Arizona's Scenic Roads & Hikes by Roger Naylor is a guide to this state's best. It includes road trips and adjacent hiking trails along with associated attractions, dining places and lodging including many color photographs. The book's subtitle is: Unforgettable Journeys in the Grand Canyon State, and that it is. Here's an example.
Describing the twists and turns of the Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway, Naylor writes: "As a shortcut, the Coronado Trail is an abject failure."
"Anyone in a hurry should give the twisted stretch of highway a wide berth. This is a meandering, moseying, slow-motion drive. The 123 miles of pavement between Springerville and Clifton features 460 curves as it skirts the eastern edge of the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest. Thrilling and dramatic, yes, but speedy it's not."
There are not as many Naylorisms is this latest book as in his earlier endeavors. But here is one that stood out to me.
In describing the Joshua Forest Scenic Road, Roger writes, " The Joshua tree is the signature plant of the Mojave Desert, just as the saguaro cactus is for the Sonoran. This stretch of road is one of the few places where the two icons stand side by side, taking the measure of each other. But for several miles, it's all about the Joshua trees. They gather in rowdy clusters with branches flailing in all directions. It's rare to find such exuberance in the desert."
"I'm always surprised when I first notice a lone saguaro among the Joshua trees, standing straight and dignified - looking very much like a designated driver at a party that is beginning to spiral out of control."
In his descriptions of the White Mountain Scenic Road, he intones, "Past the overlook, Arizona 261 cuts a long line across high meadows the rest of the way. These are top-of-the-world meadows. Trees are marginalized, chased beyond the horizon by a galloping prairie. A wild canopy of blue drapes above the expanse. Earth and sky seem perfectly matched in this place, and I am a lone vertical note connected to both. Standing in the grass I am filled with the wild thought that I'm the only thing propping up the sky and when I leave it will collapse into the embrace of these soft plains. Then I thought, who am I to get in the way of true love? What's meant to be, will be. I drove on."
Arizona's Scenic Roads and Hikes: Unforgettable Journeys in the Grand Canyon Stateis a sterling adventure to read and, I am sure, even better to experience in person. This is a rich, useful guide for anyone interested in exploring the Grand Canyon state, and I recommend it highly. Ms. Karen says Roger's prose is a bit too flowery. But I enjoy it.