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November, 1981

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VOLUME 44 NUMBER 10 November, 1981

MAGAZINE OF THE SOUTHWEST

Community Issue
A Desert Marine Oasis Of Time and the
by Dr. Sherwood B. Idso Tiguas
They said it couldn't be done by Joseph Leach
. .. but Idso and his family Leach explores an Indian
turn an idea into achievement culture and community that
and create an oceanic oasis in has survived the centuries and
the middle of the desert. still thrives near El Paso,
page 18 Texas.
page 46
Sedona
by Virginia Greene Organ Pipe,
There are many interesting
"people" communities in the A Desert Crossroad
desert. Sedona is only one, but by Andrew Steuer III
it has a grace and style that sets Seven deserts converge at
it apart. Organ Pipe National
page 22 Monument. Steuer takes us
through the many faces of this
Bosque del Apache area.
page 56
by Jeff Gnass and
Frances G. Smith
The serenity of a wildlife
refuge is hard to match. Spend
a day with Gnass, from dawn Departments
to dusk, enjoying the 4 Editor's Letter
inhabitants of Bosque del
Apache. 6 Letters to the Editor
page 32
10 Living Desert
Death Valley 12 Chuck Wagon Cookin'
Encampment 15 Traces in the Sand
by Jack C. Whitt
Join thousands of people who 29 Our Desert Heritage
relive the early days of Death
Valley every November. The 52 Desert Calendar
'49ers rise again. 54 Desert Rockhound
page 36
60 Trading Post
A Community Affair:
The Saguaro
by Karen Sausman
The saguaro, a majestic desert
plant, is basically an avian and
insect apartment complex. It
houses a self-contained
community.
page 38

Sand Dunes
by Wayne P. Armstrong
Sand dunes are far from Cover Photo: Potter, Mary
barren. Armstrong introduces Margerite and local historian,
us to a community of plants Ray Glade enjoy the essence of
and animals that inhabit the community: sharing of
dunes. themselves. Photograph by Alan
page 42 Benoit.
page 36
EDITOR'S LETTER
MAGAZINE OF THE SOUTHWEST

Editor

On Community— STEPHEN SIMPSON


Senior Editor

Directions, Relations and Details KATHRYN KRAHENBUHL


Associate Editors
LIZA E. KAMPS
When I was younger I had a paper route. DIANA COOPER
It taught me very little about business, but Art Director
PEGGY FLETCHER
a lot about people and streets. I can, if I
wanted to, still go back to my neighborhood Assoc. Art Director/Photo Editor
LIZ MCDONALD
and take you along my old route. I could do
Advertising Designer
it in the same order I used to, and tell you GITTA PFAHL
about each of the people I served even Subscription Manager
though I have forgotten most of the names. JUDI PERSKY
From where I sit, I can still describe the Contributors:
driveways, porches and landscaping. Because I went up and down STELLA HUGHES, KAREN SAUSMAN,
those streets so often and in all weather, I came to know my SUSAN DURR NIX, DAVID MUENCH,
WAYNE P. ARMSTRONG, JEFF GNASS,
neighborhood very well. I was much like the milkman, mailman or VIRGINIA GREENE, SHERWOOD IDSO,
neighborhood grocer—I had intimate knowledge of the community JAMES R. MITCHELL
and you could count on me for directions. That is what community WILLIAM T. ADAMS
is; knowing the details about the members, their relationships and Director of Advertising
KEVIN ANDERSEN
the directions for traveling among them.
Sales Manager
For this issue, I asked contributors to give me something which JOHN MORRISON
they knew as well as I knew my streets and customers, to give me Special Projects Manager

something that shows me the theme of community. The results are BILL SCHAUL

wonderful. I have human communities to offer you, as well as Advertising Coordinator


TERRI BIANCO
wildlife, cactus, marine and sand dune communities.
Media Consultant
From this emphasis on community, I gained a couple of small but SCOTT CHATFIELD
valuable insights. First of all, there is far more intimacy in the Circulation Director
world than we realize. We are, in so many ways, connected to and TERRY WILLIAMS
dependent upon natural elements and each other more than we Financial Consultant

might care to acknowledge. This is something we all know (of LIZ FERGUSON
course), but it never hurts us to refresh our memories. Second, Publisher
JULIE BRAZEAU
intimacy is joyous. It is clear that the writers and photographers
Chairman of the Board
were much more alive and interested in their work and their subject ED SEYKOTA
this time. They were involved in what they did. Wayne Armstrong
(see page 42) was sliding down his dunes. Joseph Leach (page 46)
and Virginia Greene (page 22) wrote about their neighbors. ABC MEMBERSHIP APPLIED FOR 8/19/80
Advertising Information: See Current SRDS, Sec. 30A
Sherwood Idso (page 18) wrote about his marine oasis (in his own
Desert Magazine ISSN 0194-3405, is published monthly by
•backyard). This is the best kind of communication and the easiest to Desert Communication Corporation. Editorial and Business
Office: 121 West E Street, Encinitas, CA 92024. Telephone (714)
do once the courage is there. 436-4218. Second Class Postage paid at Hncinhas, California and
at additional offices. Copyright 1981 by Desert Magazine. All
I sent a lot of community articles back. When they come in again rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in
any manner without written permission from the Publisher.
with the intimacy that grows out of personal experience and Subscription rates for U.S. and its possessions, Canada and
Mexico: 1 year, $15. Elsewhere: Add $4 per year surface, $20 per
year air mail (U.S. currency). To Subscribe, Renew or Change
involvement, I will print them for you. Address: Write Desert Magazine, 121 West E St., Encinitas, CA
92024. Please allow six weeks for processing and include, where
The point to all the community talk is that we are not alone. applicable, the address label from your most recent copy. Exact zip
codes are required by the Post Office. Donors of gift subscriptions
There is plenty of intimacy in the desert, and in Desert magazine. should include their own name and address as well as those of the
recipiem(s). POSTMASTER: SEND CHANGE OF ADDRESS
BY FORM 3579 TO DESERT MAGAZINE, 121 WEST E ST.,
ENCINITAS, CA 92024. Contributions: The Editor welcomes
unsolicited manuscripts and photographs, but they can be returned
only if accompanied by S.A.S.E. or international exchange
coupons. While we treat submissions with care, we cannot assume
responsibility for loss or damage. Payment is upon acceptance.
Writers Guide free with S.A.S.E.; Sample copy, $2.00
Photographers: Please include technical data with each
photograph submitted.

4 November, 1981
PROJECTIONS
Introducing our
Special
Collection of
DuvVL
Gifts with a beautiful
design silk-
screened in
orange and
brown

To keep you warm and Desert


Dear Reader: cuddly; a soft sweat- accompanies
What a privilege to be the publisher of shin, sand col you on your
Desert magazine! I have a lot of respect 50% cotton/50% trips.Canvas bag,
for our 44-year-old publication. It has a Creslan. natural color, 13 "x
$15.00* 28 ", web handle, rein-
life and a personality of its own; a rich, forced at stress points,
complex and warm personality. double slide zipper.
Desert is an integral part of our $22.00*
readers' lives. The average Desert
subscriber has subscribed faithfully for
more than 10 years, and 67 percent of
our readers never discard their copies.
We just made our first attempt to in-
crease our circulation through direct
mail. The results were excellent, and we To light the Santa Anas.
are planning several other subscription Lined windbreaker of 100%
Dupont nylon with pre-shrun
campaigns. 50% cotton/50% polyester flannel
The graph below illustrates the status lining, tan color, reinforced slash
of our circulation today, August 21 pockets, water repellent. $25.00*
(editorial deadline for the November
issue), and gives our projections for the
next five months. In the future, you will
be able to compare these projections to
our actual performance.
Thank you for your support.
Desert magazine, 121 West E Street, Encinitas, CA 92024

Please send me:


Sweatshirts, men's size XSM • SM • M • L D XL D at $15 each.
Wmdbreakers* men's size XSM • SM D M D L D XL D at $25 each.
Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Canvas bags at $22
Total: $ .
60,000 California residents, please add 6% sales tax. Tax: $ .
For women, please order equivalent men's size. Grand Total: $ _
50,000
40,000 • I enclose a check or money order made out to Desert.
I] Please charge to my Visa MasterCard account.
30,000 Account #: Expiration date:.
20,000
Signature:
10,000 Name: . _ Address:
City:. . State: . Zip:
Please allow four weeks for delivery.
Actual 'All prices include postage and handling.
Projected
Desert 5
LETTERS

The Good and the Bad News fowl. Ms. Trout's reaction is under- I described our relationship in Desert
Congratulations! As new editor, we standable, but I would urge her to visit Editor which I wrote and published in
like you and had to tell you. You have a the area again—she might find that she 1972.
difficult job ahead. likes it as much as the hundreds of us I wrote the editorial statement of pur-
Have someone proofread Ms. Nix. who make this our home by choice. pose which you reprinted in your
She is a constant source of misinforma- Mrs. W.E. Pugh August issue, with Randall's concur-
tion (i.e., she said "A man would die in Salton Sea, California rence, which I used for subscription
120-degree temperature without water promotion. I also wrote a dozen or more
in three days." We have seen it happen articles for Desert magazine in the first
in three hours.). Disgruntled (rejected) Poet two years, sometimes using the pseudo-
Keep Choral Pepper coming, she's with a Sense of Humor nym Jonathan Bart (to avoid duplica-
great. We love her. tion). I also traveled through the South-
I hate thee—yes I do, west selling advertising and newsstand
Life is short! Why don't you move to Let me count the ways:
the desert, where you belong? distributorships.
I hate your nose, I hate your eyes, Through the last 30 years (I am now
Tell Ed to print his notebook in a ser- I guess I hate your faze.
vice magazine. (No, maybe you better 73 years old), Randall's name has ap-
not.) peared alone as author of the initial
You're so ugly, so grotesque, statement. I have never protested this
Tell Joyce Trout that we get used to I cannot look at you.
"walking on fish constantly," especially apparent neglect, and I see little to be
If you'd smile, you'd kill a cow— gained in claiming credit now. I thought
in the living room. [Letters, Aug., 1981] She'd drop without a moo!
We liked her letter, though. Maybe it you would like to be properly informed
will keep her and other nuts like her, if on this matter.
Being obtuse, obnoxious, too, Please accept my congratulations on
there are any, away\ Is your only style.
We loved R. Henderson's reprint. your new appointment. I hope you will
You're so mean, insufferable, have a long and successful career as
Floyd J. Peters You'd eat a crocodile.
North Shore, California editor.
[See Letters, September 1981] J. Wilson McKenney
Just one little glance from you Diamond Springs, California
Would stun a two-ton ox!
The only hope for all of us— Thank you for your encouragement
A Salton Sea Resident To nail you in a box. and support. If you have more to
Responds share with us about the desert and
But, otherwise, you're not so bad— your life in it, I heartily welcome it.
I would like to respond to Joyce Trout With sincere appreciation,
[Letters, Aug., 1981], regarding the A really classy person.
Just please leave this hemisphere Stephen Simpson
"smell" of the Salton Sea. It is unfor-
tunate that Ms. Trout visited our area And let us all stop cursin'.
during one of our periodic die-offs. Tom Teorey
These occur once or twice a year due to San Bernardino County, California I'm Reminded of a Time
Mother Nature. I received your sales pitch for Desert
During extreme hot weather, algae is magazine and decided to be among the
released from the bottom of the sea Setting the Record Straight many who respond positively. I was a
which creates an oxygen shortage, and Your initial editorial as Desert maga- subscriber for years and I fail to recall
the fish trapped in this area die. If the zine editor suggests that you are no why we didn't renew.
wind blows, of course, they are pushed older than I was when I joined Randall Back during the depression, Randall
onto shore. Had Ms. Trout remained Henderson as co-publisher of Desert, a Henderson and I went out to the Cargo
longer than two days, she would have pioneering venture which began in Muchacho Mountains and picked up
seen that this condition just dis- 1937. At the beginning I was 29 years "talc stone, etc." and I rocked up the
appears—sometimes overnight. old and Randall was 20 years older as he front of his new publishing house in El
The Salton Sea sustains a very large assumed editorship. I served as business Centre Most of my renumeration came
sports fishing industry as well as water manager for 21 months, leaving in 1939 in the form of advertising. He ran a nice
sports, camping, etc. and provides for new areas of interest in Northern ad telling about my creative stone land-
winter refuge for many species of water California. scaping throughout Southern Califor-

November, 1981
fi\ caste! RESORT • * HOTEL

nia. By the way, does anyone know what


happened to the rockwork on the El
Centro building—is it still there?
Rummaging through a scrap iron pile
yesterday, I killed a big fat rattlesnake
and got to thinking about my dozens of
encounters with them. My thoughts
turned to Randall Henderson and that
trip to the Cargo Muchacho Mountains.
Randall was knowledgeable about
Get away to the other MEXICO Come to San Felipe, Baja
California, and enjoy a
many, many things and he especially 120 air conditioned rooms fully carpeted, wonderful stay at
urged caution and safety around wild with telephone and bath. Coffee shop,
things. Our first choice slab of talc was
leaning at a 45-degree angle when
weekend discotheque, bar, swimming pool,
tennis and gift shop.
/iikasrel
Randall discovered it. A rattler was
coiled in its shade and almost got him. Information and Reservations:
He failed to talk about the incident later. Call your Travel Agent or: Mexican Hotels, Inc., 7488 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92038;
Tel. (714) 459-0251, California, Toll Free (800) 542-6078, Nationwide (800) 854-2026,
About 1934,1 was homesteading near Telex: 695444.
Littlerock, California, and have some
interesting experiences that could make
a story: rattlesnakes under my bed, and
an almost encounter with Bad Boy Ed
Davis (not Pretty Boy Floyd). I also
buried a valuable jewelry collection in
the cellar of a lady who was once a dance
hall gal in Nome and Fairbanks, Alaska.
She called me son, since her only boy,
an orchestra leader, failed to show after
1H6
the Shanghai trouble with Japan. I
earned my meals by cutting wood and
QH0S7
washing dishes.
If you like rock work, we have 20
TWA/
years worth of weekend and spare time
effort here at Walden West. Garden and CALENDAR
mineral clubs hold picnics here. Our
place is an old Indian campground, and
we have found 150 Indian rocks on our
mi
five acres.
Keep as close as you can to Randall's
philosophy and try to hold some of the
dune-buggies back in town.
Kenneth Kriegh
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Thanks for your thoughtful letter.
CALENDAR INCLUDES MANY DATES 4855 39th St.
Your analysis was accurate. OF HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE IN THE WEST San Diego, CA 92116
As for the little story itself, it was a
result of the shock of finding my check-

Desert 7
LETTERS
Continued

ing account at the bank embarrassingly writing humor in the first person, you'd willing to write/speak the truth of
low. I couldn't go back into gardening, better be damn good to avoid sounding your experience for Desert maga-
because at age 74, my heart is a little cute. zine, I am willing to print it.
tricky and the poor old body is infested Most people, if they could write what
with all sorts of minor ailments. I never they wanted to write, would write
go to doctors because I've never had any politically. You know: Make the world a
luck with them. fit place for every human being to be Two of a Kind
What to do to increase the checking happy and purposeful. No hunger, no The July issue (page 31), had a story
account? In 1974 and 1975, in a burst of sadness. about a two-story outhouse. Belle Plain,
creativity, I wrote 84 manuscripts. All Every time I infused a little politics Minnesota does not have the nation's
inferior, I would imagine, but 13 of into my writing, I got clobbered. You'd only two-story outhouse. In June, 1973,
them were published. Of these, I re- have to be an iron man to stand up to it. we were touring the northern states and
ceived checks for six of them, netting Give me perfect health, a fortress to live we visited Viriginia City and Nevada
me a total of $250. in, and a 30-man body guard, and I'll City. These towns were restored. One of
So I laid out a plan to do one show you what guts are. Meanwhile, I'll the buildings in Nevada City has a two-
1,500-word story or article a month. just go on being my customarily story outhouse. I have enclosed a slide
The one you read was the first. It cer- cowardly self. for you to use. Thought you might like
tainly is contrived. Sewing together a Thank you again for that fine letter. to know.
number of real experiences into one Name withheld at Editor's request Bill Miles
alleged experience. And when you're When or if you or anyone else is Redlands, California

One of theGrec
ofth
In the midst of the awesome beauty of
Death Valley, there flourishes an
elegant oasis called Furnace Creek. In the
lush, romantic style more than reminiscent of
the great European resorts, it offers a complete
resort experience. Fine golf, swimming in
spring-fed pools, horseback riding, tennis,
and just relaxing, as found in many resorts.
But here at Furnace Creek there's more.

\< ~ir
V

F U R N A C E •C R E E K
/) V L V

8 November, 1981
I Wish I Could We have a friend in Russia who has
Thank you for sending me your no idea about the Southwest life and
mailer about subscribing to Desert what it has to offer. She only gets to
magazine. I have my copies back to know what the government wants her to
1937, but I had to stop subscribing know—yet she receives all our letters
about five years ago. I am a senior and packages.
citizen, over 75, and can no longer af- I am sure she would be pleased to
ford things, like we could when we receive a free copy of Desert magazine
worked. Of course, this applies to a from your office. If you are unable to
number of things besides Desert maga- send her one—yet know of a girl or boy,
zine. On Social Security we don't age 16-19, who would like to write to
receive enough to cover the cost of liv- her, I am sure she would be pleased to
ing, so this leaves us out. Thanks again. hear from them. She is an 18-year-old
I felt I should answer. girl. Her name and address are:
Ruth Davenport Sveta Nikiforova
Fontana, California 104, Ulitsa Mukimi
TASHKENT 115
700115, Russia
Spreading the Word C. Heigile
We read Desert magazine. (No city given)

)esert Civilizations

AND•RANCH-RESORT
)\:sf il V' /.. r ,<IJB—jaaaj

Desert 9
THE LIVING DESERT
by Susan Durr Nix

DUNESDAY
Join us in meeting the
animals who inhabit the
"barren" dunes.

I n the dunes in August, the in-


dications of life are bleak:
dessicated creosote and yellowed
tufts of grass, insect carcasses and
purple shotgun shells. Derelict cement
bags congregate with brittle tumble-
weeds in the branches of a mesquite.
Mummified golf balls loiter next to
abandoned burrows, a parody of their
counterparts on the links nearby. A lone
cicada, three ants and a lizard are the
only animals I can spot under the litter.
To be sure, an August noon is prob-
ably the worst time to visit the dunes.
Midday casts no softening shadows on
the chalky skull of a jackrabbit, nor on
the vulgar scars of dirt bikes and dune
buggies. Moreover, the sand is so hot it
burns through the soles of your shoes
and you cook, like a Thanksgiving
turkey, basting in your own sweat. Only
the holes that riddle the sand, the scat of
coyotes, lizards and rabbits and the
thoroughfares and intersections of
animal traffic confirm the fact that the
sand is home to an enormous variety of
animals.
It's a peculiar and demanding home. Completely at home on the hot, sandy dunes is the kit fox.
A sand dune, whether fixed by deep-
rooted plants or reshaped by every pass- Lizards, whose legs keep their bodies zebra-tailed lizards. These birds not
ing breeze, is a hot, arid, windy, open, elevated, have a built-in advantage over only have very long toes, but sensibly
gritty, crumbly, dangerous world. Sur- their low-lying relatives. Many double designed feet, with two toes pointing
vivors here must be suited to its exact- the advantage by running from bush to forward and two backward in an X
ing requirements. Walking on a dune is bush on two legs, holding their tails shape.
like slogging through a torrid snowdrift, high or flexing their toes for added The fringes on the toes of fringe-toed
so many dune animals "wear snow- height. Others climb vegetation to lizards and on the legs of camel crickets
shoes" or have other adaptations for get- escape the burning sands. are among the most exaggerated
ting around comfortably and efficiently. Snowshoes are an extreme answer to adaptations to dune life. Long, pointed
Insects, rodents and hares race or hop the loose, hot sand problem. Among the scales on the lizard's hind toes increase
over the ground on long strong legs. mammals, kangaroo rats and kit foxes the surface of the feet as do the combs of
The sidewinder's unique looping loco- are so equipped: Thick tufts of hair on long hairs on the cricket's legs. Both of
motion not only keeps most of his body the soles of their feet provide traction these animals "swim" through the sand
off the surface of the sand at all times, it and insulation. Roadrunners frequent with their fringes, as we swim through
gives him enough traction to move the sandy haunts of favored reptile water with fins. The lizard has a bevy of
rapidly, even up a slippery incline. foods: glossy snakes, desert iguanas and adaptations to make this possible,

10 November, 1981
20-MULE TEAM DAYS IN DEATH VALLEY by
Harold O. Weight. Specialists and critics praise
including smooth scales to reduce entombed seeds and detritus. Most this account of the great borax wagons of the
1880s, the drivers and mules, the trail to Mojave.
friction, a flattened body and devices for animals, however, venture out between Story of Borax Smith, Wm. T. Coleman, Death
keeping sand out of eyes, ears, nose and dusk and dawn, exhibiting a complex Valley pioneers, Harmony Borax Works. First-
hand stories. Includes reprint of Henry G. Hawks'
mouth. web of relationships with vegetation, report on Death Valley 1883. Pb., 48 pgs., 33
Most dune animals live in, as well as terrain and one another. historic and modern photos, map. 5th ed. $1.00.
on, the sand. It's a rare creature who can Some of these links are neutral. In the
CHILI LOVERS' COOKBOOK compiled by Al
long survive in plain sight of hungry Coachella Valley dunes, for example, up and Mildred Fischer. Two cookbooks in one. The
predators and a rarer one still who can to six species of seed-eating rats and first portion describes the best of chili cookery,
long endure the extreme temperature of mice co-exist without competition. Each from mild to fiery, with recipes for some of the
best. The second part gives a variety of taste-
the upper sand which often reaches 180 forages for a particular size and type of tempting foods made from chili peppers with many
degrees Fahrenheit. Retreating into the seed without infringing on the food suggestions on use and preparation. Spiral bound,
sand during the day provides animals preferences of others. Other links, such Pb., 128 pgs. $3.00.
that can't fly or climb with a measure of as the cellulose-digesting parasites and SCOTTY'S CASTLE by Dorothy Shally and
security and comfort. their desert termite hosts, are beneficial. William Bolton. The sumptuousness of the castle,
its history, construction, and design of the
Comfort? Although nothing seems as By far the most dramatic are the antago- buildings are told by the authors, both National
dry as a dune, inches beneath the nistic relationships—the squabbles for Park Service employees who have been associated
surface is a humid zone that may be 100 territory and mates and the interactions with the maintenance and interpretation of the
property since the government acquired title in
degrees cooler than the surface. Porous between predator and prey. 1970. Pb., large format, profusely illus., $2.00.
sand absorbs almost all the water it Even here, the community
ANZA-BORRECO DESERT GUIDE BOOK,
receives. The water sinks in for a interrelates in an orderly manner. Southern California's Last Frontier by Horace
distance directly proportionate to the Hunters are kept in check because the Parker, revised by George and }ean Leetch. A clas-
intensity of the rainfall. Although a hunted are adapted to detect and escape sic reference to America's largest desert park,
originally published in 1957 and now updated,
'A-inch shower moistens the sand only them. Coloration, hearing, eyesight, enlarged and improved by the "dean of desert
to a depth of about two inches and smell, muscles, weapons, shape, size, rangers" and his wife. With excellent logs, maps,
quickly evaporates, an inch and a half habits, birthrate and a host of other and photographs brought up to 1979 standards.
Pb., 154 pgs., two maps, many photos, $6.95.
will sink a foot. At this depth, the refinements operate with the
moisture may last for decades, environment to keep prey populations HIGH MOUNTAINS AND DEEP VALLEYS by
intact, as well as to help predators Lew and Ginny Clark, with photographs by Edwin
sustaining both animals and plants. C. Rockwell. A history and general guide book to
Well-insulated against heat and cold by exploit them. the vast lands east of the High Sierra, south of the
layers of dry sand above and below, this The dune community is a fragile and Comstock Lode, north of the Mojave Desert, and
west of Death Valley, by oldtimers who know the
humid zone is the ideal site for a desert delicately balanced one, made up of area. Pb., 192 pgs., 250 photographs, and many
community. animals and plants with unbelievable maps. $6.95
This is the zone of hibernation and its specializations that suit them for no
summer equivalent, estivation. It is the other habitat. It's hard to believe that
location of kangaroo rat, pocket mouse, mere mounds of sand could be so full of Desert Book Shop
shovel-nosed snake, ant, beetle, milli- life, or that the cadence of nature Name _
pede, scorpion, lizard and numerous continues on even the hottest August Address
other animal burrows. When enough day. B City __State. _Zip_
cover is available, cottontail and kit fox I enclose $_
dens may also be present. Outside, non- Check, money order or charge
burrowing animals, like jackrabits and Susan Durr Nix is MY CHARGE D M . C , a VISA
sidewinders, dig down to this moist Development Co- Credit Card No
layer and wait out the heat of the day in ordinator at the Liv- Expiration Date
these shaded hollows. Month/Year _
ing Desert Reserve,
Signature
There are many animals who escape a 1,000-acre desert
unfavorable conditions as eggs, larvae, interpretation and
pupae or dormant adults inside the conservation facility
dunes. Other live in microniches—like in Palm Desert,
the thrip in the grooves of the tiny California. She shares her enthusiasm for California residents add 6% sales tax
Postage/handling $1.50
pleated leaves of the dune coldenia the natural world not only in articles and
Total _
plicata—or spend most or all of their publications, but in educational programs
Mail today to:
lives under the sand, foraging on for visitors to the reserve.
Desert Book Shop P.O. Box 2%, Goleta, CA 93117

Desert 11
CHUCK WAGON COOKIN'
by Stella Hughes

Cattlemen's
Barbecue

A friend once said of me, "The


trouble with Stella's recipes is
that they all start with: first
butcher a beef!"
I deny that, however, it's not a bad
idea if you're planning an outdoor feast
for several hundred people.
Each summer for the past 25 years my
husband, Mack and I have helped "put
on" the barbecue for the Greenlee
County Cattle Growers annual meeting
in late August. Three hundred members
and their guests attend. Preparing meat
for that many requires community
effort. Where we live on Eagle Creek Above left: Two neighbors assist in uncovering the beef pit. Above right: Mack
(over 40 miles from the nearest town), Hughes lifts the bundles of barbecued beef from the pit after 18 hours.
there are a group of closely-knit
ranchers who believe in the good- bed of red-hot coals at least two feet garlic, salt, pepper and dashes of liquid
neighbor policy, and all pitch in and deep. During this time, ranchers gather smoke. For years the cattlemen
help. to swap lies, discuss the rainfall or cuss butchered their own beef, and roasts
We barbecue deep-pit style, so you the lack of it, swig cold beer kept in ice were cut from both front and hind
don't need a lot of expensive equipment coolers or drink scalding coffee from tin quarters, and the ribs were used.
or unnecessary gadgets. Nor do you cups. It's a good time to catch up on In the last few years meat has been
need to spend a lot of money on con- visiting. Soon fall roundups will start purchased in rolled, boneless roasts,
structing elaborate outdoor grills or and no one will have time to while away wrapped in netting. Much time and
ovens. All you need is space, a shovel a lazy afternoon just gossiping. labor is saved this way and the meat is
and the man-power to dig the pit. The delicious.
one we use was dug years ago, in good After seasoning the meat, each roast,
hard clay. The pit is four feet deep, four weighing about 20 pounds, is wrapped
feet wide and eight feet long, and has in extra heavy foil. Then the bundles of
neither rocks or cement on the bottom. We barbecue foil-wrapped meat are put into wet
Nothing could be more simple or less burlap sacks, folded over and tied
costly. deep-pit style, so you securely with baling wire.
The coals and ashes from the previous don't need a lot When the coals are just right and all
barbecue are allowed to remain in the bundles of meat ready, sheets of
pit until just prior to using again. If it
of expensive equipment or corrugated iron are laid directly on the
has been an unusually wet summer, it unnecessary gadgets. hot coals, slightly overlapping. We put
may be cleaned out a few days earlier the bundles of meat in quickly,
and allowed to dry. arranging them either a few inches apart
Usually it takes about a cord of good or barely touching. We never pile them
dry oak, cut in four to six-foot lengths, on top of each other. Two more sheets
with none larger than a man's thigh. While the fire is dying down to of corrugated iron are placed directly on
The afternoon before, Mack starts the glowing coals, the ranch women have top of the bundles of meat, making sure
fire in the pit and feeds it continuously been preparing the meat, seasoning the all are covered. Shovelers begin
for six to seven hours, or until there is a roasts with sliced onions, slivers of throwing in the dirt. Several men

12 November, 1981
Great Way to Save
Your Back Issues of
Desert Magazine

The best way that we know


of to preserve and protect
those issues you want to
save—Desert Magazine's
handsome, durable binder
in brown vinyl with gold
Desert logo imprint. Keeps
your back issues in order
for easy reference when
you want to plan your next
Twister Heller, Mike Hughes and Mack Hughes, ready to serve hot barbecued beef. trip or research clues to
that lost gold mine. An at-
wielding shovels can cover the meat in a potato and macaroni salads, lavish with
few moments. We make sure no air slices of boiled eggs and ripe olives. tractive addition to your
pockets remain, and check again later. If Those women who pride themselves in bookshelf, too.
a wisp of smoke is escaping from a making desserts, bring their prize-
corner, we add and tamp down more winning apple pies, chocolate cakes Each binder holds twelve
dirt. dripping with coconut icing, rich
Now that the burying is over we can puddings weighed down with crushed issues.
celebrate, unless it looks like rain; then nuts and marashino cherries and even
we can worry. One good precaution is to iced melon salads that are a chore to Order Yours Today!
have trenches dug around the covered keep fresh and cold. No matter, once the
pit and plastic sheets spread all over. A meat is sliced, the long line of hungry
few prayers wouldn't hurt. It would be a people soon make the lovely array of Please send Desert Mag-
catastrophe should the pit fill with dainty dishes look as though a Texas azine Binder(s) $6.00 + $1.00
water while the meat is cooking. tornado has struck. postage & handling.
Locating the pit in a well-drained area After the meal, members hold their • Payment enclosed $
• Charge to my VISA or Master-
in the first place is a must. business meeting while the kids run charge
The resurrection of the meat does not amok, locusts whir away, and at times • VISA • MASTERCHARGE
occur until noon the next day just before make such a racket that they drown out ACCOUNT NO.
serving time. the cries of the kids. EXPIRATION DATE:
Eagle Creek has giant sycamores William Allen White wrote about the
lining its banks, and the cattlemen's ideal barbecue: "At best it is a fat steer, Signature
barbecue is held in a secluded spot and it must be eaten within an hour of Name (PRINT)
surrounded by these lovely white- when it is cooked. For if ever the sun Address
barked shade trees. Long tables made of rises upon Barbecue, its flavor vanishes
2' x 12' planks placed on 50 gallon like Cinderella's silks, and it becomes City _
barrels are used for serving. Members of cold baked beef... staler in the chill State -Zip
the cattlemen's group bring salads of dawn than illicit love."
every description: green tossed, bowls of Mister White is full of hooey! We Desert Binders
121 West E St.
luscious jello and fruit concoctions and freeze left over barbecue in foil for Encinitas, CA 92024

Desert 13
Cookin'
Continued
months at a time, and it makes about the
Six best left-over meat dishes you ever
exhibit halls flipped a lip over!
dedicated to the Left-over barbecue, flaked or
horse. From early Greek
shredded, can be used in a dozen
to modern times.
different ways. The one I like best uses
fluffy rice, dotted with butter, lining a
(uj Ckuk GeWwmtt baking dish. Filled to the edge of the
An avid hiker and backpacker for rice is hot left-over barbecue, made rich
over 35 years. Chuck Gebhardt con- with packaged or canned beef gravy.
ducts guided hikes and evening You can also use beef stock and add hot
slide programs at Stove Pipe Wells tomato sauce or picante sauce according
Village during most holiday periods. to taste.
This informative guidebook and Shredded left-over barbecued beef is
reference text reflects his broad great for making tacos or even used in
knowledge and respect for the making tamales. Beef-pot pies or
mysterious and controversial Death shepherd's pie, using several kinds of
Valley. vegetables and flaked barbecue, are
Original Remingtons • Russell wonderful fare on a cold winter's night.
P.O. Box 6821
San Jose, California 95150
Bronze • One of Four Kachina Barbecued beef, run through the meat
Chess Sets in The World • West- grinder and added to a Dutch oven of
S
5.95plus 50C handling charges ern Treasures Valued at fried potatoes and onions, sticks to the
CA residents add 6% sales tax $1,000,000. ribs, and is another good way to use left-
Fine Indian crafts for sale in the gift shop. overs.
Name _
Just 60 miles south of Tucson on S-83
Address
in historic Patagonia, Arizona Bean 'n Beef Pie
Open daily 9 to 5 3 cups shredded left-over barbecue beef
City State Zip
Your host: Anne Slradling
1 can (3V2 ounces) French fried onions
l
h cup dry bread crumbs
1 can (10% ounces) condensed cream of
TRACKS to WEa mushroom soup
In the Heart of Beautiful Coachella Valley 1 egg
PIGGYBACK
ADVENTURER 'A teaspoon thyme leaves
'A teaspoon salt and dash pepper
We invite you to take "TRACKS" on a Sands Hotel of Indian Wells
never-to-be-forgotten journey. We'll see 1 can (16 ounces) French-style green
(1/4 mile east of Palm Desertj
Mexico's SIERRA MADRES and the beans, drained
COPPER CANYON, the native TARAHU-
MARA INDIANS, the largest MENNONITE • Open Year-Round
COLONY in the Americas, old colonial Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meat,
towns, and tropical beaches. Fishing and • Children Welcome half the onions, the bread crumbs, V*
hunting available. Write today for free • 48 rooms & suites cup of the soup, the egg, thyme leaves,
information and recommendations. (kitchens available)
Piggybacks to Mazatlan, Guadalajara, and salt and pepper. Press mixture evenly
Puerto Vallarta. • Large Heated Pool against the bottom and side of an
Discounts to Senior Citizens. Color Television ungreased nine-inch pie pan. Turn
Call toll free Individual Air beans into the meat-lined pan; spread
1-800-351-6053 Conditioning remaining soup over the beans. Bake
and ask for
Larry or Maria. ($$ Approved uncovered for 35 minutes. Arrange the
Moderate Rates remaining onions on top; bake 10
CALL OR WRITE FOR minutes. Serves 4 . 0
Larry and Maria Olsen, your travel companions.
RESERVATIONS
DOUBLE PIGGYBACK •'» CARAVANS Stella Hughes has
RV/RAIL& RV/FERRY TO BAJA!! written articles for
Check with us before you go on a Piggyback many western mag-
Caravan! You'll be glad you did! azines, and is a reg-
ular contributor to
Desert magazine.
She lives 46 miles
from Clifton,
Arizona near Eagle
TRACKS TO MEXICO, INC Creek. She learned how to camp-cook
2811 Jackson, Suite E 75-188 Highway 111, many years ago, out of self-defense, and
El Paso, TX 79930 Indian Wells/Calif. 92260 many of her experiences have been related
Ph. (915) 565-9627 Phone (714) 346-8113 in her book, Chuck Wagon Cookin'.
14 November, 1981
'" If "I,
TRACES IN
* «**

• . • . '

And each such moment holds more magic and miracle and mystery than we—so
long as we are less than gods—shall ever be able to understand. Edward Abbey
Abbey's Kmul, by lulwnrd Ahhiy, Hdward Abbey, 1979:
Magnificent
Scenic
Desert Posters

C. A creosote bush witnesses the dawn, with the moon


setting, over the dunes at Death Valley National
Monument in California—Jeff Gnass

$4 each
A. Light and shade contrast in the Mesquite flat dunes of Death Valley National
or three for $10
Monument in California.—David Muench
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selects the favorite from its wide selec-
tion of excellent photographs. They
have been enlarged to 24" x 36" and
reproduced on heavy poster paper.
You'll be proud to have them in your
home or office. And what a great gift
idea! Use the coupon below or the at-
tached card to order.
Desert Poster Offer, 121 West E Street,
Encinitas, CA 92024
These handsome posters are $4 each. Or you
may order any three and pay just $10 (Price
includes postage, sales tax and handling.)
B. An oeotillo blooms with the Kofa Mountains of Arizona in the background.
David Muench

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Big Surf isn't the only
"ocean" in Tempe,
Arizona; there's another
one right in the middle of
my backyard. It's
brimming with sea life, a
true microcosm of a marine
intertidal community.

18 November, 1981
A backyard, intertidal community in Tempe, Arizona

A DESERT
MARINE OASIS
battle, and colorful sea anemones spread We had kept salt water aquariums for
Text and photography by forth their delicate but dangerous ten- several years, and even brought back a
Dr. Sherwood B. Idso tacles to claim their share of the action. few sea creatures from the Gulf of Cali-
Now, however, they are beginning to re- fornia near Puerto Penasco, Mexico,
tract, in deference to the increasing in- where we sometimes vacationed. Thus,
tensity of the morning sun. I wipe my I dashed off a letter to the Smithsonian

T he first rays of the morning sun


are trying gamely to wrest do-
minion from the darkness of
night as I make my way to the rock-
brow and retreat to my home for a light
breakfast and a few more minutes of
sleep.
Yes, it's great to live on the seashore
Institution asking them for advice on
how to begin.
Two weeks later when they had not
replied, I sent them a second letter. But
strewn shoreline. The wind is still and and be able to observe daily the fasci- again the results were the same; we were
the water calm. Suddenly, however, the nating actvities that occur there. Unfor- ignored. Blissfully unaware of the prob-
surface boils with activity; and a school tunately, not all of us are able to do lems that could occur, we started out
of grunion zigzags frantically to escape so—including me. untutored, but also undaunted.
the menacing jaws of a threespot floun- But you said. . . Since we lived in a desert climate
der. Their madcap maneuvers act as an I know. It's all true. You see, Big Surf where the winters are very mild, we
invitation to still other assailants, draw- isn't the only "ocean" in Tempe, decided to construct an outside pond,
ing barred serranos out from coral crev- Arizona; there's another one right in the rather than build a large tank indoors.
ices to strike at stragglers. Even a middle of my backyard. It's brimming Consequently, our first order of business
southern midshipman joins the melee. with sea life, a true microcosm of a was to dig a basin for it; and all six of
Opulent photophores glisten in the sub- marine intertidal community. our children helped, from 14-year-old
dued light of dawn, like the rhinestone Let me start at the beginning. Grant, who wielded the pick ax, right
sequins of a Las Vegas showgirl. Last November I learned through down to two-year-old Julene, who
Then, as suddenly as it began, the some science news journals that marine scraped the hard clay we encountered
commotion stops; and the surface again biologists at the Smithsonian Museum with her sandbox shovel. Several of the
assumes a mirror-like quality. Just of Natural History in Washington, neighborhood kids pitched in; and before
below that pretense of peace, however, D.C., had established a living coral reef Christmas the excavation was complete.
battles of another nature are being community in a 3,000-gallon tank now Next came one of the more unique
waged. Killer snails are boring holes in- on display to the public in their Sea Life aspects of our project. In order to give
to the armor plating of clams and oys- Hall. This was no small accomplish- us a better insight into the behavior of
ters, and they in turn are being preyed ment. Such a salt water community had the creatures which would eventually
upon by voracious blue crabs. Still other never before been successfully maintain- live in the pond, we built a small under-
crabs are eating them to ultimately pro- ed in complete isolation from the sea. In ground chamber through which we
vide food for the octopus that lurks fact, only three other places in the world could view the interior of our watery
nearby in an underwater cave. Armies of could lay claim to having similar marine world via a three by four-foot pane of
small hermit crabs scour the rocky displays; and these three institutions are plate glass. To provide another viewing
substrate for scraps from the spoils of all located on sea coasts, allowing them perspective, we also constructed a
to continually circulate ocean water 20-foot arching bridge to span the two-
Above left: Sea anemones and gorgonian through their tanks. The Smithsonian's lobed basin at its mid-point.
corals highlight the tidal pool in the is the only truly "closed" system to ever With these preparations complete, we
shallow end of the pond. survive for any length of time. purchased several large rolls of 40-foot
When my family and I read the news wide, black polyethylene to lay over the
Below left: Lance feeds one of our reports of their success, it spurred us to basin and provide an impervious barrier
hungry crabs a fresh-water minnow. contemplate such a project of our own. to keep the water from seeping out. The

Desert 19
In late November, Keith starts digging the basin for the pond in Palm leaves are added, and two solar panels are installed for
our backyard. heating and cooling purposes.

five layers that we put in were weighted volume of water added. Several hours for all; and as soon as we got home we
down with thousands of pounds of later, when the basin was finally filled, I dumped in the salt!
smooth round rocks that we collected calculated that we had put in 4,000 Changes began to occur almost at
from the dry bed of the Salt River near gallons, making our system a full 30 per- once. The large population of aquatic
the original location of Hayden's Ferry. cent larger than that of the insects that had begun to proliferate in
We had a local gravel company dump Smithsonian's. In the process of filling, the pond vanished, as did the algal
14 tons of fine sand on our driveway, a few leaks did develop inside the obser- growth that was beginning to develop.
which we wheelbarrowed out back to vation chamber; but after a few hours Fifty black mollies that we had purchas-
cover the bottom of the pond, its outer they subsided, apparently due to the ed from a tropical fish store survived,
sides and a small island in the center of swelling of the wood upon wetting. however, being equally at home in
one end. There have been no leaks since. either fresh or salt water. But for a long
Knowing that we would need some time, they remained the only life form
type of water circulation system, we had in the pond of which we were aware.
an electrician provide power outlets to All this changed after our first collect-
the pond, as well as to the underground We are all a part of the ing trip to Puerto Periasco. After three
viewing chamber, from which we con- grand design of nature, trips, we found ourselves housing a
trol two underwater search lights. A veritable aquatic zoo. I have already
friend of ours, in the swimming pool where the concept of mentioned our grunion, flounders, bar-
business, helped us install a standard community plays a most red serranos, southern midshipman, and
swimming pool pump and sand filter. octopus. In addition, we have schools of
About that time I became concerned
essential role. sergeant majors, gulf opaleyes and
about temperature control, and I read Pacific flagfin mojarras; as well as
that the Steinhart Aquarium in San numbers of gobies, blennies and bulls-
Francisco had just installed the first Wary of converting immediately from eye puffers. Crabs and shellfish of all
solar panels ever to be used to heat a salt fresh to salt water, I did not add the syn- types inhabit the tidal pool portion of
water tank. I purchased two 4 by 10-foot thetic sea salts that I had ordered from the pond; along with shrimp, barnacles,
. passive black plastic panels and installed Cleveland, Ohio at once. Instead, I first sea cucumbers, sea squirts, bristle
them facing the south at a 45-degree took a trip to Scripps Institution of worms, feather dusters and other
Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I unidentified hitchhikers that have come
had to go there to present a talk at a along with algae-covered rocks and cor-
scientific meeting on world climate; and als. Presently, we estimate that we have
The experts said it couldn't in an attempt to make the most of the about 50 different species living in the
be done. That was the best opportunity, I took two of my sons with pond. Our goal is to someday match the
piece of encouragement we me. We visited with several of the two to three hundred species claimed
marine biologists stationed there, trying for the Smithsonian system.
could have ever received. to glean from them every bit of helpful A community in itself, our "marine
information that we could. When all oasis" is also a focal point for communi-
was said and done, however, their best ty activities in our immediate neighbor-
angle from the horizontal in such a man- advice to us was to let the pond remain a hood. School groups regularly come to
ner that they also provided shelter for fresh water system. They said that even visit it; and we have put together a slide
the pump and sand filter. their own tidal pool display with its con- presentation describing all phases of its
Finally, the moment of truth arrived; tinuous circulation of water from the development and highlighting some of
we were ready to add water to the basin ocean was a tricky operation. A closed the creatures that inhabit it. We have
and see if it was leak-proof. Turning our system in the desert of Arizona was also developed Dr. Idso's Amazing
hose into the pond, I periodically check- doomed to failure. Traveling Marine Aquarium Show, con-
ed our water meter to keep track of the Well, that settled our minds once and sisting of a gigantic glass goblet within
20 November, 1981
Lance checks the water level in the observation room as Keith and a friend work a 20-foot net to capture a school of
water is added. grunion near Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

which we have established a miniature work for adventure and cooperation it


marine ecosystem composed of more provides for our family. As our involve-
than two dozen different salt water ment with it has grown, we have formed
species. It goes with us to such places as our own research corporation to serve as
Cub Scout Pack Meetings and stays for an umbrella for our activities. Christen-
extended periods at elementary schools ed the Institute for Biospheric Research,
with accelerated science programs. For Inc., it has four separate divisions; each
children in Junior High School, our of our four sons is the Associate Direc-
pond serves as a resource for science fair tor of the division in which he is most
projects. The older Boy Scouts use it interested. The work of the pond comes
as a field site for conducting studies re-
quired for the Environmental Science
and Oceanography Merit Badges.
I am conducting studies of a basic I guess the most exciting
scientific nature with the pond. Since I aspect of the whole project,
was trained as a physicist, the first
aspect I have chosen to investigate is however, is the framework
that of its thermal characteristics. Every for adventure and
morning, just after sunrise, when it is cooperation it provides for
coolest; and again every afternoon when
I come home from work, when tempera- our family.
tures are the warmest, I measure a varie-
ty of water surface and bottom tempera- A little landscaping adds the final touch.
tures. I also measure air temperature, under our Marine Biology Division
humidity, the temperature of the solar headed by 12-year-old Keith. Although Sherwood B. Idso is
panels and the temperature of some ad- he hasn't brought in any large govern- a research physicist
jacent dry sand. Down in the observa- ment grants to ease the financial burden with the USDA's
tion chamber, I am able to measure the of operating expenses, he has produced Agricultural Re-
water level accurately and calculate the some good stories for children's maga- search Service at the
amount of evaporation for each 24-hour zines and is gaining knowledge and United States
period. This allows me to do a complete skills that could lead him to a career in Water Conserva-
energy balance analysis of the system. some phase of oceanography. tion Laboratory in
Unlike flow-through systems con- We see in our marine oasis a most in- Phoenix, Arizona.
nected to the ocean, which vary in tem- teresting phenomenon. It is a well- He also holds adjunct professorships in the
perature by only tenths of a degree each defined community in its own right, Departments of Geology and Geography
day, temperatures in the pond go nested within the larger community of at Arizona State University and is
through a diurnal cycle of 10 to 15 our family corporation, which exists founder and President of the Institute for
degrees. In the summer it gets very, within the community of our neighbor- Biospheric Research, Inc. of Tempe,
very hot. Even at water temperatures hood, and reaches out to the scientific Arizona. He has conduced basic research
approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I community of the world. We are all a in a wide variety of environmental areas
have observed no signs of stress in any part of the grand design of nature, and has published over 200 articles in pro-
of the pond's inhabitants. Perhaps we where the concept of community plays a fessional science journals. Dr. Idso was
are breaking some new ground here that most essential role. honored in 1977 to receive the United
may have wide-ranging ramifications. Well, time for supper. Keith, go catch States' Arthur S. Flemming Award as one
I guess the most exciting aspect of the us a couple flounders. And watch out of five outstanding scientists under age 40
whole project, however, is the frame- for sharks!! @ in the Federal Service.
Desert 21
Text by Virginia A. Greene
P h o t o g r a p h y b y A l a n Benoit (except where otherwise credited)

SEDONA
Grace in the red rocks
Sedona. There's something about ed a long sword of silver through the nation to a way of life which has all but
i t . . . Grace. There's an air of grace, I canyon, emerging at last to fumble and been forgotten. She welcomes them
guess you'd call it, that exists beyond all giggle its way through the eastern edge all—all the artists and writers, movie-
the perfect scenery, the ideal weather, of town. makers and industrialists, retirees and
the warm, neighborly, Western hospi- I poked a stick into the sand and schoolteachers, cowboys and tourists
tality. watched the hole fill slowly with water. who find their way to her door.
Sedona. I guess it's one of my two A red-tailed hawk caught a thermal draft Whether they're among the 9,000 per-
favorite places in the world. "How do and circled high above. manent residents or the two million
you feel about Sedona?" an editor once The heart said, "Don't go." Reality visitors passing through each year, they
asked. "I love it." "Then show me. Tell said, "It's an hour's hike back to the speak with love and respect of the little
me." And what do you say? coffee shop and you have a rendezvous town.
with a cowboy." It's obvious, too, what brings them

I t was a well-worn path, dark, soft,


leaf-mould earth, strewn with
broken pieces of sandstone. The
trail rounded the shoulder of the canyon
and dropped steeply into the stream
This was the Sedona
landscape in all its subtle,
there. Take Richard Riley, for instance.
"We drove through on our way to the
Grand Canyon four years ago and
stopped for about 15 minutes. Went on
to the Canyon, then went home to
bed. In the shallows the water ran explosive magnificence. Michigan, sold our house and came
smoothly, glinting in the first morning back to stay."
sun. Small rounded stones on the What brought him back, specifically?
bottom were rust brown with sun moss. "All this."
In the sand along the edges of the creek The long, crooked stick steadied my His nod included the vastness of the
the wild mint grew. In the water itself course downstream and pointed the way scene spread below the jeep he drives as
the cress, old and tough, had gone to back to Sedona, that little Arizona part of John and Mary Ann Minnick's
heavy seed. village that is known as The Lady of the Pink Jeep Tour force. This was the
Two small girls, pigtailed and brown- Red Rocks. massive red sandstone buttes rising flat-
legged, played in the shadows. They I whacked my stick against a rock, topped and abruptly out of the red earth
were as quiet as my memory, stretched stopped to watch a soggy, wizened-up among the Arizona cypress, the cedars
across 30-odd years. My sister and I had apple bob past a tiny rill, and thought and ponderosas and manzanita. This
claimed this place long ago, in the about the ways a person can teach was the autumn sun shining with a pale
privacy of make-believe. Great syca- reluctant children about poetry, or how glare off the creek that winds its way
mores drifted an occasional leaf to to describe without pretention the silent beneath golden cottonwoods. This was
become a flotilla of miniature craft on thunder of a summer's dawn, or how to the mountain range and rim country
the water below. show how one little village can differ stiffly rising immediately to the north.
It hadn't changed. In all the years from a hundred others its size. This was the Sedona landscape in all its
between childhood's play and this warm There in Arizona's famous Red Rock subtle, explosive magnificence.
December morning of adulthood, Oak Country, at the southern end of Oak
Creek has shone brightly. It has remain- Creek Canyon, Sedona draws the imagi- Scenic Oak Creek Canyon.
22 November, 1981
If you hold out your hand, cup it
deeply, and then tilt it so it slants
toward you, it will resemble nothing so
much as a great, wrinkled canyon.
Where the fingers join the palm, Sedona
nestles quietly into the lower end of Oak
Creek Canyon, slashed into the
southern margin of the Colorado
Plateau and merged into the northern
reaches of the Verde River Valley. It has
a pleasant country highway that makes a
great tour of the valley, then circles up
and around the long meadows on the
lower slopes of Mingus Mountain. It
climbs sharply over a ridge and is gone
into the tree-studded slopes of the
country beyond, leaving the little,
almost-hidden place to its own devices.
Fifteen years ago, Sedona was a small,
unincorporated place with a population
of 1,200, retaining much the same pace
and atmosphere as when it was founded
in 1902. The days and the seasons
moved along with an unhurried gait. In
the past decade, the little town has
grown in much the same way: It has
retained the slow pace and the under-
stated, quiet, Western atmosphere.
I reached the coffee shop and
thumbed idly through a sheaf of post
cards while I waited for a pot of tea and
my 10 o'clock appointment. "Just look
for an old cowboy," he'd said.
He shambled in, a few minutes late,
and recognition came easily. Bob Brad-
shaw—writer and photographer—has
served as liaison, stand-in and movie

24 November, 1981
From left: One of Sedona's children
enjoying an Oak Creek apple. Bill
Garland with a local weaver. Ray
Glade, local historian and author. Mary
Margerite with the tool of her trade.

Desert 25
'if

(Sftk •W-fv''
the atmosphere for a way of life. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce have
SEDONA town itself echoes the landscape theme solid voices in community affairs and in
Continued with buff stucco, dark brown rough-cut decision-making. Citizen volunteers act
extra for virtually every movie and tele- beams, red rock chimneys and walls as watchdogs in areas of growth. A nu-
vision company that has selected the with the red stone marbled like a side of cleus of old-time businessmen have
scenic Sedona Valley for shooting. good beef. informal get-togethers when the
When he arrived from the midwest in Sedona is crosshatched by groups of occasion warrants.
1946, Sedona was "just a wide place on volunteers doing hardcore civic work. On the surface, Sedona sounds like
a pretty rough road. Eighty percent of the population is any small town caught in the throes of
"It had one grocery, a little post made up of retired, fairly substantial growth and development. There is
office and a population of 300. The land people who have chosen this beautiful another element which must be con-
wasn't worth anything. No water. No place as home and who have time for sidered though, to understand the
industry. There were ranches of all sizes service work. They recognize the inevit- unique quality of the little place tucked
and farmers with fruit and small truck ability of growth; some predict 20,000 away so quietly among the cedars and
crops. What little water there was had to people in 20 years. decorated with summer's blue lupine
be hauled up from the creek bottom." and Indian paintbrush. It is a mecca for
But in 1948, deep water wells went in, working artists of every genre.
and by 1950, people began to find their Hollywood discovered Red Rock
way to Sedona more frequently. The
"We drove through Sedona Country in 1924, and since that time, a
way wasn't easy—that was before the on our way to the Grand long list of movies has been ground out
freeway went in over at Black Canyon, Canyon four years ago and with the magnificent Arizona landscape
and the trip from Phoenix wound stopped for about 15 serving as backdrop. The Rounders, 3:10
tediously through Wickenburg, Prescott to Yuma, Broken Arrow, and The Cow-
and Camp Verde. minutes. Went on to the boy and the Redhead are mere samples of
Today the town is an intriguing mix- Canyon, then went home well-known Sedona-based titles. From
ture of tiny summer cottages set back to Michigan, sold our the land of high-rise coastal condomini-
among the cedars, well-groomed luxury house and came back to ums, acres of commercial developments
homes which blend into their rocky and controlled recreation, countless
promontories or hug the red earth with stay." companies arrive to shoot television
an eye to inconspicuous living and Richard Riley commercials among the great buttes and
starkly modern structures which hold in the red dust along the banks of Oak
well the Western flavor of the earlier Creek.
buildings. Residents, visitors and even "There's no way to stop it." William "I don't think we've missed a beer
those passing through, sense a simple Garland, whose sons now run Garland's company or a cigarette commercial,
air, a down-to-earth hominess that Lodge, sipped at a cup of his wife yet," mumbled the taciturn Bob Brad-
contrasts with the elegance and polish of Georgiana's coffee, scratched Bud's ears shaw.
more urbanized locales. as the big Doberman lay down beside Sedona boasts no brawl of neon or
But Sedona's tranquil mien gives little the office desk, and went on talking with noise. Places which are intensely urban,
indication of the behind-the-scenes an assured pride about his hometown. cacophonous, swarming with jangled
vitality. Enthusiasm bubbles along and The best thing for the future and for nerves and cluttered souls, lie far
keeps the town growing in its well- the community is to direct that growth; beyond the imagination in this small
supervised manner. to plan ahead. There's not an empty Western place. Life rests easily upon the
You see, all the folks in Sedona feel store in town, and you've seen how far land and the people. A creative spirit
they have a personal responsibility to down the valley West Sedona extends." touches those who observe the serene,
keep things from getting out of hand. A Sedona's growing, all right; and there almost pastoral quality of its stillness.
few years ago, a small group of volun- are problems, even with all the individ- A fragile, luminescent moment
teers came together, adopted the slogan ual and collective enthusiasm, hard touches day's end and highlights extra-
"Keep Sedona Beautiful," and set out work, and know-how. Sewage is a chief ordinary patience. A last flare of sunset
to do just that. Their first self-appointed concern. Incorporation problems must rouges the red buttes to an even deeper
chores included picking up litter along be smoothed out. A law or two must be hue. Winter twilight comes early and
the highways and in the picnic and changed to allow incorporation over a steals along the erratic design of streets
camping areas. They also suggested a county line because Sedona is bisected with startling silence.
control of size and design of business by the Yavapai and Coconino county In this place where Nature's handi-
signs in town. Their influence has lines. work is an integral part of man's urbani-
grown and is felt in every area of plan- Every weekday morning, school buses zation, it seems incongruous that a
ning and zoning. It is shown through carry children in different directions. broad band of worldly sophistication
the presentation of awards each year for Some secondary students make the would be woven through the entire
the best building and the finest 30-mild trip north through Oak Creek fabric of daily living. But it is there, as
examples of landscaping in town. Canyon, up the switchbacks and surely as the Art Barn will open for
This is a close-knit little village. A through the snow, to Flagstaff High another season, or the RedRock News
serrated band of brilliant red, pink and School. The other students, across the will discuss the merits of the St.
buff rock—the monuments of Oak line in Yavapai County, attend school in Patrick's Day Celebration and the
Creek Canyon—surrounds the the warmer environs of Cottonwood. Lion's Club Carnival over the Fourth of
community and sets the tone, dictates Grade schools? There are two. Both in July.
town; both in different counties. Those in search of a place to exercise
Catching dinner in Oak Creek. County taxpayers' groups and the an artistic bent found that the elegant
Desert 27
instrumental in the late 1940s for bring- respecting American municipality: a
SEDONA ing electricity to Sedona and Oak Creek business district filled with the glit-
Continued Canyon; and to Jennie Lee van Deren tering splendor of flashing bulbs and
solitude of Sedona lent another whose father got the Forest Service to neon tubing.
dimension to their creative lives. A few allow homesteading by veterans of When dusk gently flows over the
decades ago, the area became an artist's World War I in the West Sedona area. ridge above the highest homes on the
colony. Writers, painters and sculptors Dick Duncan has fed folks in Sedona for slopes and down through the streets, the
daub, peck and pound away in studios years. The Pink Jeep Tours has built town reflects the quiet and subdued
of every description. The Sedona Art attitudes of her people and retains the
Center reaps the benefits of outstanding soft and lovely atmosphere with which
local shows, private classes and seminars she began.
directed by the talented folks. The town itself echoes the During the course of two centuries,
From the surrealistic works of Max landscape theme with the the men and women who explored,
Ernst to the cowboy art of Jim buff stucco, dark brown settled and exploited the land left their
Reynolds, Frank McCarthy and Joe marks on it in many ways. When Ells-
Beeler; Sedona can show the most rough-cut beams, red rock worth Schnebly offered the name of his
prestigious of works. chimneys and walls with sister-in-law, Sedona, for the new post
The Sedona Art Center, housed in the red stone marbled like office in 1902, he said it stood as an
what had been a tumble-down apple- a side of good beef. example of high character as well as
packing barn, is the only cultural "rich inner fortitude that was both
organization in the entire area, and the compassionate and sensitive."
responsibility is keenly felt. The center, Sedona is all that, even in this time
an artists' and craftsmen's guild, offers and maintained backcountry trails for when great, lumbering machines move
drama, music, painting, sculpture, 22 years, and Lovey Munday has been through the cedars and manzanita.
ceramics, photography, stained glass a gracious tour guide and faithful driver Work on a new roadway, homesite or
and quilting. of the little pink rock climbers for 10 of business changes the red earth. There
What began as the dream of sculptor those years. are still cowboys on the ranches, horse-
Nassan Gobran in 1950, when he The natives don't go away. They stay men quick with a rope and handy with a
arrived from his native Egypt, has and extend a quiet, Western welcome to branding iron.
developed into a center with influence the newcomers. Sedona is also vast, awesome and
throughout the Southwest. It has been "What is a Sedona?" asked Vic Lamb filled with fantasy and stimulating
realized through the efforts of Director in a column of a special edition of Red- thoughts of nature's magnificence.
Lucy Banks and a veritable army of Rock News. It is a group of volunteers There is time to work and to reflect, to
talented volunteers giving lavishly of turning a hand to the running of their plan and to dream, to put a hand to the
their time. town, trying to preserve the old values task and to sense the timelessness of the
At Oma and Lee Bird's Oak Creek of strength and integrity, while making quiet moments that measure the great-
Tavern in July, 1965, the Cowboy Art- plans for creative growth. There is ness of man.
ists of America was founded by George something self-preserving about the The hiker jabs the crooked walking-
Phippen, Joe Beeler, Charlie Dye, J.W. charm and beauty of the area, for it is a stick into the creek bank and wonders
Hampton and Bob McLeod. near-perfect retreat from the pressures how to describe the comfortable inti-
Small music ensembles—from cham- and tensions of the world's great macy, the magic privacy, of another
ber music to jazz performances—keep marketplaces. small Western town. Of Sedona. Of a
the old barn crowded; studios and class- But there are many places in the place where the treetops in the wind talk
rooms, galleries and dance rehearsals world dripping with natural beauty and huskily, telling fortunes and histories,
guarantee interest and industry for the quiet of the ages; many places with where two girl-shadows play on the
everyone. good golf courses and racquet clubs, creekside and summer heat shimmers
The haunts and habits of Sedonans garden and Elks clubs, parades and off the red buttes above. fi\
vary from picnicking at Slide Rock up rodeos, art galleries and nature trails,
in Oak Creek Canyon, to luxurious carnivals and running events. Virginia Greene
dining at posh resorts like Poco Diablo, Sedona is more. It is a place of was born on the
from an international shopping spree at renewal. desert at Yuma and
Tlaquepaque (T-lali-kee-pari-kee), to Birds swarm, nesting in the pine and was educated in the
dancing country swing or rock at Oak cedar forest along the creek banks and in mountains of Flag-
Creek Tavern, or hunting and fishing in the chaparral of the mountain slopes. staff, earning both
the hills and canyons surrounding the The land is loud with the cries of quail her degrees at
boardwalks of main street. scuttling through the underbrush. Small Northern Arizona
Now, don't get the idea that the animals and rattlesnakes come out from University. She re-
Lady of the Red Rocks suddenly whatever dark recesses they have inhab- mained to teach English at the university
appeared full-grown, sporting plans for ited. A gentle restraint falls upon the and to begin raising her children "in the
expansion and all dressed up in her 20th inhabitants of the community in the shadows of Red Rock Country and under
Century finery. Ask Albert Thompson. Red Rocks. Many a gaze wanders from the sycamores in Oak Creek Canyon."
His parents took squatters rights up at the business at hand up toward the A freelance writer and frequent
Indian Gardens in 1876, and Albert has massive buttes rising at the edge of contributor to Desert Magazine, her work
seen a multitude of changes in his life- town. also appears regularly in Arizona High-
time. Indeed, it lacks the sine qua non of any ways, Ford Times, and in-flight publica-
Talk to Don and Nita Hoel who were progressive, up-and-growing, self- tions.
28 November, 1981
OUR DESERT HERITAGE

:
• • • •

The theme for this issue is community, and what could rep-
resent the desert community better than the Death Valley
'49ers? Each year the association of Death Valley '49ers
celebrates the pioneer spirit and the heroic enterprise that
created this community. The pictures shown here are from the
1953 re-enactment and show the prospectors participating in
the Burro Flapjack Sweepstakes. Spectators look on as the men
and their animals compete for the prize. For complete details
and an update, see page 36.

Desert 29
In Southern California,
you will find the complete line of
)
Motorcraft products at these locations:

In Orange County The Parts House Auto Parts Mart Elm Auto Parts Mr. Parts
3111 S. Main 416 W. San Ysidro 975 Elm Ave. 2919 Sweetwater Rd.
Fullerton Motor Parts Santa Ana Blvd. Carlsbad Spring Valley
140 W. Commonwealth 549-1094 San Ysidro 434-3181 465-0359
Ave. 428-0313
Fullerton Trio Auto Parts Fuller Parts Mart Mr. Parts
871-2341 1111 W. Orangethorpe Best Buy Auto Supply 760 Broadway 1034 3rd. Ave,
Ave. 1121 Highland Ave. Chula Vista Chula Vista
H & R Auto Parts Fullerton National City 426-4440 426-6500
1621 E. Walnut 871-5495 474-8688
Orange L & M Tire & Service Mr. Parts
538-8896 United Auto Parts Broadway Auto Parts # 1 9662 Wintergarden 9225 Mira Mesa Blvd.
2902 W. Pacific Coast 1039 Broadway Blvd. Mira Mesa
J & B Auto Parts Hwy. El Cajon Lakeside 578-1600
1700 N. Tustir?Ave. Newport Beach 442-0684 561-3050
Orange 646-1647 Mr. Parts
637-3670 Broadway Auto Parts *2 La Jolla Motor Parts 7105 El Cajon Blvd.
In San Bernardino 9805 Prospect 723 Pearl St. San Diego
Jordan's Auto Supply County Santee La Jolla 463-9377
1113 Baker St. 449-8944 454-7178
Costa Mesa Mountain Auto Supply Ocean Beach Auto
979-7941 122 N. Mountain Ave. Broadway Auto Parts *3 Master's Auto Supply Parts
Ontario 799 El Cajon Blvd. 20,8 S. Hill St. 1926 Bacon St.
Orange Engine & Parts *3 983-2647 El Cajon Oceanside San Diego
33483 Del Obispo In San Diego County 444-9446 722-1964 224-3308
Dana Point
493-6261 College Auto Parts Mr. Parts Pacific Beach Motor
Adam's Auto Parts
3452 Adams Ave. 4622 College Ave. 7702 Broadway Parts
Phil's Auto Supply San Diego San Diego Lemon Grove 853 Hornblend
624 E. 1st St. 280-8881 582-4596 469-6147 San Diego
Tustin 488-8308
832-1717 Alliance Auto Parts
140 N. Highway 101
Encinitas
436-0311

Quality Motorcraft automotive products are available at auto parts


stores that share Desert magazine's commitment to quality and service.
Motorcraft will give you up to $9.50 in re- $5.00 refund on a power-packed battery.
funds to help you fight the enemy of your These are money-saving offers on four
wallet —while taking care of your car. of the parts every car needs to run its best.
Get a $1.00 refund on an oil filter. A $1.50 To take advantage of them all, visit your
refund on 5 quarts of any Motorcraft Oil — participating Motorcraft retail outlet
including our new gas-saving oil. Up to before November 30, 1981. Motorcraft. For
$2.00 (25<t each) on spark plugs. And a the future of your car. For sure.

wmmmmm
I I
, world
of a wildlife refuge.
Introduction by Frances Q. Smith
Essay and photography by Jeff Qnass

Bosque Del Apache


Bosque del Apache. The very name brings to mind bands of Apache camped in cottonwood groves, along the banks of the Rio Grande
where it flows south through central New Mexico. Located near the foot of the Magdelena Mountains at the edge of an arid plateau, the
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is like an oasis in the desert. It abounds in wildlife as it did in the days of the Apache. Not
only does it offer grasslands, fields, ponds, marshes and wooded areas for its numerous residents; it provides a stopping place on the central
fly way for thousands of migrating birds. There is an abundance of grain: Out of 57,191 acres, 1,500 acres are farmed to produce food for
the wildlife through cooperative farming efforts. One-third of the 1,500 acres is planted in grain, which is left standing as food for the
birds. The other two-thirds are planted in alfalfa, which is harvested by the farmers. The stubble from the alfalfa is left to be used by geese
and cranes through the winter. Annually, over 295 species of birds, as well as many mammals, can be seen here.

I arrived at the Bosque on a frosty


morning, well before sunrise. With
my early presence, I hoped to wit-
ness the unfolding of dawn and the fan-
tasy of a colorful sunrise. In the pre-
Along ditches and in shallow ponds shy
great blue herons continue their silent
vigil, fishing the day away. Late in the
morning I spot a small herd of mule
deer. One doe is especially idyllic, peer-
lands. Shadows grow longer and the
land takes on yet another dimension.
Bathed in the magical light of late
day, grasses and reeds are accented with
a golden hue. Reflections grace the
dawn light, I quietly located a pond ing from tall reeds, ears at attention, as mirror-like surfaces of calm waters. To
filled with roosing sandhill cranes and she captures every sound of her photog- the west, a restless sun lingers no longer
snow geese. There, I set up my photog- rapher. and slips beyond the outline of the Mag-
raphy equipment and waited. dalena Mountains. Conversations
As the first signs of dawn appear, between sandhill cranes flocking to
snow geese begin stirring out on the One doe is especially roosts fill the night air with their
glassy wetlands. Small flocks soon constant uttering of "krooos." Cranes
silhouette the fiery sky. Dawn gives way idyllic, peering from tall decorate a fading twilight as dusk rapid-
to the sun's first rays. Dabblers, reeds, ears at attention, as ly approaches—yet I linger. Night
bobbing and feeding in the shallow descends and the hushed sounds of
water, are in evidence everywhere. The
she captures every sound of contented waterfowl drift over still
new day approaches definition as sand- the photographer. waters. Quietly, I prepare to leave, re-
hill cranes awaken at their roosts. The luctant to see the end of a most exciting
morning sky is already filling with huge, day at the Bosque. 0
undulating formations of white snow The low winter sun transits the meri-
geese enroute to feeding grounds up and dian, and the day warms. I am soon
down the Rio Grande Valley. Occasion- awarded my most exciting sight of the Jeff Gnass is a 34-
ally, a gaggle of Canada geese flocks and day: A coyote, dressed in a fine winter year-old freelance
lands a short distance away. After a coat—feeding—standing over a freshly- photographer. Cur-
period of stretching and fussing about, killed snow goose. Determined to con- ently working out of
the sandhill cranes begin taking flight. tinue his feast uninterrupted, my acti- Northern Califor-
First one or two, then in groups of vities are closely regarded. A Swainson's nia, he photographs
three, four or five—they leave their hawk, undoubtedly envious of the the outdoors of west-
roosts for the grain fields. With an coyote's good fortune, also watches ern North America.
exciting session of photography com- from his perch in a nearby cottonwood. His work appears
pleted, I too take leave, to explore more The coyote finished his meal, seemingly frequently in Desert magazine, Arizona
of the wildlife and habitat of this place undaunted by our presence. Looking Highways, Nevada magazine, American
called the Bosque. content and acting playful, he stalks Forests and the Sierra Club Calendars.
Morning advances. Multitudes of away through the grass.
black birds accent naked tree branches. Afternoon brings a glimpse of several Frances Smith
Songs are sung while cattails, too, whooping cranes. These magnificent teaches Chemistry
provide temporary resting places. birds were recently near extinction. at Santa Monica
Among the grasses, colorful male ring- Fostered by sandhill crane parents, a College. She is fas-
necked pheasants dart about, ever wary new migrating flock of "whoopers" is cinated by all areas
of closer investigation, while the ever now being developed. They commute of science and
present roadrunner offers the persistent alongside the sandhill cranes in their nature study.
observer a rewarding show of antics. twice-annual migration between the Whether she is ex-
Bosque and Grays Lake in southeast plaining the way
Clockwise from upper left: The colorful Idaho. molecules escape from the surface of a pool
ring-necked pheasant stands among the As the afternoon wanes, Canada geese of water, or describing a visual experience
grasses. A mule deer looks on from the are about, feeding among the grasses like snow geese alighting on a pond; her
tall reeds. Sandhill cranes roost in the and swimming in the ponds. Shovelers goal is to share with her students and
pond. A coyote feasts on a freshly-killed and other ducks mingle freely and feed readers the excitement she feels about the
snow goose. out on the flooded marshes and wet- world around her.
Desert 35
Death Valley Helen, Ramblin' Roger, Calamity Kris, Bonna Norris, Calico Kate and Calico Dora pose in group revelry.

The A
member of the original 1849
pioneer party described the
silence of the desert as awful.
However, in our noisy existence, many
Reliving A Community From Our Past I V W W % # people count silence as a precious
commodity and a blessing. Entwined,

Death Valley the desert and silence seem as twin


brothers, united in the purpose of peace.
Sand dunes glimmer blindingly; the
Grapevine Mountains stand in hues of

Encampment
midday blue, purple and violet;
tamarisk canopies are backlit in the low
autumn sun. The warmth of Death
Valley sunshine soothes the sun-
questing soul.
Text and Photography by Jack C. Whitt Supervised by the Death Valley '49er
organization and the Superintendent of
Death Valley National Monument, four
days of activity known as the Death
Valley Encampment attracts thousands
of visitors each November. It's a
festival, and scores of folks have
gathered to celebrate a pioneer heritage
in a below-sea-level trough that sits
between two stark desert mountain
ranges. Choices of activities include an
overnight hike, campfire programs, live
old west and bluegrass music, a fiddlers
contest, chuckwagon meals with guest
speakers, a golf tournament, natural
history tours, pony-drawn covered
wagons, the Death Valley Trail Ride
(horses) and the comical Burro Flapjack
Sweepstakes.
Grown men pull grown burros from
the perimeter of a circle toward a center
36 November, 1981
The Reinsmen entertain with old west campfire melodies and humor at Stove Pipe Wells Village.

Big Jim Smith, from Barstow, for her work and contribution. In 1981,
California, won the 1980 Burro Flap- a humorous collection titled, Death
jack Sweepstakes and $100 in prize Valley Helen Tells This, will be
money. He has won the race in years published. Death Valley Helen plans to
past, and "wanted to show the kids what spend much of her time in Calico,
the old man could do". "living there and telling tourists about
Color, character and nostalgia are things," as her calling card states, "Till
elements of the Death Valley the restless sands are silent."
Encampment. A small group of innova- Costumes, music, competitions and
tive seamstresses produce authentic- historical interest in the desert combine
looking, historic costumes, which they to make the Death Valley Encampment
wear all day long at the festivities. entertaining, informative and fun.
Changes in attire each day produce an The Encampment this year will be
endless barrage of photographic held from November 11th through the
requests and possibilities. These 14th.@
gracious folk profess their own desert
names in good fun; Calamity Kris and
Ramblin' Roger, or Calico Dora, the
showstopper, who is noted for her
beautiful hats.
Perhaps the queen of the celebration
Calico Kate models her dress and parasol. is Death Valley Helen. Displaying an
authentic 60-year-old, hand-sewn lawn
post. After circling the post, man and coat for only the sixth time (appraised at
burro return to their original starting $500), she declared, "I've spent a
positions. Once back, the man must fortune collecting antique clothes." She
load the necessary flapjack fixin's onto is also proud of her 25 pairs of antique
the back of the patient burro. Man and shoes. For 17 years, she has been
burdened burro head for the center post coming to Death Valley during the
again, recircle it and again return to the Encampment, where she wears her
starting position. Upon the second dance-hall girl/madam type costumes.
return, the man immediately unburdens When asked of her most exciting
the burro, starts a fire, greases a griddle experience associated with Death
and mixes and fixes flapjacks. The first Valley, she replied that it was when she
man able to induce a flapjack into a received a commendation from the
burro's mouth is declared the winner. Death Valley '49er's board of directors,
Desert 37
"Supreme symbol of the Southwest, the States, second only in size to the similar fully mature at nearly 200 years of age.
saguaro is a giant among cacti, a 20 to but heavier cardon of Mexico and Baja These sentinels of the Sonoran desert
50-foot high fluted column of chloro- California. The saguaro is supported by are the center of activity for a wide
phylled plant flesh that comes in as many a woody skeleton of long, slender rods variety of animals. The plants both
different shapes and sizes as human beings arranged in a circle. Each rod is as long shelter and feed an incredible assort-
do. Like planted people, individual and as the plant is tall. Within and around ment of creatures. I have made most of
idiosyncratic, each saguaro has its own this circle lies the softer, water-storing my journeys to Organ Pipe Cactus
form, its own character, its own personali- tissue of the plant. At any given time, 75 National Monument (see page 56) in
ty. Or so it seemed to me then; and now, to 95 percent of the six-ton weight of a late spring when the saguaros are
25 years later, it still does. When nobody mature plant may be water. Saguaros flowering and the birds are nesting. The
is around, I talk to them. On simple sub- have a relatively short taproot, but the activity around my saguaro is so frantic
jects, of course." Edward Abbey — Cactus many lateral roots, a foot or so beneath that I usually go through three to four
Country. the surface of the ground and 100 feet in rolls of film every morning just trying to
any direction, help anchor it against the capture some of it.

T
o anyone strolling past it would In May, flower buds appear. The
appear that I was talking to the flowers, when fully open, will be two to
old saguaro towering over my three inches in diameter and have a
campsite. I have been known to talk to I've been visiting this spot white and waxy appearance. While the
my automobile—at least the cactus is regularly for 11 years. It is flowers contain both the male and
alive! Actually, I really was attempting female organs, most are self-sterile, that
to cajole a gila woodpecker into making an avian apartment is, they need to be fertilized by pollen
an appearance in her nest hole located complex; five-stories tall. from flowers on other saguaros. A team
midway up one of the taller arms of the of researchers—S.E. Macgregor, S.M.
saguaro. Camera, tripod, 400mm lens- Elcorn and G. Olin—set up a scientific
all waiting to capture her carrying some study to learn how saguaro flowers are
tender insect to her chicks. I have been wind. In essence, they sit in the center pollinated. I just sat and watched. We
visiting this spot regularly for 11 years, of the spokes of a wheel of roots. The agreed that the most obvious visitors to
photographing the comings and goings shallow roots take advantage of the saguaro flowers are honey bees. How-
of birds and other creatures around this moisture from the lightest rain. After ever, while the bees pollinate the
particular many-armed saguaro. It really one rainfall, the accordion-pleated sur- flowers, they were only imported and
is an avian apartment complex; five face of the saguaro may expand up to 50 released into this country about 100
stories tall with at least nine nest holes percent, bulging with stored moisture. years ago. Originally, saguaros would
drilled over the years by woodpeckers. Even if it doesn't rain again for two have had to rely on other methods. In
At the moment, the woodpeckers and a years, the saguaro has stored enough the spring, white-winged doves migrate
pair of house sparrows, nesting on the water to survive. Exceedingly slow into the saguaro forest from Mexico.
"first floor," were the only occupants. growing, a saguaro may be only a quar- During the flowering period, the doves
Saguaros are endemic to the Sonoran ter of an inch tall at the end of one year, seem to be wearing a soft golden hood,
desert of Arizona and Mexico. They are six inches after nine years, 10 feet after the result of plunging their heads down
the largest cacti found in the United 40 years and 50-70 feet by the time it is into the center of the flower to drink the

These spiny giants are home


to wildlife of the desert.
A Community Affair
Text and photography by
Karen Sausman THE SflGUflRO
38 November, 1981
Large birds-of-prey, such as red-tailed hawks, often build their nests in the arms of the saguaro.

nectar and coming up covered with fruits split open into three sections. In tion. Even so, of the 12 million seeds
pollen. As they move from plant to the center is a large mass of juicy, red that a saguaro cactus may produce in its
plant they pollinate the flowers. I have pulp and thousands of tiny, black seeds. lifetime, no more than one or two will
photographed woodpeckers, Bendere Insects, rodents, coyotes and man are germinate and reach maturity.
thrashers and other birds enjoying the attracted to the sweet, seed-filled pulp. • Those saguaros that germinate on
nectar—the birds and saguaro both The Papago Indians have harvested the rocky slopes have the best chances for
benefiting from the relationship. fruits for centuries. survival. The rocks trap moisture and
Since most cactus flowers tend to be Perhaps the greatest consumers of shelter the young plant from sun and
open at night and closed by late after- saguaro seeds are harvester ants. They from the eyes of small rodents that
noon, it would seem that some noctur- methodically gather up hundreds of would make short work of a pea-sized,
nal animals may also assist in the year-old saguaro. When the plants grow
pollination of saguaro flowers. The larger, they are eaten by packrats who
researchers discovered that the flowers At any given time, 75 to 95 easily remove the spines and burrow in-
attract long-nosed bats. While most to the soft flesh as much as if it were a
species of bats are insect eaters, the percent of the six-ton cucumber.
long-nosed bat prefers nectar. Their weight of a mature saguaro Let's go back to the apartment com-
elongated faces are highly adapted for plex located at campsite number 13,
reaching deep into saguaro flowers. The
may be water. Organ Pipe. Two birds are responsible
bats, like the white-winged dove, are for excavating nest sites in saguaros—
soon dusted with pollen which they gila woodpeckers and flickers (both red-
spread from flower to flower. Of all the thousands of seeds and take them to shafted and gilded). Woodpeckers, of
pollinators studied, the bats accounted their storage chambers deep under- course, have been building nesting holes
for the greatest number of successfully ground. This is too far below the surface in trees for thousands of years, and so it
fertilized saguaro flowers. for the seeds to have the opportunity to is no surprise that they do the same
The activity around the saguaro con- germinate. Many of the seeds consumed thing in saguaros. When the wood-
tinues as the fruits start to mature. by large animals are simply passed peckers drill into a saguaro, they make
Saguaro fruits are oval—two to three through their digestive tracts unharmed the hole about three to four inches
inches in length. As they ripen, the and given a second chance for germina- across. They start to excavate down into
40 November, 1981
the plant, so that the opening actually feet deep, the nest may be used year found chewing on a decaying saguaro
winds up well above the floor of the after year. was a six-inch-long giant millipede.
nest. The saguaro responds to the inva- In my many visits to Organ Pipe, I Shiny and black/brown, it was working
sion by gradually lining the hole with often spend hours photographing the its way through the plant material. It,
scar-tissue which makes a smooth in- animal activity around the saguaro. too, didn't seem to appreciate my inter-
terior. So tough is the calloused tissue What usually attracts my attention are ruption. When I tried to maneuver it in-
that it remains behind long after the the bigger things: birds nesting and to the sun for a picture, it waved its
saguaro is dead. Nest holes, commonly feeding on the flowers and seeds, a jack- antenna and stood a third of the way up
called saguaro shoes can be found intact rabbit sitting in the shade or even a as if to get a better look at me. Even-
among the decaying tissues. Joseph packrat's nest at the foot of an old tually it curled itself into a protective
Wood Krutch wrote in his Voice of the saguaro. During my last visit, I decided ball—quite unphotogenic.
Desert that, "The Sonoran Desert must to look at another part of the saguaro One particular species of insect poses
be one of the few places in the world community—the decaying remains of a threat to the saguaro: a tiny unobtru-
where one may come home from a walk old and wind-fallen saguaros. The night sive moth— Cactobrosis fernaldialis. This
carrying a hole." before this particular visit, there had little moth passes its larval stage in a
The end product of the woodpecker's been a violent summer rainstorm. The saguaro's tissues. Unfortunately, it car-
work is a nest site which is high above canyons and washbeds roared with ries a species of bacteria which, when
the ground. It is dry and well insulated water. In the morning everything smelled introduced into the saguaro, causes the
because the water-storing tissue of the fresh and green; the earth was warm plant's tissues to liquify and turn into a
saguaro keeps the nest relatively cool and moist. As I started exploring, soft rotting mass. If the necrosis con-
during the heat of the day and warm another segment of the animal com- tinues to spread, it eventually kills the
during the cool evenings. Each season munity associated with saguaro made plant. Saguaros try to produce a callous
the gila woodpecker builds a new hole. itself known. The first thing that caught wall of scar-tissue around the injuries,
Within their excavated holes, these my eye was the activity of some side- walling off the diseased tissues from the
birds may raise as many as three broods blotched lizards that were perched bask- unaffected ones. As the larva from the
a year. The holes they abandon at the ing in the sun on decaying saguaro ribs. moth moves about the saguaro, it
end of the nesting season are usually spreads the disease. The disease can also
taken over by other birds who cannot be spread as the infected, liquified
build their own. Of the 12 million seeds tissues drip directly onto other saguaros
The elf owl, the smallest owl in the that a saguaro cactus may or even on to the ground where the
world, is just one of 16 species of birds bacteria can travel to other plants.
produce in its lifetime, no Saguaros, towering centennials of the
known to occupy old woodpecker nests
in saguaro cactus. In addition to the elf more than one or two will Sonoran desert, have captured people's
owls, the following species have been germinate and reach imaginations for centuries. They are the
found nesting: screech owls, pigmy symbol of the American Southwest. But
owls, sparrow hawks, Bendere thrash-
maturity. more than that, they are the central
ers, cactus wrens, ash-throated flycatch- point of an intricate community of
ers, Weid's crested flycatchers, western When it got too hot for them, they animal species. Creatures consume the
kingbirds, Lucy's warblers, purple mar- would disappear into the tissues of the flowers, the nectar, the seeds and the
tins, western bluebirds, house finches, cactus. I thought to myself, "they are soft tissue of the plant. They nest in and
English sparrows, lark buntings and looking for insects." I followed their ex- on the plant. They depend on it for
starlings. ample. Lots of ants were making their moisture and for protection from the
Birds aren't the only ones that use the trails in and out of the old saguaros. sun and predators. The delicate balance
holes. White-footed mice line saguaro After poking around in a couple of of the saguaro and the species of animals
holes and raise their young. Bats roost saguaro skeletons, I came across the associated with it is just one of the many
in the holes during the day. Honey bees creatures that must be attracting the exciting stories of the fascinating desert.
and wasps create their cone-like nests in side-blotched lizards and probably
and around the holes and arms of the many other species of lizards as well.
saguaro. Perhaps one of the most in- Small, one-eighth-inch-long termites Karen Sausman is
credible uses of the holes are as breeding were tunneling through the decaying the Executive Direc-
places for the "saguaro mesquito." plant material. My interruption caused tor of the Living
Really! Some of the holes are situated so a great frenzy of activity. Their soft Desert Reserve in
that when it rains, water runs down the white bodies could not stand exposure Palm Desert, Cali-
cactus and into the hole providing the to the desiccating rays of the sun. fornia. She has been
small pool needed by mesquito larvae. Worker termites were darting here and associated with the
During the dry season, it is not unusual there trying to find a way underground. Reserve for 11
to see birds flying from one saguaro to At the same time, the soldiers were years. Formerly
another searching the holes for water to emerging with their ivory white bodies from Chicago, she received her BS degree
drink. and bright rust-colored heads. Their from Loyola University and did her grad-
There are some species of birds that huge pinchers were prepared for the uate work at Redlands University in Cali-
nest on saguaros, not in them. Large enemy to attack. After photographing fornia. She has been actively involved in
birds-of-prey such as red-tailed hawks them, I turned the pile of debris back the American Association of Zoological
and great-horned owls often build their over and let the termites continue with Parks and Aquariums for 14 years. She is
nests cradled in the arms of the saguaro. their important job of digesting plant currently editing a book for them and has
A mass of sticks and twigs, which may material and ultimately recycling it back been the editor of their newsletter for six
be more than three feet across and four into the earth. The next creature I years.
Desert 41
Sand Dunes:
A Phenomenon
Of Wind
Text by Wayne P. Armstrong
Wind and sand create majestic and sweeping dunes
that are constant but ever-changing.
They move across the deserts, sing to the wind
and inspire our own creativity.

T
he accumulation of wind-blown Although sand dune country can be more than a few feet above the ground.
sand marks the beginning of beautiful and a lot of fun, there are some As the grains collide, some of their
one of nature's most interesting hardships that one must overcome. kinetic energy is transferred, setting up
and beautiful phenomena. Sand dunes Depending upon the local wind condi- a series of chain reactions. Myriads of
occur throughout the world, from tions, length of your stay and your sand grains bouncing and rolling up the
coastal and lakeshore plains to arid accommodations; perpetual sand in windward surface of a dune often form a
desert regions. In addition to the your hair, eyes, ears and navel can be series of ridges and troughs called
remarkable structure and patterns of somewhat annoying. Wind-blown sand wind ripples. Bouncing sand grains tend
sand dunes, they also provide habitats seems to find its way into practically to land on the windward side of each
for a variety of life which is marvelously everything you own, particularly your ripple, producing a low ridge. Trough-
adapted to this unique environment. camera. One of my lenses will never be like depressions develop on the leeward
Picturesque dunes against a sky of blue the same. Every time I focus, there is a sides, primarily as a result of receiving
or a full moon—with perfectly distinct crunching sound. too few grains. Coarser grains
contoured shadows of ripples and The origin and structure of sand commonly collect at the crests of the
undulating crests—have always been a dunes is very complex. There are three ripples, because as ripples are built
favorite subject of photographers. prerequisites: An abundant supply of upward and are exposed to increasingly
Dunes have also been the subject of loose sand in a region generally devoid stronger wind action,the finer particles
many desert movies, and have histori- of vegetation, a wind energy source are removed. Stronger wind action also
cally been a formidable barrier to vehic- sufficient to move the sand and a limits the height that sand particles will
ular and rail travel. Depending upon topography where the sand particles accumulate on the ripple crests.
one's particular situation, they can be lose their momentum and settle out. Without getting too complicated, the
the most incredibly beautiful, thrilling, Any number of objects—shrubs, rocks, spacing of ripples is related to the
eerie, treacherous or just plain inhos- or even a fence post—can obstruct the average distance grains jump. This, i
pitable places on earth. wind force, causing sand to pile up in turn, is related to the wind velocity ani
My personal love affair with sand drifts and ultimately large dunes. The size of the grains. Wind ripples are often
dunes began as a child. Leaping off the direction and velocity of winds, in very spectacular and photogenic,
tall crests and landing in deep, soft sand addition to the local supply of sand, especially when the thousands of tiny
was more fun than any amusement park. results in a variety of dune shapes and ridges catch the shadows of early
One of my favorite sand dunes along the sizes. The wind moves individual grains morning or late afternoon.
Oregon coast sloped directly into a cool, along the inclined windward surface Many people associate deserts with
freshwater lake. I still enjoy hiking until they reach the crest and cascade Hollywood films depicting the French
across dunes, but several painful land- down the steep leeward or slip face. Foreign Legion, battles of World War II
ings on compacted sand, and numerous They pile up at the foot and slowly and other dramas. In fact, less than 20
gritty mouthfuls of it cured me of the encroach on new territory. Some Cali- percent of the earth's total desert area is
leaping syndrome. Over the years, I fornia dunes with crests only 30 feet covered with sand, and sand dunes only
became fascinated with the formation of high may advance 50 feet a year, posing account for about two percent of the
dunes and the amazing diversity of a serious threat to nearby farms and surface of North American deserts. One
plants and animals that are able to sur- roads. of the largest dune systems in the
vive on them. As a biologist, I am Evidence of abrasion on sandblasted United States is the Algodones Dunes.
deeply concerned about the future of surfaces of telephone poles and posts It extends southeasterly for more than
these animals and plants. reveals that sand grains seldom travel 50 miles—from north of Glamis in

Desert 43
tape recorder, but most people think my
recording sounds more like a swarm of
bees or someone with a severe case of
intestinal gas. I'm sure the local dune
buggy enthusiasts thought I was
completely insane, sliding down the
dune while holding a microphone close
to the sand.

I truly believe that sand


dunes are one of the most
beautiful and remarkable of
all the earth's natural
phenomena.

There are several interesting legends


about the mysterious moaning of Sand
Sand food, resembling a fuzzy mushroom, has tiny lavender flowers. Mountain. My favorite one tells of,a
large sea dinosaur or plesiosaur that
Imperial County, California to the common. Some beach sands will emit once lived and frolicked with its mate in
southwestern corner of Arizona and into squeaking sounds by simply compres- ancient Lake Lahontan. Strong winds
Sonora, Mexico. In California, the sing the sand with your foot or poking it piled the lakebed sediments into what is
dunes range from two to six miles in with a rod. now called Sand Mountain, completely
width, with crests rising 200 to 300 feet burying the dinosaur. Today the
above the surrounding landscape. Other dinosaur moans for its mate and the
large dunes occur in Death Valley, deep blue waters of Lake Lahontan.
Eureka Valley and in the Mojave Desert
Depending upon one's Even scientific explanations offer
near Kelso. The Eureka Dunes rise to particular situation, dunes some puzzling questions for the origin
nearly 700 feet and the Great Sand can be the most incredibly of sounds of such magnitude. At least
Dunes in Colorado rise nearly 800 feet. two things are certain about booming
In the Sahara Desert, dunes may be well beautiful, thrilling, eerie, dunes: The sand must be very dry for
over 300 feet high and hundreds of treacherous or just plain sound production, and under high mag-
miles long. inhospitable places on nification the grains appear more
For centuries, explorers and natural- rounded and finely polished than
ists throughout the world have de- earth. ordinary (silent) sand. In fact, many of
scribed strange sounds emanating from the grains I have examined look like
sand dunes. Some of the earliest refer- microscopic wave-worn pebbles along a
ences, found in Chinese and Mideastern California has at least two docu- beach.
chronicles, date back more than 1,500 mented areas with booming dunes; the If the wind direction is fairly uniform
years. Marco Polo described strange massive Kelso Dunes of San Bernardino over the years, the dunes gradually shift
sounds on a journey through the Gobi County and the scenic Eureka Dunes of in the direction of the prevailing wind.
Desert, and Charles Darwin mentioned Inyo County. Vegetation may stabilize a dune, thus
it while traveling through Chile. The My first experience with booming preventing its movement with the
sounds have been variously described as dunes was at Sand Mountain, about 26 prevailing wind. Along the Oregon
singing, whistling, squeaking, roaring miles southeast of downtown Fallon, coast, entire forests may cover sand
and booming. Some accounts compare Nevada. A short dirt road, north of dune areas. Sometimes severe storms or
the sounds with distant kettle drums, Highway 50, leads to the base of the other disturbances can destroy the forest
artillery fire, thunder, low-flying pro- massive white dunes. I didn't notice any canopy allowing sand from nearby
peller aircraft, buzz saws, bass violins, loud sounds until I climbed to the knife- dunes to move in. I recall climbing to
pipe organs and humming telegraph edge crest of a steep 200-foot dune and the top of one dune and discovering the
wires. Musical sand has been measured proceeded to slide down the slip face. tip of an old, dead Sitka spruce pro-
with sophisticated acoustical equip- Going down with an avalanche of sand truding from the sand.
ment. Low frequency sounds are is like riding down an escalator, only The mesquite tree (or shrub) is well-
produced when closely packed sand you're ankle deep in sand. Suddenly, I adapted to sand dune areas. As drifting
grains slide over each other, such as an began to hear what sounded like a low- sand piles up through the years, the
avalanche down the slip face of a dune. flying B-29 bomber or a squadron of mesquite plants grow with it. They
The stationary sand underneath World War II vintage fighter planes. eventually form extensive thickets of
apparently acts as a giant sounding The sound grew very loud and the sand leaf-bearing, thorny branches above the
board or amplifier to produce the beneath my feet and around my ankles dune. Below the sand surface, the bare
enormous volume of sound. High vibrated like a mild electric shock. I and gnarled branches extend down to
pitched "squeaking" beach sand is tried to record the amazing sound on a the trunks, buried deep in the heart of
44 November, 1981
ffii

Armstrong once followed a tiny set of parallel tracks for over half a mile, only to discover a large, black Eleodes (stinkbug) slowly
wandering across the dunes.

the dune. The incredible root systems of spectacular masses of pink sand filled with the sweet aroma of fragrant
mesquite may extend 50 to 100 feet in verbenas, white dune primroses, bright blossoms.
search of moisture. yellow desert marigolds, blazing stars My favorite dune plants are the
During years with favorable winter and purple dune locoweed, so thick that bizarre root parasites which include
rains and warm spring temperatures, a it is difficult to walk without stepping sand food, pholisma and dune
number of colorful wildflowers may on some. The carpets of pink and yellow broomrape. They all have usual flower
appear in sand dune areas. I have seen may extend for miles, and the air is Continued on page 62
Desert 45
A native American Indian culture survives and thrives.

Of Time andthe Tiguas


Text and Photography by
Joseph Leach

T
urning the clock back 300 years my century. Here in a courtyard and villages (Desert, August, 1981). They
would be quite a stunt for most dimly lit rooms opening onto the ar- then settled at present-day Isleta del
people I know. For me, a man cade, the Tiguas evoke the mud rooms Norte which is along the Rio Grande
of my time and my city, it is a simple under log and twig ceilings their fore- about 60 miles farther north. Thus,
matter of taking a 10-minute drive from bears once occupied, and display the their coming south with the Spaniards
downtown El Paso to the Zaragoza exit arts and the artifacts of their past. in 1681 was not so much a beginning,
off I-10, and following the signs a As the displays suggest, that past part- but merely their arrival back home.
couple of miles to a neighborhood called ly begins in 1681; in another sense, it Whatever the facts, reaching this rich
Ysleta. Driving that distance, I can feel begins much farther back than anyone valley land and desert hunting range
the minutes slow down, and a different knows. According to history, the Tiguas spelled the Tiguas' cultural emergence
rhythm begins to engage me. came to this valley, forever renewed by as a settled pueblo people. In the cen-
When you make the trip, you will also the Rio Grande's brown waters, as a turies since—the Tigua community cele-
feel time and culture fade slowly away result of the bloody uprising in 1680. It brates its 300th anniversary this year as
as you come to a stop at the Tigua In- was the New Mexico Indians against the Texas' oldest uninterrupted social iden-
dian Tribal Center. It's a rambling Spanish colonials living in Taos, Santa tity—they have held on to their frag-
cluster of stuccoed, adobe buildings Fe and widely scattered haciendas and ment of earth against almost impossible
alongside an ancient white church with villages. When the Spaniards living near odds. It is this compound of history and
a heavy bronze bell and silver tower. Isleta del Norte (the Tigua Indian legend that the Tribal Center arcade
Leaving your car, you will enter the pueblo just south of present-day Albu- presents to its visitors who come to
pueblo Indians' world of the 1680s. querque) fled for their lives to seek observe and move on.
I make the trip often, partly because I refuge with other Spaniards in Paso del In the courtyard grows a small vege-
relish the sense of occasionally escaping Norte (now Ciudad Juarez, Mexico), table garden, in land that historical fact
from my own time. To do it means they forced or willingly permitted some labels the oldest continuously cultivated
changing not only my tempo; it means, 400 Tiguas to come, too. farm plot in Texas. Inside a brush-
well, changing my sights, my angle of Bringing their tribal paraphernalia- covered arbor, lies an earthen dance area
vision. At Tigua, I have to slow down, most significantly their tribal drum— where young Tiguas now regularly pre-
to be able to see. these Tiguas established their own com- sent dances reminiscent of the steps of
Inside the Tribal Center's big wooden munity, Chiawipia. This land, situated their ancestors. A separate museum
doors, I find to my right an up-to-the- a few miles downstream from Paso del building displays some of the parapher-
minute restaurant alert to the traveler's Norte, was assigned by the Spaniards. nalia of the tribe's elaborate religious
thirsts and hungers. To my left is a large The Franciscan padres helped them rituals (most of which are not seen by
store with new Indian pottery and establish a Christrian mission. That the public). As I move past these various
bright turquoise-and-silver jewelry, community survives as Ysleta del Sur, displays, they slowly bring me up to the
most of it made by young Tiguas them- Texas, and its Indian heart is the present. The final room along the ar-
selves, some by other American Indians. present-day Tigua Indian Tribal cade features the sophisticated, authen-
If I were the usual tourist, glad to be Center. tically Indian pottery made by the
here but already pressed to be some- At least that is history's story of their Tiguas today.
where else, I'd tip my hat to this shop as coming. According to the tribe's crea- The Center's arcade and small garden
a place to check off my list of gifts to tion myth, the Tiguas began their earth- say much about the Tigua people; but
bring home, and in 20 minutes be back ly existence only 15 miles northeast of the Tigua Indian community nearby, a
in my car and onto I-10 again. where they live now, at Hueco Tanks
Stopping only by the Tiguas' modern (Desert, May, 1981), a rocky outcrop- Above right: Herminia Silva directs, as
restaurant and shop, I would miss the ping in the Chihuahuan desert. As a no- bread bakes in the traditional outdoor
greater pleasures and profits offered madic people eventually moving adobe ovens.
through another set of big doors leading throughout the Southwest as buffalo
into a sunny, outdoor arcade. In taking hunters and warriors, the Tiguas, at one Below right: Young Tiguas, dancers and
that other step, I leave behind the time, lived 150 miles north at Gran craftsmen alike, learn the ancient Tiwa
customs and trappings of my place and Quivira, one of the New Mexico saline language.

46 November, 1981
Desert 47
Right: Master potter Alex Ramirez uses
local red clay.
Below: The use of traditional motifs in
their pottery has helped revitalize Tigua tribal pride.

residential area of 114 family units, says had to reaffirm that conviction. In spite Spanish crown's Ysleta Land Grant as
more. The pueblo-style houses are set in of the fact that King Charles V of Spain valid title to the now-American portion
green yards with flowers and shrubs, granted the Tiguas clear title to 36 of the Tiguas' original acreage. But even
and each has a carport shading a car or square miles of land and river in 1751, this proved largely meaningless as
pickup. Glancing at them, I could as- their hold became tenuous as non- American towns grew up around it,
sume that tribal mores are a thing of the Indian, Mexican farmers plowed closer leaving the Indians to till their shrinking
past, but I would be wrong. and closer, becoming increasingly fields, to hunt surreptitiously for rabbits
On June 13, the Tiguas still honor greedy for easy access to the river and ir- and other small game on desert land that
their patron saint, San Antonio, with an- rigation. had always been theirs—despite what
cient ceremonial dances in front of their other folks said.
church. They have retained their tribal In 1872, Ysleta del Sur, by then an
political and religious formats, revere ethnic mixture of Anglo, Mexican and
the land and its animals and still bake In my judgment, the most Indian peoples, became an incorporated
their bread in outdoor adobe ovens. town—without the Tiguas' being con-
They respect local herbs for their significant explanation for sulted—and, as such, free to dispose of
curative powers and desert plant life as the Tiguas' new lease on its public lands as it saw fit. When the
nourishing food. life is their still-abiding town was officially dissolved three years
In a small, windowless building called later, it had sold off or politically given
the tuhla, the tribal elders (the cacique, conviction that they will away almost all of the Tiguas' crown
war chief, captains and mayordomos) preserve and pass on to grant. The Indians were left with noth-
still preserve their sacred objects—buf- their children the heritage ing but cloudy titles to their adobe
falo masks, ceremonial canes and the hovels—one-half square mile of Indian
tribal drum. Tradition insists that the their forebears passed on to land—and bitter resentment. Another
drum came south with the original peo- them. blow fell in 1955 when El Paso, Texas
ple. It is around this drum that most of annexed the Ysleta area, and the Indians
the tribe's vitality still seems to revolve. suddenly became subject to property
Before important decisions are made, taxes amounting to over $100 per family
the elders "talk to the drum." Beating a When Texas became an American per year, at a time when the average
slow, steady rhythm, whispering into a state in 1845, the Tiguas's problem Tigua family annual income was under
hole in its side, listening with ears at- became more complicated. Texas en- $400.
tuned to insights far beyond words, the tered the Union on a footing equal Since then, the picture has vastly im-
elders learn the long, mythic truths that "with the original states in all respects proved. The Tiguas give credit to an
function beyond everyday facts and whatsoever." Texas adopted the 13 Anglo, El Paso attorney, named Tom
figures. original states' hands-off unconcern for Diamond. It was Diamond's personal
Talking with Tiguas, I am assured their Indians, and ignored all her feel for the tribe and his skill in the
they firmly intend for their culture to aboriginal peoples. courtroom that brought the Tiguas to
live. To do that, the people have always In 1852, the state did recognize the Continued on page 51
48 November, 1981
Life On The Pacific Edge
The Seacoast experience:
You know it . . . you live it.
Celebrate this experience with us each
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basic identity within an expanding their crafts and their dances in ways that
TIGUAS American city "would have been so pre- can—to some strong degree—offer com-
Continued from page 48 posterous" prior to the discovery of the mercial advantage."
public attention in 1964. That year, Tiguas, that the person expounding the Government support and funded re-
Diamond persuaded a Dr. Dunbar, thesis "would have been laughed out of search are helping the Tiguas locate and
president of the Fields Philanthropic the room." reaffirm their old skills: their pottery
Foundation in New York, to come to The result has become news again and and jewelry had become almost obsolete
Ysleta and see for himself the tribe's again in the years that have passed. crafts. Now, they flourish as significant
deplorable living conditions. Diamond "Discovery of the Tiguas rocked Indian paid work for the community's most tal-
now tells the story with a small touch of people in several respects." Far from ac- ented artisans. The art objects them-
humor. "I had carefully explained to the cepting the demise of their tribe as selves, featuring authentic design mo-
cacique (the ceremonial chief of the "God's natural plan for Indians," says tifs, pay off in sales in the Center's big
tribe) that Dunbar was coming, and that Deloria, these people plainly demon- store, through mail orders and whole-
on that day, he should be ready to strated that "Indian tribal society had sale arrangements with dealers around
describe the tribe's major problems." the strength and internal unity to main- the country. Their herb garden features
tain itself indefinitely with an alien cul-
ture." Since 1966, "an increasing
awareness of tribalism" has swept
We cheer life's renewal through the whole American Indian Though I am an Anglo
made grand and grandly "power structure." Deloria gives Dia- newcomer here on the
patterned through mond full praise. "Your work with the Tiguas' ancient preserve, I
Tiguas," he says in his autographed
established ceremony. note in the copy of Custer he gave to sense in myself a pleasure
Diamond, "was the major turning point in ritual, in tradition main-
in Indian affairs for the last half of the
20th Century."
tained through the long
The day came and Dunbar arrived,
and "when I drove him down to the For all their new national fame, what past.
pueblo," Diamond goes on, "the else accounts for the Tiguas' vitality
cacique was nowhere to be found. None now? Diamond rates high as one factor,
of the other Tiguas could give any ex- certainly. But, so do financial outlays by the herbs that their elders have always
planation. We waited for two or three such private agencies as the Fields and known held medicinal powers. These
hours and were just on the point of driv- the Moody Foundations. Official gov- herbs, now packaged for sale, bring ad-
ing away—me in red-faced defeat—when ernment recognition came late, but ditional income.
the cacique trudged into the plaza, when it came vast changes began. In The arts and the gardening support a
dangling a brace of dead cottontail rab- 1967, the Texas Legislature appropri- small number of workers, but more im-
bits over his shoulder. I was amazed at ated funds to finance the cost of the portantly, their products serve as a con-
the cacique's apparent unconcern for Tribal Center, the residential area and a tinual reminder to those other Tiguas—
the importance of Dunbar's visit and I Texas State Government administrative participants in the El Paso job scene—
was firm when I said so. But the cacique complex. In 1968, President Johnson and their families, that to be Tigua
only replied, 'I have to go hunting. At signed into law United States official means to be tough, long-lived and pos-
Hueco Tanks,' and then shrugged, recognition of the Tigua people as an sessed of an enduring special identity.
'Tiguas hungry.' " authentic Indian tribe. He also transfer- "We have Indian hearts," their oldest
Diamond's story ends with the happy red to the State of Texas any responsi- elder sometime ago told a visitor, Stan
report that Dunbar was so struck with bility the United States might have for Steiner. "We will always be Tiguas."
this proof of the needs of the Tiguas, he them. When I visit the Tiguas, I sense a big-
immediately funded the tribe for shoes, These vital factors are great, but in ger reason for their long survival, a
new clothes and food. my judgment, the most significant ex- reason touching something I know
In March, 1966, Diamond brought planation for the Tiguas' new lease on about me and my people: The fact that
the Tiguas to the attention of the Na- life is their still-abiding conviction that since 1607 at Jamestown, since 1620 at
tional Congress of American Indians they will preserve and pass on to their Plymouth Rock, since 1849 in the des-
(NCAI) meeting in El Paso. Vine children the heritage their forebears ert in covered wagons, since 1865 at Ap-
Deloria describes the occasion in his passed on to them. I encounter this In- pomattox; they too have exhibited a
book, Custer Died for Your Sins, when dian view each time I visit, and it is long, steady courage, a zeal to hang on
during the meeting a "man named Tom more than a hope and a dream. and become what their own humanity
Diamond appeared before us with a rag- Today, canny young Tiguas like Tim seems to require.
ged little group of people" and fervently Baquera, the tribe's arts and crafts direc- On San Antonio Day in Tigua, I stand
pleaded for NCAI help. Deloria details tor, and Vicente Munoz, the public rela- in the crowd facing the church, watch-
the occasion's national importance: at tions director, typify the community's ing the tribal dancers whirl and pivot
that moment, he says, "the modern era determination to endure and prosper in their ritual steps to the slow beat of the
of Indian emergence had begun." Until ways that are tribally valid. "Like every- red tribal drum. I watch as other tribe
then it had been assumed, by both In- one else," these men have told me, "our members approach the church doors on
dians and whites, that the American In- personal survival depends on our having their knees, with obvious awe in their
dian's eventual destiny was to merge a solid economic base for ourselves. faces, and wait with heads bowed while
into white society and disappear. The Beyond us, since Tiguas are no longer the cacique strikes them on the shoul-
thought of a tribe that maintains its farmers, the tribe's survival depends on ders with willow wands. It acknowl-
traditions, socio-political structure and their featuring their traditional arts and Continued on page 61
Desert 51
CALENDAR
November 1—November 30

CALIFORNIA Saturday presentations and hikes, and


Nov. 5-9: The city of Brawley is Sunday concludes with a program
holding their 26th annual Cattle Call, focusing on the theme of the weekend.
the Imperial Valley's salute to the beef For more information or reservations,
industry. Events will include a call (714) 565-3600.
championship rodeo on Nov. 7th and
8th. At 10 a.m. on Nov. 7th, there will Nov. 7-8: The Galileo Gem Guild is
be a two-hour parade. Other features for sponsoring their annual Gems of Land
entertainment are: a beef cook-off and Sea Show, Quartz Dynasty, at the
contest with entertainment, a whiskerino Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park in
contest and a barbecue dinner. For San Francisco. Hours: Saturday, 10
further information, contact Lew a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5
Bacon, Manager, Brawley Chamber of p.m. For further information, contact
Commerce, P.O. Box 218, Brawley, CA Margaret MacKenzie, 521 Larch Street,
SIDLES MFG.CO.,INC 92227, or call (714) 344-3160. South San Francisco, CA 94080, or call
P. 0 . BOX 3537 D (415) 861-4789.
TEMPLE, TEXAS 76501 Nov. 6-8: The Sacramento Mineral
Society Golden Harvest of Gems and Nov. 7-8: The Bear Gulch Rock Club
Minerals Annual Show presents Our presents its 19th annual Gem and
Heritage. It will be held at Buildings 3 Mineral Show at the Masonic Hall,
and 4 in the Expo Center, California 1025 North Vine Avenue, Ontario,
State Fairgrounds, Sacramento. Hours: California. The show will feature dealer
6th and 7th, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 8th, 10 sales, exhibits, hourly drawings and
a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, contact food. No charge for. admission or
Show Chairman David Rosin, 4720 parking. Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8
Silver Crest Avenue, Sacramento, CA p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For
132 PAGE CATALOG 95821, or call (916) 486-0168. further information, contact Don
CAMPING FURNITURE & GEAR — Meirhaeghe, 13267 Miller Avenue,
RV ACCESSORIES Nov. 6-8: The Palms Springs Desert Etiwanda, CA 91739, or call (714)
Museum, in cooperation with the 899-1129.
University of California Riverside
Extension, will be sponsoring a Nov. 7-8: The 12th annual Wonders of
weekend course titled Mammals of the Nature gem show, sponsored by the La
Colorado Desert. Two units of credit are Puente Gem and Mineral Club, will be
given upon completion. Desert held in the Masonic Temple at 170
PLUS! naturalist, Jim Cornett presents the School Street, Covina. Hours: Saturday,
EVERY ON-OFF ROAD TIRE KNOWN TO MAN! course which covers the mammalian 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5
OFF-ROAD LIGHTS — WARN HUBS &
WINCHES - ROUGH COUNTRY SHOCKS
fauna of southeastern California, p.m. The show includes dealers,
& SUSPENSION KITS — ROLL BARS - including desert shrews and bighorn displays, special exhibits and food.
G.I. SURPLUS GOODIES — BOOKS & sheep. For enrollment information, call Admission and parking are free. For
REALLY UNIQUE ITEMS!
5302 Tweedy Blvd.
University Extension at (714) 787-4105. more information, contact Jack Kobziff,
Dept. D 14602 E. Danbrook, Whittier, CA
South Gate, CA. 90280 Nov. 6-8: The Country Parks Society 90604.
(213) 566-5171 of San Diego is sponsoring a Wilderness
FREE CATALOG-SEND TODAY! Weekend/Outdoor Adventure Program, Nov. 7-8: The Sierra Pelona Rock Club
CANADIAN FOREIGN REQUESTS
&
which concentrates on the various is holding its third annual Gem and
• 5 2 . U .S. CURRENCY aspects of family camping recreation. Mineral Show at the William S. Hart
';Na'me 1 This weekend (6th-8th) it will be held at High School Cafeteria, 24825 Newhall
Aririff 1 Vallecito in the Colorado Desert. Avenue, Newhall. The show will
1 1 History and nature in the desert will be include 40 displays, a country boutique,
• City _
1 ZiD
1 the main subject. Weekends include a dealers and demonstrations on the
1 Friday night campfire meeting, carving and shaping of gemstones.
I State i — _ . • • • • • . - I , , , , . m m t a

. _J
52 November, 1981
Only an author of Gulick's sta-
ture as a novelist and dramatist
could have told so well this tre-
mendous epic in our country's
history.

CHIEF JOSEPH
COUNTRY

Admission is 50 cents. Hours: Saturday, Mineral Societies, is being held at the


10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 Gold Rock Ranch in Ogilby, California.
p.m. For further information, contact The Round-Up will feature dealers, tail-
Phil Hoskins, 24212 Race Street, gaters, field trips, auctions and campfire
Newhall, CA 91321, or call (805) entertainment. Free camp area. For
259-0459. further information, contact Horace
Scott, (714)443-8272.
Nov. 14: The First Benefit Plant Sale
will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nov. 28-29: The Mojave Desert Gem LC 79-51577
the Lummis Home, 200 East Avenue and Mineral Society is sponsoring the ISBN 0-87004-275-0
43, Highland Park. This sale is sixth annual Gem & Mineral Show. It $29.95
presented by the Theodore Payne will be held at the Community Center,
Native Plant Guild for the benefit of the 841 South Barstow Road, Barstow. Free Approximately 320 pages, hun-
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild dreds of photographs, many maps,
parking and admission. For more in- cloth, boxed.
Flowers and Native Plants, Inc. and the formation, contact Bob Depue, 25647
Historical Society of Southern Cali- West Main Street, Barstow, CA 92311, THE
fornia. Features include indoor and out- or call (714) 253-2954. CAXTON PRINTERS, LTD.
door plants for sale, a tour of the P.O. Box 700
Caldwell. Idaho 83605
gardens and home and refreshments.
For more information, contact Mrs.
Franz A. Gorges, 740 N. Myers Street, NEW MEXICO
Burbank, CA 91506.
Nov. 1-15: Fall color tours of the
Nov. 21-22: The Nevada County Gem Guadalupe Mountains sponsored
& Mineral Society will be holding their through the Carlsbad Caverns National
annual show, Earth's Treasures, at the park. For information, call (505)
Veterans Building, 255 South Auburn 885-8884.
Street, Grass Valley. Hours: Saturday,
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 Nov. 6-8: The Southwest Arts & Crafts
p.m. The show will include exhibits, Festival will be held in Albuquerque at
special displays, demonstrations and a the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, in
club sales table. For more information, the Agriculture Building. For more
contact Emma Rust, 10417 Durbrow information, contact the Albuquerque
Road, Grass Valley, CA 95945, or call Convention and Visitors Bureau, P.O.
(916) 265-5792. Box 26866, Albuquerque, NM 87125,
or call (505) 243-3696.
Nov. 21-22: The Silverado Country
Fair is a community event where the
Old West comes alive. Festivities The Desert Calendar is a service for It's more FUN when
include country music, recreations of our readers. We want to let them know
yon DRIVE — Cheaper, tool
scenes from Silverado's history, arts and what is happening on the desert. As you Let SANBORN'S handle your
Mexico vehicle insurance. We're the
crafts booths, and good old-fashioned can tell, the majority of our features biggest — and best — in this business.
family fun. Join the community fun in are from California. We need items Write for our free Mexico Trip-
Silverado, located in the Santa Ana from all of the Southwestern states, so Planner. Lots of good, practical info
plus samples of our famous mile-by-
Mountains in Orange County. For if you are having an event, or even a mile MEXICO ^TRAVELOG.
further information, contact Donna Le year-round activity, let us know. There
Claire, P.O. Box 35, Silverado, CA is no charge for items listed in the
92676, or call (714) 649-2747. Calendar. We only ask that you sub-
mit it to us at least three months prior
Nov. 25-29: The 17th annual to the event. We (and our readers) want Mexico Insurance Service
- Since 1 9 4 8 -
Rockhound Round-Up, sponsored by to hear from you. Box 1210 * McAllen, TX 78502-9985
the San Diego Council of Gem and (512) 682-3401

Desert 53
There is GOLD in
them 'thar hills! THE DESERT ROCKHOUND
and it is by Rick Mitchell
being found
with the
help of . . .
OBVIOUS hounding enjoyable. It affords an oppor-
tunity to explore parts of the country-

ALLIED ONYX side that most people never see. There is


a sense of adventure in searching for
SERVICES Collecting Site
I have always enjoyed cutting and
minerals while traveling on the often
rough, and seldom used, back roads. For
Over 6,000 square feet of polishing onyx. It is relatively soft, easy me, the search and getting there are as
the most complete stock to work and occurs in a variety of colors much fun as actually obtaining the spec-
of supplies for the professional and patterns. Because of my partiality, I imens.
or beginner — plus, expert am continuously on the lookout for new After finally finding the deposit, I
guidance in the use and places where it can be obtained. I found headed up the hill, about 200 yards
selection of your equipment. out about one such location three years where the layered onyx could easily be
ago, while visiting some friends in seen. There were pieces of quality
Phoenix, Arizona. There were some material scattered all over, and the
• Gold Dredges • Wet Suits pieces of nice, solid, banded onyx in colors varied from solid white to those
• Metal Detectors their yard, and they told me it had come with swirls and bands of red, black,
from the hills north of nearby Globe, pink, gray and yellow. The prime mate-
• Dry Washers • Sluices Arizona. rial must be taken from the seam itself
• Gold • Pans • Tools (using gads, hammers and chisels), but
• Topo Maps the effort is well worth it. If you don't
• Laboratory Apparatus have the stamina to do such labor, there
• Mineral Lights still are many quality chunks to be
found on the ground.
• Gold Scales
If you would like to obtain some of
• Lapidary Equipment this nice cutting material, go north on
• Books • Magazines Highway 60 from Globe, 15.9 miles, to
• And Much, Much More! the bridge crossing Seven Mile Wash.
Just past this bridge, a road can be seen
heading west. Take it and go 5.8 miles
Over 1,600 different to the ranch sign. Here, you bear to the
publications in stock. Back left and continue another 3.9 miles to
issues of magazines the site, where the onyx deposit can
including Desert! easily be seen. It is on the hill, north of
the road. There is a clearing on the op-
"If we don't have it in stock Through a visit with a friend, Mitchell posite side, where you can park and set
. . . chances are you don't up a camp.
found an excellent onyx collecting site
need it." A trail leads to it, and the walk is not
near Globe, Arizona.
bad, but it is steep. While hiking, I kept
finding onyx lying on the trail. Even
ALLIED During the previous year, my friends
had been searching for a campsite and
before I arrived at the seam, my collect-
ing bag was completely full and very

SERVICES
Sales, Service and Rentals
came upon a group of rockhounds who
invited them to stay for the evening.
The rockhounds showed them some of
the onyx being collected. It was so color-
heavy. When I reached the top, though,
the quality seemed even better. I had to
go through the traumatic procedure of
discarding some of my finds from the
since 1969 ful and intriguing that they spent the trip up. It was necessary to make a
night, and proceeded to join the group number of trips back to my vehicle with
Visit our showroom located 5 the next morning at the digging area. bags of this prize material. By the end of
miles east of Disneyland, IV2 Needless to say, I didn't hesitate to the day, I was exhausted, but I had ob-
blocks south of Katella Avenue ask for directions, and a very crude map tained many outstanding specimens:
(east of Orange Freeway, Rte 57) was sketched for my use. The next many of which produced very nice,
morning, with my map and rock pick, I colorful cabochons, bookends and ash-
966 North Main Street set out to find some of this fine material trays.
Orange, California 92667 for myself. Because of the inaccurate I am sure that if you have the chance
Phone (714) 637-8824 mileages on the map, though, it took to visit this location, you won't be dis-
Store Hours: Weekdays, 10-6; most of the day to find the spot—but appointed. It offers top quality cutting
Saturdays, 10-3. that is one of the things that makes rock- material, is in a most beautiful, forested

54 November, 1981
READ ABOUT
TODAY'S GOLDRUSH
Articles and news items about
prospecting, mines and mining, both
large and small operations. Pictures,
hints, tips, advertisements for ma-
location and has good camping spots color photography throughout. In addi- chinery, mines and claims. Published
throughout. It is a place especially nice tion, each issue contains abstracts from monthly S5.00 per year. Send for
for rockhounds, and I highly recom- other publications in the field, new gem sample copy.
mend it. information, lab notes and book re-
views. There are also numerous articles
Equipment covering the entire spectrum of subjects Western PROSPECTOR b MINER
Dept. D
For those of you who do not like the relating to gemstones. This quarterly is Box 146, Tombstone, AZ SSKiS
untidiness of working with polishing one that you will not discard after
compounds when finishing stones reading, but, instead, will become a per-
and/or metal, Dremel is now marketing manent part of your library. An annual THE TREASURE HUT
rubberized polishing wheels. These subscription is $16.50, with special Gardiner - Tesoro - 3D - Cue
tools can be used with any of the rates to students of the institute. If you Carl Anderson Locating Rods
Whites - Compass - Fisher-Garrett
Dremel Moto-Tools, and are distrib- wish more information, contact the
Gold Mountain - Daytona - D-Tex
uted in sets, depending upon what you Gemological Institute of America, 1660 Bounty Hunter - A.H. Pro - C & G
are polishing. Among other items, they Stewart Street, Santa Monica, CA Treasure Ray- Prospecting Gear
can be used on most metals, stones and 90404. Also Keene Dredges & Accessories
ceramics. For more information, contact Treasure Supplies-Instructions
Books & Magazines
Dremel, Division of Emerson Electric Helpful Hints BEST PRICES1 PLUS - FREE SHIPPING
Company, 4915 21st Street, Racine, There have been some articles pub- With our FREE Choice Of Accessories
WA 53406. lished that recommend reversing worn Worth Up To $100.00 with each Detector
Ordered at Regular Price From This Ad!
Lapcraft now produces a series of diamond saw blades to improve cutting FINANCING Master Card & Visa
uniquely shaped diamond wheels. They and to increase their life. These recom- Dealers Wanted
are called Shaped Diamond Mini- mendations should not be followed. The TREASURE HUNTERS HEADQUARTERS
Bill Hale - President 1315 North Main
Wheels and are one inch in diameter, manufacturer designates precisely Poplar Bluff, MO 63901 (319) 785-1164
designed to be used on a mandrel. They which way the blade should rotate, and
can be employed with most of the hand- for a very good reason. The diamonds
held electric tools on the market, and are set in the blade so they face the
come in coarse, medium and fine grits.
The wheels can be purchased separately
or in sets, and should offer a greater
direction of rotation and are supported,
on the back, by metal. If the direction is
reversed, the metal will be worn off and
Fl Jeep
degree of flexibility to the gemstone the diamonds can become dislodged. "our only business"
carver. If you would like additional in- The Wickenburg Gem and Mineral
formation, contact Lapcraft Company, Society suggests using a safety razor as a
195 West Olentangy Street, Powell, OH SALES - LEASING
sander. Simply remove the blade, wrap
43065. the sandpaper around the curved end, PARTS - SERVICE
Swest, Inc. is now manufacturing a tuck paper under the teeth and tighten We Service What We Sell
new electric wax pen that will be very the handle. This has many applications
useful to those engaged in making wax to the lapidary craftsman, especially
patterns for rings and other jewelry. It carvers. JOHNSON'S 4WD CENTER
features a wax release valve and trigger When you are grinding obsidian, 7590 Cypress Ave. at Van Buren
Riverside, Calif. 92503 (714) 785-1330
that is reported to be more durable and always try to go from the center out.
simpler to use than others. There is also Frequently, minute fragments of this
a cork handle, for protection of the volcanic glass will chip off and be pick-
hands, and a finely machined tip, which
produces excellent wax flow. In addi-
ed up by the wheel. This would scratch
the interior of the stone, if being worked
Red Cross:
tion, there is a control unit to maintain in that direction. 0 Ready for anew century.
consistent flow. A free brochure is avail-
able by writing Swest, Inc., 10803 Com- Rick Mitchell has
posite Drive, Dallas, TX 75220. been exploring ghost

Publications
The Gemological Institute of America
has recently upgraded their publication,
Gems & Gemology, and I feel it is now
towns and mines
and collecting rocks
and fossils through-
out the Southwest
for about 20 years.
v
one of the finest journals available to He has visited hun-
those interested in precious stones. The dreds of locations
new, larger format features beautiful during that time.
j| This Magazine ft Tho Advertising Cour

Desert 55
Exploring our desert's
richest natural community.

ORGAN PIPE
A Desert
Crossroad

Above: Lupine and Mexican poppies


bloom after a winter rain.

Text and Photography by


Andrew Steuer III

mm
56 November, 1981
tions are recognized by their associated
plant life. The California Microphyll
Desert, coming in from the west, is
named for the small-leaved plants that
characterize it, mostly creosote bush and
bur-sage. Lush by comparison is the
Arizona Upland section, coming in
from the east. It's marked by the
presence of the saguaro and palo verde
community of the mountain foothills.
The Central Gulf (of California) Coast
Desert, coming up from Mexico to the
south, lends an exotic flavor to the
scene. Indicators of this desert include
the senita, the elephant tree and the
predominant organ pipe cactus.
The first time I visited Organ Pipe
was during the winter of 1978-79, one of
the wettest I've witnessed in the South-
west. The desert floor was covered with
grass, thanks to the above-average rain-
fall, and the place looked like a golf
course dotted with cactus. My friends
The senita, old man of the desert cacti. and I decided to take the Ajo Mountain
Drive, a 21-mile graded, dirt road loop

T here's one desert community


that is completely self-
sufficient, where the in
habitants practice strict water conserva-
which winds through the slopes beneath
the towering walls of the Ajos—one of
the three major ranges in the monu-
ment. Diablo Wash, normally dry, was
tion and where no one governs but the running and the grass became even
elements. more profuse as we drew closer to the
It is, of course, the desert's own mountains. At a high spot just beyond
natural community. It's out there, along Diablo Canyon, known as Birdseye
the Beeline Highway heading northeast Point, we broke for lunch. On that sun-
from Mesa; or at the far end of Speed- ny 70-degree day in January, as we
way in Tucson at the base of the Rincon gazed over the verdant Sonoyta Valley
Mountains. In fact, it surrounds the and the flowing stream toward the
man-made oases that are Palm Springs, Cubabi Mountains, it seemed to us that
El Paso and Phoenix. Sizable chunks no scene could be so inviting, no place
have been irrigated, pit-mined and bull- so hospitable. It was, of course, a false
dozed, but compared with the Eastern idyll.
forests, Midwest prairies or many A year and a half after our pleasant
coastal areas, the desert's natural com- picnic, the harsh reality of this desert
munity is relatively intact. The desert magnificent setting and you've got a made the front page. In July, 1980, a
community, however, is one of the most wilderness area that is unique. group of illegal immigrants from El
fragile of natural environments. Swell- The namesake of the monument is the Salvador was abandoned by their guides
ing population, rapid development and organ pipe cactus. The organ pipe is one after they had crossed the United States
the diminishing water situation in the of the largest and most spectacular of border, and were left to fend for them-
Southwest threaten some of the world's American cacti, reaching a height of 20 selves in the brutal heat of the desert
most beautiful and varied desert eco- feet. The many branches grow directly summer. The Salvadorans were com-
systems. Fortunately, one of our finest from the base of the plant unlike those pletely unprepared for the rugged
and most remarkable desert areas was of its close relative, the saguaro, which Organ Pipe backcountry; some of the
set aside as a unit of the National Park grow outward from a central stem. Rare women were wearing high-heeled shoes.
system in 1937, assuring its preserva- north of Mexico, it is found in the By the time American authorities be-
tion forever. The Organ Pipe Cactus monument and in a limited area outside: came aware of the situation, 13 of the
National Monument protects probably in western Pima and southwestern Pinal Salvadorans, half of the party, were
our richest desert community. counties of Arizona. Along with the dead. It was a grim reminder that in the
Organ Pipe is tucked away in south- organ pipe cactus are many other native desert community man is the outsider,
western Arizona right on the Mexican Mexican plants; some of which are even and the penalty for unpreparedness is
border. Within its 516-square-mile con- rarer than the organ pipe. The reason severe.
fines are several mountain ranges, for this unsurpassed richness and vari- Our first impression was formed
sweeping coarse-soiled outwash plains ety of the natural community is the under the best conditions possible, and
called bajadas and vast sandy flats. All monument's location. Organ Pipe is as we made our way along the base of
of this combines for some of the most really a desert crossroad, a place where the Ajos, we became more impressed as
spectacular scenery I've seen. Add some three of the seven sections of the we rounded each curve. The Ajo range
of America's most exotic flora to this Sonoran Desert converge. These sec- is not especially high but it is extremely
58 November, 1981
rugged. The Ajos consist of reddish vol- its branches. The name senita, "old raphy do not recognize the political divi-
canic material interrupted by a yellow- one" in Spanish, is inspired by the long, sions of man and his governments, and
ish horizontal layer of compressed vol- whisker-like spines atop the taller stems, occasionally a conspiracy of natural fac-
canic ash or tuff. The banded red and which look like gray hair. Often, several tors places a constituent element more
yellow sheer rock walls, along with the senitas grow together in a large clump of typical of one country in the territory of
overall craggy aspect of the Ajos, cre- older specimens. Like the organ pipe, its neighbor. Organ Pipe Cactus Nation-
ated a scene as colorful as it was impos- the senita is found widely in Baja Cali- al Monument is one of these oddball
ing. Still, it was the strangeness of see- fornia and Sonora. The natural range of spots. Desert communities are relatively
ing the steep slopes and lofty rock the senita just barely crosses the United impoverished compared to those of oth-
shelves covered with organ pipe cacti States border into Organ Pipe Cactus er environments. Within the desert en-
that we found most fascinating. We all National Monument. All of the senitas vironment itself, however, there is wide
lived in Tucson and were used to a found this side of Mexico are restricted variation in the complexity of the natu-
cactus-studded landscape, but the organ to the vicinity where we spotted our first ral community from one place to anoth-
pipe cacti imparted a decidedly Mexican old one. er. Many desert plants have water stor-
element to the surroundings—unfamil- ing tissue, particularly cacti. That's
iar yet compelling. When we returned great for surviving long periods without
to these mountains a couple of months rain, but such plants are easily damaged
later, the exotic effect was enhanced by
. . .mountain ranges, by freezing temperatures. At Organ
a tremendous spring flower display, a outwash plains and vast Pipe, hard freezes are infrequent and
fringe benefit of the wet winter. Carpets sandy flats all combine for short enough to permit the growth of
of Mexican poppy, lupine, and owl clo- some of the more cold intolerant plants,
ver stretched out from the base of the some of the most characteristic of frost-free regions fur-
Ajos in a most stunning floral extrava- spectacular scenery I've ther south.
ganza. ever seen. After many visits to Organ Pipe, I still
We had scarcely begun the long drive find the exotic surroundings as exciting
back to Tucson, when we decided to as I did on the first trip. To me, the
make a return trip to Organ Pipe. Three Just before the end of the Puerto Blan- fascination of being at a natural cross-
weeks later, we were back; this time to co loop, a five-mile spur leads north- road, where deserts converge, never
explore the western side of the monu- ward into an area known as Senita wears off. The thought of these natural
ment along the Puerto Blanco Drive. Basin. Many other areas of Organ Pipe forces in balance is a compelling notion.
Like the Ajo road, the Puerto Blanco is are more scenic and dramatic, but it was As the desert begins to cool off a bit in
a loop drive, but at 51 miles, it's much here we found the strangest desert com- the fall, my hiking partner, John Wool-
longer than its eastside counterpart. It munity of the monument—and probably ridge, and I get out the old topo maps
also takes in some great scenery, al- the most Mexican-like piece of Sonoran and start planning excursions into the
though not quite as dramatic as along Desert north of the border. The bulk of hotter desert areas. We've got plenty of
the Ajo drive. The road skirts the east- the United States population of senitas, desert and lots of mountains right in our
ern and northern slopes of the second of probably fewer than 50 plants, is here. own back yards, but we're always anx-
three major ranges, the Puerto Blancos, Saguaro and organ pipe cacti are com- ious to get back to Organ Pipe. To bona
and passes within three miles of the mon here also; in fact, this basin is the fide desert rats like us, the lure of
third, the Bates Mountains. The road only location in the United States where America's richest and most unique des-
heads southwest, intersecting the Mex- our three largest and most spectacular ert community is a strong one. There's a
ican border at Quitobaquito, site of a cacti grow together. We walked along a power in the landscape, a strangeness in
spring and a large pond. This last short trail leading up the hillside to a the plant life and a completeness in the
stretch passes through a mainly Califor- small, but well-formed elephant tree, solitude that can transport a person far
nia Microphyll component, a communi- another rarity. This member of the from the mundane affairs of everyday
ty of about 80 percent creosote bush and torchwood family also crosses the inter- life. Speaking for myself, sometimes
bur-sage. We found this simple vegeta- national border into the Anza-Borrego that's just what I need. 0
tion and the low, sandy flats along this Desert State Park in California. Stand-
portion of the loop pretty unexciting, ing next to the elephant tree, we looked Andrew Steuer HI
and were glad to see the pond at Quito- over a chunk of displaced Mexican des- began drawing and
baquito with its trees and bulrushes. ert, with the Central Gulf Coast element painting birds in
Because of the reliable source of water very much in evidence. It was easy to grade school, com-
in an otherwise parched landscape, the imagine that we were south of the bining an interest in
spring at Quitobaquito has an interest- border somewhere near the Gulf of Cali- art with that of
ing history which is a story in itself fornia. Actually, our imaginations nature. In 1973 he
(Desert, Feb. 1980). weren't that far off. Senita Basin is just a received a B.A. in
Things picked up for us along the few miles north of Mexico, and only Psychology from La
final part of the loop from Quitobaquito about 65 miles north of Puerto Penasco, Salle College, but his parents gave him a
on. This last leg parallels the inter- a coastal town right on the Gulf. After 35 mm camera as a graduation present
national boundary and heads eastward, taking the spur road back out of the and he's been pursuing a career in
side by side with a major highway, Mex- basin, finishing off the last few miles of photography ever since. He is self-taught
ican Route 2, just across the border the Puerto Blanco Drive, we knew we in both art and photography. As an out-
fence. Along here we encountered our had glimpsed a tiny fragment of a re- door photographer and wildlife painter, he
first senita cactus. The senita is similar mote bizarre desert community, un- concentrates mainly on the Southwest. He
in size and form to the organ pipe cac- known to most Americans. and his wife, Diane, live in Tucson,
tus, but it has fewer ribs and spines on The vagaries of climate and topog- Arizona.
Desert 59
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60 November, 1981
and kneel while its elders declared the
TIGUAS young pair the start of a new family
Continued from page 51
edges the fact that their presence
testifies their profound contrition for
unit, inside the tribe.
When England's symbolic new family
emerged from the church, we cheered—
You
sins committed during the year and
their gratitude for blessings they have
enjoyed.
along with the tribe. Cheering and
matching their smiles with ours, we
celebrated something beyond one single
can
On other days, skilled hands roll the
red local clay into fat strips and coil it
into the slowly emerging shape of a pot.
tribe's unique events. We cheered, I
think, life's renewal made grand and
grandly patterned through established
now
I watch these rites and routines and I
ponder.
ceremoney.
For 300 years, young and old Tiguas,
order
the brides and grooms, the wearied, the
In that deliberate, watchful process-
there is no other way I can say it—some-
thing tribal begins speaking in me.
grieved and the deeply contrite have ap-
proached the Tiguas' church door and
article
Though I am an Anglo newcomer here
on the Tiguas' ancient preserve, I sense
in myself a pleasure in ritual, in tradi-
altar, motivated by faith, instructed by
ancient mores. Among Tiguas now, I
sense a deep hunger still for meaningful
reprints
tion maintained through the long past,
in the Tiguas' quiet facial expressions
that seem to acknowledge the fact of
order and form in their arts and rites—
partly as religious believers, partly as
Tiguas—but mostly as human beings
from
their own mortality, yet manifest to the sustained by an order that helps them
world a sense of their own extension in exert some patterned control over time.
time, both past and future. They are Driving back onto I-10,1 glance again
sustained by broader meanings that we
clock-ridden folks can't quite perceive
in our present dictates and pressures.
at the huddled community, dug in and
clustered around its plaza. Here in my
time and vast everchanging city, I am
publication

!
At the Tribal Center, in their crafts encouraged to know that the Tiguas still
workshop •and herb gardens, the Tiguas dance—to one ancient drum. R3 University Microfilms International,
in cooperation with publishers
welcome visitors. Having just written of this journal, offers a highly con-
the word "visitors," I recall something venient Article Reprint Service.
Tom Diamond senses in his contacts INTERSTATE 10
Single articles or complete issues
Avenue' can now be obtained in their
with the tribe's oldest man. "You know, North Loop
» \ of the original size (up to81/2 x 11 inches).
Americas
according to him," says Diamond, "a V

V It For more information please com-
plete and mail the coupon below.
'visitor' is what everybody is, who drops
in for a look at the Tiguas. But he
doesn't just mean to the reservation, he
7 . ]f ARTICLE
means to this desert land and this valley. TIGUA INDIAN* S ««»-

7
RESERVATION
After all, according to things as he sees
them, the Spaniards, they came and REPRINT
they went. The Mexicans, they came
and they went. And then, the old SERVICE
Tiguas pauses and squints at us Anglo-
Americans and says nothing."
Maybe the Tigua elder does have a The Tigua Indian Tribal Center is a University Microfilms
mere 10-minute drive from downtown El International
point about us European drop-ins, who
Paso.
come to snap a few pictures and buy a
real Indian pot. But, it could be that he, Joseph Leach is • YES! I would like to know more about the
for all his tribal wisdom, misses a point Professor of Ameri- Article Reprint Service. Please send me full
details on how 1 1 can order.
about himself and all other men. can Studies at the
In the changes that life unavoidably University of Texas • Please include catalogue of available titles.
brings to us all, it is the traditional at El Paso. His in- Name Title
peoples, preserving their myths, crafts terests beyond teach-
and sense of roots that may have the ing involve the Institution/Compo my

most valuable truths to share with all of Spanish colonial Department


us temporary folks, us global visitors. arts, native cultures
A few months ago, 750 million people Address
and lore of the American Southwest and
watched a simple tribal rite—a family desert and wilderness conservation. His City State 7ip
reunion and a wedding, no less—tele- travels have taken him to the Far East—
vised to the world. The pageantry, meaning Connecticut (for a Yale Ph.D.) Mail to: University Microfilms
color, music and England's remarkable and Japan for army service after World International
skills at arrangement and order ac- War II—all the countries of Europe, Mex- Dept. DR
counted for much of the pleasure we felt ico and North Africa. His travel plans Article Reprint Service
in watching its bride and groom ap- now point him south, for the Amazon and 300 North Zeeb Road
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
proach the door of its church, pass in Cape Horn.
Desert 61
Continued from page 45
part of the enormous Algodones Dunes,
most of which are still open to off-road
SAVE 25%
stalks' that emerge from the sand, and
vehicles. This section was to insure that
at least one section of this magnificent
on Walker Mufflers
long fleshy stems which extend several chain of sand dunes will remain in its at these
feet deep where they attach to the roots pristine form for educational activities
of nearby shrubs. Tapping in on a well- and field research; for photographers, participating
established host appears to be an
effective adaptation for survival in a
naturalists, scientists and anyone who
enjoys accessible, picturesque dunes.
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smart and returned during the rainy fauna should be protected from Broadway 26242 Avery Pkw.
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"They are just piles of white sand dune and realize that all of 274-6891 & Parts *2
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Nothing could be further unforgettable experience, particularly 748-6330 El Toro Auto Parts
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from the truth. during the quiet hours of darkness and Masters Auto Supply El Toro
daybreak. Starting with the wind and 208 S. Hill St. 830-0950
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Many people have asked me why sand culminating in picturesque drifts of 722-1964 Trio Auto Parts
rippled sand with an entire, dynamic, 1031 West
dunes should be preserved; "they are Mr. Parts Orangethorp Ave.
just piles of sand devoid of plants and living community of plants and animals; 2919 Sweetwater Rd. Fullerton
animals." Nothing could be further this is one of nature's most remarkable Spring Valley 871-5595
from the truth. There are hundreds of cycles—and is truly a phenomenon of 465-0359
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some of which are considered rare and 7702 Broadway Santa Ana
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threatened by urbanization and various Palomar College, 1034 3rd Ave. Havasu Auto Service
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this reason, the Bureau of Land the mountain and desert areas of Southern Mr. Parts
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Management has closed a section of the California. He also writes articles for San Diego
Glamis dunes north of Highway 78 in Environment Southwest (San Diego 578-1600
Imperial County, California to all Society of Natural History), Fremontia
motorized vehicles. This area has been (California Native Plant Society) and
designated a National Natural Pacific Discovery (California Academy
Landmark, and only represents a small of Sciences).
62 November, 1981
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