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NORTHERN ARIZONA'S

MAGAZINE

Modern Elegance A Perfect Complement to Mars Hill

$2.95

M ay 2 0 19

Free with Arizona Daily Sun Home Delivery

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Glory in Eating Well Knowing Gunnar Widforss Wines Made by Moms


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Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine


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TABLEofCONTENTS

May2019 COVER STORY

8

Modern Elegance A local builder and his wife set out to

create a home with an urban feel on Mars Hill. Their efforts and investment pay

off when the house sells before it’s even

officially listed on the market. How the

home came to be is a delightful peek into a Flagstaff family and a husband’s desire to run his own construction company.

DEPARTMENTS MATTERS OF TASTE MIND & BODY A tiny spot on South San Francisco Street Our addiction to sugar, born from 24 16 has brought healing foods and conscious processed foods, is having serious health cooking to the table since 2009. implications. How can we start leaving sugar behind? BY THE BOTTLE 20 Bring some extra sparkle to Mother’s OUTDOOR LIFE Day with wines made by mothers. 28 Short, accessible wildlife trail presents beautiful views and the promise of THE ARTS awakening flora and fauna. 21 Curator Alan Petersen writes about raising up the life and works of Gunnar DISTINCTIVE SPACES Widforss, a gifted Swedish-American 32 As homeowners point attention to painter noted for his love of the West. bathroom renovations, experts tell us what’s coming out and what’s going into these newly designed spaces.

ALSO 6 EDITOR’S NOTES 7 ABOUT TOWN 34 PLAYING FAVORITES 35 SPOTLIGHT 4

Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

NORTHERN ARIZONA'S

MAGAZINE

Modern Elegance A Perfect Complement to Mars Hill

$2.95

M ay 2 0 19

Free with Arizona Daily Sun Home Delivery

PLUS

Glory in Eating Well Knowing Gunnar Widforss Wines Made by Moms

ON THE COVER A sleek contemporary style gives this new Flagstaff home by Millis Construction an urban aesthetic. Photo by Nancy Wiechec.


Improving health, healing people.

To schedule an appointment, call 928-773-2022 or visit NAHealth.com for more information.

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NORTHERN ARIZONA'S

MAGAZINE

PUBLISHER

Advertising Director

Art Director

COLLEEN BRADY

COLLEEN BRADY 928.556.2279

KEITH HICKEY

Editor

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NANCY WIECHEC NWIECHEC@AZDAILYSUN.COM 928.913.8668

Sales Contributors ZACHARY MEIER

CALLIOPE LUEDEKER

LYDIA SMITH GABRIEL LOPEZ

Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine is published monthly at 1751 S. THOMPSON ST. | Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine is published by

ISSN: 1534-3804

Copyright Š2019 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations and other materials are invited, but will not be returned unless accompanied by a properly addressed envelope bearing sufficient postage. Publisher assumes no responsibility for lost materials or the return of unsolicited materials. Publisher assumes no responsibility for any materials, solicited or unsolicited, after six months from date of publication. Cover and entire contents of this publication are fully protected. Reproduction or use without prior written permission from the editor is strictly prohibited. Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine is not responsible for scheduled event changes. Any views, opinions or suggestions contained within Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine are not necessarily those of the management or owners.

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EDITOR'S NOTES

W

hen I f irst met David material did you use here? M i l l is, he was st i l l We present the Millis Construction home as our Home of the working on some finish- Year because of its unique style and location, but also because of how ing details on the home he built on it came to help fulfill the dreams of its builder and his family. I hope Mars Hill. One could tell right away you enjoy the story as much as I do. he had poured love into this projAlso in this issue is a revealing article (page 21) about Gunect as well as concrete. That may be nar Widforss, painter of our national parks. It is written by fine art because he has a connection to the curator Alan Petersen of the Museum of Northern Arizona. He has land on which the house is perched, studied the Swedish-American painter for years and presents a case but he was also fulfilling a dream he for why the artist's work and legacy need to be preserved. had for himself and his family—his May is a month of transitions, and we look forward to warmer own business, one in which he could days and the promise of summer when our constant mantra will be emphasize his construction values and principles. “get outdoors.” Larry Hendricks eases us into clement days with a Millis had worked a good part of his career in commercial con- gorgeous, easy hike along a nearby watchable wildlife trail (page 28). struction. Now, he’s venturing out on his own to do more with residential building and remodels. The contractor spoke about his work Here’s to May bringing new adventures and discoveries. with confidence in his vision. And although he was a bit nervous that his idea for a modern home in Flagstaff might not resonate with others, his anxiety lessened with plenty of interest from potential buyers who came knocking on the home’s warm yellow door, a color that was painstakingly chosen by Millis’ wife, Amy. Many of the possible owners were able to meet David as they viewed the house. How many times would that happen these days? Na nc y Wiec hec People could ask the builder directly, “How was this done? What nwiechec @azdailysun .com

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Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine


ABOUT TOWN

May

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

5

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Market Opens

Flagstaff City Hall parking lot, 8 a.m.-noon Get out early for the opening day of the Flagstaff Community Market, a local Sunday ritual running through October. Mingle with residents and visitors, peruse fresh produce, dairy, meats and more from regional and independent growers and producers. Free admission.

Blue Moon Walk

Buffalo Park, 7-8:30 p.m. Take an evening walk with leaders from the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition. Enjoy the rise of the full moon and learn about Flagstaff’s leading role in night-sky protection, star culture, how the skies played an essential role in the development of human society, and more. Wear comfortable shoes, bring the kids and a flashlight. Free.

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Powell Night

Train Day

Pioneer Museum, 6-8 p.m.

Flagstaff Visitor Center 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Join Pioneer Museum staff, Historic Brewing Co., Richard Quartaroli and Christa Sadler for a night celebrating the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s first expedition of the Colorado River. Enjoy some Powell trivia and Historic’s commemorative Powell brew. Free admission.

All aboard for this day of fun family activities, live music, arts and crafts, railroad displays and raffles, all centered around transport on tracks. Representatives of Grand Canyon Railway, Operation Lifesaver, Verde Canyon Railroad, the Flagstaff Model Train Club will be on hand for show-and-tell. Free admission.

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25-26

Allman Betts Band

Orpheum Theater, 8 p.m. Devon Allman and Duane Betts, the sons of two Allman Brothers Band founders, lead the Allman Betts Band on an inaugural tour coinciding with the group’s debut album. Their set list includes new music, songs from solo projects and classic Allman Brothers and Gregg Allman tunes in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Allman Brothers Band. Opening the show is JD Simo. Tickets: $30-$54 plus fees. Visit www.orpheumflagstaff.com.

Zuni Festival

Museum of Northern Arizona, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Delight in the culture and art of the A:Shiwi (Zuni) at the first of the museum’s annual heritage festivals. The twoday Zuni Festival features traditional and contemporary art from more than 50 artisans, plus lectures, music and dance performances. Admission: $8-$18. Visit musnaz.org for additional information.

31

Much Ado

Museum of Northern Arizona, 7 p.m. Shakespeare’s warmest and funniest comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, is presented outdoors by the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival. The eightperformance run begins this evening. Tickets: $25 plus fees, discounts for students, active military members, seniors and teachers. For additional dates and to purchase tickets, visit flagshakes.org. May19 namlm.com

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Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

Photo by B. Clark

ELEGANCE

MODERN 8

New contemporary home is the perfect complement to Mars Hill By Nancy Wiechec


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W

hen contractor David Millis went to build his first spec home in Flagstaff, he was nervous. He and his wife were pouring their own money into the project. If it didn’t sell, then what? But with Millis’ longtime experience in construction, a sound real estate market and a thoughtful plan for what certain buyers might appreciate, they moved forward. About a year later, David was putting final touches on the house, and he had to explain to those driving by on the dead-end street that the house had sold. 10 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

Above: Photo by B. Clark, Right: Amy Peterson-Millis and David Millis. Photo by Nancy Wiechec


“They’re looking for modern, clean and simple and can’t find it,” he said of the passers-by. Eileen Taggart of Re/Max Fine Properties in Flagstaff said interest in the Millis Construction spec home came quickly. “As soon as we placed our coming soon [notice] on Zillow, we had immediate and intense interest in this unique home,” she said. Taggart had met David in December, and when she first saw the house, she was awestruck. She said that just

doesn’t happen too often for an experienced agent. “I drove up to it, and my jaw was just hanging open. It was amazing … I knew this house would fill a niche in the market here.” The five-bedroom, three-and-ahalf-bath custom single-family residence with a three-car garage and 3,100 square feet of living space is located on a lot on Mars Hill, offering forest living and magnificent views all within a few minutes of downtown. Setting aside crafts-

man, ranch, cabin and other traditional Flagstaff home styles, David turned the other direction entirely and built a house that is contemporary, minimalistic and urban. And although it may seem a bit outside the box for Flagstaff, the threelevel house fits perfectly into the forest backdrop on Mars Hill. Taggart secured a buyer for the home before it was even officially listed for sale. It had quickly attracted several potential buyers, including the agent herself, and ultimately was purchased by a local couple with roots in the Flagstaff community. David’s nervousness about the sale turned to excitement. People loved what he and his wife had created. How the home came to be is a delightful peek into the Millis family’s life and David’s desire to run his own Flagstaff-based construction company. If the Millis name is familiar, it’s because Bob Millis, David’s father, worked as an astronomer at Lowell Observatory from 1965 to 2009. He served as director from 1989 until his retirement. The family lived in one of the residences on the observatory campus, and Mars Hill served as the children’s playground. “As kids, we mostly tried to avoid the astronomers. The tourists and forest, however, provided us constant entertainment,” David recalled. “One of our favorite things to do in the summers after the sun went down and the tourists showed up for stargazing was to dress up in camouflage and spy on the tourists. We would do things like glue a few nickels to the sidewalk near a path light just outside the Clark Telescope then hide in the bushes and laugh as we watched tourists try to pick them up. “I also remember, after the movie Red Dawn came out, we filled coffee cans with small rocks for use in our slingshots and buried them all over the top of Mars Hill, with a hand-drawn map so that we could find them later when needed to repel a Russian invasion.” As David began digging for the spec home, he said he had “sentimental hopes” that he might unearth one of those coffee cans, but he never did. Though, with this new home, he did expose rare, twinkling nighttime views of Flagstaff. The same view Lowell visitors might experience as May19 namlm.com

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they walk the observatory grounds. the ground up, including the Flagstaff “There’s really no other place in Flag- YMCA, W.L. Gore’s Fisher Point exstaff that has that view,” remarked Da- pansion, Flagstaff Honda, Planet Dodge vid’s wife, Amy Peterson-Millis, a nurse and several National Park Service buildat Flagstaff Medical Center. ings at the Grand Canyon. The land the house sits on was purAs a manager, David said he was chased by the couple as a potential site for often a paper-pusher even as he longed their own home, where they’d continue to get his hands dirty. He especially to raise their two children, but things wanted to put his own values and condidn’t turn out that way. victions about building into residential “We just didn’t want to have this projects. After leaving Loven, he and much house,” Amy said. “And it wouldn’t his family went on a six-month “family have made a lot of financial sense to build sabbatical” to Mexico. They returned to a small house on this lot.” Flagstaff, founded Millis Construction David’s degree from Northwestern and decided to build the spec home on University is in mechanical engineering, their Mars Hill property. a broad discipline that has allowed him Spec home stands for speculative to be involved in many aspects of con- home. It is when a builder constructs a struction. For years, he worked for Loven home without a particular buyer. Design, Contracting managing projects from size, layout, paint, flooring, fixtures and 12 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

lighting are selected by the builder. In some cases, if a buyer comes on board before the home is finished, they might make some final decisions, like choosing appliances, flooring or paint. Spec homes differ from custom builds, in which a buyer works with an architect and builder from start to finish. They also differ from tract homes, in which a home developer creates a base home design or designs for a particular neighborhood and allows customers to upgrade or change certain aspects of the set designs. Building speculative homes is risky, which is why they are the minority of new builds in most communities. A builder is banking on the notion that their vision will match that of potential buyers. “David really came through on this one,” said real estate agent Taggart.


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“Staying true to his vision and his commitment to a quality build in an unexpected design really did spark the imaginations of a lot of people in town. People were in awe and wowed by his home.” David chose a contemporary design because it reflects his standards about what a house should be. “My overall philosophy is [a builder] should put in all the good stuff that’s quite hard to replace. In other words, spend money on the structure, the design, the basics, and don’t over adorn it.” As an engineer, his focus tends to be on things not visible, like excavating to rock to build a solid foundation and spending more money on foundation waterproofing and drainage. To this house, he also added ZIP Wall sheathing under the siding. “It costs more, but it’s a better air and water barrier,” he said. “We also more than doubled all the load capacity of the joists, not because we needed it so much for the load, but to eliminate vibration.” On the roof, he used single-ply PVC welded membrane by IB Roof Systems. Because the roof is a low pitch, shingles were not an option. He said the IB material is “impervious to ice damming. Ice can still form and dam, but it won’t leak. You can essentially make a swimming pool out of this stuff, and it won’t leak.” Amy’s contributions to the home included selecting kitchen details, accents, tile, flooring and paint colors. In the kitchen, she chose neutral whites and grays with small pops of bright yellow.

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Photos by Nancy Wiechec

She worked fastidiously on the tone for David and Amy said they realize the front door and finally brought an old such modern design is not to everyone’s scarf for the paint mixer to match. The taste. Yet, they believe that what has overhang soffit lined with clear western long been defined as an urban aesthetic red cedar and the mustard-yellow door has a place in a mountain city; a miniare welcoming companions. malist, low-key design does not distract The house is an open-concept floor from the beautiful natural surroundings. plan that features large windows and a And, said Amy, this house is in Flagstaff, deck looking out over treetops and city which is urban. views. A large island with three yellow “The response to this house has pendant lights is the kitchen focal point. exceeded my expectations, so it is satKraftmaid cabinets are slab fronts in isfying to know that there are people high-gloss acrylic—grey on the island who like what we’ve done here,” Daand white everywhere else. Counters are vid said. “Maybe someday, if we find Silestone white quartz speckled with tiny the right lot, we’ll try it again.” bits of grey. Subway tile in white, grey, But now, with Millis Conblack and yellow embellish the back wall, struction in its second year, David stove and rangehood. is booked with projects through the Flooring in the main space and end of 2019. Like all small business halls is large planks of pale European owners he hopes the trend continues, oak that lend warmth to the bright space. but he also wants to hold true to his The stairway to the upper level is a mix of quality building principles. wood and metal, above which two sky“I have seen too many examples lights and a simple three-ring pendant of builders, who I really respected, lend natural appeal. sacrif ice what made them good in A highlight in the master bathroom the name of growth and the botis five windows, including two in the wet tom line. … As long as this business room bath-shower combination. Sooth- model allows me to adhere to my ing large-scale porcelain tiles in aged- values while providing a decent livconcrete blue cover the wet room walls. ing for my employees and me, we’ll The windows invite color—blue sky and probably just keep doing what we green ponderosas—into the space. are doing.” 14 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine


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MATTERSOFTASTE

Nature's F Medicine

ood fuels our bodies, and a nutritious diet can cause synergistic, positive effects. Still, we may overlook the medicinal value it inherently supplies. Consider food as medicine. Eating well can reduce the need for drugs, while our stronger bodies perform better when at work, play and sleep. “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” — Ayurvedic Proverb

Morning Glory Cafe By Gail G. Collins | Photography by Nancy Wiechec

16 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

Food is nature’s medicine, and it has no ill side effects. To get started, don’t focus on what should be eliminated from your healthy prescription, but on what can be added. That includes an abundance of proper foods. Choose local, raw, fresh and organic items, which are higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals and good fats. The vital life force in plant-based foods naturally includes more whole foods. Despite today’s latest trend, whole foods are the true superfoods. Ginger aids digestion, turmeric fights inflammation, legumes are antioxidants, honey boosts immunity and energy, while raw nuts, seeds and oils offer nutrients, cardiovascular health and joint lubrication. Try


adding one whole food at meals and build a wholesome diet. Also, look for healthy options for meals out. Morning Glory Café has had a reputation for healing foods since 1985 when Maria Ruiz created recipes for “conscious cooking.” Before anyone talked about sustainability, Ruiz sought ways to practice it in her meals and the methods surrounding them. In 2009, Ruiz left her “crack in the universe” (a beloved reference to Morning Glory) for the Great Beyond. Longtime friend and employee Julia Bianconi became caretaker of the small spot on South San Francisco Street. She carries the goals forward, striving for nourishing and delicious fare with zero waste through cyclical composting, grey water and gardening. Bianconi, or Juls, as she warmly introduces herself to guests, said, “Since taking over, an infinity of miracles has sustained us,” referring to the challenges of evolving business. Recently, Jonathan Wright came alongside to consult, activating ideas and providing direction at Morning Glory. With an international background in food preparation and herbology for its medicinal value, a great deal of transition has been in the works. Vegan and gluten-free enhancement in dishes and new

recipes feature. Adding a tonic bar broadened and enhanced the variety of nutrient-dense beverages. Chocolate features largely, and no one complains about that. Chef Miles Martin, who launched the kitchen for Nomads Global Lounge combined his confection experience with Wright’s to concoct vegan chocolates. Gorgeous truffles incorporate Sacred 7 Mushroom Organic Extract, which includes: Shiitake, reishi, turkey tail, chaga, maitake, cordyceps and lion’s main. These ancient medicinal mushrooms reduce inflammation and cholesterol while stimulating virility and neuro-regenerative effects. Martin has expanded the confectionary case with gluten-free options, such as double-chocolate cookies and tofu chocolate mousse pie. Morning Glory has enlarged its menu offerings with specials, including various soups, like a brilliant borscht. The blue corn tamales mix masa with calabacitas, or try the sweet potato with shiitake and a mélange of veg. Chile rellenos, filled with tofu scramble and drizzled with chipotle and avocado crema, create crunchy heat. The hefty hemp burger deluxe is topped with grilled tempeh, avocado crema and cilantro walnut pesto plus veganese on a whole wheat bun piled with greens. The

Clock wise from lef t: Chile rellenos with tofu scramble. The Super fuel, Berr y Coconut and Peanut But ter Cup smoothies. Peanut but ter hear t bonbons. Morning Glor y's rendition of Tiramisu.

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Juls sips a Morning Glor y mocktail under the new mural by Chris Thomas. Top: Vegan nachos with house - made red pepper seed cheese and chopotle avocado crema. Opposite: Fruit spritzer

18 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine


rice paddy burger is “meaty” with shiitake and black wild rice. M o r n i n g G l o r y ’s n e w Healthy Happy Hours run from 2 to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Try the house-made roasted red pepper seed cheese and crackers or the seed cheese on nachos with the crema works. The mocktails, such as a jun and tonic or elderberry cordial, often utilize root extracts and tinctures for vitality. Jun hails from ancient China as the elixir of life. “They take you on sophisticated journeys,” said Juls. “They’re herbal, exotic and full of flavors to savor.” Smoothies, like the Superfuel with turmeric and organic greens or Berry Coconut’s bright burst and crunch, tempt as tasty, nourishing alternatives to alcohol.

In a hurry? Take home some exclusive dry goods, such as nori seed crackers, spiced mushroom cocoa or blue corn pancake mix. The overall expansion of Morning Glory also encompassed a remodel. New flooring, murals by Chip Thomas, patio seating in the garden, plus access to the neighboring yoga studio make an integrated space that nourishes the body and invites respite. In the end, as Wright put it, “Our philosophy supports things bigger than us with a softer footprint. When we care for ourselves, we also care for those around us and the planet in the process.” Morning Glory Café is located at 115 S. San Francisco St. and is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

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BYtheBOTTLE

WINES from Mothers to Mothers By John Vankat

M

other’s Day is always special, but enrich this year’s celebration by serving wines crafted by women winemakers who themselves are mothers. This would have been more difficult in the past, but many more of today’s wineries have women winemakers, enabling serving wonderful wines from mothers to mothers. Below are such fine wines across a broad range of prices. Gratien & Meyer non-vintage sparkling wine "Brut Rosé, Crémant de Loire, France” ($18) Florence Haynes’ salmon-colored sparkler is beautiful in the glass and attractive on the palate with mouth-filling fizz, enjoyable fruit, fine balance and forward personality. La Posta 2017 Malbec “Pizzella, Mendoza, Argentina” ($18) Estela Perinetti’s Malbec is highly appealing, expressing strength along with forward fruit, well-integrated tannins, pleasing complexity, strong personality and lingering length. Simi 2017 Chardonnay “Sonoma County” ($19) The quality of Lisa Evich’s Chardonnay exceeds its price. It is beautiful to the eye with deep color and also pleasing on the palate with full body, fruit, a touch of oak, attractive balance and extended length. Westmount 2015 Pinot Noir “Willamette Valley” ($20) Anne Sery’s Oregon Pinot Noir reflects her family’s roots being in Burgundy. Enjoy its forward fruit, full body, attractive complexity and good length, all of which are impressive for the modest price. Susana Balbo 2016 Malbec “Signature, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina” ($24)

20 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

Susana Balbo’s Malbec has excellent color depth and hue that foretell full-bodied flavors. There’s strong fruit, as well as fine balance, texture, complexity and length. Adelsheim 2018 Pinot Noir Rosé “Willamette Valley” ($25) Gina Hennen’s rosé stands out with its appealing development on the palate, as well as enjoyable strength, full body, well-honed crispness, forward personality and smooth, refined texture. Mollydooker 2017 Merlot “The Scooter, South Australia” ($30) Owner and winemaker Sarah Marquis produces many exceptional wines. Her Merlot has engaging fruit and complexity on the nose and even more so on the palate, where its appealing beauty is expressed for longlingering length. MacRostie 2016 Pinot Noir “Sonoma Coast” ($34) Heidi Bridenhagen’s finely crafted Pinot Noir is beautiful on nose and palate. I love its strength, full body and very attractive, rich, well-balanced fruit. Plus the pleasure persists through an impressively lengthy finish. La Crema 2016 Pinot Noir “Russian River Valley” ($45) Jen Walsh’s superb Pinot is gorgeous in the glass and on the palate. Its expressive fruit

is coupled with excellent acidity, smoothly rounded tannins, notable complexity and much more. Flaunt non-vintage sparkling wine “Brut, Sonoma County” ($48) Dianna Novy Lee’s golden-hued sparkler has voluminous fine fizz and is powerful on the palate with appealing balance, complexity and integration. Its strong personality extends through a lengthy finish. Available online from flauntwinecompany.com. Rutherford Hill 2015 Merlot “Napa Valley” ($62) Marisa Taylor’s wonderful, classy Merlot is expressive on nose and palate with beautiful fruit, acidity, complexity, integration and refinement. Its long-lingering finish is an experience to savor. CADE 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon “Howell Mountain, Napa Valley” ($110) Danielle Cyrot’s captivating Cabernet is luminescent in the glass, has a powerful bouquet and is exceptional on the palate with impressive strength, appealing fruit, excellent balance and much more to engage the taste buds. Recommended wines can be ordered from your favorite Arizona wine store unless noted otherwise. Write to John Vankat at azpinewine@yahoo.com.


theARTS

Gunnar Widforss, Coast Scene with Tree, 1913, watercolor on paper, 12 x 18 inches

Knowing Gunnar Widforss: Painter of the National Parks

D

uring the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, at a time when the European avantgarde ruled the art world, one of America’s greatest landscape artists focused his passion and energy on the national parks of the West. In that era of dramatic social change and artistic fervor, Swedish-born painter Gunnar Widforss spent 13 years of ceaseless activity creating an unrivaled body of work. He painted with determination to capture his vision, and then he died suddenly at the Grand Canyon at the early age of 55. Today, Widforss is largely unknown, aside from a small but dedicated group of collectors, the descendants of his family and friends, and those who discover his gem-like watercolors when they visit the national parks at which he worked. They can also find the largest collection of his paintings in the United

By Alan Petersen

States at the Museum of Northern Arizona, where there are 23 works in the museum’s fine art collection. In 2010, I began compiling records of Widforss’ paintings in a database that would become a comprehensive catalog of the artist’s works, a catalogue raisonné. Gunnar Mauritz Widforss was born in Stockholm in 1879. His father, Mauritz, owned a firearms and hunting shop that is still in business under different owners as Hennes-Mauritz, globally known as clothing retailer H&M. Widforss’ mother, Blenda, was a gifted amateur painter, though with 13 children it is doubtful that she had much time to devote to painting. In 1900, Widforss completed his studies at the Technical School (now Konstfack), the same art and design school in Stockholm that his mother had attended in her youth. Following the completion of his studies, Widforss embarked on an extended pe-

riod of travel and painting around Europe. He worked primarily in watercolor and led a bohemian lifestyle traveling mainly in southern Europe in search of beautiful landscapes to paint. Widforss typically worked in popular tourist destinations knowing he would find a ready market for his paintings. In his mid-30s, Widforss began to gain recognition for his work as a result of exhibitions of his paintings in Stockholm. With the acceptance of two of his watercolors of the French Riviera into the Paris Salon of 1912, the artist was well on his way to international fame. But the upheaval of World War I forced him to return home. During the war, he did many paintings in and around Stockholm. After the war, Widforss resumed his wandering lifestyle. In January 1921, he came to the United States and took the train to Los Angeles.


Gunnar Widforss painting in Yosemite Valley, c. 1926

Soon after his arrival in California, Widforss made his way to Yosemite Valley, which he made his semi-regular home until 1926. With its monolithic granite walls and shady groves, Yosemite became one of the artist’s favored subjects. As with the Grand Canyon, Yosemite offered the dynamic visual contrast of architectural rock formations and deep atmospheric space—two elements that Widforss was able to convey with captivating accuracy. He saw the two exceptional landscapes as a challenge to his artistic abilities. Widforss made many friends in Yosemite including Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. Mather became one of Widforss' greatest advocates. Recognizing Widforss as an artist who could convey his vision for promoting the national parks, Mather suggested the artist focus his creative attention there. It was advice that Widforss took seriously, and over time he earned the sobriquet “Painter of the National Parks.” In addition to Yosemite and Grand Canyon, Widforss went on to paint in most of the western parks. In March 1923, Mather commissioned Widforss to do some paintings of Zion National Park that he intended to use in an article that he was writing about his plans for the National Park Service. Later that summer Widforss made his way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time. Following his return to Zion at the end of July, Widforss 22 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

wrote to his friend, author and Sierra Nevada mountaineer Francis P. Farquhar, of his first encounter with the Grand Canyon, the subject for which he would become best known: Altogether I have been in Zion for about two months now and I like it still better. After that I wished for a change. Found it at Grand Canyon. And though I hundreds of times have heard about that place, it surpasses all imagination. I Suppose you know it from the South Rim. Nothing I ever saw has impressed me any way in comparison. Simply wonderful, and I am sure that the future will give me opportunity to paint there so much as I want. It naturally will be a very great pleasure for me to have occasion to go there again with Mr. Mather and, as I hope, you. By 1926, Widforss had shifted his focus from Yosemite and other California scenes to the Grand Canyon and other southwestern subjects, though he returned to California regularly. At the canyon, he was a welcomed member of the small community on the South Rim. He became close friends with famed photographer Emery Kolb and with notable park service staff, including Mike Harrison, Eddie McKee, Pat Patraw and Minor Tillotson. He often went to movies at the community center with one of his few romantic interests, Grace Watkins, who ran the art gallery in the El Tovar hotel for many years. Not content to merely paint the canyon

from its rims, Widforss regularly hiked in the inner canyon for his subjects. Plateau Point was painted over 10 days with the artist making the 13-mile round trip on Bright Angel Trail each day as he worked on the painting. Widforss returned to the North Rim every year. In a 1931 letter to Mike Harrison, he revealed his true love for painting trees: Today I expect to finish my first picture from here. However, one or two more canyon pictures will probably be all—until I see that they sell [in the shop]. Because there are most wonderful groups of aspens here, and they fascinate me much more than the canyon. Throughout his career, Widforss was very successful at identifying tourists as a good source of income, and the advent of the Great Depression did affect his sales. He continued to sell work to the declining number of Grand Canyon visitors, and he adapted to the changing conditions by painting a greater number of smaller and less expensive works. He continued to exhibit his work in San Francisco and Los Angeles and also began showing his work at a new museum in Flagstaff, the Museum of Northern Arizona, which was founded in 1928. Fellow artist and one of the founders of the Museum of Northern Arizona, MaryRussell Ferrell Colton, initiated a series of annual summer art exhibitions she called the Arizona Artists and Craftsmen Exhibitions. Widforss’ art regularly showed in these exhibitions. In 1931, he was commissioned by Arizona Sen. Carl Hayden for a painting of the San Francisco Peaks. For an unknown reason, the transaction was never completed, and the senator did not receive the painting. In 2008, through a series of fortunate circumstances, the museum was able to acquire the Peaks painting. When the painting arrived, it still had attached to its back a registration label for the 1932 Arizona Artists and Craftsman Exhibition completed by Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton herself. Widforss wrote about this painting and exhibition in an August 1932 letter to his mother in which he mentions that he received a first place “People’s Choice” award for the painting. Following the artist’s death in 1934, the Museum of Northern Arizona hosted a memorial exhibition of Widforss’ paintings


Gunnar Widforss, Plateau Point, c. 1928, watercolor on paper, 20 x 25 inches

that solidified the long-lasting relationship of the institution with the artist. The next exhibition of Widforss’ work at the museum would take place following the publication of Bill and Frances Belknap’s book Gunnar Widforss Painter of the Grand Canyon in 1969. Prior to the exhibition, in a letter to the Belknaps, Museum of Northern Arizona director Ned Danson wrote: Of course we will be happy to become the Widforss center and depository. Can’t think of anything better for the museum. Actually, Dr. Colton and I are planning to add two fire-proof vaults to the library to help take care of the archival material that we are collecting. This year, the museum has followed

through on Danson’s concept by establishing the Gunnar Widforss Institute. The Museum of Northern Arizona has the most extensive collection of works by Widforss outside of his family. The 23 paintings and drawings in the museum’s collection were created between 1925 and 1934, representing Widforss’ mature style. Additionally, the museum’s archives contain approximately 2,500 objects that either belonged to Widforss or were collected and donated by Bill and Francis Belknap as a result of work on their book. The mission of the Gunnar Widforss Institute at the Museum of Northern Arizona is to promote the study of works by Widforss and to disseminate knowledge of his life and work for a global audience.

The institute will: • Facilitate the work of researchers and members of the public seeking to understand better the life, work and contributions made by Widforss to the artistic legacy of the national parks and the American West. • Publish and maintain the Widforss catalogue raisonné. • Archive materials pertaining to Widforss’ artwork, life, family, close friends and associates. • Establish relationships with Swedish institutions that may hold works by Widforss or have an interest in maintaining his legacy. The primary purpose of the institute will be to publish the Gunnar Widforss catalogue raisonné. Since beginning in 2010, I have docuMay19 namlm.com

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Grades K–12

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mented more than 1,300 of his drawings and paintings. The process has encompassed thousands of miles of travel in the United States and Europe, often including lectures about the artist at museums, national parks and Swedish-American social groups. Most members of my audiences had never heard of Widforss before and are fascinated by his story and his remarkable paintings. I first learned of Widforss in 1976 when I purchased a copy of the Belknap book at the South R im. While working on Gunnar Widforss: Painter of the National Parks, the 2010 exhibition at the Museum of Northern Arizona, I came to the shocking realization Widforss, San Francisco Peaks, 1932, watercolor on paper, 20 x 25 inches, Museum of Nor thern Arizona Fine Ar ts Collection

that no other art historians or scholars were conducting research on Widforss or writing about his amazing legacy. I resolved to right this injustice of art history. Today, I am pleased to help bring greater recognition to this artist who had been overlooked for years. The 2010 exhibition and a 2018 exhibition of his work in Sweden helped to bring some wider recognition. Widforss’ paintings helped shape our conception of nat iona l pa rk s. I n t h is centennial year of Grand Canyon National Park, his best-known subject, it is time to celebrate the lifeworks of this remarkably gifted watercolor painter who fell in love with the American West. Alan Petersen is the curator of fine art at the Museum of Northern Arizona.

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MINDandBODY

26 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine


Back to

Real Food Overcoming our sugar addiction By Janel States James

Have a sweet tooth?

Chances are you weren’t born with it. Addiction to sugar is a product of our times, or perhaps more accurately, a product of the processed food market and our willingness to partake. According to a 2016 Time magazine article, You Won’t Believe How Much Processed Food Americans Eat, “processed foods contain eight times more sugar than less processed foods such as breads, cheese and canned foods, and five times more sugar than unprocessed or minimally processed choices such as meats, fresh fruits or vegetables, grains and milk.” This is a problem with serious health implications. A growing body of research now points to sugar as a culprit in a whole host of health concerns, not the least of which is Type 2 diabetes. It also plays a sinister role in heart disease, chronic inf lammation, stroke, arthritis and even autoimmune diseases. When it comes to sugar, says Shannon Heffern, a registered dietician with Flagstaff Medical Center, we should work on the Goldilocks principle; that is, our sugar consumption should fall within certain margins. “We need some sugar, but we can’t have too much. If we eat a plant-based unprocessed diet that includes fruits and yogurts and those kinds of natural sugars May19 namlm.com

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Sugar, and lots of it, lurks in nearly every prepackaged condiment, salad dressing or marinade. Make-at-home varieties are much more healthy and can be whipped up in a few minutes. Here’s a couple to try.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette 1 large garlic clove, chopped 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard Juice from 1 lemon 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 3/4 cup extra light olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon or basil or a mix, chopped Add all ingredients into a blender and blend for about 15 seconds or until creamy. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Homemade Date Ketchup 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped 6 ounce can tomato paste 14 ounce can diced tomatoes 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until the mixture starts bubbling. Turn to simmer and cook another 15 minutes, covered. Pour mixture into blender and puree until smooth. Be careful, the liquid will be hot. Pour the puree back into pot and put back on low heat for 10 minutes, covered. Let cool before serving. Ketchup can be stored in fridge for up to three weeks.

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with the f ibers and the proteins and the 2010 found that as sugar intake increased, micronutrition, well, then, we’re fine. It’s if the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) dewe have the processed sugars that are in the creased, while triglycerides (fats that jelly beans and the Coca Cola, that causes threaten cardiovascular health) increased. a problem.” Results from a study published in the same As an additive, highly-processed sugar journal in 2014 also showed a correlation has only been with us for about 300 years. between a high-sugar diet and heart disease “We are 99 percent animal,” says Heffern. and cardiovascular disease. Exit the egg, “Basically, our bodies still run that way, like enter sugar. we did centuries ago. Nothing has really In fact, fats, including those found in changed since the time when we would eggs, have been wrongly accused for their hang out and eat berries and nuts until we role in high cholesterol and its subsequent could kill the animal. But we had to run health problems. As Ian Leslie, points out first, and somebody had to drag it back to in his Guardian article The Sugar Conspirthe campfire, and somebody had to roll the acy, “It is a biological error to confuse what boulders into the fire. So, we were working a person puts in their mouth with what it a lot more, and we had to have that energy becomes after it is swallowed. … Cholessource.” terol, present in all of our cells, is created When we eat sugar, it goes to our liver by the liver. Biochemists have long known and our muscles, which act as temporary that the more cholesterol you eat, the less storage units, says Heffern. “It hangs out your liver produces.” there for a period of time for use in ‘f light.’ Heffern recommends a diet that comThat’s the caveman again. But if f light bines DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop doesn’t happen and you’re sitting around Hy pertension) and the Mediterranean the campfire, well then you can put on some diet—plant-based, whole food approaches body fat for the winter.” that keep both saturated fats and sugar in In our modern society, we sit around check. the “campf ire” quite a bit, which is com“If we were all out there, raising our pounded by our ready consumption of poultry and pigs and whatnot, it would be simple sugars. “It’s now become proven by 100 percent different,” says Heffern. “But research that sugar actually changes the we’re not. And if we choose to eat the orliver,” says Heffern, and in a fairly short ange with a glass of water, we’re much bettime. If we consume 90 to 100 grams of ter off than if we simply drink the orange simple sugar, which is about three 12-ounce juice. Fiber blocks absorption in the belly. Cokes a day, our liver will change within Basically, it slows down digestion and sugar three weeks. It converts to adjust to that moves into the bloodstream more slowly. level of simple sugar. And then it basically You don’t have a spike in the blood sugar; becomes addicted to it so that if we back you don’t get that production of insulin that away, we have cravings. We feel a weird sort crashes you. You just have a nice little enof craving hunger, but it’s not a true hunger.” ergy curve with a high-fiber diet.” Simple sugar’s addictive qualities work If we eat this way, there is often no on the brain as well, says Heffern. “If we need to limit our carbohydrates. If we listen eat a handful of M& M’s, there is a little to our bodies and appetites, we won’t be bit of a rush. With our caveman brain, we hungry. We won’t have cravings. And we seek that high output again because we feel won’t be sacrificing our health for the sake good. We have energy. There is part of us of the easy processed meal. that subconsciously wants a sugar high and are driven to get it again.” The effects of that drive are all around us. By 2016, nearly 10 percent of Amercans had been diagnosed with diabetes with an estimated 1.5 million new cases diagnosed annually. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in


Finding Sugar Added sugar lurks in about 75 percent of packaged foods. Some high in sugar content include fruit yogurt, pasta sauce, condiments, dressings, marinades, granola bars, cereals and energy drinks. SugarScience at the University of California, San Francisco, list these names for added sugar found in lists of ingredients: Agave nectar Barbados sugar Barley malt Barley malt syrup Beet sugar Brown sugar Buttered syrup Cane juice Cane juice crystals Cane sugar Caramel Carob syrup Castor sugar Coconut palm sugar Coconut sugar Confectioner’s sugar Corn sweetener Corn syrup Corn syrup solids Date sugar Dehydrated cane juice Demerara sugar

Dextrin Dextrose Evaporated cane juice Free-flowing brown sugars Fructose Fruit juice Fruit juice concentrate Glucose Glucose solids Golden sugar Golden syrup Grape sugar HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup) Honey Icing sugar Invert sugar Malt syrup Maltodextrin Maltol Maltose Mannose Maple syrup

Molasses Muscovado Palm sugar Panocha Powdered sugar Raw sugar Refiner’s syrup Rice syrup Saccharose

Sorghum Syrup Sucrose Sugar (granulated) Sweet Sorghum Syrup Treacle Turbinado sugar Yellow sugar

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OUTDOORLIFE

Kendrick Park AWAKENING

T

he sound of a breeze drifting through branches and pine needles soothes nerves jangled by the unstoppable juggernaut of modern life. A Steller’s jay appears to complain about the blue sky and the gentle sway of his branched perch. A woodpecker knock-knocks a trunk, and an Abert’s squirrel scrambles on ponderosa bark, grunting displeasure at my presence. I smell smoke and the cold freshness of snow on pine duff. The sun is over the mountains and the tree line on the horizon, but the air is cold, bites at my face, fogs my breath and keeps the snow crisp and crunchy under my boots. Continuing in my quest to visit trails I’d never taken the time to enjoy, I journeyed out to the Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail northwest of Flagstaff the last weekend in March. This beautiful and short hike was, for me, an exercise in appreciating the first signs of winter’s slumber letting loose and the awakening of spring. My original plan was to hike to the connection to the Arizona Trail near Bismarck Lake. I should have checked with the U.S. Forest Service because when I got to Hart Prairie Road, it was still closed for the season. Change of plans.

30 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

I’d never been to the Kendrick Park Trail. A short drive later, I was parked at the trailhead. The parking lot stood empty on a Saturday, which is a good bet early in the morning in late March. I had the trail all to myself. The Forest Service boasts of stunning views of the Peaks and of Kendrick Mountain. The boasts are accurate, and the snowcapped peaks fill the view as you make your way to the trailhead. Near the bathrooms are several interpretive signs that educate hikers on the Peaks, the importance of fire to ecosystems, and the types of wildlife that inhabit the area, which include mule deer, elk, pronghorn, coyotes, red-tailed hawks, horned toads, garter snakes and more. There are additional interpretive signs along the length of the trail. The forested part of the journey is a mixture of ponderosa pine and aspen. In the fall, Kendrick Park, I am told, is a sight to behold with the golden aspen leaves. I will have to see it for myself this fall. Halfway through the hike, the trail turns toward an expanse of grasslands and meadows, used as potato farms in the 1920s through 1950s. On the path are remnants of a log corral, and according to the interpretive sign near the site, it was built by farmers to “pen their workhorses.” The sign also states that the long-tailed weasel inhabits the rock piles on the edges of the field. Who knew?


The start of spring reveals potential for bloom on a wildlife trail Article and photography by Larry Hendricks

The area is popular with wildlife watchers, of course, particularly bird enthusiasts. Thus, the name, and it is part of the Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience network. The network has dozens of sites alone in northern Arizona, from Mormon Lake in the south to Kendrick Park in the north. (For more information about the network, visit https://www.azwatchwildlife.com.) Because of the considerable snowfall this season and the fact that Kendrick Park rests at about 7,800 feet, most of the trail was covered in snow, but I had arrived at about 8 a.m., and the cold kept the surface of the snow hard. I didn’t sink through, and hiking was relatively easy as a result. The tracks of cross-country skiers were still evident. I checked the aspens for signs of budding leaves, but their emergence was still a bit into the future. Green grass poked its way through the frozen ground, confirming that spring is nearing. I hiked the trail twice. The first time was for you, the reader; the second time was just for me. By the time you read this, spring at Kendrick Park will be in full hustle. According to the Forest Service, the best time for the trail is between May and November. The aspens will most likely have leaves. The snows will be melted (barring any late-season storms). The grasses will be deep green, and animals will be busy. Enjoy the views, and here’s to hoping you catch a glimpse of some of the area’s wildlife.

 IF YOU GO KENDRICK PARK WATCHABLE WILDLIFE TRAIL Length: 1.5 miles (the longer loop); the shorter loop is about 1/4 mile, paved and wheelchair accessible. Difficulty: Easy Directions: From Flagstaff, take Highway 180 north about 20 miles. The turnout to the Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail is on the left and easy to spot. There are bathroom facilities at the trailhead. For more information about this and other trails, visit the Coconino National Forest website.

May19 namlm.com

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DISTINCTIVESPACES

State of the BATHROOM The latest trends in renovations By Erik J. Martin

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itchens may get a lot of love, but homeowners are lavishing more attention on bathrooms lately. That’s the major takeaway from a poll that sheds new light on the latest preferences in bathroom remodels. Indeed, the 2018 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study had some fascinating revelations. Consider, for instance, that most homeowners remodel their bathrooms for a simple reason: they just can’t put up with them anymore. Among other study f indings: over half of those redoing a bathroom are at least age 55 and implementing age-in-place amenities;

32 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

most are choosing to remove the bathtub (34 percent) and change the layout (47 percent); almost half of master bath projects are tied to a master bedroom remodel (46 percent); spending on a renovated master bath averages $7,000; demand for dual showers, vessel sinks, builtin vanities and one-piece toilets has increased over the last three years; gray is the color of choice for walls, f looring and sometimes cabinets; and polished chrome and matte nickel place top when it comes to metal finishes. Nino Sitchinava, principa l economist for Houzz in Palo Alto, California, notes that many homeowners yearn for a more modern design aesthetic today in the bath.

“Contemporar y st yle continues to be the leading choice among renovating homeowners, despite its drop in favor over the past three years from 26 percent 2016 to 20 percent in 2018,” she says. “Farmhouse style, on the other hand, has more than doubled in popularity from three to seven percent over the same period.” Even more revealing are inclinations among baby boomers. “A signif icant proportion of age 55-plus households are aware of pending aging needs and are proactive about integrating universal design features during renovations,” Sitchinava adds. “Boomers who address aging-related needs are tackling major changes to the master


bathroom, with nearly half changing the layout and one-third removing the tub.” Other upgrades among this demographic include “installing accessibility features like seats, low curbs, grab bars and non-slide f loors in upgraded showers and bathtubs,” she says. Larry Greene, president of Case Design/ Remodeling Indianapolis, is encouraged that good lighting—including natural light—remains a “top design and functional priority” in bathroom redo projects, garnering a 47 percent response and ranking second after “stylish and beautiful” (78 percent); rounding out the top 5 priorities were “adds to the resale value” (45 percent), “easy to clean and disinfect” (44 percent), and “reflects who I am” (33 percent). “The popularity of premium features, as reflected in this survey, is a positive sign that the current remodeling market is strong for both homeowners and renovators,” says Greene. Tackling a bathroom redo is a huge undertaking and big investment, “so you want to make sure you do it right,” cautions Build.com’s in-house interior designer Lauren O’Donnell, based in Chico, California. “You first need to figure out your needs and what currently is and isn’t working for you. Perhaps you need more storage or counter space or want to create more privacy for the toilet or shower. Take these into consideration and then work on the layout by collaborating with a designer.” When planning a renovation project of this scope, “be mindful of your future needs, too,” says Christi Barbour, founder and partner of High Point, North Carolina-headquartered Barbour Spangle Design. “Beyond layout changes that improve the overall function of your space, consider thoughtful design touches that will be appreciated as you age, like integrated lighting to help you see better.” Jonathan Faccone’s recipe for a successful bath reboot? “Maximize your renovation dollar by creating the best bathroom that the space allows, and consider the next owner carefully,” says Faccone, founder of Halo Homebuyers in Bridgewater, New Jersey. “You should love your updated bathroom space and its design but not scare away people with design choices that may hurt resale value.” May19 namlm.com

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PlayingFAVORITES

GRIT&GRANDEUR The Grand Canyon: Unseen Beauty: Running the Colorado River by Tom Blagden Jr., with foreword by Roderick F. Nash Review by Michael Engelhard

Published by Rizzoli New York, May 2019; 224 pages, hardcover: $50

P

eople who know the Grand Canyon well agree that there are in fact two canyons: the one seen from the top, a lifeless, abstract tableau, and the one experienced intimately at the bottom. The typical rim visitor, one of six million per year, stays from five to seven hours and spends an average of 17 minutes looking at the abyss. River runners, conversely, take it in every waking minute, 100 to 200 hours, depending on the duration of their trip. That’s a lot of time to contemplate the succession of eons and our insignificance measured against them. Literally and figuratively, the river perspective immerses you. You weather furnace or greenhouse temperatures, except in the rapids or under cascades that turn your lips blue. You face sand in your lasagna and sleeping bag, rocks hot as a frying pan or sharp as a cheese grater, gusts that upset dinner tables or take paint off a dory, the canyon’s wooden signature boat. You also might spot blooming cactus gardens and columbines, pink rattlers, endangered humpback chubs, white pelicans or bighorn ewes with lambs bending their necks for a late afternoon drink as you drift lazily past. Timed to the national park’s centennial, and following their 2018 photo book by a 34 Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine

canyon through-hiker, Rizzoli just released The Grand Canyon, by the veteran, official photographer of one of its oldest river outfits. It may be the next best thing to being “down there.” The foreword by dory boatman and history professor Roderick Nash, author of the environmental classic Wilderness and the American Mind, puts the 175 color photos into their proper context: National parks and designated wilderness areas were “an original American contribution to world civilization.” Recalling the scheme to build dams inside the Grand Canyon, Nash reminds us that, had it not been for stalwart defenders and public opinion, “almost every point of view Tom Blagden used for his photography in this book would be hundreds of feet under the water of a reservoir.” The canyon, however, remains threatened—by uranium mining and resort development on adjacent lands, by invasive species, South Rim traffic snarls, and beach erosion downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, by coal plant emissions and by noise from sightseeing flights. Cof fee table book s a l most by definition embrace the Attenboroughization of nature. Who wants to display atrocities in their living room? We seek refuge in such idealizations, as we do in documentaries that show wildlife and untrammeled landscapes enduring. The Grand Canyon, seemingly protected and intact, assures us of the better angels of our nature—hence its symbolic importance. These images largely sideline human impact, evident only subtly as trampled sand inside Redwall Cavern, a notoriously difficult-to-shoot locale Blagden aces and which most of the 30,000 annual floaters visit. So, the beauty proclaimed in the book’s subtitle is far from “unseen.” Due to high demand, permits for exploring the canyon on multiday adventures are limited in number and tightly regulated. “Yet,” Nash writes,

“when you push a boat off the beach at Lees Ferry or drop over the rim with a backpack, you are entering one of the most intense wildernesses on the planet.” It’s a place where hikers still disappear without leaving a trace. As any Grand Canyon river pictorial should, Blagden’s parades the expected motifs and does so with style: artfully blurred, rushing water and graceful stream bends; blue-and-gold river reflections; skies sugared with stars between darker rims; rapids exploding into chandelier spray; flora, fauna, and geology; and even the flute-playing guide in Blacktail Canyon, familiar to tourists who’ve taken commercial trips. All popular stops are represented: Elves Chasm in its plashing serenity; baby-blue currents at Havasu and the Little Colorado confluence; Deer Creek’s narrows and thunderous fall; Nankoweap’s pre-Columbian ruins, perched above steely meanders. But you’ll find surprise shots here too. A dream raven in flight. Sparring, turquoise-splotched lizards. Cobbles green with algae, backed by salmon-pink cliffs. The Grand Canyon impresses as much with details as with grandeur, and these scenes remind us that each river outing is unique. Several photos taken mid-stream and reproduced as two-page, panoramic spreads offer views closed to hikers, let alone rim walkers a mile above. One only wishes the boatmen and camp life had been given more space since they are as much part of this type of experience as the rapids and terraced walls. Still, Blagden’s visual journey evokes memories from your own or whets the appetite for one if you’ve never gone. “Most of us who have spent a lot of time on rivers think they are alive,” Nash, a boatman since the ‘50s, writes. This paean to a glorious gorge sings the praises of a survivor, a river hemmed in but not broken.


SPOTLIGHT

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Daniella Murphy Amanda Beda Daniella: We spent years researching where we wanted to move our family. Flagstaff checks all the boxes for us: a strong sense of community, a diverse local university, a small business scene and endless outdoor activities to explore. Describe your motherhood in five words. Amanda: Loving, joyful, tiring, busy and busy — that one gets a second vote!   Daniella: Making me a better person.  When you have time to yourselves, what are you doing? Amanda: I love running and listening to true crime podcasts; often together, which can also be a bit terrifying if I’m out running trails. Daniella: Grabbing a workout at Barre3 Flagstaff, or enjoying coffee and cruller at Tourist Home All Day Cafe. 

Founders: Flagstaff Moms Blog Tell us a bit about yourselves. Amanda: I grew up outside Chicago, where I spent many cold, gloomy winters. When it was time to go to college, I decided to look for the warmest place possible and ended up at Arizona State University. My partner works on Helitack for the U.S. Forest Service, so work brought us up to the mountain. We have two children, William, 4, and Josie, 2. Daniella: I’m originally from southern California and grew up splitting my time between showing horses competitively and playing water polo through high school and college. I graduated with a degree in film and TV from Chapman University and began my career working for Walt Disney Studios. I later met my husband on a movie set, we married and had two boys. After a lot of time and research, we decided to relocate to Flagstaff from Burbank in 2016. Our boys will turn 6 and 4 this summer. 

Why did you start the Flagstaff Moms Blog? Amanda: I have a dear friend who started Madison Moms Blog. Through her hard work, I watched her grow her community and build a support system. When we decided to move to Flagstaff, I was also moving away from my support system and knew I needed a new one. Daniella was in a similar situation, so we created Flagstaff Moms Blog in hopes of bringing families and businesses together to create the community we needed and knew others would benefit from as well.

What’s your favorite kid thing to do? Amanda: As a mom with young kids, every new phase is my favorite. It’s so fun to see them grow and start to have their own preferences and favorite things. Both of my kids enjoy the outdoors, so my perfect afternoon is heading to a park, sitting back and watching them play with the other kids and letting their imaginations come through.  Daniella: Enjoying all the activities and amenities available in our community! Watching my boys splash and play at the Aquaplex or learn how to hit a baseball during a game with our local west Flagstaff Little League team. Having a front seat to their childhood memories in the making is the best part of being a mom.  Describe one time when your child left you speechless. Daniella: Recently, I was outside with my 3-year-old son when I pointed up to the moon, visible before sunset. I said to him, “Hey, what’s that up there?” He looked up, thought for a minute and replied in total confidence, “A taco!” I laughed so hard I cried! 

Why do you think northern Arizona is a good place to raise children? Amanda: Flagstaff is the absolute best place to raise a family! Between the parks, hiking and biking trails, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the outdoors here. Flagstaff also has a number of family-friendly breweries, restaurants and shops downtown where the owners get to know you The blog is at flagstaff.citymomsblog.com, or find and treat you not only as customers but as friends.  them on Facebook and other social media. May19 namlm.com

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Northern Arizona's Mt Living Magazine | May 2019  

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