Q&A: What Really Happened at the Power Cabin in 1918?

The Power Cabin, the scene of a legendary shootout a century ago, is in the Galiuro Mountains of Southeastern Arizona. | Courtesy of Steve Porter

In 1918, an early-morning shootout in a remote area of Arizona left a sheriff and his two deputies dead, Jeff Power mortally wounded and Jeff’s sons, Tom and John, in trouble. Questions, theories and accusations would persist for the weeks, years and even decades that followed. Historian Heidi J. Osselaer’s new book, Arizona’s Deadliest Gunfight, looks to separate fact from false leads and conspiracy theories, tracing the Power family’s roots back several generations. We asked Osselaer a few questions about the book.

Why did you begin researching the Power gunfight?
Cameron Trejo was doing a documentary film on this, and he came to me looking for historical consultation, because there are a few books out there, and boy, do they ever clash as to the theories of what happened up at that cabin. One was written by Tom Power himself, and the other one by the son of the sheriff, McBride, who died. I read the books, and there were so many holes in the stories, and they didn’t really fit with what was going on in Arizona and the country at the time. I said, “I think we really have to start from scratch,” and I thought he’d tell me to go away, but he was very diligent. He said, “I want to get to the truth. I don’t want to keep perpetuating this folklore.”

What interested you in the story of the shootout?
As a historian, I am fascinated by the unknown story, and clearly, this was one. This is a story that still has a hold on people. When we were screening the film, hundreds of people would show up around the state. It’s just such a draw. I’m always shocked at it, but I think it speaks to different people in different ways. Some people are very interested in the politics of it [and] what was going on during World War I. Some people are interested because it’s like a detective novel. For me, it was more the politics of it, because I’m a political historian, but for a lot of people, I think it’s because they want to find out what really happened.

When did you realize you wouldn’t be able to uncover what really happened?
It became clear to me very early on that too many documents disappeared, too much time had elapsed. As much fun as it would be to solve a 100-year-old murder mystery, I wasn’t going to do it. But I really like the politics of the time period, and this was something I hadn’t really heard about.

Were there any surprises during your research?
One thing that nobody knew about was that they were under investigation by the FBI. When I started looking at all of the material, I realized they’re draft evaders — the federal government would be looking for them. I went to national archives in Riverside, [California], and these guys didn’t show up on the deserters list or anything like that. I thought, “That’s weird,” but I knew from reading that they would be under investigation, and lo and behold, the archivist there helped me find those records. I also went back East, to the Department of Justice and military intelligence records, and what was just shocking to me was here these guys were under investigation and all kinds of misinformation informed this decision. No wonder everybody was making up stories — nobody knew what was going on, even in real time, because they lived in such a remote area.

I kept thinking that they were doing something wrong, that the Power brothers were doing something to attract attention, and instead it was what was going on in the bigger picture in the United States that was forcing the hand of law enforcement to go out after draft evaders.

You visited the cabin where the shootout took place. What was it like?
It is an incredible place to visit. You have to be prepared and do your homework, but it’s one of those rare places where we have out in the wilderness area a building that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s amazing. Back then, you were just miles from the nearest neighbor. Now you’re even farther from civilization. Klondyke used to have 300 people in that community, and now there’s 5. It’s a ghost town.

How did Don Dedera (a former Arizona Highways editor) help your research?
He was absolutely a wonderful resource for the book. These guys [Tom and John] died in the ’70s, so there’s only a handful of people around that really knew them well. A lot of people knew them to say hi, but didn’t know them that well. For him to share his memories was really awesome.

Heidi J. Osselaer's Arizona’s Deadliest Gunfight is available for purchase on Amazon.

— Kirsten Kraklio

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Q&A: Lisa Langell on Wildlife Photography and a Boyce Thompson Exhibition

Courtesy of Lisa Langell

You might recognize Lisa Langell’s name from the handful of her photos that have appeared in Arizona Highways recently. Langell, a Michigan native, specializes in wildlife photography, and her work is on display at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, near Superior, all this month. We asked Langell a few questions about her career, the show and her advice for budding wildlife photographers. (This interview was conducted via email and edited for length and clarity.)

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became interested in photography in general.
I currently live in Scottsdale; however, my passion started for me with my incredible great-aunt, Josephine James, who taught me about birds. When I was 14, in 1986, Canon A-1 (35 mm) in hand, we traveled to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, Canada, for its world-renowned spring bird migration. We saw over 100 species in one day. The tiny, colorful warblers were my favorite. I drooled at not only the birds, but the many nature photographers with their long lenses. I distinctly remember thinking, I want to do that someday. That started my story and my journey.

Do you photograph full time, or do you do something else as well?
I am a full-time photographer now, but my journey to this career was definitely not on a straight, well-paved road. Photography and birding were hobbies for me since age 8. I was initially a floral designer and decorator for 15 years, from the time I was a young teen all the way through graduate school. I put myself through college in that wonderful career that I still often miss.

After grad school, I worked for 15 years as a psychologist, international consultant, researcher and speaker in education. I worked extensively with children with learning disabilities, focusing on early intervention and best practices. I loved the profession, yet photography always beckoned. In 2011, I set up my part-time photography business, and in 2015, I began working full time as a photographer. I love every moment, and I still get to help people daily — just in different ways than ever before.

Clearly, your focus is nature photography. What drew you to that particular discipline?
Initially, bird photography drew me in as a teen; however, I’ve loved being in the field, the woods, along the shores, in a marsh, etc., ever since I was a young child. I chuckle at it now, but as a 5-year-old, I used to make “mock” birds’ nests out of dead grasses and mud, prop them up in trees and fill my heart with hope that birds would choose them over building their own. In winter, I’d dig tunnels in the snow drifts to make “dens” for the local cottontails, then line them with the “fluff” from cattails. (It looked like rabbit fur to me!) I fed the birds, I participated in Christmas bird counts, I even tried to write my own little field guide of the neighborhood when I was a kid. I’ve always loved and cared about nature. Photographing and interpreting nature through the lens keeps me connected to it in a really personal and special way.

What are some of the challenges you encounter when photographing animals (as opposed to doing other kinds of photography)?
Wildlife to photograph and the “perfect storm” of conditions — the right light, moment, background, foreground, subject, action and composition — have to be there to create a memorable image. But the challenge I love most about wildlife photography is the one that also keeps me pushing forward. It is my genuine passion to create fresh, innovative, evocative and quality imagery, workshops and learning experiences for my audience. I also love connecting my audience with nature in increasingly powerful ways through my work.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in nature photography? 
First: The word “amateur” means “lover of something.” Embrace this beautiful word, and remember, no matter how much we already know, we are always a “newbie” at the next skill we are about to learn.

Second: This is a lifelong journey you are embarking upon. Do not get discouraged, even when the techniques become challenging or doubt creeps in. Find your inspiration in nature.

Third: Find places you love to shoot, and get to know them well. Knowing your subjects’ behavior patterns, habitat and unique quirks will help you anticipate a great shot in the making.

Above all, remember: Seek and appreciate the experiences and memories you encounter through your journey with photography, not just the images.

How did the Boyce Thompson show come together? Do you photograph there a lot, or have a relationship with them?
The Art Gallery at Boyce Thompson is a juried exhibition. I submitted my portfolio nearly a year ago and was awarded the opportunity to exhibit my work in for the month of March. I was honored to have my work hang in a place I dearly love. Also, 20 percent of sales from the show will benefit the arboretum.

I have been an Arizona State Parks volunteer since about 2010, focusing my work at Boyce Thompson. I teach classes, help with events, fundraise and do other tasks to support the park. Boyce Thompson is an absolute gem in Arizona — the views are simply stunning within and around the park. With wildlife, nature, hiking, beautiful botanicals and some of the most friendly, caring, amazing staff I have ever met, it is a place you will visit and quickly feel right at home. I love to photograph the park — it feels like home to me.

What can people expect to see at the show? Are the photos all from Arizona, or from elsewhere as well?
Aside from two images, each of the 30-plus pieces on display and for sale were photographed in Arizona. For the vintage-styled works, I then processed and hand-printed them via a multi-step method to create the vintage look, then mounted them to wooden backdrops made from reclaimed wood sourced in Arizona. I sourced antique-style zinc frames, found objects from Arizona and other embellishments to finish the pieces. The goal was to create the modern and rustic look while preserving the essence of the birds and animals I photographed. Of special importance, the wood backdrops were created jointly by my father, Sherman, and me.

To learn more about the exhibition, click here. The public can attend an artist’s reception Saturday, March 17, from 1 to 4 p.m.; click here to print a coupon that will get you free admission for the event. To learn more about Lisa Langell, click here.

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Q&A: Domingo DeGrazia Continues Father's Artistic Legacy

The DeGrazia Spanish Guitar Band includes (from left) Beth Daunis, Domingo DeGrazia, Mark Brugler and Rick Skowron. | Courtesy of DeGrazia Spanish Guitar Band

As an artist, Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia left a lasting impact on Arizona — including in the pages of Arizona Highways. Now, one of his children is doing the same in a different art form.

The DeGrazia Spanish Guitar Band — guitarist and songwriter Domingo DeGrazia, violinist Beth Daunis, bassist Mark Brugler, guitarist Rick Skowron and drummer Kai Felix — has been playing together for about 10 years. Ahead of the band’s performance at Tucson’s Sea of Glass Center for the Arts this Saturday, March 10, we spoke with DeGrazia about the performance, where he finds musical inspiration and how his father’s artwork has impacted him.

What kind of music does the band play?
We play somewhere between Spanish guitar and Americana type of music. It’s all original; we have a couple traditional tunes that we play, but otherwise we write everything and arrange it all. I have a few songs we have vocals on, but we’re mostly instrumental at this point.

Tell us about the upcoming Sea of Glass performance.
It’s going to be a lot of fun. We try and make these shows accessible and something that everyone can engage in. A lot of times with classical guitar or flamenco, it tends to be a bit on the stuffy side, but we try to keep it fun and that you walk away not only whistling the tunes, but smiling and having a good time. I think that really comes across in the amount of fun we have onstage, because we tend to be joking with each other throughout the show.

So, this is an event any ages can enjoy?
We’re welcoming to all age groups. That’s another thing we’ve been really lucky with: Our audience ranges from like 7 to 77. Kids are definitely welcome to come in; it’s a family-friendly show. We do try to engage kids when they start dancing, and we have the musical chops and prowess to impress the true music fans. It’s taken 30 years to get to that point, but these days, we have it.

For returning audiences, can they expect anything different from this year’s Sea of Glass performance?
We’ve been there the prior two years, and it’s always a really warm audience. The last two years, we made live concert videos during the shows. This year we’re going to bring it back to more of an intimate performance, a little bit closer to an acoustic show, just to have a little bit better connection with the audience.

Tell us about how the upcoming show benefits teen and young-adult rehabilitation programs and Avalon Organic Gardens internships.
I try to commit the band to two full benefit shows a year; this year, we have a handful of shows that are in conjunction with some providers in the community. Anytime that we can help out and not only bring visibility to a cause, but also give them some financial support, we’re always in for that.

Where do you find musical inspiration?
Music is an expression that started when I was 6 or 8 years old, as far as just having musical imagination flow out through piano or guitar. A lot of times, the inspiration comes from playing and somewhat serendipity — a lot of rehearsals and trying every option. I know it’s not the sexy way to describe music writing, but literally, there are really beautiful nuggets of creativity that come out when you’re immersed in the music environment.

Has your dad’s artwork influenced your life and music?
Oh, yeah. Growing up with my mom and dad, we spent a lot of time going out to reservations, out to powwows and celebrations, so the Native American music — I call it the music of the Southwest — had a really strong influence on how I create. It became the foundation for my imagination. With my dad’s artwork, there’s really so many pieces that one can look at and interpret in different ways to evoke feelings. I have a handful of pieces of artwork in the house that are a daily inspiration for me.

Do you recall seeing your dad’s work in Arizona Highways growing up, and if so, how did that impact you?
My dad passed when I was 8, so I didn’t have a lot of time to get to know him, but knowing that he was in Arizona Highways and the magazine was going all over the world was really an affirmation that his artwork was important to a lot of people.

That idea comes back to me even today, because I’ll meet people at concerts or galleries, and they’ll come up and say, “I have to tell you this story about your dad from the 1960s,” or something, and whatever the story is, that time that they spent with my dad decades ago still has a really bright impression on them and it’s something they want to share. It reaffirms whatever magic that my dad had, it had a great impact on people and really touched a lot of people’s lives. I know Arizona Highways was a huge part of getting him out to the world and making him accessible to people throughout the globe.

For tickets or more information on the upcoming Sea of Glass performance, call 520-398-2542 or visit www.theseaofglass.org.

— Kirsten Kraklio

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Q&A: Snapshots of History at the Arizona Camera Museum in Flagstaff

Some of the cameras and camera accessories on display at the Arizona Camera Museum in Flagstaff. See more photos at the bottom of this story. | Courtesy of Tom Holtje

In a world of all things digital, we seldom think about how the tools we use every day came to be. Photography, for example, is as easy as pulling your phone out of your pocket and pressing a button — or setting your digital camera to automatic. In the days of film and manual settings, things were much different. In November, Tom Holtje, an avid camera collector, opened the Arizona Camera Museum to not only showcase his extensive collection, but also explore the history of cameras and photography. We caught up with him to learn more about it. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Tom Holtje. I’m the curator, founder, operator and sole employee of the Arizona Camera Museum in Flagstaff. I grew up on the East Coast, and I’ve lived in Flagstaff for about six years. I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a camera growing up. My father was the family photographer, and he took a lot of pictures and slide photos. My mom worked at Fotomat for over 10 years, so that was another entryway for me into photography. I got my first camera in high school; I started taking pictures for all sorts of things, like the newspaper and the yearbook.

Have you always collected cameras? How did your collection start?
I started working in photo retail in camera shops. I worked at one in New Jersey, and that’s where I started learning about all different types of cameras. I worked in several different camera shops from 1982 until 2000, and during that time, I started collecting some pieces. It’s only been in the last 10 years or so that I seriously started collecting cameras. I used to have a lot of collections — baseball caps, buttons, Beatles memorabilia — but eventually I realized that photography and cameras were where my passion really was.

Once I had more than 60 cameras and camera-related objects, I decided to really put effort into displaying it. I’m an art teacher, so education of people, of cameras and the history of photography is something I’ve pursued.

Tell us a little bit more about the collection in the museum. What are some of your favorite pieces?
I currently have about 100 pieces on display; that’s just a portion of my collection. In the spring, I plan to rotate some of the things on display now. I collect anything photographic: I have cameras, photographs, camera toys and advertising. I accept donations, and that’s sort of growing my collection as well. The one camera that I sort of feature is the StarKist Charlie the Tuna camera from 1971. I also have a camera that’s on loan from a local photographer, Shane Knight; it’s a big 8x10 camera, and it sort of dominates a corner of the museum. He acquired it from the original owner, who had taken four presidents' pictures with the camera. I also have a lot of box cameras.

I like to have the museum be a very interactive experience, so I have some View-Master viewers on display for children and adults, I have a video of some old Kodak TV commercials, and I have some tintype photographs that have a magnet next to them, so the picture can stick to it.

What are some of the fan favorites in the collection?
I have some cameras from the early ‘30s by Kodak called the Beau Brownie; they were updated, and the front of them have this Art Deco, Mondrian-esque design with different colors. I also have these soda can cameras from the late 1990s; they look like soda cans and take 5 mm film. I have a lot of Polaroid cameras; they had a lot of popular, iconic cameras that people really seem to enjoy.

What do you hope people learn or take away when they visit the museum?
Because our current culture is all cellphones, I want people to realize there’s this whole industry that was focused around one thing, and that was taking pictures of a specific event. If you didn’t have a camera, you weren’t able to record it. And also, the diversity of all the cameras out there. Most of my collection is film cameras. I want people to get a really good knowledge of the history of cameras and how important photography is to our culture.

Are there any upcoming events at the museum?
I just started the Cameras and Coffee Social Club, which meets on the fourth Saturday of every month. We’ll meet and just talk about photography-related things. I also offer several classes that cover everything from how to take better pictures and the history of photography, to how a camera works and George Eastman’s contributions to the art of photography.

What do you hope to change or add as the museum grows?
Everybody seems to have a story about a camera, or they know someone who has a collection. One of the things I’d like to do as a museum is incorporate the interest in the community into the collection. I recently had a local artist, Rebekah Nordstrom, do some paintings of antique cameras, and I display them in the museum. I want to start doing showcases for local community members, so they can display their own camera collections. It would be awesome to have a mini-collection inside of my own collection.

I’m also hoping that the museum will become ultra-popular so that I can move into a bigger space. My dream is to be able to do this full time.

The Arizona Camera Museum, located inside the Market of Dreams (2532 E. Seventh Avenue) in Flagstaff, is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. and other times by appointment. The suggested donation for visitors is $5 for adults and $3 for children. To learn more, visit the museum's Facebook page or contact Tom Holtje at 267-506-9810 or [email protected].

— Emily Balli

All photos courtesy of Tom Holtje.

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Q&A: Lowell Observatory Adding Observation Deck

This rendering shows the Giovale Open Deck Observatory, a project planned for Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory. | Courtesy of Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff has announced plans to create a new observation deck to help with its increasing number of visitors each night.

According to the observatory, the new deck will be named in honor of longtime Lowell supporters and advisers John and Ginger Giovale, who made a lead gift for the project. “One of the things that prompted us to support this project is the vision being developed there at Lowell Observatory for major revamping of the campus and the visitors' experience," John Giovale said. "We saw this telescope plaza as a way in which momentum may be created towards that bigger objective, that bigger vision. And we were excited about that.”

Molly Baker, communications manager at Lowell, said the Giovale Open Deck Observatory project is “only the beginning of an exciting five-year-long expansion for Lowell Observatory.” The expansion is slated to include more room for exhibits, a larger visitors center and even a theater.

Baker shared additional details on the new observation deck.

Why is an additional deck needed at the observatory?
Lowell Observatory has been attracting 100,000 visitors for the last several years, and our original Mars Hill facility simply can't handle our average nightly admission anymore. The Giovale Open Deck Observatory will provide more telescopes for more guests without the long lines and wait time, and also without the hassle of pulling the telescopes out every night, as the roof housing them will roll off and they can stay stationary.

How many additional telescopes will the observatory house?
The GODO will house five telescopes, all of which provide a different view for the observer. It was important to Lowell Observatory that these new telescopes be of the highest technology, as it is our goal to be a premier private observatory in the nation and internationally.

When is the Giovale Open Deck Observatory expected to open to visitors?
Construction is scheduled to begin this spring. As long as everything goes smoothly, we expect to open the GODO in a members-only sneak peek, and then to the general public, in fall of 2018.

The observatory has created a "Telescope Wish List." What is needed, and how can people donate?
While the construction of the deck is fully funded by the generosity of the Giovales, we are still searching for funding of the large cost of the telescopes. These telescopes add up to a large sum, as they are the best in the industry.

As a nonprofit, Lowell Observatory funds our public program and science research purely on the generosity of our members, donors and grants. This is all possible because of people, like the Giovales, who believe in the mission of Lowell Observatory: to bring pure science research to the public, making discovery accessible to everyone.

People who wish to donate can do so by visiting our website or contacting our development manager, Lisa Actor, at [email protected].

— Kirsten Kraklio

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Q&A: Gerry Groeber and Arizona's Coolest Photo Booth

Courtesy of Red Photo Bus

Arizona Highways readers are familiar with the work and talent of Gerry Groeber, who's become a regular contributor of stunning landscape photos to the magazine — including the cover photo for our October 2016 issue. For the past several years, Gerry and his wife, Emily, have also been hard at work on a new project, the Red Photo Bus. Together, they restored a vintage 1975 Volkswagen and made it into a portable photo booth that can be used at events.

We caught up with Gerry and asked him about his work and his bus. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

Tell our readers a little about yourself.
I’m a photographer from East Mesa. I’m also a technician, an improviser and an artist. I was recently in a job for seven years and my wife was in a full-time position teaching. We both needed to look for new work at the beginning of the summer, and we wanted to do something together that would allow us to use our individual gifts and strengths, so we decided to create this new business together.

Tell us about your history with Arizona Highways.
I had been working pretty diligently for a year, and I submitted some images for the 2014-15 photo contest. I received a Facebook message from another photographer friend, and he told me my photo was in the running. I didn’t know, and I jumped online and saw that I was in the running, and then received third place for that year. It was pretty surreal; Arizona Highways was something I had been shooting for, and I thought I’d keep trying and just see how I do.

Starting in September 2015, when I placed in the photo contest, I started working with Arizona Highways and was brought on as a contributing photographer. I helped with some photos of Salt River wild horses, and then I was in the April 2016 issue. In October 2016, I got the cover for the fall issue and two other images, including the back page, and then in December 2016, I got another one. While building this business, I’ve kind of taken the last year off.

How did you become a photographer?
I’ve been an artist for many, many years, and for the last three years I’ve been building up my photography business. Growing up, my father was a painter — even though he was a doctor, he loved to paint, so there was always art in my house. I grew up with a lot of books and magazines on classic landscape oil painters, so I always had that push in my life early on. I did some painting at one time, and all of that influence from those classic oil painters kind of shows in my composition. I put all those skills together with my eye for landscapes.

How did you come up with the idea for the Red Photo Bus, and when did it all start?
Emily and I wanted to do something different, something that we could do together that would utilize our skills and talents. Our daughter recently became engaged, and that kind of got us thinking of having a photo booth as a business opportunity. We wanted something that was unique, something that would be memorable and that would make weddings, parties and events much more fun and exciting. We did our first wedding a couple of weeks ago, and we’re doing a 50th birthday party in December, so that’s going to be really fun.

How did you make your idea come to life, and how long did it take?
It really hasn’t been a smooth road. The bus itself took a while to restore — we’ve been working on it for the past five years to get it up to a daily driving state. We got the bus and just wanted to get it restored, and at the beginning of the summer, we decided to convert it to a photo bus.

Designing the flow of the booth took some time. I looked online on how to build a booth and then customized it to our liking. I handmade the booth, which is removable. It took almost two and a half months to build the photo booth. Then I had to design the logo, which we use on the side of the bus and on social media. We also had to design the back of the bus, where people can get their props on in front of a vanity mirror. The props we use are quality props; we spent a lot of time looking for real, good-quality props.

What kind of technology does the photo bus use?
Because I’m a photographer, everything we use is state of the art. Everything is inside the bus; the photo booth is custom designed and fits inside. We have a 20- inch touch screen where you can see yourself as you pose in the booth, and all the lighting is professional portrait lighting. We use a 24-megapixel Nikon DSLR, and we also have instant sharing to your phone and social media when Wi-Fi is available.

What has been your favorite part about having the photo bus business so far?
I love that we actually become a part of the experience of the event. It’s not just a photo booth that sits off in the corner, that people visit if they have time. People are really drawn to it, and they love it. Everybody that we’ve shown it to and every event we’ve brought it to, it’s just a hit.

What do you see in the future for your new business?
We hope that we’ll be able to do events all around the Valley — from weddings to corporate events — and make people’s events that much better. We’re hoping to pick up a New Year’s party.

To see more of Gerry Groeber’s work, visit www.gerrygroeber.com. To learn more about the Red Photo Bus, visit www.redphotobus.com.

— Emily Balli

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Q&A: Cat Bradley on Her Record-Setting Grand Canyon Run

Cat Bradley tackles her rim-to-rim-to-rim run at the Grand Canyon last month. | Courtesy of Cat Bradley

Cat Bradley didn't spend much time taking in the scenery last month at the Grand Canyon. The 25-year-old Colorado ultrarunner achieved a new women's fastest known time for a rim-to-rim-to-rim run in the Canyon, finishing the trek in 7 hours, 52 minutes on Nov. 14. Bradley's time was 23 minutes faster than the previous record, set by Bethany Lewis in 2011.

It took Bradley a few tries to complete the 42-mile run, from the South Rim to the North Rim and back, in record time, but we caught up with her to find out exactly how she did it.

What got you started down the path of trail running in the first place?
I ran in high school and a little bit in college, but in 2011, I took a break from college and decided to hike the Appalachian Trail on a whim. That’s where I fell in love with the outdoors. I had never really camped or anything before. It was grueling and horrible, but also rewarding and wonderful. 

After 115 days on the trail, I went back to school but had been taking a break from running. After graduation, I met Luis Escobar, who is one of the oldest members of the trail-running community, and he took me under his wing. He convinced me that I could pursue trail running. I fell in love with the sport, the community, being outside — it put all the things that I love into one little package.

When did you realize that you wanted to tackle the rim-to-rim-to-rim run?
I first ran the trail with Luis and a group of people — it took us 16 hours to complete it. During the run, he was telling me about how people would go out and set records for this trail. He couldn't fathom how fast people could run the Canyon. He had even been teasing me, saying, “You can’t do that, kid. You’re slow.” And it was pretty much right then and there when I decided to go for it. I’ve done it three times since then.

How did the first two times go?
The first time I attempted to beat the record was one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my life. I wasn’t properly trained, and was also coming off of bronchitis, but I wanted to go for it anyway. In retrospect, there was no way. It was poor conditions — it was a really hot day. I was not ready mentally or physically. I threw up a lot. I didn’t respect the Canyon for what it was.

The second time I went for it, about two years later, I had quit teaching to be a professional runner. I had some success in races, so I had more reasons to think that I could do it. But it just wasn’t my day. It was another hot day, and I was throwing up again. It was a huge blow to my ego — it had been my only goal all year.

After I went back home to Colorado, I had been researching other races to do, but I realized no race inspired me as much as the Canyon did. So I had booked a three-day trip with my boyfriend and dog to do it again, and I finally got it the third time.

Was it always a goal of yours to beat the previous record set by Bethany Lewis? Or did this happen by coincidence?
It was always the record. The only reason I was in the Canyon was to get the FKT [fastest known time].

How did you train for this run?
The mistake I made for the first attempt was not training for the run. But for the two times after, I did some really specific training. I worked on really long, sustained uphills and really long, sustained downhills — the downhills were very technical.

One day a week I did a road run with a long, sustained climb, at a moderate pace — about 3,000 feet in elevation gain. And then coming downhill, I ran hard to strengthen my quads. Then, every other day, I trained on trails. It was by far the most volume and intensity that I’ve ever had in training.

What challenges did you face?
Nutrition in an ultramarathon is definitely my biggest weakness and was my downfall in the first two attempts. I am notorious for throwing up in a race, and if I start getting sick in a race, I’m done — which is what happened the first two times.

I was able to manage my nausea the third time, but only because I only ate 500 calories over the course of 7 hours, 50 minutes, and 42 miles. You should eat about 1,200 to 1,500, so I was at a huge deficit. I felt so weak during the last climb, but I just didn’t want to throw up, so I sacrificed eating.

What was going through your mind while you were running?
I was extremely focused. I wasn’t thinking about anything else but my goal. I was constantly self-evaluating my state, because it was changing after so many miles — you have to be really in tune with yourself. I was asking myself questions like “How am I feeling?” “Am I dizzy?” “Do my legs hurt?” “How can I address that?” “Am I still using proper mechanics?” It’s constant problem-solving. And that’s why I love it.

When you finished, how did you feel?
Oh, my gosh. It was a wave of so many emotions. That last climb was one of the toughest racing moments of my life. When I got to the top and realized I missed my initial time goal, I was bummed. But as soon as I saw my puppy and my boyfriend, I was so happy. I just couldn’t believe it. I don’t remember this, but my boyfriend, Ryan, said I screamed, “I did it! I did it! I did it!” 

What, or who, is your inspiration?
I have quite a few inspirations, but I’m mostly inspired by young women getting into this sport. It’s so daunting, but I think it’s really important for young women to push themselves like this. I think it’s great that this sport is getting more competitive, because it’s more acceptable for women to say, “Yeah, I can run a trail race, too.”

What is your advice for aspiring trail runners, whether it be competitive or just for sport?
Get out the door, no matter what. It’s so hard sometimes. You get home from work and it’s the last thing you want to do, but you have to do it. You’ll never, ever regret getting out the door.

— Brianna Cossavella

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Q&A: Chris Gall's Year of Arizona Highways Covers

The 2017 Explore Arizona! series began with the Grand Canyon and ended with Monument Valley. | Illustrations by Chris Gall

Tucson-based artist Chris Gall isn’t new to the pages of Arizona Highways. But his work on the magazine's cover? That was new.

Each month this year, subscribers to the magazine were delivered an illustrated cover of one of 12 beloved Arizona locations. Many loved the covers, which now are available as posters and as a postcard set. A few others criticized the lack of photography on the cover, but Gall doesn't seem too concerned. “Arizona Highways will tell you, they have a long history of using artwork, going back to the ’20 and ’30s, so it’s not totally unprecedented,” he says. “It’s a magazine about the beauty of Arizona. Photography is a form of art. So is illustration.”

We asked Gall a few questions about his work for the magazine's 2017 Explore Arizona! series.

What was your inspiration for creating these covers?
I had always been fond of the old travel posters that came out in the 1920s and ’30s. I always thought how great it would be to create a whole series of travel-poster-looking things, that were sort of retro but sort of modern, for the state.

Your illustrations were created from scratch, rather than photo manipulations. What was your process like?
Everybody needs photographs at some point — whether they’re mine or out in the public domain — if you’re trying to draw that something people are going to recognize. I usually drew from many sources. For example, the Grand Canyon. You can’t take a photo of that image that I created, because it doesn’t exist from any one place. I wanted to include the vista, I wanted to include the deep Canyon, I wanted to include a horse trail ... and there is no one place. That’s my job as the illustrator: to take pieces and arrange them compositionally in a way that captures the essence of it.

Once the sketch was decided on, describe your process for creating the illustration.
Using a drawing tablet, I bring the sketches into Photoshop. Getting a sense of my palette first is the most important thing: exactly what color is the sky, that sort of thing. It’s not that different from creating a painting — you’re creating a base layer and adding layers on top. The thing about digital, obviously, is that I can move things around more freely. If I change my mind, I can be wrong with much less consequence, because I can change things color-wise and move objects, something I can’t do in painting, necessarily. For a lot of my fine line work, I create it in Adobe Illustrator and then import and layer into Photoshop.

Generally, how long did each cover take to create?
Every one was different for the research part, and of course, there were a lot of sketches. I’d generate half a dozen different sketches of what I’d primarily focus on, which could take a couple of days. The actual drawing itself, on average, took five days per piece.

What was one of the biggest challenges you encountered while illustrating the covers?
One of the challenges was trying to keep a variety of color palettes and a variety of perspectives: looking down, looking up, looking from far away. It was especially challenging because there are a lot of locations in Arizona that have red rocks, and I think I had three in a row: Sedona, Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly — all of which have reddish rocks in them. That was a big challenge, trying to keep them separate, where I wasn’t using the same reds or the same color palette.

What was it like to see your first cover published?
Great! Especially in the grocery store where it’s sitting out. I worked extra hard on the first one, because I knew the better the first one, the better all of the other ones would have to be, because I’d have to keep that same level of quality the rest of the year.

Your work is on display at ArtsEye Gallery in Tucson through December. What can visitors expect to see?
This time, we thought we would do a retrospective of not just the 12 covers, but other artwork I did for the magazine, as well as artwork that is Western-themed that I had done on my own.

— Kirsten Kraklio

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Q&A: A Grand Canyon Murder, and a Painful Personal Discovery

In "Pure Land," Annette McGivney weaves her own childhood trauma into the story of a 2007 murder in the Grand Canyon. | Courtesy of Annette McGivney

Frequent Arizona Highways contributor Annette McGivney is best known for her stories on hiking and nature. But in her new book, Pure Land, she covers new, much more personal territory. In the book, McGivney delves into a murder in the Grand Canyon, the lives of the victim and the killer, and her own rediscovery of painful repressed memories of domestic violence from her childhood.

We spoke with McGivney about how the process of working on the book changed her life. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

Tell our readers a bit about yourself.
I'm the Southwest editor for Backpacker magazine; I’ve been doing that since 1996. I have basically been fortunate enough to be able to make a living out of hiking, and writing about hiking, in the Grand Canyon and other places. I’m also a professor of journalism at Northern Arizona University.

Give us some background on your latest book. How did you become involved and interested in this story?
The book grew out of an investigative story that I did for Backpacker magazine in 2007 — it was about a murder that happened. A Japanese hiker, Tomomi Hanamure, was stabbed by an 18-year-old Havasupai Tribe member. I investigated that for Backpacker — looking into not only the murder, but also the environment down there, where there had been a lot of recent increase in crime. I was looking at it more from the perspective of Backpacker readers and what they might expect at that very popular hiking destination of Supai.

When did you realize you wanted to turn this story into a book?
The story was published in June of 2007, and I just felt like there were so many questions that I had not been able to answer in that article. I started wanting to find out more about the lives of the victim, Tomomi Hanamure, and the kid who murdered her, Randy Wescogame. I just kept persisting and finally connected with Tomomi’s family, and I went to Japan in 2009 and stayed with them for a couple of weeks. I also continued to investigate Randy’s history, of his family and the tribe.

Law enforcement said the motive for the murder of Tomomi was to rob her, and I just felt there had to be so much more to it than that, because Randy stabbed her 29 times, and that’s such a violent crime. In the Grand Canyon, that type of murder was just so unusual, and I felt there was so much more to explore beyond the simple statement that he wanted to rob her.

How did writing and doing research about Tomomi Hanamure and Randy Wescogame personally impact you?
I wasn’t completely aware of it at the time when I was first starting to explore the lives of Randy and Tomomi, but it turns out psychologically, I was really drawn to investigating the reasons behind violence because I actually grew up in a violent home and my father was abusive.

It was so psychologically terrifying when I was a child that I had sealed off memories of the worst abuse, and I wasn’t consciously aware of it. I knew my father had a bad temper, but I couldn’t remember anything. The more I got into the descriptions about Randy and how he murdered Tomomi and the reason behind it, I was actually chipping away at my own psyche and what I had been hiding from myself. The circumstances I grew up in were in some ways similar to Randy, having a violent father.

The tipping point was when I listened to Randy’s confession that law enforcement had recorded, and he described what had happened in very great detail. There was something about that that triggered my own memories so violently that I was not able to sleep, I was having nightmares and felt like I was being haunted by the murder.

I ended up going to a psychiatrist, and they were able to finally get me to admit what happened to me when I was a child. I realized I wasn’t having nightmares about what Randy did, but about what my father did. I was totally consumed with working through all the traumatic memories that were flooding back into my mind.

How long did the process of writing and researching the book take you?
It’s been 10 years from the time when I first covered the murder. I had the psychological breakdown in July of 2010, and then I kind of set things aside for a while. I put the book aside for about two years while I was working on my own mental health and getting my life recalibrated. I continued to investigate family violence and trauma, because I wanted to understand my own situation — to understand why my body was acting a certain way — and I wanted to understand how my mind could’ve possibly sealed off these memories so completely for years. I also continued to periodically read Tomomi’s travel journal.

Things had shifted so dramatically that it felt like part of the story was how the story had affected me, so I re-envisioned the book to incorporate my own experiences as well. All the while, I’ve been teaching full time and doing other freelance writing.

What was the most challenging part of the process for you?
I wanted to write the book in a way that wasn’t describing things from a distance, but kind of letting the reader know what it felt like to be Randy and to be Tomomi and to be me. Especially when I was a child. I wanted people to understand that when a kid is in an abusive home, it’s really confusing and terrifying.

In order to do that, I basically had to relive what happened when I was a child and really deeply reconnect with those memories. That was scary. I had done a lot of work to get over it and get the PTSD symptoms under control, and I was worried about having a relapse by writing about what happened. It was hard, but definitely not as bad as I was afraid it would be.

What was different about writing this book, compared with your other work?
All my previous books have always been about topics that I cared about — the environment or protecting special places that are under threat. This book was so deeply personal, and I had become so connected to Tomomi and her family. The promise I made to them, that I would write a book that would honor her, was a big responsibility that I took very seriously.

If I was going to tell my own story, I wanted to do it right, and I also wanted to do right by Randy in terms of explaining his situation. This one was much more personal and had a lot more passion behind it. From a writing standpoint, it was much more creative. It’s a narrative nonfiction book, and it was really fulfilling from a creative standpoint.

What do you hope to accomplish with your book? What do you hope readers take away from it?
I was reluctant to tell the story of my family at first, but my motivation for doing that was I’m hoping sharing my story will help other people who grew up in a home that was dysfunctional in some way. Even if it happened in the past, 20 or 30 years ago, you still carry those memories with you, and it will have an impact on you. I want to raise awareness about the impact of family violence.

I also started a nonprofit, called the Healing Lands Project, that is raising money to facilitate wilderness and river trips for children who have been removed from homes for domestic violence. I’m hoping that allowing them to be on a river trip for a week will allow them to find healing in nature, which ultimately for me was the light at the end of the tunnel — that’s how I got through as I was a kid, and that’s how I worked through my PTSD as an adult. Part of the sales of my book are going to support the Healing Lands Project. I want good to come out of telling this story.

Annette McGivney’s new book, Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures, and the Search for Heaven on Earth, was released last week and is available to order on Amazon. For more about the book, visit www.purelandbook.com or www.annettemcgivney.com. You can find McGivney on Twitter @AnnetteMcGivney.

— Emily Balli

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Q&A: David Muench on the Grand Canyon's 'Timeless Moments'

Speaking with David Muench, a talented photographer and longtime contributor to Arizona Highways, tends to get you thinking about long-lived lives.

Muench has truly lived a life, with a landscape photography career spanning more than six decades. It's hard for anyone else to imagine what his treasure chest of photographs looks like, and the memories flooding his mind every time he gazes at one. We spoke with him recently about his newest book, David Muench’s Timeless Moments: Grand Canyon National Park.

Let's give our readers some insight into your background. Where did you grow up, and what was your childhood like?
I was born and grew up in Santa Barbara, [California]. My mother, Joyce, was a botanist, and my father, Josef, was a writer and nature photographer. They were big naturegoers, naturally, and it was through them that I developed my love for nature also. 

I started going hiking and went on road trips with my parents at a young age. Some days were spent along the coast, and others were spent hiking through the Sierra [Nevada] mountains. I went on my first hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon when I was 10.

When we would go out, I would watch my dad photograph these landscapes. And in these moments, I was so captivated by the moods, temperates and lighting in nature. After a while, I knew that I wanted to capture these moments, too.

While I’m sure it’s a long story, we would love to know how you came to have such a successful career in landscape photography.
Well, my father took photos for Arizona Highways, so I knew the former photo editor before [current Photo Editor] Jeff Kida. Anyway, he told me one day, “If you take a decent photo, we’ll publish it.” So I went out and got lucky on my first try. I took a photo of a saguaro cactus and some clouds, and they ended up using it. That was back in the '40s, and I graduated in ’54. I was still young at the time. 

It’s been a way of life for me ever since. I’ve published about about 60 photography books, a handful of them with Arizona Highways. I’ve done a few exhibits, but I mainly like to publicize my work through books.

I intentionally place myself in seasonal settings, too, like times of the day, times of the week, in between day and night. I take into account my geographical setting. The desert is great during sunrise and sunset, but in the rainforest, with cloud coverage, during the day is best.

The whole process has been very spontaneous and intuitive. There’s been very few structured and strict episodes. I did a few advertising jobs early on, but I’ve carved out most of my career with freelancing. You make opportunities for yourself when you follow your creative energy.

Your most recent book is a collection of four decades of Grand Canyon photography. What was the process that brought this beautiful book to fruition?
I’ve spent majority of my time in Arizona. I absolutely love the desert, especially the Grand Canyon. There’s something about it that has captivated me since I first visited it. It doesn’t do justice just standing at a lookout point. Inspiration for this book came from hiking into it. Hikes in the Canyon are demanding and challenging, but you feel connected because you’re absorbing it, and it’s absorbing you. 

And when I think about the moments I’ve spent there — next to the blue river, or exploring the South Rim in winter, or the North Rim in autumn — I’ve always tried to capture that timeless moment. Those are the moments when the light is exceptional, and it could disappear in seconds. I kept going back to chase these moments and continued to build images. After a while, it was a project that needed to be done. And given the quality of photographs these days, it’s been so rewarding.

Why the Grand Canyon?
It’s such a powerful landscape – so impressive and awe-inspiring. I can’t help but gravitate toward it. I like capturing big places such as this and trying to find the details in it.

In your introduction to the book, you mention the phrase “natural connections” and how these moments inspire what kind of photo you will make. Can you describe what “natural connections” are, and how they play into your photography?
It started out by making photos of something close, like a flower or a rock. I would also take photos of the landscape in the distance. Eventually, I wanted to find a way to tie it all together.

So, with the right lens, I was able to capture what was in the foreground and also capture an expansive background, connecting things together. As I kept making images like this, I realized I was also connecting to myself.

I call it this because you are connecting two parts of the landscape, and the way your eyes change and travel to observe a landscape is fascinating. 

Can you tell us a story about one of your craziest adventures when you were photographing the Grand Canyon? Maybe it was a moment when your tripod almost fell over the rim, or your equipment almost took a plunge during a river trip.
I wasn’t in the Canyon at the time, but one time while I was in Patagonia, I accidentally let my tripod slip and fall into the river.

As far as the Canyon goes, nothing too crazy has happened to me, thankfully. I am very connected to my equipment, and I’m not fearless. That has probably saved me numerous times.

It may be a difficult question to answer, but do you have a favorite spot in the Canyon?
I always come back to Toroweap Point. You drive down a dirt road, and sometimes it can be wet, muddy and messy. But once you get settled, you get up early and look down. You get that feeling in your stomach when you look over a cliff and you see the river and the vistas. The area is primitive and gives you a sense of wild. And most importantly, you can hear the delicate sounds of the roaring river below. That’s what I remember most.

What's on the horizon for Mr. Muench?
I’m really looking forward to returning to some of the places I’ve been to, and noticing how I see these places differently. I haven’t been back to Arizona in about a year. There’s always new things to see, or you see things differently after some time, and I can’t wait to see how I respond to these places.

This might be cliché, but when we're photographing these great places, we need to take them with the intention of preserving the place. On social media, things have been lean, and I hope we can come back to nature. I know that sounds corny, but nature is very delicate, yet powerful. We are seeing the powerful side now with the hurricanes — she’s not always the nicest lady. But we can’t just say we will preserve and protect; we need to show up that way, too.

To learn more about David Muench, visit his website. You can order his newest book on Amazon.

— Brianna Cossavella

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