Chasing Arizona: One Man's Yearlong Obsession with the Grand Canyon State

Chasing Arizona: One Man's Yearlong Obsession with the Grand Canyon State

by Ken Lamberton


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It seemed like a simple plan—visit fifty-two places in fifty-two weeks. But for author Ken Lamberton, a forty-five-year veteran of life in the Sonoran Desert, the entertaining results were anything but easy. In Chasing Arizona, Lamberton takes readers on a yearlong, twenty-thousand-mile joyride across Arizona during its centennial, racking up more than two hundred points of interest along the way.
Lamberton chases the four corners of Arizona, attempts every county, every reservation, and every national monument and state park, from the smallest community to the largest city. He drives his Kia Rio through the longest tunnels and across the highest suspension bridges, hikes the hottest deserts, and climbs the tallest mountain, all while visiting the people, places, and treasures that make Arizona great.
In the vivid, lyrical, often humorous prose the author is known for, each destination weaves together stories of history, nature, and people, along with entertaining side adventures and excursions. Maps and forty-four of the author’s detailed pencil drawings illustrate the journey.
Chasing Arizona is unlike any book of its kind. It is an adventure story, a tale of Arizona, a road-warrior narrative. It is a quest to see and experience as much of Arizona as possible. Through intimate portrayals of people and place, readers deeply experience the Grand Canyon State and at the same time celebrate what makes Arizona a wonderful place to visit and live.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816528929
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 02/19/2015
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 3.20(d)

About the Author

Ken Lamberton is the author of several books, including Wilderness and Razor Wire: A Naturalist’s Observations from Prison, which won the 2002 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Lamberton holds degrees in biology and creative writing from the University of Arizona and lives with his wife in a 1890s stone cottage near Bisbee. Visit the author’s website at

Table of Contents

Map of Arizona xvi

The Insanity of Bright Ideas 1

January: Turquoise

Week 1 Haunted by the Blues 7

Week 2 Pancho Villa's Ride 13

Week 3 Wanted Dead and Alive 21

Week 4 Outnumbered by the Dead 28

February: Cactus Wren

Week 5 Arizona's Civil War 37

Week 6 A Taste of History 43

Week 7 At the Foot of Black Mountain 49

Week 8 On the Banks of the San Pedro 55

March: Paloverde

Week 9 High Jinks in the High Desert 61

Week 10 Roadside Snake Handlers 70

Week 11 Reshaping the Wild 76

Week 12 Queen of the Wood 82

Week 13 Lost Dutchman Hunters 87

April: Saguaro Blossom

Week 14 A Living Ghost Town's Garden 97

Week 15 An Arizona Treasure 105

Week 16 The Last Camp of Hi Jolly 111

Week 17 Five Old Crabs at the Crossroads 118

May: Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly

Week 18 Fallen from the Sky 125

Week 19 Digging Graves 131

Week 20 Pluto Lives Here 137

Week 21 A Ring of Fire Above the Rim 145

June: Apache Trout

Week 22 Risen from the Ashes 151

Week 23 Chasing Gods 160

Week 24 Chubasco 168

Week 25 The Great Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly Hunt 175

Week 26 Chasing the Apache Trout 1 182

July: Arizona Treefrog

Week 27 Chasing the Apache Trout II 189

Week 28 Wedding Day 197

Week 29 Hope and Serendipity in Apache Country 200

Week 30 The Wisdom of Serpents 206

August: Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake

Week 31 Our Lady of the Traveling Cross 217

Week 32 Chasing the State Butterfly (Again!) 221

Week 33 Indian Traders and Skinwalkers 227

Week 34 Getting My Kicks 233

Week 35 Land of Gorges, People of the Fourth World 242

September Petrified Wood

Week 36 Lost in a Vortex 249

Week 37 Bottle-Shocked I 255

Week 38 Tripping the Strip 259

Week 39 It's All About Altitude 269

October: Ringtail

Week 40 Bottle-Shocked II 275

Week 41 There's Nothin' Like Mutton 280

Week 42 The Rise of Arizona Wine 286

Week 43 Still a Population of One 289

November: Bola Tie

Week 44 On the Trail of What's Hot in Mormon Country 297

Week 45 Three Generations of Baking Thingamajigs 301

Week 46 A Living Monument 305

Week 47 On the Road to Arizona's West Coast 310

Week 48 3:10 to Yuma by Kayak 321

December: Colt .45 Single Action Army Revolver

Week 49 Mockingbird Blues 329

Week 50 The Natural Habitat of Rattlers and Revolvers 334

Week 51 Arizona's Christmas City 338

Week 52 Blitzkrieg on the Border 343

Afterword. New Year's Eve 347

Acknowledgments 351

Selected Bibliography 353

Index 357


Arizona visitors and residents. People interested in the history of the state. Undergraduate or graduate creative writing classes.

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Chasing Arizona: One Man's Yearlong Obsession with the Grand Canyon State 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Mad_Coyote More than 1 year ago
This is a funny, evocative account of Ken Lamberton's explorations of the state of Arizona for one year. It is informative, quirky, humorous and just plain fun. I may be slightly prejudiced, because I am one of the odd, quirky people he encountered, but I think that aside, it's still a fun ride. Very episodic, to be read in installments like sipping and IPA, as he does in the book.  Get it.