2015 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2015 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL15 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Order Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

BULLETeditor's letter
  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
Editor Robert Stieve
© Paul Markow
Something a Little Different

It was all Matt’s idea. We were driving in the McDowell Mountains on a narrow road that points toward the Four Peaks. The view of the mountains was remarkable, and the landscape around us was even more so. We couldn’t believe they’d put a road through a Jack Dykinga photograph. But that’s what they did, and it prompted my younger brother to say, “You should really do a story about roads like this.”

At first, I thought: Huh? We do a scenic drive every month. You’ve never noticed? Then I realized he was talking about something a little different. Instead of the way we usually illustrate our drives — with photos that showcase what you see out the side windows — he was suggesting that we show what’s straight ahead, through the windshield. “That way,” he said, “your readers will get a good sense of what they’ll see when they get behind the wheel.”

I liked the idea, but it wasn’t that simple. Most of our landscape photographers are purists, and to them, the notion of making an image with a road through it is like putting Heinz 57 on a piece of prime filet. Still, after enough insistence, we ended up with what we wanted.

In The Look Straight Ahead, you’ll see some of our favorite scenic drives, including State Route 273, which goes from Springerville to Big Lake. Another one of our favorites is the route through Oak Creek Canyon. Sadly, as I write these words, the Slide Fire is destroying thousands of acres in and around that spectacular place. By the time you read this, the fire will be out and the road will likely be reopened, but the devastation will be obvious.

Because this is a story about “scenic” drives, we considered pulling Oak Creek from the list. Here’s why we didn’t: No matter what happens after the inferno has been wrestled to the ground, the creek will still be a respite, the cliffs will still be majestic, the switchbacks will still be thrilling, and, perhaps most importantly, the good folks at Garland’s, Junipine and the Butterfly will need your support. So will many others. In addition to the attack on Mother Nature, the Slide Fire is plundering the local economy. Now is not the time to abandon all of the above. So, Oak Creek Canyon is in, along with drives through Garland Prairie, the Catalina Mountains and the Navajo Nation.

In all, there are eight scenic drives in our cover story. We also have our monthly drive in the back of the magazine, and a short piece about an interstate highway in the middle of nowhere.

Interstates aren’t typically considered scenic. For the most part, they’re there to move traffic from Point A to Point B. Interstate 15 was built for the same reason. It just happens to cut through the dramatic Virgin River Gorge in the extreme northwest corner of the state — it’s so far away, you have to leave Arizona just to get to it.

When it opened in December 1973, I-15 was hailed as “America’s most spectacular highway.” There’s hyperbole in that, but even our writer uses strong words to describe the 29-mile stretch. “If the notion of a superhighway inside the Grand Canyon is more than a little blasphemous,” Matt Jaffe writes in Virgin Territory, “I-15 through the gorge gives a sense of what that forbidden pleasure might be like.”

Although most Arizonans have never driven it, I-15 is the main thoroughfare for road-trippers going from Las Vegas to the North Rim. Eventually, the highway goes all the way to Canada, but it won’t take you to Navajoland. If you’re headed there, you’ll have to find another way. Marie Baronnet took Highway 89.

Marie is a new photographer for us. She’s French, and we met her about a year ago, after she’d been shooting down in Mexico. On her way to L.A., she stopped in to say hello. She wasn’t pitching anything specific, but as soon as that first bonjour rolled off her tongue, I knew she’d be perfect for a portfolio we’d been thinking about.

We were shooting for something along the lines of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, with the Navajo Nation as Camelot and a non-traditional photographer as Hank. Figuratively, we wanted somebody from the other side of the world, but we weren’t having any luck. Then, literally, in walked la belle fille de Paris.

In French Impressions, you’ll learn more about Marie and the background of her portfolio. More importantly, you’ll see some of her photographs. The most unique is a shot of three Japanese tourists looking at the Mittens in Monument Valley. You’d never see tourists in a landscape shot by one of our purists — that’s Heinz 57 on a filet. But Marie’s take on things is a little different. It’s a fresh perspective. Kind of like what Matt suggested for our scenic drives.

COMING IN SEPTEMBER ...
A tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and the winners of our annual photo contest.

Robert Stieve,Editor
rstieve@arizonahighways.com
Follow me on Twitter: @azhighways


Table of ContentsSee what's in the latest issue of Arizona Highways. ...[more]

Letters to the EditorIf you have thoughts or comments about anything in Arizona Highways, we want to hear from you. ...[more]

Scenic Drive Eagar to Big Lake: Although you will see a few signs of the Wallow Fire along this 21-mile back road, you’ll also see many reminders that the White Mountains are still spectacular. ...[more]

 

Hike of the MonthBrins Mesa Trail: Sedona and its surrounding canyons are home to one of the best collections of hikes in Arizona. The Brins Mesa Trail is a great example. ...[more]

Photo PortfolioCloudy, with a Chance of Thunderstorms: A portfolio edited by Jeff Kida. ...[more]

Where Is This?We've posted a new location to identify. Submit your answer for a chance to win. ...[more]


site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

© Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.