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 / Travel & Outdoor
Arizona Highways Magazine

Arizona Highways Magazine August 2017

For more than 90 years, Arizona Highways has delighted readers with award winning journalism and photography, reflecting Arizona’s stature as one of the top vacation destinations around the globe. Every issue showcases the most amazing photography and valuable information you need to enjoy the unique and diverse travel destinations in and around the state.

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4 min.
editor’s letter

For the most determined mountaineers, conquering the “Seven Summits” is an irrepressible obsession. Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Vinson Massif, Carstensz Pyramid ... those are the prerequisites for being considered an elite climber. They’re the seven highest mountains on the world’s seven continents. “There is a queer urge in some people,” Weldon Heald wrote in our August 1954 issue. “To see a mountain is to want to get to the top of it. I am one of these eccentrics with a bad case of mountainitis. The only known cure is a diet of high camps, vast panoramas and lofty summits against the blue sky.” Our writer was being seduced by the San Francisco Peaks. Turns out, there are seven summits up there, too. However, there’s no club of elite mountaineers…

2 min.

ANNETTE McGIVNEY Annette McGivney has lived in Flagstaff since 1996 and says the San Francisco Peaks were part of what drew her there. “I hike often in the Peaks — almost daily in the summer months,” she says. But before tackling Where the Wild Orchid Grows (see page 38), McGivney wasn’t all that familiar with the plants that grow on the mountains. “I wanted to get the insider’s view of the Peaks from the botanists and indigenous peoples who have an intimate connection to the plants,” she says. “I was surprised to learn of the tribes’ complex rituals and beliefs surrounding the plants on the Peaks. I knew the tribes viewed the plants — and the mountains — as sacred, but I didn’t realize the extent to which that relationship impacts…

4 min.

editor@arizonahighways.com AFTER OUR MANY YEARS of wonderful boat-camping trips on Lake Powell, my wife thought it was time to pay back the lake. She was a volunteer on True GRIT houseboat trips. She also was a volunteer on Trash Tracker trips, during which the volunteers cleaned up old campsites and the shoreline of the lake. After 54 years of marriage, my wife passed away in January of this year. She would have enjoyed your May 2017 issue about Lake Powell. George Cannon, Prescott, Arizona In regard to your column [June 2017], I am sure you know that the oldest trees (4,000 to 5,000 years old) in the world, which were discovered by University of Arizona scientists, are called bristlecone pines, and they are located in the White Mountains of California. Gil Thibault, Ph.D., Laguna…

1 min.
willcox playa

About 15,000 years ago, during the most recent ice age, Willcox Playa — shown here shrouded in fog at sunrise — was Lake Cochise, which covered 140 square miles and was more than 40 feet deep. These days, with only about 18 inches of precipitation per year, the lakebed’s surface water is limited to shallow ponds that form after heavy rains or snows. But those ponds attract a variety of wildlife, such as thousands of sandhill cranes, which migrate to the Willcox Playa Wildlife Area and other Southeastern Arizona sites for the fall and winter, then return north in the spring. The cranes are the centerpieces of the Wings Over Willcox festival, held every January in nearby Willcox. But even if you miss the sandhill cranes, the scenery is nice,…

3 min.
bee line dragway

Until recently, motorists on State Route 87 just north of Mesa could see a decaying, graffiti-covered structure south of the highway. You wouldn’t know it today, but that building marked the site of the Bee Line Dragway, a key component of the Valley of the Sun’s auto racing history. In 1963, local entrepreneur and drag racing champion Jim Rodgers built the quarter-mile drag strip on land leased from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. With seating for 2,000 spectators and a pit area big enough for 300 cars, it quickly became the Phoenix area’s premier racing destination, hosting events on summer Saturday nights and winter Sundays. Legendary racers, including Don “Big Daddy” Garlits and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, burned rubber at the Bee Line. But locals got in on the action, too,…

2 min.
q&a: karen shell

JK: Your organization, Kids in Focus, pairs at-risk children with professional shooters to teach them about photography. Tell us about Kids in Focus. KS: I’ve been working with at-risk kids for almost as long as I’ve been making photos. Kids in Focus grew out of work I did with a group of students at the Pappas School, which is now Children First Leadership Academy, in Phoenix. All the students there are at or below the poverty line, and most of them are homeless. I would do whatever I could — hang out in class, try and help them learn to read — and eventually, I thought, I want to try teaching them photography. That group of kids was my first Kids in Focus group. I formed the nonprofit organization in 2012. JK:…