Adventuring in Rim Country, White Mountains, Sedona, Flagstaff
SWIMMIN ’ H OLES 10 spots to GET WET! SEDONA/VERDE VALLEY:
Winery Tour RIM COUNTRY:
Biking with a view WHITE MOUNTAINS:
Great fishing holes FLAGSTAFF:
Arizona’s Grand Falls
Enhance your lifestyle
Chaparral Pines is offering family golf and country club lifestyle memberships Chaparral Pines features a variety of challenging holes, beautifully manicured fairways and breathtaking views of the majestic Mogollon Rim – all of which exceed any golfer’s expectations. • Arizona Top 25 Golf Course • 29,000 sq. ft. Club House • Fine Dining Restaurant & Bar • Great Venue for Weddings, • Corporate Meetings, etc.
• Newly Remodeled Family Aquatic • & Fitness Center • Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball Courts • Complete Golf Shop & Locker Rooms • Just a short drive from Scottsdale
“Great Championship Golf brought us here. The Fitness Center, Swimming areas and the Nature Hiking Trails help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. The best kept secret is the friendly, loving neighbors in the community. We are truly living the dream at Chaparral Pines!” Steve and Julie Johnson Members since 1997
Contact Lisa Herrera at (928) 472-1439 about non-property club memberships or visit www.chaparralpines.com
Overman Designs We’re just that AWESOME
207 E. Hwy 260 • Payson, AZ • 468-1008
by Peter Aleshire e took the next generation down to Fossil Creek to see a stream that had risen from the dead and so made a new world. It is a pilgrimage for me to go down into the canyon, into the Earth — to marvel at the blue-green travertine waters of a spring fed creek we enslaved for a century only to finally relent and return it to its bed. On this day, we took Nate and Ben down to those waters, which likely fell to earth thousands of years ago, filtered through fractured limestone and emerged finally once more into the sunlight turned magical with their load of dissolved travertine. Nate is 6, Ben is 4, and they bring a glad rush of hope and purpose into my second-hand store life as surely as the rush of Fossil Creek brings life to this canyon. I feed on their laughter, the rush of their discovery. As the cottonwoods seed on the sand bars and the sycamores thread their roots among the rocks — so Nate and Ben give me purpose. Why am I here? Why, to nurture Ben and Nate and Danny and Ilana and Jaccobs and all those other little ones wide-eyed in the face of the world. That means I must fight to leave to them the things that have nurtured me.
So I wonder whether I should even tell you about Fossil Creek. For a century, we humans stole the creek and imprisoned it in a flume to generate power. But then Arizona Public Service put the stream back and so restored one of the most remarkable riparian areas in the state. The creek now nurtures one of the premier native fish streams in the Southwest in a glad succession of crystal clear, 15-foot-deep swimming holes. Human beings have flocked to the risen river. Most revere it. Some trash it. Idiots leave garbage and untended campfires. So the Forest Service has banned camping and fires. If I tell you about this most beautiful of places, have I harmed the place I love? Will you trash it or revere it? Will you save it for Ben and Nate? I pray so. Better yet, I think you’ll never leave without a bag of someone else’s trash — nor hesitate to speak up for the creek to those who do not understand. So I will tell you: Go to Fossil Creek and the East Verde and Tonto Creek and Oak Creek and the Black River and the White River and all the other places we brag on in this issue. Take a child — to feed on their laughter. But also to enlist them in the generations of effort needed to protect such places. For such places are like liberty itself: They come to us as a gift, but must be defended afresh with every generation.
To advertise in the Arizona Highlands Magazine, call Bobby Davis, Advertising Director, (928) 474-5251 ext. 105, or e-mail email@example.com
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John Naughton, Publisher • Tom Brossart, Managing Editor/Photographer • Peter Aleshire, Senior Editor 708 N. Beeline Highway • PO Box 2520 • Payson, AZ 85547 • (928) 474-5251 • email@example.com
No portion of the Arizona Highlands Magazine may be used in any manner without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Arizona Highlands Magazine is published by Roundup Publishing, a division of WorldWest Limited Liability Company. © 2010
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Adventuring in Rim Country, White Mountains, Sedona, Flagstaff
Page 32: Cover
Swimminâ€™ Holes We scour the Highlands for our 10 favorite places to make a splash and beat the summer heat. Page 8: Rim Country
Scenic Mountain Biking Writer wheels along the cracked edge of a continent â€” and reveals 10 great high country trails.
Page 14: Sedona
Page 26: Flagstaff
Wine Country Amble
Turns out, the climatic hardships of Sedona and the Verde Valley have produced some great wines.
What’s higher than Niagra Falls and churns out more good vibes than a chocolate factory? Grand Falls, of course. Come see for yourself.
Page 20: White Mountains
Best Fishing Holes
Page 38: Icon of the American West
Memories flow past like the cool summer waters of the White Mountains, where the lunkers await.
White Mountain Apache Tribe restores old military outpost.
Fort Apache Page 42: Town Profile
Historic Pine Downtown Pine’s got it all, history, a little bit of funky and the world’s best honey.
7 Great Treks
Mountain biking nirvana Story by Alexis Bechman Photos by Tom Brossart
Pedal, pedal, pedal — gasp — pedal, pedal, pedal. That’s me, pushing down on the pedals of my brother’s used white Trek mountain bike, once the epitome of biking technology, now badly scratched and making an awful racket as I push to keep up with a group of riders high atop of the Mogollon Rim. With my brow sweaty, arms jiggling wildly with every bump, rut and furrow (likely because my suspension is shot), chest pounding fiercely and awesome single track below my wheels, it’s official: I am mountain biking! Not only have I managed to get myself here, I am cycling mile after mile, taking in one breathtaking view after another as we cruise the Rim Vista Trail late in the day. “Wait … stop, I’ve got a flat,” Mick Wolf, my guide shouts from his top-of-the-line, brand-new bike. I glance down at my old Trek and smile, it doesn’t look pretty, but it rides. It seems with all things technical, difficulties always get in the way. Luckily, Wolf, who also owns the shop Hike, Bike & Run in Payson, whips out a new tube, tools and several air canisters from a tiny pouch attached to the back of his seat. It is so small I had failed to notice it before he removed what seemed like an awful lot of things — a gizmo for cranking, a doodad for loosening and a thingamabob for inflating.
Like an old pro, Wolf removes the old tube and replaces it with another before I can even stop panting. This is one of my first times mountain biking and I have not decided if it is for me. Like most new bikers, I am leery about committing myself to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a bike built to handle the beatings of a trail. Wolf explains it’s similar to buying a Jeep. You can go for the base model, which can handle dirt roads and a few rocks here and there, or you can add the big tires, winch and suspension and hit the “real” Jeep trails. Serious mountain bike riders, those who ride at least once a week, plop at least $1,800 down on a bike, Wolf said, but decent bikes start around $500. Big box retailers sell bikes for $120, but those bikes are not designed to handle off-road riding and most owners’ manuals state they are not designed for such use. If you have a decent bike, but have not ridden it in awhile, Wolf recommends a good tune-up including new tubes and tires, chain and cables. In addition, riders should always wear a helmet and carry water. Gloves are also a good idea. Minus the gloves (didn’t get the memo, I guess), we continue down the Rim, the world’s largest stand of ponderosa pine forest meets our gaze, along with Highway 260, which weaves its way far below us. The sight is impressive. Luckily, we have the whole trail to ourselves it seems. Not another person passes us. It is early spring, just before Forest Road 300, a path to
the Rim’s numerous lakes and trails, is reopened after winter. (Note to reader: When you hit this trail in the summer, expect quite a few fellow travelers; when the Valley temperatures rise, so do the number of visitors on the Mogollon Rim.) Wolf, his dog Taco, my boyfriend and I ride past the Rim and down to Woods Canyon Lake, passing over singletrack and paved road surfaces. Tree limbs snapped during severe winter storms still litter the ground, making a maze for my tires to weave through. Since I am a novice rider, Wolf is starting me out slow, hitting up easier rides that do not test my lack of skill. Miles more down the road and we arrive at Woods Canyon Lake, a breathtaking lake hugged by pines. The water is chilly and placid and several inches of snow still line its banks. With a clear blue sky overhead and no one around to crowd us, we rest at the lake’s bank. I am glad to take a break from the bike. After only a few miles, my rear is starting to ache along with nearly every muscle in my body. The lake’s quiet beauty makes up for any aches and pains. Taco frolics around us, bobbing his head in the chilly lake, anxious to retrieve a stick just beyond his reach. Wolf said biking with a dog is fun, but can be a nuisance when Taco falls behind, distracted by a rabbit or squirrel. On a recent ride through the Cabin Loop trail system, Wolf biked an extra two miles on an already 22-mile ride because Taco fell behind chasing some unfortunate creature. By the time Wolf made it back to his van, it was pouring rain and hailing. Mountain bike riding is a great alternative to hiking. With a faster pace, it is easy to cover 20 miles in only a few hours. More ground means more opportunity to see new things. Sitting on the banks of the lake, I wonder why I had never biked before and then I look over at my Trek, all chipped and dinged. After a few more minutes of reveling in my new-found respect for riding, Wolf knocks some sense back in me, “It is time to ride back,” he says, obviously unaware that I was having a moment of inner serenity.
The view from the Rim Vista Trail at sunset can be breathtaking.
Highlands trail guide White Mountains 1. LUNA LAKE LOOP This ride takes you from the Luna Lake Campground, onto a singletrack trail, through several gates and over water crossings before hooking up with Forest Road 275 and then US 180, where you loop back around to the campground. Highlights: Forest of mixed conifer and aspens. Length: 8-mile loop / two hours Rating: Easy Elevation range: 8,000 to 8,200 feet Getting there: From Alpine, travel east on US 180 2.5 miles to FR 570. Go north to Luna Lake Campground. Info: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, (602) 339-4633.
SEDONA 2. Buddha Beach via Cathedral Rock This is a great track for adventurous beginners and intermediate riders. The track offers great views of Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock and a place to stop and take a dip. The trek is a combination of trails and there are multiple options so riders can
tailor it to their level and interest. We like the Bell Rock to Templeton to Cathedral trek and back out ride, but riders can also add the Baldwin Trail to Verde Valley Road, making a loop back to the parking lot. Highlights: Singletrack, views, downhill and uphill sections, slick rock. Length: 12 miles Rating: Intermediate Getting there: Take Highway 179 south out of Sedona to the Bell Rock Pathways parking lot, just north of Bike & Bean II and Circle K. The trail starts right of the Bell Rock Vistas and Pathway sign. Ride down the trail 1.25 miles and take the tunnel under Highway 179 to Cathedral Rock. Over slick rock and down a set of switchbacks will drop you at Buddha Beach, on the banks of Oak Creek. For a loop, take Verde Valley Road around to Highway 179 and back to the Bell Rock parking lot.
PAYSON 3. Rim Vista Trail/Woods Canyon Lake This ride is great for beginners new to mountain bike riding. The Rim Vista Trail follows Forest Road 300 most of the way and includes stunning views of the Mogollon Rim. For added adventure, riders can swoop down to Woods Canyon Lake on a mostly paved road. Advanced riders can take the Meadow Trail to the lake and ride around the lake. The shortest and easiest ride is 12-13 miles, on the Rim Vista Loop to Woods Canyon Lake and then returns to the parking lot. The medium loop, a 16- to 18-mile ride, also starts on the Rim Vista Trail then links with the Meadow Trail, Woods Canyon Lake Trail, around Woods Canyon Lake, back on Meadow Trail to the Rim Vista Trail and back to the parking lot. The medium loop can be extended to 25 miles by going west on the Rim Vista Trail, riding to the Mogollon Campground then taking the General Crook Trail to the Carr Lake trailhead, riding the Boulder Hop Trail, then riding back to the parking lot. The long loop, 30-35 miles, includes the extended medium route trails, but after the Boulder Hop Trail, riders take the Drew Trail and ride down the face of the Rim. Once down the Rim, riders will take the Highline Trail to See Canyon, then ride back to Christopher Creek where you would need to have someone pick you up and shuttle back to the parking lot on the Rim. Highlights: Largest stand of ponderosa pines, views, cool temperatures. Length: Varies depending on which trails taken / 2-4 hours Rating: Beginning to intermediate Getting there: Head east on Highway 260 out of Payson roughly 30 miles to the top of the Rim. Take a left on FR 300 (heading toward Woods Canyon Lake) and park in the first parking lot on the right. Info: Mogollon Rim Ranger District, HC 31, Box 300, Happy Jack AZ 86024, (928) 477-2255. 4. Cabin Loop This great trail system offers riders of all skill levels a chance to test their ability. The ride starts at the General Springs Cabin and connects with a several trails for an awesome ride on the Cabin Loop trail system. From the cabin, riders can take one of three loop options, varying in distance and difficulty. The short loop, out and back on the Fred Haught Trail, is 12 miles round trip. The standard loop is a difficult 20 miles and includes the Fred Haught Trail and back around to the cabin on FR 300. The long loop, a difficult 30 to 40 miles of hiking and biking, starts on the Fred Haught Trail, connects with the U-Bar Trail, Barbershop Trail, Houston Brothers Trail and back to the cabin on FR 300. Highlights: Awesome scenery, wildlife. Length: Varies from 12 miles to 40 miles Rating: Beginning to intermediate. Getting there: To find General Springs Cabin, take Highway 87 north from Strawberry to Forest Road 300. Turn right (east) onto 300 and drive approximately 10 miles. Look for a war monument at the junction. The General Springs Cabin is about a half mile down the dirt road to the north.
12 Arizona Highlands
Info: Mogollon Rim Ranger District, HC 31, Box 300, Happy Jack AZ 86024, (928) 477-2255.
FLAGSTAFF 5. Sunset Trail This great ride combines an easy but grueling climb up Mount Elden Lookout Road and then a steep, technical singletrack down Sunset Trail. Begin by huffing seven miles to the lookout tower, where you can catch your breath. Look for Sunset Trail a quarter mile from the lookout on the right. The trail bobs up and down and then meets up with the Schultz Pass Road, which will loop around to the parking lot. Highlights: Views from the top of the Mount Elden Lookout, mountain scenery. Length: 15-mile loop / 3-4 hours Rating: Moderate to difficult Elevation range: 7,000 to 9,300 feet Getting there: From downtown Flagstaff, head north on Fort Valley Road for two miles. Head east onto Schultz Pass/Mount Elden Road, park at the fork. Info: Coconino National Forest, (928) 527-3600 (recent fires in the area may have created restrictions). 6. Oldham Trail This trek begins at Buffalo Park and winds below Mount Elden. From the park, take Oldham Trail north until you reach Pipeline Road. Go left on the road until you see a trail on the right. Take the trail until you meet up with Mount Elden Road where you will ride for less than a mile until reaching a trail beyond the cattle guard. Go downhill on this trail until you encounter Pipeline Road. Take the road back to the park. Highlights: Incredible views, hard-packed road and singletrack surfaces.
Length: 7 miles / 2-3 hours Rating: Intermediate Elevation range: 7,140 to 7,400 feet Getting there: Take San Francisco Street north to Cedar Street. Head right (north) on Cedar to Buffalo Park. Info: Coconino National Forest, (928) 527-3600 (recent fires in the area may have created restrictions).
WILLIAMS 7. Bill Williams Mountain Trail #21 This is a great ride for intermediate riders in good shape. Since it is not widely known, there should be few if any other riders on the trail. The trail starts at the Williams Ranger District Office and heads up the mountains. There are plenty of good places to stop and check out the view of the valley below. Slopes are moderate to steep up the mountain. The trail was originally built to reach the fire lookout at the top. Today, there is also a gravel road (FR 111) to access the lookout. At the intersection of the trail and road, there are several log benches for relaxing. For the return ride, bikers can head down the way they came or take the Benham Trail. You will need to have a shuttle pick up at the Benham trailhead on the eastern side of the mountain to get back to the ranger station. Highlights: Downhill singletrack, switchbacks, views, wildflowers, rock formations. Length: 8 miles round trip / 3-4 hours Rating: Intermediate Elevation range: 6,770 to 9,265 feet Getting there: From Flagstaff, head west on Interstate 40 for 30 miles. Take the Williams exit and drive south to the ranger station. Continue a quarter-mile east to the trailhead parking area. Info: 742 South Clover Road, Williams, AZ 86046, (928) 635-5600.
SO PAY N
Having the time of my life on the banks of Tonto Creek ... wish you were here!! RESERVATIONS: 800-521-3131 East Highway 260, Payson, AZ 85541 â€˘ (928) 478-4211 â€˘ www.kohlsranch.com
Chef Andrew Opeyoke of The Gathering at Cliff Castle Casino, samples an Alcantar wine during a bottling event this past spring.
Itâ€™s all about grapes
A high school student helps tend the vines as they mature through the spring, into the summer for harvesting during in the fall. A warm, setting Arizona sun highlights the grape vines (photo right).
‘I created my own Shangri-La here. Without the vineyards, I don’t exist. Our wine and our grapes are an extension of ourselves’ — Barbara Predmore, owner of Alcantara Vineyard
Story by Suzanne Jacobson Photographs by Tom Brossart
he dusty road through northern Arizona’s wine country does not immediately leave the impression that one is in prime grape land. The rocky, hard soil leaves one wondering what, exactly, could grow here except for the low-lying brush and scattered trees. But, the same dry summer heat that brings sweat to the skin — the same dusty soil that swirls in the air, gives grapes the stress they need to develop into good wines, winemakers say. “You don’t grow grapes in loamy, potato soil,” said Rod Snapp, who owns Javelina Leap Vineyard in Cornville. “You grow grapes in rocky, hard soil. That’s what stresses the grapes.” Paula Woolsey, sales manager for Arizona Stronghold Vineyards and several others, agreed. “Grapes like to struggle. That’s what makes good wines.” These stressful conditions result in fewer, but more intensely flavored grapes. Just as human struggle builds character, grapes struggling to grow from
A single hummingbird may visit 10,000 flowers in a single day Barbara Predmore of Alcantara Vineyard and Winery talks wine with a visitor during their annual bottling day at the winery each April.
this rocky turf also develop deep disposition — delicate hints of floral, berry and fruit. The national wine scene has begun acknowledging the self-sufficient vintners building this wine community. These leaders have a vision of community, sustainability, and of developing a new type of economy in an area that used to be largely out of tourism’s view. “First it was France, then it was California, then it was Washington, then it was Oregon, and now it’s Arizona,” said Snapp. Four wineries sit on the Verde Valley Wine Trail. The journey starts west of I-17 at sprawling Alcantara Vineyard and Winery on Thousand Trails Road off Highway 260 north of Camp Verde. Then, swings onto Highway 89A, and turn right onto Page Springs Road, a picturesque path that would make a nice drive even without the wine. Three vineyards with tasting rooms lie on Page Springs Road — Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards and Javelina Leap Vineyard. Each April, the Predmores, who own Alcantara, host the Zinful event, which combines wine, chocolate, bottling, and a pre-release wine sale. Bob Predmore and visitors to the vineyard worked in the bustling bot-
Jaidyn Meyers, a friend of the Predmores helps out with the bottling of the wine.
Bob Predmore tends his Alcantar vines in late spring.
tling area while his wife, Barbara, mingled with the crowd, her European upbringing seeping through her Italian-style vivaciousness. Barbara has a vision, and the spiel to accompany her disarming passion. “It’s very much not an attraction — it’s a destination,” she said of Alcantara. “I don’t want to go to Disneyland, I don’t even want to go to Tlaquepaque. I want a place where people can sit and enjoy — use their senses.” Barbara’s ultimate vision is to develop her 87 acres into a Tuscan village complete with a bed and breakfast, shops, a piazza, and a co-op winery so other small vineyards can share the costs of making wine. The Predmores still need to find money to complete the dream project, but Barbara seems content with the vision created heretofore. “I created my own Shangri-La here,” she said. “Without the vineyards, I don’t exist. Our wine and our grapes are an extension of ourselves.” The Predmores have owned the property since 2005. They grow more than 13,000 vines and craft 12 different types of wine. At Javelina Leap Vineyard, a 10-acre spread on Page Springs Road, Snapp says, “we can’t make enough wine.” He sells 24,000 bottles of wine annually. He plans to bottle
18 Arizona Highlands
an extra 1,000 cases next year, up to 3,000, and says he’ll keep growing up until 8,000 cases. “That’s it,” he said. “We don’t want to be any bigger. That’s big enough for a small winery.” Snapp said 20,000 people come to his winery annually. “This is the fastest growing single industry in the state of Arizona,” he said. “This is everybody’s dream.” Having vineyards and tasting rooms provides travelers with a fun activity, and people can even take tours like the Water to Wine Tour that features a float down the Verde River to Alcantara. Javelina Leap’s award-winning wines include a Wholefoods Consumer Choice Award for the 2009 100% Estate Barbera, a 2009 Arizona Growers Cup Gold Medal for the 100% Petite Sirah, and a 2009 Arizona Growers Cup Silver Medal for the 100% Cabernet Franc. At Page Springs Cellars, owner Eric Glomski grows his wines without chemicals, although they are not certified organic. “We want anybody to be able to run through the vineyard naked if they wanted to,” said Woolsey. “That’s the way it should be. We’re not even trying to be cool.” Glomski has gained recent fame in his partnership with Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, who jointly own Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. The company has vineyards around the state.
A documentary released earlier this year features their plight to develop their vineyards “amidst wine industry prejudice and the harsh Arizona terrain,” according to the Page Springs Web site. The movie, “Blood Into Wine,” is now on a screening tour around the nation, and a DVD will release in September. Woolsey also teaches wine classes at Yavapai Community College, where leaders are also working toward planting a 30acre vineyard. “There’s a push to make a long-lasting cultural improvement,” said Woolsey. “We’re not doing this to get people drunk.” She added, “Our idea of sustainable is not hopping in your Prius and driving to work.” It’s riding a bike to work. At Oak Creek Winery, roughly 4,000 plants grow on 10 acres. Owner Deb Wahl offers a variety of cheese and dried meats to enjoy with wine in the tasting room.
“If people want to have a nice glass of wine and sit on the patio, it is really beautiful to overlook the vineyard,” said Lisa Billingsley, who works at the winery. “I just think it’s a very welcoming tasting room,” she added. “It feels very warm and people can come here and try all of our different wines.” Local artwork decorates the walls, keeping with the Verde Valley wine community’s emphasis on supporting the region. Woolsey, the national sales manager for Arizona Stronghold, said Arizona wines are well-received. “I sell these wines based on they’re interesting wines from an interesting place.” Indeed, the wine culture has taken root in a place where cowboys and Indians used to wrestle. In the Verde Valley, this emerging
atmosphere allows the best of both worlds. For more information, visit www.vvwinetrail.com.
The Verde Valley Wine Trail connects the dots between four wineries: Alcantara Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards and Javelina Leap Vineyards, and four tasting rooms: Caduceus Cellars, Jerome Winery, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards and Pillsbury Wine Company. While on the trail, visitors will not only experience the skillfully crafted wines that each produces, but also the beauty of the region. What better way to enjoy a day or more than touring the wineries, tasting rooms, area attractions and the great restaurants and bistros that dot the landscape?
Rim Country Welcomes You! Just a scenic, 90-minute drive from Phoenix will take you to the majestic, mountain paradise known as Rim Country. The communities of Rim Country feature friendly people and wonderful tourist and recreation opportunities, including: • Zane Grey’s Cabin • Tonto Natural Bridge • Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails • Campgrounds • Lakes and Rivers with year-round fishing • Green Valley Park • And so much more
RIM COUNTRY REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PAYSON • PINE • STRAWBERRY STAR VALLEY • CHRISTOPHER CREEK
100 W. Main Street • Payson, AZ (928) 474-4515 • www.rimcountrychamber.com
White Mountain Fishing:
Memories rise with t
I stand in the Black River to my waist, my hapless fake caddis fly whipping about in the air over my head at the end of my fly line. Memories flow past me, hurrying downstream. I should focus. I’ve already donated enough $2 dry flies to the capricious Water Gods of the Black River.
20 Arizona Highlands
Still, I can’t quite decide if that’s the log. Looks like it. Just like it. Must be it. That’s silly, of course. Noah and Seth staged their Robin Hood battle of the pikes for rights to cross that log some 15 years ago. Couldn’t be the same log. Could it? This thought requires so much of my mental effort that I snag my fly on a willow branch on the long back stroke. All this time — I’ve still not learned to just flick the little wooly bugger out there instead of indulging in dangerous sky writing. So I wade back downstream, flounder in among the branches of the willow and extract my fly. Then I splash
h the trout
Noah and Seth Aleshire do the Robin Hood-Little John thing on a summer log spanning the Black River, one of the best fishing spots in the White Mountains.
Story by Peter Aleshire
back out into the approximate middle of the stream, which remains the only spot I have even a small chance of staying out of the shrubbery here in the tight, soothing, gleaming confines of the Black River — my favorite White Mountain stream (except all the others). Back in position: I study the log. Gosh. How long ago was it? Seth must have been 12. Noah maybe 8. We rented a cabin in Alpine and spent a golden two weeks splashing about. I taught them to fish that summer. This is the great thing about fatherhood. Even if you’re near hopeless — your children are so ignorant and credulous, that you can seem wise — haloed in your experience. I miss that. Only lasted a little while, but I liked
wise and strong. Grows on you. But then it’s gone. Next thing you know, you’re chubby and winded and they’re mountain goats — leaping up the mountain away from you. Seth is a middle school teacher now, finishing up his Ph.D. in educational administration so he can become a principal. Noah just graduated from law school — has a job with the federal Centers for Disease Control to work on medical policy analysis. But I remember that summer — that great clash of pine staffs on the log. That’s when I realized something remarkable about Seth, watching them bash away on that log. I noticed that they’d become much more rough and tumble in their play in the past year or so. That puz-
Peter AleshirePeter Aleshire
zled me until I put it together. Noah had finally gotten nearly as big as Seth, so Seth figured it was fair to roughhouse — which he never did when he had a huge size advantage. Now, where’d he learn that rule? I never taught it to him. How’d my son turn into a better man than I? Now, they whacked away happily — well matched. First one, then the other, tumbled into the water with a holler and a great splash, while I continued to amuse the trout upstream. That was nearly two decades ago. I’m losing track a little, for the river is the same and the log is the same — only I am different. And all the while, Tom Brossart the river flows on past, swirling with memories. I remember that the trout fishing lessons were a mixed success. They loved it — right up until they caught a fish. Then they discovered I intended to behead the poor thing and feed them the corpse. That didn’t go over very well. I did it anyway that first day — certain I could soothe their scruples with the taste of fresh trout. They just sat there watching me eat it — their father, the murderer. So we became catch-and-release fishermen: Something else they taught me. Just upstream now, a trout rises — making that thrilling riffle in the water, just where I figured one might be holding beneath the overhung bank. I shift position, plan my cast.
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Sitting on a branch atop a sentinel dead snag, a magnificent white osprey watches me. I try to concentrate under the fierce gaze of this master fisherman — not wanting to make a fool of myself. He might report me to my children. I draw my arm back, wait a moment for my caddis fly imposter to reach the limit of the backstroke, then bring my wonderfully straight-wristed arm forward, letting the weight of the backing hurl the fly forward. The fly alights on the dark, musical water with the grace of a fairy, ginked and eager. The fly finds the seam of the current and floats down toward the hidden trout. No actual caddis ever looked so endearingly caddis. Were I a trout, I would change streams and make a dinner reservation for the chance to eat anything so perfectly delicious. I think this even though I have never seen a real caddis fly floating lightly atop the Black River. Then, the trout, he rises. He takes the fly, I set the hook. I play him and take him in the net with a murmur of appreciation. I extract my barbless hook as quickly as I can then give him back to the stream. I feel only a small pang at his foregone deliciousness. “Thank Seth,” I call to him, as he surges back upstream toward the log of my memory. “Thank Noah,” I add. Then I stand in perfect happiness, as the memories run past me.
WHITE MOUNTAIN STREAMS EAST FORK BLACK RIVER: Apache trout stocked weekly. Try drifting worms through pools. Also try spinners, Rapalas or streamers for the resident brown trout. LITTLE COLORADO RIVERGREER: Good flow this year due to the deep winter snowpack. Catchable size Apache and rainbow trout stocked regularly. Wild brown trout are also present. SHEEPS CROSSING: Highway 273 is open and fishing is fair. Apache trout stocked regularly through the summer. Anglers are catching trout on night crawlers. SILVER CREEK: Silver Creek is regularly stocked an open to lures, flies and bait; with a daily bag and possession limit
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Tom Brossart Peter Aleshire
of six trout from April 1 through Sept. 30. The upper section is closed to fishing at this time. Try night crawlers or Power Bait, or small spinners or spoons in the deeper pools.
CLEAR CREEK RESERVOIR: Try night crawlers and spinners for trout, and night crawlers on the bottom for bullheads, sunfish and bass.
WEST FORK BLACK RIVER: Try drifting worms through pools. Try worms, spinners, Rapalas or streamers for resident brown trout. The lower river near the campground is open to statewide regulations, but the upper reaches are open to catch-and-release fishing only, with artificial lure and fly.
CONCHO LAKE: Anglers should try worms, Power Bait or small lures. Use caution when launching a boat because the water level may be below bottom of the boat ramp.
WHITE MOUNTAIN LAKES Hereâ€™s a rundown of lakes you can fish in the White Mountains. For up-to-date information about conditions, check out the Arizona Game and Fish Fishing Report (http://azgfd.net) online or call the Pinetop Office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (928) 367-4281. BECKER LAKE: Stocked rainbow trout. Try wooly buggers, nymphs and small midges. Artificial lure and fly only, barbless hooks, and a two-trout bag and possession limit. BIG LAKE: Lake is full for the first time in 15 years. Anglers are catching trout, some up to 5 pounds, on just about anything. Rooster Tail spinners and wooly bugger flies in bright green are working well, and the usual night crawlers, Power Bait, and salmon eggs. Boat anglers can try trolling cowbells and red Panther Martin spinners tipped with a night crawler. CARNERO LAKE: Heavily stocked each spring, lake is best fished from a float tube, canoe or kayak.
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CRESCENT LAKE: Heavily stocked since the winter freeze kills off surviving summer fish. Anglers are catching fish on night crawlers. FOOL HOLLOW LAKE: One of the better fishing lakes, with good-sized stocked trout. Try night crawlers, Power Bait and lures. Also productive for catfish (try yellow Power Bait and night crawlers), Sunfish and crappie (try night crawlers and small jigs off the west side piers). GREER LAKES: All three reservoirs (Bunch, Tunnel and River) are stocked and have been productive, with some big trout catches reported â€” including a recent 4.5 pounder at River Reservoir on orange glitter Power Bait. HULSEY LAKE: Heavily stocked. Try Power Bait and night crawlers. Short hike down to the lake. LEE VALLEY RESERVOIR: Apache trout are biting well on bead head nymphs and zug bugs. Lee Valley Lake is open to lures and flies only with a two-trout bag and possession limit, and a minimum size of 12 inches.
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LUNA LAKE: Not one of the heavy action lakes, but it’s high and cool and close to Alpine. Try night crawlers, Power Bait and salmon eggs. The concession store is under new management. LYMAN LAKE: Lyman Lake State Park is now open for the summer. Anglers should try night crawlers and chicken livers for catfish. Largemouth bass, sunfish and some walleye are also present in the lake. The park has many campsites and other amenities. NELSON RESERVOIR: Lake well stocked. Try worms, Power Bait, and salmon eggs. RAINBOW LAKE: Stocked with larger trout, but algae bloom slowing down the catch. Try using the fishing pier for trout and bullheads. SCOTT RESERVOIR: Anglers are catching trout and catfish on night crawlers and Power Bait.
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SHOW LOW LAKE: Small lake that gets heavy use. Anglers are catching trout on night crawlers. Anglers have also been catching smallmouth bass, sunfish, and a few walleye on leadhead jigs with chartreuse mister twister rubber worms off the dam. Also stocked with channel catfish. WOODLAND LAKE: Anglers are catching trout and catfish on night crawlers, Power Bait and spinners. The daily bag and possession limit at Woodland Lake is four trout.
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The road to the Grand Falls is bumpy to the say the least.
Chocolate falls gives writer positive vibes Story by Alexis Bechman Photos by Tom Brossart After a 45-minute drive down a rutted dirt road in the heart of the Navajo Nation, I badly needed some positive energy. I was feeling anything but optimistic about life’s possibilities, as my spirit guide Willy Wonka sings in the film Chocolate Factory. After miles of dust and bumps, the air in my Subaru felt stripped of negative ions, those tiny particles that some say positively affect the brain’s serotonin levels. Even my dog Kiwi was feeling melancholy, a sad look on her face as she scanned the windswept landscape void of vegetation or water. To top it off, I was all out of chocolate, with all its feelgood brain chemicals. Hours earlier, during a moment of weakness, I had indulged myself with a dark chocolate bar with bits of coffee. Now, I looked back on that moment with regret. I gripped the wheel of the car as I picked my way through the far eastern edge of the San Francisco volcanic field, past cinder cones and craters in northern Arizona.
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If you want to view paradise Simply look around and view it Anything you want to, do it — Willy Wonka Little did I know, Kiwi and I were headed for one of Arizona’s champion producers of the negative ions I craved, our own version of Niagara Falls — Grand Falls. Often referred to as chocolate falls for its muddy, rich color (more of a milk chocolate than dark), Grand Falls is a place that surprises you. Not only does a waterfall in the arid landscape defy logic, its beauty is breathtaking. Like Wonka’s magical chocolate river (much sweeter tasting than the little Colorado River I imagine), Grand Falls’ beauty is a treat for the senses. Water from the river plunges over terraces of limestone in
Grand Falls is a favorite of photographers and higher than Niagra.
several great cascades, crashing down into the canyon 180 something feet below, some 10 feet higher than Niagara Falls. And just as Wonka based his business on that chocolate river, Native Americans living near the Little Colorado River have relied on the Little Colorado River to feed their crops and quench their livestock’s thirst for centuries. Today, I need the river’s mood boosting ions to kick my chocolate funk. With heady anticipation, I push onward down Indian Road 6910, Kiwi’s head and tongue bouncing incessantly out the window. Finally, at the lip of Grand Falls, Kiwi and I bound out of the car, anxious for a recharge. It is early May, so thousands of gallons of water flow over the falls. The best time to see Grand Falls flows is in the spring months during winter snow runoff from the White Mountains and Mogollon Rim. There is a possibility that after a heavy monsoonal rain the falls could be flowing. The rest of the year, the river’s channel, a major offshoot of the Colorado River, is nearly barren. We offer this taste of its delights now, so you can scout it now, take a few “before” photos — and return in the glory of spring. Standing on the lip of the canyon, Grand Falls stands mightily across the way, thousands of gallons of latte-colored water rushing over the terraced edges. Looking at my feet, I realize I am standing on black volcanic rock, the same rock that flowed into the canyon and helped create the falls. To appreciate the falls, you have to scramble down a dirt path to the west. Lacking any official trail, you must bushwhack down the path of least resistance. Kiwi bounded down the canyon ahead as I picked my way carefully down the rough slope. At the canyon bed, I sat and took in the falls and the ions. Granted, not as bracing as the ions wafting off waterfalls in
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Havasupi, but delightful nonetheless. Some researchers suggest that negative ions, found in abundance near waterfalls, hot springs and oceans where water molecules split, give people a refreshed feeling. The little mood boosters are molecules comprised of atoms that have lost some electrons — giving them a tiny, negative charge. The molecules shed the electrons in the tumbling of waves or turbulence. Some evidence suggests that these negatively charged atoms of oxygen and hydrogen get into the bloodstream and increase the flow of blood to the brain, while perhaps also increasing levels of serotonin and other mood-altering neurotransmitters. No wonder Niagara Falls is such a popular place to get
married — you cannot help but feel happy with the ions crashing down around you. One Web site claimed the air around Niagara Falls contains between 30,000 and 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter, far above the amount found in a closed-off car. Luckily, at Grand Falls, you have all the time in the world to sit down, rest, enjoy the splendor and absorb the ions. Grand Falls formed tens of thousands of years ago when lava flowed into the Little Colorado River canyon, blocking the river’s natural flow. Some of the biggest rapids in the Grand Canyon were formed by just such a process, after lava flows created instant dams and deep lakes, until the water managed to cut a path back down through the lava dam. Here on the wide plains the river shifted back and forth until it created a new path across the lava flow, in its relentless effort to merge with the Colorado River deep in the Grand Canyon. While nothing can substitute chocolate, a visit to Grand Falls is surely sweet.
Living there You’ll be free If you truly wish to be — Willy Wonka
Getting there The road to Grand Falls is bumpy, rough and poorly marked. Although suitable for passenger cars, an SUV is preferable. The trailhead is not marked. Access the falls by heading northeast 15 miles out of Flagstaff on Highway 40 to Winona, exit 211. Drive a little over two miles to Leupp Road. Turn right and drive 20 miles to Indian Road 6910, marked by a small sign. Turn left and head nine miles down the dirt road. Right before the river crossing, turn left to the falls overlook. There several covered picnic areas.
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Tonto Creek (above) and the East Verde River qualify as two of the best swimming holes in the highlands.
Story by Peter Aleshire
A clean dive. A cool plunge. A glad gurgle. The perfect swimming hole conjures summer and soaks into memory. Now, suffering Valley residents certainly deserve all sorts of credit for getting through yet another 115-degree summer, basting there on their own little heat island. But don’t be ridiculous. We’ll still admire your fortitude and discipline if you sneak off every so often to soak in one of Arizona’s rare treasures — a stream that burbles and splashes through a perfect swimming hole, where you can indulge your inner Huck Finn — and maybe
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bond with the kids (or grandkids). So here I offer eight great creeks along which you can find the special joys of a shaded swimming hole — strategically scattered throughout Arizona’s high country.
RIM COUNTRY Tonto Creek Tonto Creek boasts great trout fishing in a succession of beautiful ponds that are stocked all summer. This easily accessible stretch of river perfectly combines water and scenery — but you’ll have to overlook the crowds. The lower reaches of Tonto Creek in the Hellsgate wilderness area offer an unforgettable stint of canyoneering. The river returns to civilization, often nearly exhausted, at Gisela, where it waits at the end of Forest Road 417 off Highway 87. Tonto Creek continues into Roosevelt Lake. Facilities: USFS campground streamside along FR 289 and at the FR 269/260 junction, with another along Christopher Creek at FR 260. The historic Kohl’s Ranch rents cabins. Access: From Payson, follow AZ 260 15 miles.
Fossil Creek (above) and Water Wheel on the East Verde (left) get heavy weekend use so the Forest Service has banned, camping and fires.
East Verde: Water Wheel This little-known treasure just outside of Payson offers one of the best all-around swimming holes in Arizona. The East Verde River emerges from a spring at the base of the Mogollon Rim and flows down past Payson and to the Verde River. Houston Mesa Road and Flowing Springs Road offer ample access. Water Wheel offers the best single swimming hole, complete with a deep pool and 50-foot waterfall. A fire closed the area most people use to get access, but you search for parking after the bridge and first crossing and hike up the stream. Facilities: Several campgrounds near the stream. Access: Take Highway 87 about 90 miles out of Phoenix and on through Payson toward Pine and Strawberry. Just outside of Payson, take Houston Mesa Road. Water Wheel lies between the first, bridged crossing and the second crossing, where the stream flows across the road.
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At the moment, Fossil Creek ranks as my favorite swimming hole in the whole state. The stream gushes from a stream laden with travertine at the base of the Mogollon Rim and flows some 15 miles to its junction with the Verde River. The travertine gives the color a mind-blowing
blue-green cast, like the famous Havasupi. Moreover, the travertine builds strange drip castles and stone dams, which creates a fascinating architecture, little spill-overs and almost swampy stretches. The spring feeding the stream gushes reliably, creating mile after mile of little waterfalls and deep pools. It’s now a refuge for native fish and sweltering swimmers. Facilities: No camping or fires along the creek, but great for day use. Access: From Payson, take Highway 87 to Pine and turn on Fossil Creek Road. Follow the dirt road down a hair-raising, hairpin road into the canyon. It’ll take you about 40 minutes from Payson. You can also pick up Fossil Creek Road in Camp Verde, off Interstate 17.
SEDONA / VERDE VALLEY Oak Creek The weekend crowds constitute one and only cracks in the dam of my affections for Oak Creek. This creek has got it all — world-famous scenery, vortexes that can sooth your soul, brilliantly colored birds, trout pools, mud banks, cottonwoods dangling rope swings over deep pools, deep shade, bright sun, red rocks, gushy mud. If you’re in a better income bracket than scribes and scribblers like me — investigate renting a streamside cabin for a week — preferably someplace with a deep pool
and a long rope tied to a tall tree. Enjoy the crowd scene at Oak Creek Crossing and Slide Rock, or drive 89A looking for an unpopulated section of stream. Facilities: Lots of hotels in Sedona. Cheaper hotels available in Camp Verde and Cottonwood. Developed campground at Page Springs and commercial camps along 89A. Access: Take I-17 to Highway 179 then to 89A in Sedona.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park The 423-acre Dead Horse Ranch State Park provides easy access to the charms of the Lower Verde River. Sitting at about 3,200 feet in the Verde Valley, the area remains warm enough in the summer to make splashing about in the river a pleasure. The park has excellent camping facilities plus good hiking and mountain biking trails. The intact, cottonwood-willow galleries are a rare, preserved healthy sample of the most biologically diverse and productive habitat type in North America. This combination of cottonwoods and willows once dominated Arizona waterways, but has been so affected by dewatering and the impact of invasive species that only 5 to 10 percent of the pre-settlement habitat remains. Elevation: 3,300 feet Access: Take Highway 17 to Camp Verde, go northwest on Highway 260 toward Cottonwood, bear right onto South Main Street, turn right onto 10th Street after the curve and continue to the park entrance.
WHITE MOUNTAINS The Black River The Black River gurgles happily along through the 8,000-foothigh forest from near Alpine and down onto the 7,000-foot mixed pine and oak woodlands of the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Pines, willows and alders line its banks, bunches of grass overhang its undercut banks where intermittently cooperative trout linger. The blessing and the curse of the Black River remains the
road that runs along its banks. This provides easy access to an eight-mile incantation of pools, riffles and bends — which means you can spend the day exploring its banks, but must contend with others with the same yen. The dirt and gravel FR 276 follows the river’s east fork while FR 26 shadows West Fork. Elevation: 7,900 to 6,500 feet. Facilities: Excellent campgrounds all along the river. Several lodges and places rent cabins in Alpine to the north and Hannigan Meadows to the south. Access: Take Highway 77 from Globe through the spectacular Salt River Canyon, then either Highway 73 or Highway 260 to Springerville and then Highway 666 to Alpine. FR 276 and FR 26 follow river.
The White River The White River is generally lower and longer than the Black River and flows mostly through the White Mountain Apache and San Carlos Apache Reservations. To enjoy the portions of the river on the reservation, you’ll need to get a permit to drive the dirt roads, which you can get from the White Mountain Apache Reservation in White River. The creek offers lots of great fishing and plenty of quiet stretches where you’ll see hardly anyone. The North Fork runs for some 50 miles and drops from 6,800 feet to 5,000 feet. Access this stream along Upper Log Road or the Roberts Ranch Turnoff — or McCoy Bridge off SR 473, south of SR 260. The North Fork joins the East Fork near Fort Apache, to form the White River — which then flows on down into the Salt River. Hawley Lake and Sunrise Lake both provide great camping and fishing spots. The East Fork of the White River runs for just six miles. Drive south from Whiteriver on SR 7 and turn east toward Fort Apache. The road crosses the river then turns into Y5, which hugs the river on up to the closed area of the reservation. Below R-30, the stream is stocked with Apache Trout. Elevation: 7,000 to 5,000 feet. Facilities: Excellent campgrounds along some stretches of the river, lodging in Show Low. Access: Take Highway 60 through the Salt River Canyon or Highway 260 through Show Low. Be prepared for lots of dirt road driving on confusing tribal roads.
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36 Arizona Highlands
Fort celebrates culture of W Story by Peter Aleshire Photos by Tom Brossart
ort Apache, that ethically complex, historically rich, symbolically ambiguous, icon of the American West was falling, bit by bit, into ruin. Perched on a basaltic mesa overlooking the White River in the heart of the White Mountain Apache Reservation, the decaying fort represented a mingling of pain and triumph. From this fort made mythic by countless movie westerns, the American military campaigned against a proud people. And once the military abandoned the fort in 1922, it served as a boarding school intended originally to â€œcivilizeâ€? the Apache by stripping away their culture. Another tribe might have called in the bulldozers and hosted a bonfire. But after more than 50 years of neglect, the White Mountain Apache Tribe decided to make Fort Apache into a unique place to both explain their history to outsiders and serve the ongoing needs of their community. In this, the tribe demonstrated its history of pragmatic persistence that has allowed the White Mountain Apache to bend like willows in a flood and then spring back upright. Now, after more than $4 million in reconstruction, renovation, and planning, Fort Apache has become a centerpiece for the celebration of Apache culture and a gathering place for the Apache community. The tribe recently added the Apache Cultural Center and Museum, with both permanent and rotating exhibits of things like Apache basketry woven from mulberry, squawberry and willow branches with beautiful designs created by twisting the weaving material to show either the light inner surface or the dark outer surface. Visitors can tour the 27 buildings on the 288-acre historic site, including the 1870s log cabin that housed General George Crook and famed army surgeon Walter Reed, who went on to pioneer a cure for malaria. Meticulously restored sandstone and wood frame buildings that served as officerâ€™s quarters from the 1880s through the 1920s line one side of the huge parade ground. Exhibits also detail the role of the fort and of the White Mountain Apache scouts, who played a
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f White Mountain Apaches
The exteriors of the homes once used by soldiers and officers stationed at Fort Apache have been carefully restored.
The 1870s log cabin that housed General George Crook and famed army surgeon Walter Reed, who went on to pioneer a cure for malaria has been restored.
crucial role in the decades of warfare in the region. In addition, visitors can learn something of the bungled attempt to arrest an Apache religious leader that triggered a pitched battle on Cibicue Creek, a brief attack on the fort, and Geronimo’s escape. Visitors can also see a restored Apache village, the remains of the village in which the Apache scouts lived, 800year-old pueblo ruins, and pictoglyph panels on the sheer, sun-bronzed basalt walls of the canyon above which the fort sits. A visit to the fort can serve as a jumping off point for other adventures on the 1.6-million-acre reservation which includes rolling expanses of lower-elevation pinyon-juniper forests and expansive ponderosa pine forests plus the 11,459foot Mt. Baldy and portions the deep gorge of the Salt River.
The tribe The White Mountain Apache Tribe now numbers about 8,000, up from 2,000 when the reservation was first established. The tribe operates a ski resort and the Hon-Dah Casino outside of Show Low. The casino includes a 128-room hotel, a 19,000-squarefoot conference center, and a golf course, camping ground and RV park. The Sunrise Ski Resort includes 65 runs, 13 miles of cross country ski trails, and a 106-room hotel. Located 24 miles from McNary on the eastern edge of the reservation, the resort offers a year-round resort hotel, a well-stocked fishing and boating lake, and miles of trails. The tribe has also managed its wildlife population carefully, and now sells hunting permits to outsiders eager for a chance to hunt the world-renowned elk and other wildlife. Apache guides are also available for hunters. High country
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lakes like Hawley, Horseshoe, Sunrise and McNary provide plentiful fishing and recreational opportunities. The reservation is also criss-crossed by rivers and streams, many of which offer plentiful fishing opportunities. The most popular include the two forks of the White River, Big and Little Diamon, Big and Little Bonito, Paradise, Trout, Snake, Becker, Cibecue and the Black River. Through the guide program, the tribe now hopes to open more areas of the reservation to interested tourists — without infringing unduly on the lives of tribe members or turning the durable and complex Apache ceremonies and culture into a tourist sideshow. It makes perfect sense that the pragmatic White Mountain Apache should seek a way to turn a painful history to their advantage. In contrast to the violent resistance of Chiricahua Apache war leaders like Cochise and Geronimo, White Mountain Apache leaders in the late 1800s responded to invading whites with shrewd caution and restraint. The fort’s history begins in July of 1869 when Major John Green arrived on a mission to find a site for a fort and to set fire to the cornfields of the White Mountain Apache, on the assumption they had been providing food to other, hostile bands. To Major Green’s surprise, the White Mountain, Carrizo and Cibicue bands greeted him warmly, insisting they wanted to be friends. The Apache leaders even recommended the ultimate site of the fort to Green, an ancient place used by ancestors of today’s Hopi and Zuni for 1,000 years before the Apache arrived and called it “Place Where the White Reeds Grow.” Green had glimpsed the Apaches’ intensely felt connection to certain places that was religious in its intensity. Cultural anthropologist Keith Basso, who has worked among the White Mountain Apache for decades, described some of the
reasons for that attachment in his seminal “Wisdom Sits in Places.” The Apache have vividly descriptive names for hundreds of hills, meadows and outcroppings, each linked to a story about the ancestors who first conferred that name. These stories each illustrate key elements of Apache philosophy and morality. The landscape itself, therefore, helps preserve and strengthen This cupola atop one of the buildings at Fort Apache morality, knowledge, has been restored to its original look. spirit and culture. That’s why the White Mountain the whites. leaders resolved to do whatever they had to Fearing Noch-ay-del-klinne would unite do to hold on to their sacred places. the various bands, army arrested him at Impressed by the restraint and warmth Cibicue Creek in August of 1881. of the White Mountain Apache, Green Shooting broke out, the scouts mustopped burning their cornfields and recomtinied, and the soldiers killed Noch-ay-delmended establishment of the fort. By the time construction began on the fort in May klinne, his wife, and son. The enraged of 1870, the soldiers often found themselves warriors attacked the soldiers, who escaped back to the fort. The warriors briefly beprotecting the White Mountain Apache sieged the fort, which marked the only atfrom attacks by the inrushing settlers and tack on a fort by Indians in the Southwest. other Apache bands. Many White MounThe incident triggered several months tain warriors soon enlisted as scouts for the Army, generally fighting loyally and effective of fighting by several White Mountain under their own leaders alongside white sol- bands, the destruction of the remnant of Noch-ay-del-klinne’s band at the battle at diers — generally against other Apache Big Dry Wash, and the eventual execution bands with which they’d long been rivals. of three of the scouts for mutiny. Apache leaders struggled to maintain The conflict prompted Geronimo and peace. Several times, soldiers and white setseveral Chiricahua bands that had been livtlers attacked peaceful White Mountain ing on the reservation to take once more to bands, perhaps mistaking them for hostile the warpath. The White Mountain Apache Chiricahua and Tonto Apache bands that leaders managed to restore peace and White raided throughout the region. In 1875, the Mountain scouts played a crucial role in Indian Bureau decided to force the White fighting Geronimo’s Chiricahuas and restorMountain Apaches to move to San Carlos, ing peace to the bloodstained Southwest. to cut reservation expenses and open more The military value of the post declined land to settlement. That decision prompted quickly after the end of the struggle with the some fighting with bands which refused to Apache in the late 1880s and was shut move and created internal divisions when down as a military base by 1922. It operated the Army decided to let one band continue as a boarding school starting in 1923 — iniliving near the fort. tially to “civilize” Indian children removed Noch-ay-del-klinne, a medicine man unwillingly from their homes. However, the and leader of one of the Cibicue bands, started an Apache form of the Ghost Dance tribe in recent decades assumed control of the school. in an effort to heal those divisions. A forNow, tribal members hope Fort Apache mer scout himself, Noch-ay-del-klinne urged can become once again a distinctly Apache his followers to stop fighting and await the place, with a new set of stories, meanings resurrection of dead chiefs and warriors whose return would herald the departure of and uses.
Practicalities Fort Apache is located on a loop of Highway 73 a few minutes south of Whiteriver.
All reservation land should be treated as private land, which means you need a permit from the tribe for most activities including driving off the main highway, hunting, fishing and camping. Permits are available from the White Mountain Apache Game and Fish Department at Box 220, Whiteriver, AZ 85941. You can stay overnight at the plush Sunrise Resort Hotel and the Hon-Dah Motel near McNary at the junction of Highways 73 and 173.
Pine A town full of history and antiques Story by Max Foster Photos by Tom Brossart
ine’s best kept secret might be the tiny mountain hamlet’s rows of aging pioneer homes and the small but quaint museum, which has long played a role in preserving the area’s history. Both exist in the town, but visitors often speed north and south on the Beeline Highway unaware that the historical treasures are among the real gems to be found in the Rim Country. Visiting the old homes, some were first built about the time Pine was settled in 1879, is a great way to fully appreciate the spirit of the hearty Mormon pioneers who settled the area. But before strolling Beeline to marvel at the homes, visitors should stop at the museum located in old Pine
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School. There, a “Walking History Trail” pamphlet can be purchased for $1. Members of the Pine-Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society have also erected markers in front of each home that correspond to locations in the pamphlet. Some of the houses were originally small log cabins that were added onto over the years. Others were more elaborate and remain much the same as when they were built. The first home of the trail, located as marker #1, is actually on Pine Creek Canyon Drive northeast of the LDS church. Isaac Hunt, the fourth child of a pioneer family, built the house in 1912 for his wife Florence.
This log cabin sits in the middle of Pine.
It was one of the first homes in the area to use rough sawn lumber, a big improvement over logs. At Marker #2, is a home in which cattleman John Hunt and his family lived for years. It was originally a log cabin built by John’s uncle and then additions were built to make room for seven children. It is one of the first homes to have indoor plumbing, which came to Pine in the mid-1920s. Pine did not have electric power, as we know it today, until after World War II. Between marker #1 and #2 is the Hunt Family Monument that honors the pioneering members of the family. Among the homes that remain open to visitors is one which now is an antique store, located adjacent to the Pine post office on the east side of Beeline. Bert D. Randall, the first white male born in Pine, originally built it in 1905 after marrying Lucy Pearl. Tales abound that Randall hired a craftsman who spent a year hand-carving banisters, casings and molding in the home. Current Pine residents remember the Bondurant family living in the home for decades. On the north side of the home, the family carefully nurtured a garden that produced mouth-watering vegetables the Bondurants often shared with family and friends. Also on the trail, at the north end of town, is a building that originally was the Ford Car Agency and garage. On the south end of town and the east side of Beeline is Pine’s first post office built by Frank Fuller in about 1928. It was later converted into a service station and now is a stand in which honey and other products are sold. A must see on the trail is the Lazear home in the middle of town It began as a log structure which remains the heart of the house. Lazear, his wife, Margaret, and their three children lived in the home until the 1930s. Also on the trail is the original Mulberry Inn — the area’s
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first motel-type accommodations. Near the Inn is a ditch that once served as an irrigation channel for the entire town running parallel to the Beeline Highway. The museum The Pine-Strawberry Museum has its roots in a small room inside the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library. About two decades ago it was moved into old Pine School, which also once served as “the LDS Chapel.” The new facility is a much larger allowing for more room to display artifacts and documents — some of which Mormon settlers brought to the area in the 1800s. Among the artifacts that stirs the curiosity of visitors are World War II uniforms, a barber chair used in the 1920s, farming implements from the 1800s, cupboards, tableware and sewing machines more than 100 years old and period clothing. Also drawing attention is the tin ceiling in the main room, which remains today exactly as it was in pioneer days. Among the most popular exhibits is a slide show of historical photographs that traces the building of the hydroelectric power plants at Fossil Creek. The photo exhibit opened Memorial Day 2001 and has been a big draw since. Photos show the building of the 40-mile wagon road from Childs to Mayer, the nearest railroad station. To build the power plant and the twisting, turning road from Strawberry to Childs, where the plants were located, took a labor force of 600 men and 400 mules hauling more than 150 wagons. The plant operated for about 100 years before Arizona Public Service decided on Dec. 31, 2004 to decommission the plant, which reunited Fossil Creek with its former route. New to the museum is a store in which visitors can purchase historical and hometown recipe books. Some of the history books tell of the trials and strains of the families who settled the area and the recipe books contain ages-old recipes cooked up by pioneers. In the summer months the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
Getting there Where: Located on Highway 87 in the Rim Country, Pine is about 15 miles from Payson, and 3 miles from Strawberry. From Camp Verde, travel east on West Highway 260 (The General Crook Trail), turn right where Highway 87 and 260 meet. Distance from Camp Verde about 42 miles. From Payson follow Highway 87 north. The town has arts and crafts festivals on major holiday weekends throughout the summer months along with many antique and other stores.
Pineâ€™s first post office, built by Frank Fuller in about 1928, was later converted into a service station and now is a stand in which honey and other products are sold.
Gerardo’s Italian Bistro Fine Dining/Italian..............468-6500 512 N. Beeline Highway, Payson
Italian style fish, veal and chicken; wood burning pizzas and pasta specialties. Open Tuesday thru Sunday, Lunch 11am-2pm, Dinner 4pm-9pm
ITALIAN BISTRO 928-468-6500
Arizona Highways Magazine Best 25 Favorite Restaurants
PIZZA • PASTA • SEAFOOD • WINE
512 N. Beeline Hwy. Payson, AZ 85541 Catering Services Available
• Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner from 10am • Pets Welcome on the Patio • Great Food & Great Service
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201 W Main Street, Suite J. Payson, AZ Located next to the Sawmill Theatres
Voted “Best of Rim Country” by the community of Payson 13 YEARS IN A ROW for Burgers, Sandwiches & Lunch
• Open Daily for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner • • Voted “People’s Choice Award” Taste of Rim Country 2009 • • Weekly Entertainment •
Kohl’s Ranch Lodge on the banks of Tonto Creek East Highway 260, Payson, AZ • (928) 478-4211 www.ilxresorts.com
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Family Dining .....................474-7411 201 W. Main St. Suite J, Payson firstname.lastname@example.org Come dine in our recently remodeled family restaurant, home of the Macky Burger. We now sell domestic and imported beer and wine. Open Sunday thru Thursday 10am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-9pm.
Zane Grey Steakhouse & Saloon Fine Dining/Steaks .....928-478-4211 Highway 260 at Kohl’s Ranch Lodge www.kohlsvacation.com Hearty, authentic, western cuisine. Live entertainment on weekends (call to check). Steakhouse open for Breakfast daily 7:30am-11am; Lunch, Monday thru Friday 11am-2pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-noon; Dinner, Monday thru Thursday 5pm-8pm, Friday and Saturday, 5pm-9pm. Saloon open Monday thru Friday 5pm-8pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to closing.