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At Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Arizona, we strive to create a healing and nurturing environment for our patients that meet their physical and emotional needs.

We are passionate patient caregivers.

Opening Soon Spring 2018 We provide inpatient rehabilitation services to people recovering from disabling injuries or living with chronic illnesses, such as: • Strokes • Brain injuries • Spinal cord injuries • Orthopedic injuries, including hip fractures • Major multiple trauma • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

HOW WE PROVIDE CARE Our patients have access to the latest rehabilitative technology, 40 private patient rooms, a 7,000-square-foot therapy gym, an aquatic therapy pool, and therapeutic courtyard.

• Multiple Sclerosis • Parkinson’s disease • Guillain-Barré syndrome • Amputations • Burns • Neurological conditions



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1815 N Gemini Drive • Flagstaff, AZ 86001 RHHA.ERNESTHEALTH.COM

Where wellness and prevention are primary to your health At Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group – Flagstaff, the doctors, nurses and other experts at our primary care practice work together to keep everyone in your family well. With same-day visits and extended hours, we’ll fit right into your busy schedule.

Call 928-913-8800 to make an appointment.

Open 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 107 E. Oak Ave., Ste. 201, Flagstaff

Creating healthier families…together



A world-class education in your backyard! It’s not too late!

Limited seats still available

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Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

month into 2018 and we’re still promising ourselves to eat better and exercise more. Are you not? Let’s help each other out. Skip the donuts and coffee and invite a friend out for a bike ride, hike or ski. One day a week, take your pal to a place like Local Juicery instead of your favorite bar hangout. I get it. Change is hard. But once into a groove of something new, you may feel better, you may learn something, you might enjoy that smoothie you’ve turned your eyes down at in the past. A few weeks ago, I tried the Light Worker smoothie at Local Juicery, which is our cover story this month. The Light Worker is a blend of coconut water, pitaya (similar to dragon fruit but with fuchsia-colored flesh), pineapple, coconut butter, bee pollen, raw honey, strawberries and goji berries. The drink is a beautiful pink-red dotted with yellow bee pollen nubs atop. The pollen, with its delicate floralhoney flavor, stood out in my first sip. I liked that it gave the smoothie a slight crunch. With the second taste, I was missing something. I was missing the added sugar—the up-front sweetness found in nearly every other drink I consume. My taste buds have been programmed to find the sugar, the added salts, the added fats—all the refined “goodies” that health experts say are bad for our bodies. It’s no wonder unrefined, natural flavors are lost on our palates. We’re not consuming them much. As I continued sipping this good-for-me drink, I tried to focus on the flavors. Like when wine tasting, I had to be attentive. The sweet, nutty coconut came through as did tartness from the pineapple. Zippy kiwi and strawberry flavors came from both the pitaya and strawberries. Amazing! I was tasting the tropics for breakfast. How could my morning be better? We’re so busy, we tend to think we don’t have the time to pay attention to the food we consume and to do what’s healthy for ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors. But it is a matter of changing habits, not necessarily spending more time, or money. For the price of the Light Worker smoothie and the four minutes it took to make it, I could have easily chosen a pastry and a specialty coffee drink at another eatery. Not only did I feel better having the smoothie made of fresh, raw food, but I physically felt better. I felt full and didn’t have that midday sluggishness that happens when I consume too much sugar. The whole food, plant-based eating revolution is on. It began, say those who watch such things, a few years ago. But like most movements, it takes time for society to learn and acknowledge the benefits of such change. Thankfully there are businesses like Local Juicery to help us along.

Nancy Wiechec



Favorites of the month from the area’s abundant offerings in art and entertainment

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Coconino Center for the Arts, 6:30-9 p.m. Bring your honey or just yourself. Enjoy some wine and chocolate, then settle back with the acoustic bluegrass sounds of Muskellunge. It promises to be lovely. Tickets: $22 in advance, $24 day of show.


Sinagua Middle School Auditorium, 7 p.m. Living Traditions Presentations brings in this award-winning quartet from Galway, Ireland. We Banjo 3 plays an innovative mix of Irish music and bluegrass—Celtgrass—with skill and passion. Its members are among the most celebrated young musicians in Ireland. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 day of show.



Hart Prairie at Arizona Snowbowl, 3-7 p.m. The mountainside will be set aglow in a parade of torchlights to mark Arizona Snowbowl’s 80th anniversary. Parade is at dusk, but join the pre-party at Hart Prairie Lodge with 80s-priced food and drinks and DJ-spun tunes.




Orpheum Theater, various times The annual Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival showcases a curated collection of more than 100 inspiring and thought-provoking cultural, environmental, outdoor and adventure-themed documentary films from around the world, plus discussions with filmmakers. General admission festival pass is $50. Session passes also available.

Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse, various times Theatrikos presents Neil Simon’s 1991 Pulitzer Prize winning drama Lost in Yonkers with all the heart and humor of its original release. Set in 1942, the play explores themes of family and its influence. “A central focus of the play is the melding of a Jewish family— immigrant and American-born—during a pivotal time in our nation’s history,” says Michael Rulon, who’s co-directing the production with Patricia McKee. Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Feb. 2-18. Tickets: $13-24 plus applicable fees. february18



Views of vineyards at Page Springs Cellars.

The whir of a blender as it bites into ice and fruit is nothing new. The smoothie smash-up of fruit and vegetables, consumed as a detox or supplement, has become standard stuff, but what is quality versus craze? A detox cleanse is great way to begin a year of better choices. The benefits are a welcome change from rich overeating. Energy ramps up as excess caffeine, sugar and trans fats are eliminated. Stored wastes are purged, aiding the effectiveness of kidneys and colon, and the resulting shortterm weight loss can pave the way for better eating habits. Our immune system, skin and even breath can improve. Clearer thinking and insight may lead to an enhanced lifestyle overall. There are two ways to turn a solid into juice. Centrifugal force is most common, pulling liquid from fruits and vegetables, but it also breaks down quickly leaving high water and sugar ratios. Dr. Norman Walker invented the cold-pressed method, which uses a triturator to slowly press the pulp of produce to ensure live enzymes are extruded. Such a juice has a three-day shelf life, yet is nutrient dense. Three to five pounds of produce are necessary to fill a 10

Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

16-ounce bottle. It’s the kind of elixir sold at Local Juicery. The philosophy of beautiful, organic food and juice to support or regain health is the aim of founders Summer and Mike Sanders. Summer is a certified raw food chef, author and health coach, and Mike, a former special operations Navy officer, sought healing through a course of whole foods and plant-based cuisine. They opened Local Juicery in 2014 to help others find reliable and pleasing sources of nutrition. There are two locations, one in Sedona and one in Flagstaff. Plant-based, whole foods eating is the breakout resolution in 2018 for its two-fold mission. It transforms, adding new vitality and mental acuity in general, while recapturing health from issues such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or autoimmune disorders. Eating plants and whole foods can sound like an endless salad bar. The reality is that while it minimizes meat, dairy products, eggs and highly refined flour, sugar and oil, nourishment is maximized through whole, unrefined or minimally refined fruits, vegetables, tubers, grains and legumes. Favorite recipes also can be altered

to make them plant-based. Add extra beans to chili, substitute veggie burgers for ground beef and toss in tofu to a seasoned stir-fry. Such dietary awareness and conscious consumption need not feel punitive either. Often, when changing a diet, people focus on eating less, but a plant-based diet benefits from eating more. The more whole foods people eat, the better they feel, fueling motivation and wellbeing. Start small, adding 1,000 calories of whole grains, legumes and starchy vegetables to a normal diet to stay full and satiated. This naturally curbs the intake of animal products and processed foods. It’s important to keep calorie density low, so as not to passively up the overall intake through nuts, seeds and butters. Create a plate half-filled with plantbased food for balance. Add movement to your day incrementally for greater results. People often see effects quickly with a loss in pain, sluggishness and fat. Is healthful eating a hassle in today’s fast-paced culture? Outlets like Local Juicery provide the guidance and transition to new routines. Buying in bulk from Albert’s Organics and Veritable Vegetable,

the shop sources fruit, vegetables and greens from Arizona, California and Colorado. No refined sugar is used. Items are naturally sweetened with organic raw honey and mineral-rich maple syrup or coconut crystals. Labels tell all. Three prescribed cleanses offer degrees of detox, but customized options are available from educated staff at Local Juicery. Level 1 utilizes a wide range of bright, colorful roots and fruits to provide essential vita-chemicals. A mix of colors and green veggies fulfill Level 2 with pure greens for radiance at Level 3. In addition, there are elixirs, such as the tummy tonic to ease the transition to healthy foods. “Many clients have had bad experiences elsewhere and sought the quality and tasty options at Local Juicery to feel their best. It’s about food integrity,” says Ali Geter, manager of the Flagstaff location. The clean bright shop with a long wood bar and spacious corner seating is upbeat with energetic music that is routinely punctuated by the sharp burr of produce being pummeled. A cold case holds a rainbow of juices and wholesome foods—

salads, raw lasagna made with zucchini noodles and scratch ricotta, plus desserts, such as chocolate almond butter truffles or avocado pudding. “Removing foods like meat, wheat, dairy, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine for three to five days pre-cleanse is challenging,” says Geter. “We meet people where they are, and they can start with juices.” Post-cleanse, healthy foods are introduced, which are easier on the stomach. An example is chia pudding or kale salad with naturally lighter oils. “There is no shaming of standard eating, just a focus on how to eat,” says Geter, who quotes popular food writer Michael Pollan: Eat real food, mostly plants, and not too much. Feeling low with a cold coming on or simply spent? The Local Juicery’s highly microbial hot shot boosts both the immune system and metabolism, stoking production of stomach acid to allow better digestion. With ginger, turmeric—anti-inflammatories—apple cider vinegar, jalapeno, beet juice and oregano oil droplets atop, the red shot is a medicinal, fragrant glass of zippy heat and sweet citrus. The shop’s antioxidant matcha latte february18


taps ceremonial grade matcha—green tea powder—for a floral hot drink sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla bean. The pick-me-up offers a caffeine substitute with no crash. The acai bowl is a bestseller with the consistency of a thick smoothie. Eat it with a spoon to gather the berries and granola for a superfood of balanced fats and fruit. Avocado toast is smashed avo on sprouted grain with a spread of nutritional yeast, cashew chipotle mayo, sea salt and pepper. The flavorful food shows care and attention to detail. Local Juicery smoothies are the most popular items on the shop’s menu board, crowded with ingredients and health information. In-house nut milk, cold-pressed produce and superfood powders create nutrient-dense drinks. Though prices are higher than the usual juice joints, value is found in a quality drink filled with fresh frozen fruit, not ice, and an array of meal items. Caring for our bodies can be delicious. 12

Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

Veg Out!

Finding great flavor in meatless dishes around town By Gail Collins

Vegetarian and vegan dishes from SoSoBa. Photos by Nancy Wiechec


Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

MATTERS OF TASTE Vegan soup selection from Root Public House


triving for healthful, responsible eating means including more veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Vegetarian dishes often invoke creativity and color urging cuisine in flavorful directions with earthy lentils, creamy cheeses, garden produce, aromatic spices and satiating sauces. Flagstaff has an abundance of such choices on the menus of our ratcheted-up restaurant scene. Here is overview of vegetarian dishes from some innovative kitchens.

SoSoBa This nonstop noodle shop is not just ramen, but a full-service restaurant incorporating authentic dishes with farmers market finds. The starters boast unique concepts: balls of fire mac ‘n cheese; flash-fried cauliflower with madras curry aioli and scallions; steamed edamame dusted with zippy togarashi and more. The salads add inventive goods, like rice noodles, shaved veggies, nuts and seeds plus citrus-soy dressing. But who are we kidding? We’re here for the noodles. The S.U.V.—So, You’re Vegan—piles noodles with roasted veggies, sautéed greens, squash and rayu’s chili-sesame spice for a Japanese curry. The Mothra bowl layers broccoli, peas, cabbage, herbs, sriracha, fried garlic and marinated tofu over noodles. And, Yakisoba

is stir-fried carrots, onion, celery, garlic, scallions and herbs in a Thai peanut sriracha sauce. This noodle house is hot on a winter’s day. 12 E. Route 66, Suite 104

vinaigrette. For a savory main, try the ricotta gnocchi with seasonal vegetables, olives, lemon, Black Mesa Ranch goat cheese, plus pecans. 101 S. San Francisco St.

Root Public House This rooftop bar and grill offer peaks views and comfort cooking. Chef and owner David Smith draws on a southern background for inspiration. Root changes up the menu weekly according to fresh available ingredients, but vegetarian dishes are always available. One option is the cold, roasted vegetable salad with seasonal garden goodies tossed in cream cheese vinaigrette and a scattering of fermented black garlic. Of course, there are salads, like baby greens topped with tempting bee pollen, feta, candied walnuts and carrot

Casa Duarte Tina and Gonzalo Duarte own the Mexican café above downtown and serve MartAnne’s famous breakfast menu. This includes chilaquiles—a piled plate of leftover corn tortillas, sauce, eggs and more. “We’d already created the perfect menu there, so we kept it and added on,” Tina said. Casa Duarte’s menu channels authentic street food items. The stacked enchiladas are a meld of red-sauced corn layers with fresh crumbled queso fresco, tomato and cilantro. For a side, try the february18


Presenting the newly renovated


GRAND REOPENING March 10 | 3 - 5pm | (928) 774-3358 february18





A coming together of two artists and two mediums By Sharon Sullivan Paintings by Serena Supplee Glasswork by George Averbeck


Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine


tah artist Serena Supplee packs her sketchpad and watercolors and hikes to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to make drawings she’ll later turn into large paintings in her Moab studio. Arizona artist George Averbeck regularly toils in the heat of his Flagstaff studio forming molten glass into gorgeous shapes. Although they live hundreds of miles apart, there’s a familiar muse that energizes their work like the unseen power that roils a river. Bold ribbons of color that stretch from one end of Supplee’s canvases to the other mimic the graceful lines and hues formed in glass by Averbeck. Both artists accentuate the ripples and rapids of the Colorado, the rich stratum of the Grand Canyon and colors and forms of the Southwest’s highdesert region. “They’re inspired by the same sources; the natural world; the Colorado Plateau,” says Alan Petersen, curator of fine art at the Museum of Northern Arizona. “They have a similar color sensibility.” Confluence of Color: George Averbeck & Serena Supplee opens Feb. 17 in the Donald

Ware Waddell Gallery at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The exhibit title alludes to the rivers each artist has taken inspiration from as well as their use of a vivid palette. With a display of 40 pieces, Petersen promises the show to be a magical experience. “This exhibit is a coming together of these two artists to create a synergistic experience—enhanced by each of them.” The Grand Canyon is the common thread that connects Supplee, Averbeck and curator Petersen. Each worked at the canyon during the 1970s, and those experiences have influenced their work ever since. Supplee spent 10 years as a river rafting guide on the Colorado, Green, and San Juan rivers; Averbeck transported guides and equipment for a rafting company; Petersen worked at the South Rim. He met both Averbeck and Supplee when the three were students in Northern Arizona University’s art program. They have been friends and collaborators for more than 30 years. “Serena’s paintings of the Colorado Plateau landscape are really dynamic,”

Petersen says. Her landscapes are “exciting and refreshing, with a touch of whimsy.” The joyful nature of her artwork may well account for the worldwide popularity of her paintings, calendars, notecards and postcards. Her work has been featured in more than 50 one-woman shows. Two of her pieces were part of the museum’s 2017 Grand Muse exhibit of artwork inspired by the Grand Canyon. “This landscape makes my heart sing,” Supplee says of the region. “Drawing and painting is a way to express that joy.” While many artists paint from photographs, Supplee prefers to work from sketches she’s made in the field. Visitors curious about the drawings that line the walls of her studio prompted Supplee to publish Grand Canyon Calling, a stunning collection of finished landscapes that include Supplee’s original en plein aire sketches. Underneath each is a poem or short description of what the artist experienced as she viewed the landscape. For the confluence exhibit, Petersen chose several of Supplee’s nighttime paintings. “They’re going to look really february18


great with the things George is working on,” Petersen says. Averbeck’s work is also comprised of “wonderful interpretations and subjects from nature.” Averbeck is known for his colorful glass platters and datura-shaped vases. Also referred to as the moonflower, the datura’s large trumpet blossoms open at dusk and close up come morning. In December, he was putting finishing touches on a sevenfoot tall sculptural piece for the exhibit—a large datura blossom lampshade attached to a metal frame. The exhibition also includes small sculptures by Supplee that she describes as “sandstone inspired spires or sentinels with a zoomorphic twist.” It's no surprise that friends Supplee and Averbeck are among each other’s best admirers. “George might have 22

the biggest collection of Serena’s art in Arizona,” says Averbeck ’s wife, Holly Gramm. A large oil painting of Horn Creek titled Echoing Inspiration hangs in Averbeck ’s Fire on the Mountain Gallery in Flagstaff. Underneath it Averbeck placed one of his datura vases. “She brings out my colors,” he says of Supplee’s work. Supplee, meanwhile, claims to have the largest single collection of Averbeck’s glasswork: “I use George’s glasswork for everything.” Confluence of Color: George Averbeck & Serena Supplee is on display Feb. 17 through May 28 at the Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Fort Valley Rd., Flagstaff

Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine



pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45 and double among women under 45, with the greatest effect among younger adults.       The new guidelines provide five categories of blood pressure—normal, elevated, stage 1 hypertension, stage 2 hypertension and hypertension crisis. See the inset chart. A person is in hypertensive crisis when their systolic number is greater than 180 and/or the diastolic number is greater than 120, requiring prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage. Dr. Cindy Martin, the chief medical officer at North Country HealthCare who specializes in internal medicine, pediatrics, palliative and hospice medicine, says the new guidelines emphasize earlier detection and interventions that include lifestyle changes. She also says treatment plans need to focus on treating the whole person, not just a set of numbers. “To treat a person’s physical diagnosis, health care providers need to treat the whole person and consider everything from social and economic factors to mental health to support systems. “Although many additional people will be identified under the new guidelines as having hypertension, only a small number of people will require medication to lower and control the high blood pressure. Many patients can lower their numbers and decrease their risks through healthy changes.” Those who have elevated or stage 1 hypertension should be able to lower and manage their blood pressure through changes in behavior. Lifestyle changes, if followed, can be very effective. For example, a 10-pound weight loss can result in a 5 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure. Similar changes can occur by increasing physical activity or reducing sodium (salt).   The American Heart Association recommends that all patients with high blood pressure adopt non-pharmacological interventions: weight loss for those who are overweight or obese,

American Heart Association recommended blo American Heart Association blood pressure levels BLOOD PRESSURE CATEGORY

DIASTOLIC mm Hg (lower number)
















(consult your doctor immediately) 24

SYSTOLIC mm Hg (upper number)

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HIGHER THAN 180 and/or


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Dr. Leder recently worked for AMITA Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular in suburban Chicago. He completed his Fellowships at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Tufts University. Dr. Leder is Board Certified in Interventional Cardiology, Cardiovascular Disease, Vascular Medicine and Endovascular Intervention. He is also Board Certified in Nuclear Cardiology and RVPI-Registered Vascular Ultrasound Interpretation.

2000 S. Thompson St. Flagstaff, AZ


oga studios tend toward sparse open space that allows for movement and mental clarity. “The last thing I want is for people to be in here looking up and it reminding them of their office," says Yogi Staci Martin. That would be contrary to the yoga experience, according to Martin, a Tucson transplant who, with business partner David Wiegman, opened Yoga Revolution in the Historic Southside District in January. After viewing potential sites for their studio, Martin and Wiegman chose an address in a brick building just south of Flagstaff Climbing. The building had served an AfricanAmerican Elks lodge and more recently the Applesauce Tea House and the Center for Indigenous Music and Culture. Martin liked the location on San Francisco Street, which receives a lot of foot february18


UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN Without Disrupting Your Life


Andy & Laura Leigh Mathis Local Owners


Locally owned & operated. Financing available. ROC# 303301


hile Melissa finishes stuffing her backpack at the endof-the-dirt-road trailhead, I savor a half-rack of ribs bought in Page and warmed on the truck’s hot dashboard as we bumped around Navajo Mountain’s base this fine summer day. Seated on a gnarled juniper, I mull over my reasons for returning to this place. Apart from wanting to share it with my wife, “a certain morbid curiosity” compelled me, like Edward Abbey, “to see again, after an absence of many years, the shimmer of brassy waters under the sun, the tapestried walls of half-sunken canyons, the crooked little grottoes that wind back into the underworld of stone.” Largely shunning Lake Powell in the past, I am ready in late midlife to face “America’s Natural Playground” (in the hype of marina concessionaire Aramark), the blight that snuffed out Glen Canyon. As recent converts to packrafting, we both look forward, if guardedly, to visiting Rainbow Bridge the roundabout way. We pass five backpackers from Colorado as we descend the trail into the canyons. They will be the only people we see until Rainbow Bridge. Navajo Mountain, Naatsis’áán, bulges with stately presence beyond the rim, snowcapped even this late. It plays a crucial role in the sacred geography of the Diné, who believe it to be the head of Earth Woman, a configuration of landmarks stretching from Utah into New Mexico. Naatsis’áán is also the birthplace of Monster Slayer, one of the twin culture heroes that enliven Diné mythology. On cliff bands backing the pack trail that plunges into aptly named Bald Rock Canyon, we spot a life-size petroglyph of a Navajo horse with ornate saddle and bridle. At our first camp, in the gorge’s bottom, miniature cascades splash across laminate sandstone. Cottonwoods shade the spacious patio. In the distance, cream-colored sandstone scarps gouge Earth Woman’s forested brow. Before sunset daubs vermilion onto her scalp and darkness drowns salmonpink walls, I explore a band shell alcove up high. I discover ruins, a flint tool and a metate for grinding corn. We don’t bother pitching our tent, bedding down on natural flagstone, soon pulled under by the creek’s chiming. february18


First Encounter The devil is in the details, or in red rock country, rather in the detours. Its opposite also resides here: Transcendence. Sublime mystery. Off-trail progress through this terrain is always painful and seldom straightforward—as the raven flies is not as the canyoneer walks. But it holds countless rewards, bestowing memories nested like Russian dolls that sustain you forever. I recall my first visit to Rainbow Bridge, 15 years ago, with my friend Morris, a one-armed retiree living in Hanksville, Utah. (He lost his limb to a farming machine decades before.) We’d started our multi-day trip from the side of Navajo Mountain, opposite to where Melissa and I parked this time. In the grid of dirt roads that score the reservation, we somehow had managed to miss the trailhead near the remains of a defunct tourist lodge. Instead of following the well-worn pack trail to Yabut Pass, Morris and I dropped into Tsagieto Canyon, one of numerous drainages channeling into Aztec Creek. It should eventually funnel us to the bridge. According to my map, Tsagieto joins Aztec Creek, which in turn merges with Cliff Canyon, then with a connector, the slickrock fault of Redbud, and at long last, Bridge Canyon. The verdant touch of spring then was evident throughout the Approaching Rainbow Bridge from up-canyon Photo by Michael Engelhard

canyons, as it is today. Gnarled cottonwoods had softened with pea-green, semi-translucent foliage, which unfolded tenderly toward the light. A miniature forest of seedlings had sunk taproots into the moist sand along the creek’s margins. In a heartwrenching gesture of patience and parsimoniousness, one oldtimer had twisted itself around a fat boulder by the water. We soon descended Forbidden Canyon, another name for Aztec Creek, which really should have been “Forbidding.” Its tightening rock throat forced us to benchwalk above gaping narrows pitted with potholes too deep to wade. At exposed spots, we found crude steps hacked from the stone—footholds for mules or men. Rotting belay posts had been used to lower their packs. My calves and thighs were crosshatched from bushwhacking; a cactus spine lodged in my little toe while another had punctured the gallon-size water jug I’d strapped to my backpack. For good measure, the palm of my hand throbbed with a cut suffered from climbing over a barbed wire fence the previous day. Morris, his eyes twinkling blue under silvery eyebrows and a sweat-stained baseball cap, looked only slightly better. My focus on the pain, like our benchwalking, came to a sudden end when we found ourselves boxed in by walls and a drop 30 feet high that required a rope, which we hadn’t brought. A black, stream-polished boulder close by bore chipped initials: JW. It marked the point where the veteran guide and Kayenta-based Indian trader John Wetherill was thwarted during an earlier attempt to find Rainbow Bridge. In 1909, with the help of a Paiute guide and after weeks of meandering, he succeeded and became the first white man to behold this natural wonder. We did too, that time, though only after backtracking and picking up the trailhead near the crumbling lodge and its decaying corral. Two days later, en route from Redbud to Cliff Canyon, we passed a rock art panel in an alcove. The figure that stood out most to me was the white silhouette of a flute player. Commonly mistaken for Kokopelli, and sometimes shown with a humplike bulge that could be a pack, it represents the deity of the Hopi Flute Clan. The pictograph commemorates the Hopi ancestors’ wanderings toward the tribe’s current home on the mesas after they emerged from a mythic underworld into the fourth, the present one. The people split up on separate courses to lands the creator had chosen for them. Traveling in each of the four directions, to where land meets the sea, they measured their new world step by step, thereby claiming it. In the course of their journey, they branched and branched again, forming the clans that still organize Hopi society. Each clan treasures stories—and icons like the flute player—that are specific to these peregrinations. Talk about reaching a destination circuitously. Facing Nonnezoshi Again The next day, Melissa and I delve deeper into this maze. On a simmering hillside, a hogan built from juniper trunks broods in the sun. Silvered with age, light beaming through substantial chinks, it holds a shepherd’s effects: a kerosene lantern, a primitive stove, coffeepot and sundry containers. We wend our way down lush and luscious Bridge Canyon for what feels like eternity. Guiding the final approach, Wingate sandstone blinkers our vision. One last bend straightens out, and


Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

"Off-trail progress through this terrain is always painful and seldom straightforward—as the raven flies is not as the canyoneer walks. "

Descending into Bald Rock Canyon, with Navajo Mountain in the distance Photo by Melissa Guy

there it is. The curve of a mustang’s neck. A dream’s trajectory. Muscular yet weightless—the most elegant rock parabola you’ll ever lay eyes upon. Despite having seen photos, nothing could have prepared us for this. The second-largest geological bridge on earth glows as if from within, powered by midday glare. Clouds flock in the blue space above like Churro lambs gone astray. The Rainbow of Stone consists of two beings, male and female, stretching across the canyon. All other rainbows stem from it. Diné worshippers travel to Nonnezoshi to be cured of bad dreams. At a nearby spring, they pray for healthy horses, cattle and sheep. Harm will come to The People should the bridge fall, a prediction says. A bronze plaque in the span’s foot credits Nasja Begay, who led John Wetherill here 11 decades ago. In 1910, this became Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and Wetherill was its first custodian. It was long accessible to the hardy and dedicated only. From the mid-1960s on, Glen Canyon Reservoir allowed boatloads of thrill seekers—tens of thousands in some seasons—to buzz in from Page for an effortless day trip up the narrows of Bridge Canyon. Tranquility and the bridge’s physical survival was endangered when the manmade tide threatened to erode sandstone foundations. At the last minute, a lawsuit the Sierra Club filed supported by many Diné prevented further encroachment. In the ramada near the float docks, we filter drinking water from a reed-lined rill. A ranger group greets us while sneakered tourists, a few smoking, stroll up from “the lake.” The hardest part of our trip lies ahead: crossing the blasted “aqua-park for the affluent” in six-foot inflatables, dodging houseboats and wakes of frat-boy-manned powerboats below the cliffs’ bathtub-ring scum-stain of salts, minerals, silt; then humping 50-pound packs through tamarisk hell, up Cha Canyon, past ribbon falls and beaver ponds, back to the trail. We’ll have to find strength in thoughts Abbey recorded when he guiltily sojourned on one of the fleet’s condo-behemoths a few years before his death.

Historical Navajo horse petroglyph. Photo Credit: Michael Engelhard

“Though much has been lost, much remains,” the word trickster wrote at roughly my age. True enough. On calm days, the reservoir seems leaden, inert. But geologists say that hundreds of feet below, the Colorado still flows, a ghost river, restless, bound for the sea. Michael Engelhard works as a wilderness guide in the Grand Canyon and Alaska and currently lives in Flagstaff. Rainbow Bridge Information on the 18-mile trek to Rainbow Bridge can be found on the National Park Service’s web page for Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Two unmaintained trails leading to the bridge traverse rough canyon country. The trip is not recommended for the beginning, casual or careless hiker. Both trails span tribal lands, and a backcountry permit is required from the Navajo Nation.

Historic Navajo horse petroglyph Photo by Melissa Guy february18


Conservationist ETHAN AUMACK

SPOTLIGHT Tell us about yourself. I’m a Flagstaffian, raised here since I was 5. After college back east, I overshot Arizona and ended up working on nearly deserted Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of California. Ultimately, I felt the Grand Canyon’s magnetic pull and found my way back to graduate school at Northern Arizona University, where I studied environmental science and policy. My wife, 9-year-old daughter, daughter on the way, dog, two goats and a hamster live in an environmentally sustainable home we built on Switzer Mesa. We love northern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau and wouldn’t want to raise our girls anywhere else. How did you become involved in conservation work? I started my career with The Nature Conservancy, working as a restoration ecologist. When I came back to Flagstaff in 1998, I starting volunteering with the Grand Canyon Trust. This January, nearly 20 years later, I had the great honor of being named the Trust’s executive director. They’re big shoes to fill. This is a challenging time for people who care about protecting the environment. But I’m confident that, with support from volunteers, members, donors and communities like Flagstaff, we’ll be able do whatever it takes, from rolling up our sleeves and getting real work done on the ground, to advocating for better conservation policy in the halls of Congress, to defending our public lands in court. What is the main focus of the work of the Grand Canyon Trust? We’re focused on protecting and restoring the Colorado Plateau, with an emphasis on clean air, clean water, healthy land and supporting sovereign Native American tribes and tribal communities in their efforts to protect their culture, heritage, land and resources, and accomplish their visions for the future. We take a Swiss-army-knife approach: we use science, advocacy and the law to protect the places we hold dear, and we focus on solutions, from

supporting startups in tribal communities that are helping to build sustainable economies on tribal lands to building relationships with government agencies, ranchers, sportsmen and scientists to address issues that can be controversial, such as grazing on public lands. What are the most pressing environmental issues on the Colorado Plateau? Three that are at the top of the list are climate change and its effects, the push to dismantle environmental protections for public lands—from attacking national monuments and other protected areas to slashing funding for the agencies that manage them—and the need to work together toward a sustainable economy that includes the plateau’s Native American communities. Your online bio says you like to form “unlikely alliances” with those not traditionally involved in conservation. Tell us about one. One of the best examples I can think of is 4FRI, which brings conservation organizations like the Trust together with counties, the Forest Service, business owners in the wood products industry and a host of other folks. We’re a motley crew working toward a common goal: making northern Arizona’s forests healthier and preventing catastrophic wildfires. Wildfire and the future of our forests are big issues and they require all of us to put aside some of our differences and sit down at the same table, because, at the end of the day, whatever your politics and beliefs, we all live here. We all want to see our homes, communities and the forests in our backyards healthy and safe. When you’re not working, where are you likely to be? I’m working much of the time, but when I’m not, you’ll find me with my wife and daughter (soon to be daughters) exploring a wild corner of the Colorado Plateau. Being in these places with those dearest to me keeps me connected to a sense of beauty and purpose that is incredibly important personally and professionally. When I’m not in the back forty, you’ll find me on the mats doing Brazilian jiujitsu with my wife. I guess you could call it a family practice. The Grand Canyon Trust, 2601 N. Fort Valley Rd., is holding an open house and meet-and-greet with Ethan Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. Information at www. february18


Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine -February 2018  
Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine -February 2018