Three different U.S. Army engineering/survey teams laid out immigrant roads across New Mexico and Arizona (at the time, both were called New Mexico Territory). Their routes vaguely followed the 35th Parallel. In 1857, while Lt. Beale was camped in northern Arizona he had his men strip the limbs from a ponderosa and run up the American Flag. It was from this (sometimes disputed) event the town of Flagstaff got its name.
Twenty years ago I spent a month hiking the old Overland Road that was built in 1863. It left the Beale Road near Flagstaff and meandered across vast meadows, uninterrupted ponderosa forests, and later across open grazing land as it wound its way down to Fort Whipple and the newly established Territorial Capital at Prescott. During this month-long sojourn, with just me n' m' dawg, I found historic treasures beyond value (to me, at least). Among them: A rusty spur, the rusted frame of a Colt pistol, a medicine bottle with Qmc (Quartermaster Corps) on its bottom, broken crockery, an old bucket shot full of holes and an old Arizona Cattlemens Association sign (partly buried). I'm partial to this area because I was born on a ranch near the little settlement at Bumble Bee, many years ago.
To any Arizonians who need to escape modern strife, I'd highly recommend you drive up to Williams, take 4th street thru town and head south about 13 miles down a paved road, through some of Arizona's finest forests, and discover the recent addition of a USFS display of a 1930's CCC Camp and maps of the Overland road. From there you drop out of the forests and onto the grassland on the headwaters of the Verde River, through the Perkins Valley, past the original site of Ft. Whipple at Del Rio Springs, through what is now known as Chino Valley, and on to the bustling town of Prescott.
Walking this historic route, or better yet, riding your favorite horse, and getting completely away from the sights and sounds of the modern world can take you back into a place and time when ... well, things were ...
extra: When you're coming south on the Overland Road and cross the headwaters of the Verde, the road forks left (dirt). You can take this road and come into Jerome at its N.E. corner. Writing this makes me wish I were healthy enough to take this journey all over again. Regards to all Arizonians
Thanks for this post. It brings to life again many old memories of walking and hunting in these old haunts back in the 60's. Lived on Whipple street, in Prescott, at the time. (I think) The street was dirt and close to the rodeo grounds. Lived in an old white business building in Chino for a while. Loved to hunt and fish around Camp Verde, especially in or on what was called "Bull Pen Ranch", at the time.