstaff continues to grow, it retains its
small-town charm with events like Movies on the
Square. Each weekend throughout the summer, the
Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance presents
a family-friendly movie at Heritage Square, and,
often, live entertainment precedes it. Best of all,
the event is free, thanks to sponsorship by local
Call 877-668-4319 or visit www.flagdba.com.
Hikers and cyclists are flocking to the Arizona
Trail, as are equestrians who hope to take advan-tage
of nearly 800 miles of linked primitive and
newly constructed trails. Currently, 43 passages
comprise the trail, and they range in length from 11
to 35 miles. By the time the trail is complete, sup-porters
hope it will become “one of the premier
long-distance trails in the country.” Until then,
visitors to Flagstaff can guide their horses along
portions of Walnut Canyon and throughout the
area’s gorgeous mixed-conifer forests.
Call 602-252-4794 or visit www.aztrail.org.
After a long day of hiking, biking or riding, a little
retail therapy goes a long way — especially at Aspen
Place at the Sawmill, where shops, restaurants and
entertainment venues are surrounded by Flagstaff’s
famed aspen trees. Anchored by a New Frontiers
natural foods market, the center also features such
shops as Chico’s and Coldwater Creek, and restau-rants
like Pita Jungle and Wildflower Bread Co. But
Aspen Place isn’t your standard, cookie-cutter mall.
Its open-air atmosphere highlights Flagstaff’s best
attributes: clean, cool air and breathtaking views.
Aspen Place at the Sawmill is located at 825 E. Butler
Avenue. Visit www.aspenplace.com.
More than 2,500 species of wildflowers bloom
at the Arboretum at Flagstaff. And while that’s
impressive, there have also been sightings of 100
different bird species, including plenty of sparrows,
warblers, mockingbirds and even a white-breasted
nuthatch or two. The arboretum also offers a slew
of educational programs, like daily wildflower and
bird walks, birds of prey demonstrations, a “full
moon” bat program and a bug zoo.
The Arboretum at Flagstaff is located at 4001 S. Woody
Mountain Road. Call 928-774-1442 or visit www.thearb.org.
Climb every mountain. That’s what Julie Andrews
would do. But if you’re not quite ready to conquer
Everest, you can start training for the quest at
Vertical Relief Climbing Center. With more than
6,500 square feet of varied climbing terrain, the
center has something for every type of climber, and
a wide selection of climbing gear — from helmets
to carabiners. While there’s no guarantee that Ver-tical
Relief’s friendly staff of expert instructors will
turn you into a Sherpa-ready explorer, they might
Vertical Relief is located at 205 S. San Francisco Street.
Call 928-556-9909 or visit www.verticalrelief.com.
Flagstaff has four sister
cities: Barnaul, Russia
(pictured); City of Blue
Hsin Tsien, Taiwan; and
City officials draft the
Guide 2000” and construct
a new city hall, library and
gets a facelift, complete
with repaved sidewalks,
new restaurants and
Flagstaff is recognized as the
world’s first “International
Dark-Sky Community” for its
commitment to the avoidance
of light pollution.
Flagstaff residents rejoice because
their town is featured on the cover
of Arizona Highways magazine.
The STaTe’S BeST horSe TrailS. Giddyup!
E SC A P E . EX P LOR E . EXP E R I E NCE
The Mutant hummingbird
of pinal County: it’s Freaky
how prescott ended up in
the Game of Trivial Pursuit
a Medicine Woman Who
Works Magic on anyone
The ultimate Guide to
arizona’s high Country
recreation & More.
A Lot More!
in arizona’S GreaT
what to do in flagstaff
In addition to being a launch pad for trips to nearby Sedona, Flagstaff is home
to 33 miles of urban trails. Whether you’re a take-me-to-the-scenery cruiser or
a rugged bring-on-the-bumps (and potential bruises) type, Flagstaff is a great
place to explore atop two wheels. Prefer to BMX your way to bliss? Flagstaff is
also home to The Basin BMX facility. Open from 9 a.m. to dusk, the park features
side and central rails, an over-vertical wall, two straight walls and a wraparound
wall for teenagers to test their riding chops.
The Basin is located at 1700 E. Sixth Avenue in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Visit www.flag
Fire on the Mountain Gallery
West of the Moon Gallery
Flagstaff has been
featured in several
Edward Abbey’s The
Monkey Wrench Gang,
Arthur C. Clarke’s
3001: The Final Odys-sey
King’s Firestarter. Italian
Faletti set his 2006
novel, Fuori da un
Evidente Destino, in
Flagstaff, as well.
28 j u l y 2 0 0 9
UPHILL IT’S ALL
From just about anywhere
in Arizona, a trip to Flagstaff
means a gain in elevation,
and with that come cooler
meadows, evergreen forests,
spectacular wildflowers and, of
course, mountain vistas. In this
month’s portfolio, you’ll see
all of those things, and by the
time you get to the last page,
you’ll know why this neck of
the woods is considered the
high point of the state.
By R ober t M cDona l d «
w w w . a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 29
30 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 31
The San Francisco
direction. The snow-capped
a stark contrast to
the verdant hue of
Thick clouds (this
page) obscure the
view from the top
of Mount Elden.
32 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 33
Sunrise illuminates Wukoki Ruin (above), part
of the ancient pueblo at Wupatki National
Monument, north of Flagstaff.
An evening primrose (opposite page) adds a del-icate
touch to the cinder-covered terrain of
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
34 j u l y 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 35
The serene water of Bismark Lake reflects
snow fields nestled in the ridges of the
San Francisco Peaks in mid-June.
36 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 37
A mountain stream provides the perfect habitat for
Parry’s primroses (opposite page) in the San Francisco
Peaks’ Inner Basin.
A lush field of golden prairie sunflowers (above) plays
the part of a pot of gold at Flagstaff’s Bonito Park.
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 39
CHANGE, IT’S BEEN SAID, IS GOOD.
IN THE CASE OF HART PRAIRIE PRE-SERVE
NEAR FLAGSTAFF, CHANGE
IS A MATTER OF SURVIVAL. THAT’S
WHY THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
SPONSORS VOLUNTEER WEEKENDS
WHERE PARTICIPANTS WORK TO RE-CREATE
THE OLD-GROWTH FOREST
THAT EXISTED BEFORE THE AREA
WAS LOGGED. IT’S NOT ABOUT TREE-HUGGING,
THOUGH. IT’S ABOUT PRE-VENTING
FOREST FIRES AND RESTOR-ING
THE NATURAL HABITAT.
b y l i s a s c h n e b l y h e i d i n g e r
p h o t o g r a p h s b y p e t e r s c h w e p k e r
38 j u l y 2 0 0 9
Jennifer Williams splits logs
during a volunteer work
weekend at Hart Prairie
sponsored by The Nature
40 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 41
This smaller gem in The Nature Conservancy crown is 245 acres
of comparatively well-kept secret, dotted with aspens and ponderosa
pines and nestled on the side of the San Francisco Peaks. Formerly the
Fern Mountain Ranch, Hart Prairie Preserve is home to the world’s
largest known grove of environmentally significant Bebb willow
trees. Seven buildings on the National Register of Historic Places
include the Homestead, where Teddy Roosevelt, en route to the Grand
Canyon, is said to have paid the ranch owner’s wife a silver dollar for
a glass of buttermilk.
My father, Larry, pulls up to our cabin for us to unload before park-ing
in the corral, knowing the car will feel unfamiliar when we next
get in it on Sunday afternoon after two days of walking everywhere.
There’s a lot to carry — backpacks to hold gloves, gear and water
bottles, duffels with work boots and clothes to layer as temperatures
rise and fall. We take sleeping bags to put on top of the beds, to save
both water and labor by leaving clean sheets when we depart. My dad
puts the six-pack he brought on the porch, where it will stay cold, here
at 8,500 feet.
Strolling down to historic Mariposa Lodge for dinner includes a
pleasant anticipation similar to the first evening on a river trip
or sea cruise. Who are the fellow passengers? Whom will I get to know
best, work with, be surprised to learn about? We pause on the veranda and
stare at the nearby San Francisco Peaks, with an aspen grove spread-ing
near the base. A half-circle of Adirondack chairs invites a longer
look. This time we resist the call, choosing to go inside for beverages
Deanna De Cou is already moving swiftly and quietly in the kitchen.
Her 4-year-old son, Shea, makes up for her serene demeanor by rock-eting
through the rooms, eager to ring the dinner bell. Husband and
father, Mike De Cou, helps with tonight’s fare of chili — both veg-etarian
and meat — corn muffins, salad and pies while we meet our
fellow guests. Lyndon Lamborn has just finished writing a book about
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Jan Marvin and Ray
Myers live in different cities and are clearly delighted to be together
this weekend; Karl Striebel travels for business but loves hunting.
Neil Chapman is the site coordinator and our host. He welcomes
the group and explains the weekend. He invites newbies to mend a
fence, making us feel more like ranchers than we would otherwise,
and points out that the Mariposa Lodge might be on the National Reg-ister
of Historic Places, but it’s still two years younger than my dad.
After dinner, Neil sketches out The Nature Conservancy’s role in
Hart Prairie, starting with the back-story of Frank Hart homesteading
in 1877, but not getting a roof on his house. Then in the 1880s, Augustus
OOnce you’ve been to Hart Prairie Preserve, returning is like going back to
summer camp. Climbing out of the car to open the long metal gate across the road
leading to the property on Friday afternoon felt familiar; seeing Fern Mountain
started the eager-kid feeling of being almost there. Perhaps the best part of Hart
Prairie Preserve is that, unlike at a real summer camp, anyone can be an alum. All
we need to do is sign up and pay $25 for a weekend’s worth of meals.
Deanna De Cou and son, Shea
(left), share a moment, while a
group of volunteers (below)
stacks ponderosa pine branch-es
onto a truck after clearing an
area of Hart Prairie.
facing issues like climate
change, fire suppression and
non-native species, we have
to steward the land.”
42 j u l y 2 0 0 9
Dillman Freudenberger established a sheep ranch on the property.
Eventually the land was sold to the Wilson family, whose descendants
chose the Conservancy as the new owners of Hart Prairie Preserve.
Neil mentions scarlet gilia, a local flower that blooms red to attract
hummingbirds in summer. When cooler weather sends the birds
south, he explains, the blossoms turn white, to draw moths as pollina-tors.
Then he shares his philosophy about our roles for the weekend.
“Facing issues like climate change, fire suppression and non-native
species, we have to steward the land,” he says. “Very few places are left
in the lower 48 that are unaltered by human activities. It used to be:
Put up a fence to keep out people. That’s not enough anymore. But if
you go out and buy a Mercedes, and don’t maintain it, it’ll fall apart.
The same is true with land. That’s what we do. My job is to get it ready
for people to go help.” To that end, each of us is encouraged to help in
whatever way catches our fancy. Some love firing up a chainsaw, some
prefer quieter work. Like Tom Sawyer attracting fence painters, Neil
makes it easy to like the jobs offered.
At around 8 o’clock, we pick our way up the path to Colum-bine,
our assigned cabin. Each charmingly named dwelling
(Deer’s Ear, Basalt, Butterfly, Bat Cave) varies slightly from
its neighbors, but all have walls made of large logs; thick, soft bedding
in sage green with backup blankets in bags on wooden pegs; and
rustic beds, tables and chairs. Lying down, still breathing at time-and-a-
half to make up for walking in thin air, we feel sheltered and safe
with a whole lot of nature just on the other side of the little window
next to us. An elk bugles and is answered by a holler similar to a cross
between whale song and an expressive dog. Our eyes close with a
vague feeling we’re doing a guest shot on Little House on the Prairie.
And while we have to put on boots and a jacket to go to the bath-room
down the path, we get the night sky — the panoply, the pageant,
of stars everywhere, scattered like glittering stitchery on an amaz-ing
dark quilt. At home, Orion is outstanding in his field; here, he’s
surrounded by lesser-known friends. Every trip out includes silent
Morning dawns clear and cold. Our incentive to get dressed is
knowing that coffee awaits in the lodge. People drift in, carrying
daypacks and visiting: “Who heard the elk? Weren’t those stars some-thing?”
From oatmeal to baked french toast, the wonderful breakfast
options charm the grateful eaters.
After breakfast, we gather on the porch, marveling at how rapidly
the sun warms us at this altitude. Bonnie Heinz, who did a nature
hike here with Neil, is back for the weekend, as are repeat volunteers
Charlie Haussman and his son, Alex, from Holbrook. We all look at
the peaks. During a weekend, we will see many different versions of
this view — misted in pink clouds at sunset, with a double rainbow;
under sun, making the growing patch of yellow aspen almost neon; a
faint outline against the starry sky. Neil tells us we’ll be hauling slash
and rounds. This means trees that have been felled will be sliced into
sections, called rounds, which will be piled and taken to the wood
lot. Slash (tree detritus) will be dragged to other piles and eventually
burned. The long-term goals are to re-create the old-growth forest that
existed before the area was logged, and to prevent future forest fires
from burning the historic buildings by creating more of a meadow
than the “dog-hair” thickets of ponderosa pines, which grow so closely
that none gets very big.
Neil says some people use very scientific methods for thinning
the forest, but he turns to history. “I read an early account of the
old-growth ponderosa pine forest around here, and it said you could
‘bring a horse and carriage through at a trot.’ So that’s the basic way
of describing the tree densities we’re aiming for,” he says. Part of Hart
Prairie Preserve fits this description, and trees that were cut down as
part of the thinning process are now lying on the ground, creating a
Perhaps because the air is thin, perspective narrows to the task at
hand. It is partly Zen to be so completely focused on dismantling piles
of ponderosa trash. A tall pine is broken into branches, bark, fragile
curls of fragrant inner trunk, and carried away. Nothing is left but the
scent and crushed duff on the forest floor.
I take more breaks than my 80-year-old father, who moves tirelessly
from the dismantling to the slash piles. Maybe because he was raised
in Northern Arizona and helped his father work outside as a kid, he’s
steady as a metronome. He pauses to point out a little falcon.
“You can tell it’s a falcon because they fly very quickly; the wing
strokes aren’t hummingbird-fast, but they look kind of herky-jerky.”
He also points out spider webs and sacs under the loose slices of
bark. We marvel at how two minutes after thinking it’s getting too
hot to work, a breeze can pick up that makes us roll down our sleeves.
It’s like a climate in fast motion.
We learn to work smarter, not harder. There’s a puzzle to solve:
Which branch can I grasp to move a large section of tree? It’s satisfy-ing
to drag away something larger than oneself, like an ant. Finally,
when I’m starting to feel like an animatron in a Disney ride — a pirate
endlessly moving my tankard from left to right — it’s noon and time
At lunch, the rice and beans, chopped vegetables and soup
become burritos, casseroles and salads. The group now
includes Dominic Garcia, a local firefighter, and his son,
Tristan; Jim Jackson, a friend of the De Cous; and Anne Weber, Neil’s
assistant, who excels at running a chainsaw.
After lunch, we decide to try seed collecting, led by Jennifer Bassett
Williams, who explains what to look for, showing us each plant —
the fragile petit point of tiny dropseed plants, tousle-headed fescue,
long leaning brushes of nodding brome grass and little, dried daisy-looking
plants called sneezeweed. We walk behind the compound of
buildings toward more old-growth forest. It’s amazing how quickly
scenery changes from ponderosas and aspens to meadows filled with
spruce. It’s a dreamy landscape, with the susurrus of the wind rising
and falling as we walk.
Seed collecting demands a different mindset than hauling slash.
“It’s a microcosm,” my dad says. “The focus is completely different.”
Looking for the low plants, using a thumbnail to brush the seeds off
into a paper bag is silent, patient work compared to the heft and stag-ger
of grabbing big branches and logs and crashing through the field.
Seed collecting is the closest one can come to being a butterfly or
bird, helping plants fulfill their procreative potential. Filling a bag
takes time but no particular effort to wander in a grazing pattern,
absorbed with the treasure hunt.
The next morning, I catch a ride in the big black diesel truck
to the field closest to the peaks where we will clean away the
remains of a couple of large ponderosas before lunch. On the
way, I ask Neil what challenges loom on the preserve’s horizon, like
the heavy dark clouds gathering over the peaks. While the Bebb wil-lows
are Hart Prairie Preserve’s most famous flora, he worries more
about the aspens.
Neil explains that there are different types of bark and how pon-derosa
bark is dead, like human hair, connected to us, but nothing
more. Aspens, however, have living bark. If it’s carved too deeply or
rubbed too vigorously by elk, the tree can die. Elk, an introduced
species, are the 500-pound gorillas of Hart Prairie Preserve, eating
young trees, trampling habitat and, according to some, in need of
“I’d like to develop a hunting plan at Hart Prairie Preserve to help
do our part to manage the elk population,” Neil says. “Aspens have
survived thousands of years of climate, tent caterpillars and fire-sup-pression.
Then you add non-native elk and all of a sudden the aspen
population is in jeopardy. Aspen groves are biodiversity hot spots, and
as they decline, so goes the general health of the forest.”
Neil says he loves “hanging out with people who care” about tak-ing
care of the land. “Volunteers come up here and like to do different
things,” he says. “Someone likes to run the tractor; someone likes to
gather seeds. We move rock, fix roads, fix fence.”
We work alone, but as part of a whole, dedicated to a common
good. There are neither cheerleaders nor critics on these weekends. If
you goof off, no one knows but you. If you drag a preternaturally heavy
branch away, no one applauds. In a society pocked with performance
evaluation, it is both freeing and a little lonely. But relying more on
yourself than usual is surely part of the charm.
By late morning, I’m getting stumblingly tired. My brain func-tions
minimally: Pick up a branch; carry it to the slash pile. Drop it. Go
back for another. The only thing resembling a decision is figur-ing
out what pieces are too small to be worth clearing up. Basically,
if it’s big enough to see, it’s big enough to burn. If I die here, I think,
my ghost will forever ferry ponderosa leftovers across this field, mut-tering,
“combustible fuels, combustible fuels.” I wonder again why I
come to Hart Prairie with such alacrity and eagerness. Why don’t I
stay in Phoenix and clean out my garage? Part of it is the scenery, but
there’s also the draw of being part of something larger than oneself
— contributing to The Nature Conservancy’s stewardship. Any bit
of work we do matters. Physical labor pays with different coin than
anything done at a keyboard. Some primal self is satisfied with this
in a way city life doesn’t offer.
A truck engine fires up; another load of slash is being driven down
to the field for eventual burning. Anne is riding on top of the load,
laughing in the sun, her arms brown and strong. Seeing her, I remem-ber
something Sharlot Hall, Arizona’s official Territorial historian,
wrote in 1910 to a friend:
“... I’m glad, so glad, so glad that God let me be an out-door woman,
and love the big things. I couldn’t be a tame house cat woman and
spend big, sunny glorious days giving card parties and planning
dresses … I’m not unwomanly — don’t you dare to think so — but
God meant woman to joy in His great, clean, beautiful world — and I
thank Him. He lets me see some of it not through a window pane.”
When You Go
GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, drive north on U.S. Route
180 for 14 miles to Forest Road 151. Turn right and drive
approximately 5 miles to the entrance.
TRAVEL ADVISORY: Nature walks are scheduled on
weekends. Overnight lodging is available to those who
register for a workshop or pay for meals for a volunteer
weekend. Groups may reserve the entire site for retreats
INFORMATION: 928-774-8892 or www.nature.org/arizona.
Jennifer Williams walks
along a forest trail, gath-ering
seeds from such
plants as fescue, sneeze-weed
and brome grass.
www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 43
there are neither cheerleaders
nor critics on these weekends. If
you goof off, no one knows but you.
44 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 45
you’ve got to hand it to
those old-time Texas
trail drivers. They knew good
cattle country when they saw
it. That’s why, in 1882, Pete
Slaughter and his brother,
Mason, left West Texas and
turned loose 10,000 head of
Texas longhorns on an impres-sive
range that stretched from
Mount Baldy to the San Fran-cisco
River and from the San
Carlos Apache Indian Reserva-tion
to the Blue River. I’d always
wondered what it was like
to gather so many cattle from
more than a million acres. This
assignment offered an opportu-nity
to get some perspective.
My friend’s husband, Ray,
volunteered to drive, and we
headed east from Pinetop to
State Route 261, just west of
Eagar. The paved highway took
us through grassy foothills
to Mexican Hay Lake, while
storm clouds doled out distant
showers. The air cooled as we
approached the vast wet mead-ows
around Crescent Lake and
Big Lake on the east slope of
We skirted Big Lake, turned
onto Forest Road 249, and
passed through subalpine for-ests,
8,000 feet above sea level.
It was only a few miles farther
to Three Forks, a protected
wetland that’s off-limits to
humans and domestic animals.
Here, where three forks of the
East Fork of the Black River
converge, three species exist
that are found nowhere else
in the world: the Chiricahua
leopard frog; the California
floater, a freshwater clam; and
Three forks of the
Black River con-verge
to create a
BELOW: The Black
through the pine
forests of Eastern
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
FOREST ROAD 249 You won’t see
Sasquatch — most likely — but you
could see up to 400 other species
of wildlife along this scenic route in
the White Mountains.
BY JO BAEZA
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER ENSENBERGER
Note: Mileages are approximate.
DIRECTIONS: From Pinetop-Lakeside, drive east on State Route 260 for 40
miles to State Route 261 and head south. As the road progresses, SR 261
turns into Forest Road 113 near Big Lake. Continue on FR 113 to Forest Road
249, which leads to Three Forks, about 7 miles down the road. To get to Pete
Slaughter’s ranch, backtrack on FR 249 and FR 113 to Forest Road 115B, turn
left, and continue to Forest Road 24. Turn left onto FR 24 and go south for 5
or 6 miles to Forest Road 25J, turn right, and after about 8 miles you’ll come
to an unmarked two-track road on the right. Turn in and drive 1.5 miles to the
VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS: Accessible to all vehicles.
WARNING: Back-road travel can be hazardous, so beware of weather and
road conditions. Carry plenty of water. Don’t travel alone, and let someone
know where you are going and when you plan to return.
Travelers in Arizona can visit www.az511.gov or dial 511 to get
on road closures, construction,
delays, weather and more.
the Three Forks springsnail, a
miniscule freshwater snail.
If you take time to read the
information on the kiosks,
you’ll learn that in 1997, the
first Mexican gray wolves, an
endangered species, were rein-troduced
into the Blue Range
Wolf Recovery Area. Although
sightings are rare, campers
sometimes hear the night music
of wolf packs out hunting.
From Three Forks, we back-tracked
on FR 249 to Forest
Road 115B to Forest Road 24.
After 5 or 6 miles, we took the
right fork onto Forest Road 25J,
a narrow dirt road that pene-trates
thick forest. The only traf-fic
we encountered was a mule
deer bounding up a ridge, and
a herd of cow elk watching us
from a clearing. We turned right
on an unmarked road, climbed
a hill, and there it was — the
prettiest ranch I’d ever seen.
Pete Slaughter’s log cabin,
which has been restored by
the Arizona Game and Fish
Department, rests at the edge of
a sprawling meadow with the
West Fork of the Black River
running through the middle
of it. It’s OK to drive up to the
cabin and park, but don’t go
inside the fenced area. Eating
my lunch at Pete’s place was an
occasion of reverie for me. Ray
poked around the place and
I sighed and looked around
as we headed back. More than
400 species of wildlife call the
area home, including Rocky
Mountain sheep and osprey.
Thanks to the national forest
system, Black River country is
still remote, pure and ageless.
Elk fatten on meadow grass,
wild turkeys herd their way-ward
young, mule deer ignore
“no trespassing” signs and
wolves deliberate on moonlight
W H I T E M O U N T A I N S
Mexican Hay Lake
S T A R T H E R E
East Fork Black River
West Fork Black River
To Show Low
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
46 j u l y 2 0 0 9 www. a r i z o n a h i g h w a y s . c o m 47
month OF THE
Unlike Victoria’s Secret or the popular book The Secret,
Secret Mountain Trail 109 really is a secret. The 27
miles of dirt roads between it
and the highway help ensure
it’ll stay that way. If you have
a quick two hours before din-nertime,
this is not the hike
to embark upon. It is the hike
to embark upon if you have
time to bump along back roads,
mosey through virgin pine for-est,
peek into a historic cabin
and take in views so majestic
you expect some voice to boom,
Starting on Forest Road 231
in Flagstaff, you’ll weave through forest and meadows
on lanes suitable for a regular passenger vehicle, despite
frequent bumpiness. Toward the end of the drive, you’ll
be stopped by a fallen tree in the middle of the road.
But there’s a clearing where you can detour a few yards
around it. It’s that kind of place: It requires a spirit of
adventure, and a little patience.
Fortunately, the Shangri-La-esque views at the trail-head
are well worth it. Below you, ravens float in hazy
sunlight that filters through a valley hidden between
The pine needle-carpeted trail — marked by a square
and rectangle carved into pine trees — meanders through
mixed ecosystems as it gently climbs Secret Mountain.
Ponderosas and firs tower over grandfatherly alligator
junipers, which in turn offer shade to agaves and prickly
pears. This forest has never been logged, so it isn’t as
dense as many others, or as vulnerable to drought and
bark beetle infestations.
At .6 miles, the trail enters woodland crosshatched with
numerous trees that fell in a 1994 fire. It passes through a
lovely grove of manzanitas, then descends into a swale
where, at 1.5 miles, you’ll find Secret Cabin and a corral.
This 20-by-12-foot ruin was once home to a Mormon
family evading polygamy persecution. One wonders if,
after cramming multiple wives and children into one
room for yet another meal of roasted Abert’s squirrel, the
husband wished he had just remained single.
Later, the cabin was occupied by horse thieves who led
their equine booty from Sedona along the Loy Canyon
Trail (which you’ll have passed earlier) to this hideaway
before selling them throughout Northern Arizona.
Follow the cairns to the right of the cabin to a stun-ning
viewpoint. From here, you can either follow the trail
south for .75 miles to another lookout, or if you’re feeling
tired, just turn around. There’s no one else out here, and it
can be your little secret.
LENGTH: 3.2 or 4.7 miles round-trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 6,400 to 6,607 feet
DIRECTIONS: In Flagstaff, take Forest
Road 231 (also called Woody Mountain
Road) south for approximately 15 miles to
Forest Road 538. Turn west (right) onto
FR 538 and follow it for about 12 miles to
the parking area by the Red Rock-Secret
Mountain Wilderness sign.
INFORMATION: 928-282-4119 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.
◗ The trail along
offers a peek in-side
(above), built by
the 1870s, and
long views of Loy
TRAIL Because of Facebook,
Flickr, et al., there aren’t many
secrets anymore. This gorgeous
hike is an exception.
BY KERIDWEN CORNELIUS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY LARRY LINDAHL
O N L I N E For more hikes in Arizona, visit our “Hiking Guide” at www.arizonahighways.com.
trail guide F
R E D R O C K -
S E C R E T M O U N T A I N
W I L D E R N E S S
C O C O N I N O
N A T I O N A L F O R E S T
Rogers Lake Woody Mountain
T R A I L H E A D
48 j u l y 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 email@example.com — type “Where Is This?” in
the subject line. Entries can also be sent to 2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009.
Please include your name, address and phone number. One winner will be chosen in a random
drawing of qualified entries. Entries must be postmarked by July 15, 2009. Only the winner
will be notified. The correct answer will be posted in our September issue and online at www.
arizonahighways.com beginning August 15.
May 2009 Answer:
our winner, Barbara
Todd of Ludington,
BY ROBERT STIEVE
PHOTOGRAPH BY RICHARD MAACK
Yes. This is a Dairy Queen. We’ll tell you that much. Obviously,
it’s not the first DQ, which opened in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940.
This classic is in Arizona. The question is where? While you
scan the horizon trying to figure it out, here are a few interesting
tidbits about Dairy Queen: Banana splits first appeared on
the menu in 1951, the Mister Misty slush debuted in 1961, and
the Buster Bar was born in 1968. Still thinking? OK, here’s a
hint: Rex Allen most likely had a cone or two here. Maybe more.
The King of
Fill your life with memories of
Arizona’s White Mountains. From
the world’s largest stand of
ponderosa pines to fabulous
freshwater fishing, this is TRUE
ARIZONA. Discover cool mountain
air, crystal-clear streams and
stunning vistas. Hike a trail.
Ride a horse. Ski to your heart’s
content. Arizona’s White Mountains
is the real West filled with storied
pioneers, hard-working ranchers
and authentic tribal people.
TO TRUE ARIZONA
Show Low Pinetop-Lakeside
St. Johns Navajo County
White Mountain Apache Tribe
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