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Arizona State Parks

The entire story of Arizona can be told through its award-winning system of state parks. Explore these hidden treasures that represent the staggering diversity of the state---saguaro-dotted desert, rugged mountains, red rock canyons, rolling grasslands, shady forests, and a playground of rivers and lakes. It’s all captured in my book, Arizona State Parks: A Guide to Amazing Places in the Grand Canyon State.   

Arizona state parks provide the same kind of experience found in national parks and monuments, except it feels less hurried, more intimate. Discover new corners of the state where the recreational options are endless. Go for a hike, a bike ride, or a swim. Spend the morning fishing, or reading in a hammock. Pitch a tent or sleep in a furnished cabin. Jump in a kayak or the saddle. Attend a ranger-led program. Get up early to watch for wildlife or stay up late to study the stars. Have the picnic of your dreams. Breathe deep. Relax. Afterward, you’ll still make it home before the weekend is over.

Besides the vivid stories and rich history, each park chapter includes a list of nearby attractions, activities, and popular events. This is a chance for even seasoned travelers to experience a whole new side of Arizona. With over 60,000 words, this is my longest book accompanied by 80 beautiful photographs, maps and charts. It retails for $21.95.

The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon

This book covers the remarkable life of two of the canyon’s most significant pioneers and legendary photographers. The Kolbs dangled from ropes, clung to sheer cliff walls by their fingertips, climbed virtually inaccessible summits, ran seemingly impassable white-water rapids, braved the elements, and ventured into unknown wilderness—all for the sake of a photo. Well, a photo and a thrill. Sometimes it was hard to tell which was more important.

And they did it on their own terms. They carved out a way of life that didn’t exist, essentially creating tourism photography on the cusp of the twentieth century. The Kolbs also became the first independent moviemakers. They produced the first reality show. They invented the selfie. They invented trail-running and put white-water rafting on the map. Before there even was a National Park Service, they taught Americans how to explore their national parks. The Kolbs were a couple of utter knuckleheads and I loved writing about them. The Kolb Studio still stands at the head of the Bright Angel Trail.

The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon was published by the Grand Canyon Association, official partner of Grand Canyon National Park. The book is 154 pages, chock full of photos and retails for $14.95. 

Boots and Burgers

Here’s the idea: Spend a morning hiking into the breath-snatching Arizona outback under a high arched sky. Wander lonesome lands as a twisted trail leads deeper into wilderness. Walk for miles amid an aching stillness. On the drive home stop at a diner or café, a casual joint where the waitress calls everybody ‘Hon’ and hustles out the drinks. Order the burger. Bite into a grill-kissed slab of tender beef.

Right there, that’s my favorite day of all. That’s Halloween, Christmas and the spring equinox rolled into one. Walk off a few calories and then pack them on again. I’ll take a boots and burgers day anytime I can get it.

It’s all captured in Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers. So much more than a standard guidebook, Boots & Burgers is informative, hilarious, heartwarming, inspiring and mouth-watering. Beyond trail descriptions and restaurant info, the book is packed with local attractions and activities, historic tidbits, fast facts, rambling thoughts, big dollops of quirkiness and over 170 vivid color photos. It’s a love letter to Arizona, disguised as a hiking and dining guide. The book retails for $15.95.

Death Valley: Hottest Place on Earth

I don’t often venture beyond Arizona’s borders but as an unrepentant desert rat, I couldn’t resist writing about Death Valley. It’s a place gaunt and weird and unforgiving.

Death Valley is a vast expanse of stark beauty and harsh extremes that attracts visitors from all over the world. The largest national park in the continental United States, Death Valley sizzles but it’s not just the climate. The hottest spot on the globe is one of the coolest places to visit with its golden canyons, caramel sand dunes, gleaming salt flats, and snowcapped mountains.

Read about rocks that sail, fish that survive against all odds and the castle in the middle of nowhere. Death Valley: Hottest Place on Earth is filled with information, history, humor and spectacular photographs. My book will have you itching to slather on the sunscreen, lace up the hiking boots and dive into the bad boy of deserts. Death Valley: Hottest Place on Earth retails for $12.95

Arizona Kicks on Route 66

Did you know Arizona is the state that saved Route 66? It’s an amazing story about an amazing highway. And it’s all captured in my book Arizona Kicks on Route 66. 

Route 66 in Arizona crosses stark badlands, cloud-swept plateaus and a desert painted in scandalous hues. The road explores forests of tall pines and forests where trees have turned to stone. It brushes past volcanoes, craters and the ruins of ancient civilizations. Amid the scenic splendor, the highway John Steinbeck referred to as the “Mother Road” passes through small towns and the skeletons of towns. If the Grand Canyon is the heart of Arizona, then Route 66 is the main artery.

Best of all, I lead you to the best homemade pie along the historic highway. It’s a fun, breezy read, like a road trip across the pages. Released in 2012, Arizona Kicks on Route 66 has gone through five printings. The book retails for $12.95.