Prickly Pear Fruit Makes Candy, Jelly

prickly-pear-fruit

Excerpt from Valley 101: A Slightly Skewed Guide to Living in Arizona, a collection of Clay Thompson’s columns for The Arizona Republic. (Originally published April 30, 2000.) Q: Are cactus candy and cactus jelly really made out of cactus? A: There was a time when we would have brought several samples of cactus candy and jelly back for testing in the Valley 101 Research … [Read more...]

Yes, it’s Hot. Famous People Who Said it Best.

The Arizona desert is known for its summer scorchers. "It's hot" is probably among the most uttered phrases this time of year, and when the mercury hovers over 110 degrees, "it's f***ing hot" seems a bit more appropriate. That's when neighbors start to fry eggs on the pavement and bake cookies on their car dashboards. Scalding seat belts, sweat stains and roadway mirages become … [Read more...]

The Gila River’s Sustaining and Stubborn History

Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area. Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Excerpt from Arizoniana by Marshall Trimble, the state's official historian. The damming of Arizona’s great rivers has made them a mere shadow of their old turbulent days. But still those irreverent rivers are plenty capable of kicking off their hobbles and running wild as a spring colt. Personally, my favorite is the Gila. Its Spanish name translates roughly as “a steady … [Read more...]

Mojaves vs. Mohaves: Which is Correct?

Excerpt from “Valley 101: A Slightly Skewed Guide to Living in Arizona,” a collection of Clay Thompson’s columns for The Arizona Republic. (Originally published March 18, 2001.) Q: Why is Mojave spelled with an “h” in Arizona and with a “j” in California? A: It is? By golly, you’re right. We never noticed that before. In Arizona, we have Mohave County and the Mohave … [Read more...]

Arizona in the Civil War? Deadly Skirmish at Picacho

Today, Picacho Peak serves as a familiar landmark along a stretch of Interstate 10 that connects Tucson and Phoenix. An unmistakable cluster of volcanic remnants juts hundreds of feet from the desert floor, greeting a constant flow of drivers who whiz past the site, completely unaware of its historical significance. Some 2150 years ago, this was actually the scene of "the … [Read more...]