Once in a lifetime–memorable historical event.

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Comemorative walk maps the Long Walk of February 27, 1875 by YAN members.

By Don Decker, YAN News, 12/12/16

Vice Chairman Larry Jackson, Sr. addresses the morning crowd at Yavapai College prior to a send-off of the Long Walk hikers from Yavapai-Apache Nation.

After starting from Cottonwood December 1st, the GIS mapping group from the culture center made it to south of Strawberry on December 4 where they camped overnight.  Rachel Evans joined the group from Cottonwood to Camp Verde at the beginning of the march from the campus of Yavapai College in Clarkdale.

Judie Piner, media department head for the Nation speaks to the Yavapai College officials along with YAN administration Vice Chairman Larry Jackson, Sr., Vincent Randall, Apache Culture Director for the Nation and the map makers who were getting ready for the 2 week trek to old San Carlos east of Globe, Arizona 200 miles east of Camp Verde.

Monday night’s  December 5th stay was in Fossil Creek right across from the defunct and disassembled power plant. The evening campout consisted of Fred Sanchez, elder Katherine Marquez-Yavapai elder, Everett Phillips with Google Earth, Jordan Lewis-YAN cultural specialist at the culture department for the Nation and Nancy Ruiz, EPA specialist for the Nation.

Katherine Marquez adjusts her backpak during a brief stop on the winding roads of Fossil Creek. Marquez was former director of the Yavapai-Apache Nation Yavapai Culture Department.

Mrs. Marquez joined the group at Needle Rock about 16 miles east of Camp Verde  by Hackberry Mountain west of Fossil Creek and marched down into Fossil Creek and after the overnight stay in Fossil Creek, walked up the defunct Fossil Creek Road eastward toward Strawberry on Tuesday. Mrs. Marquez is a physically fit individual who participates in Zumba exercise activities almost daily.

Everett Phillips (R) of Compass Data mapping the Long Walk Trail and Jordan Lewis, cultural specialist for the Nation get set for a long walk out of the Baby Doll Ranch area 15 miles west of Payson. Phillips adjusts the satellite map plotter for the mapping of the walk.

The biggest struggle for the group was leaving the Beasley Flats area east of Camp Verde after a hardy breakfast with the Camp Verde City council on Sunday morning December 4th.  The group followed a designated map co-ordinance using satellite communication devices controlled by Everett Phillips, a consultant from Reno, Nevada and ascended the southwestern slope of Hackberry Mountain, a massive mountain range that can be seen from Middle Verde to the east.

There were no trails to follow.

Fred Sanchez,  (L) Yavapai tribal member, a hiker for the Long Walk, confers with Ron Juan (M) and Jordan Lewis about what to expect in the next 2 weeks.

The group consisting of Fred Sanchez, Nancy Ruiz, Jordan Lewis and Everett Phillips, arrived on the Fossil Creek road at Needle Rock around 6:30 Monday evening December 5th. This was the most intense and challenging part of the whole walk as the group walked through canyons, steep cliff inclines, mountain sides and packed stones and brush in their pathway.

Monday night visitors to greet the hikers to Needle Rock were Nation’s members  Reba Franco, Gertrude Smith, Ron Juan, Judie Piner, RachelHood and son, Hart Preston, Jr. and wife of Ft. McDowell, Troy Kaska and Don Decker waiting for the arrival of the group at the Needle Point area with a blazing fire that was seen from the hikers from atop of Hackberry Mountain down below that night. It had been 9 hours since the group left the east side of Camp Verde.

Update: December 7, Wednesday:

December 7th, the remainder of the hikers left the Strawberry area and headed southeast toward Saddle Ridge and Whiterock Mesa approximately 20 west of Payson.

Ron Juan, Quechan Indian of Yuma, Arizona who is married to Yavapai Lorna Hazelwood provided logistics to the walkers. Juan, who is a double lung transplant, walked large portions of the Long Walk while Judie Piner, media specialist for the Nation, backed up Juan during his walk.

Judie Piner along with Ron Juan husband of Lorna Hazelwood, provided back up support delivering food and camp supplies  from one location to the other. However, for a stretch of about 20 miles, the walking crew, Everett Phillips, Nancy Ruiz, Jordan Lewis and Fred Sanchez were left to their own demise navigating the mountain trails far from the roads that paralleled the trail to old San Carlos. For safety reasons, the hiking crew were supplied with an emergency satellite telephone that could receive and send signals from any location along the way. It was uses several times during the walk to coordinate rendezvous points for the supply van with Judie Piner and Ron Juan.


The morning of December 7th, the crew had to carry all of their gear,  sleeping gear, water, food and other necessities out of a rugged area out of Fossil Creek until they got to the Baby Doll Ranch west of Payson 19 miles south where two of the hikers were taken out and for re-supply stop where they were met by Judie Piner from the Preservation and Technology Department and Ron Juan.


December 9th and 10th:

Map makers enter Rye, Arizona area 11 miles south Payson along a dry wash that ran along the Mazatzal Mountains  and continued their journey to Jake’s Corner 20 miles west of Roosevelt Lake.

December 11th:

Hikers arrived on the shores of west Roosevelt Lake Sunday afternoon December 11 at the Cholla campsite on the edge of the lake. The crew had bunked down at the Punkin Center Inn, a modest motel on the night before on Saturday night after walking from Jake’s Corner, a distance of 11 miles from  the west.

Punkin Center north of Tonto Basin community, is a desert village composed of retired citizens, ranchers and shady looking characters on 4 wheelers. On Friday night, December 9th, north of Jake’s Corner in the wilderness, two individuals in a pick-up truck came up to Everett Phillips and Jordan Lewis asking if the walkers needed anything. One of the

individuals had a disfigured face and the other person with several missing teeth offered drinks to Phillips and Lewis who declined. The fact that the pickup truck had skulls and bones painted on it was not reassuring to the map makers. As the 2 individuals left in the pick up truck, Phillips and Lewis made a hasty break for the desert bushes into total darkness and moments later, ATVs could be heard close to the place where the encounter took

place. Whether it was the 2 characters returning could not be verified by Phillips. They were not taking any chances.

The next morning, Phillips and Lewis returned to the point of departure (after staying in a motel in Payson the night) from the previous night and continued their journey from the point where they left off that night near Jake’s Corner mini-mart where they were monitored frequently by YAN News pickup truck all day until they were far from the scary incident the night before.


A gathering on the lake

Sunday afternoon December 11, brought the map makers Phillips and Lewis and about 15 other people to the Cholla campsite where a cook-out was shared with YAN community members. A contingent of singers from the Ft. McDowell Yavapai community came to bless the march as they sang traditional Yavapai songs using the water drums. Cholla campground is a developed site with metal arbors, tables and benches, a fire pit and camp hosts.

Full hiking crew and support staff settle down for a cook-out at the Cholla campground for a brief Punkin Center to Roosevelt Dam campground. Family members of Katherine Marquez, Damien and Monica Marquez and Lorna Hazelwood, husband of Ron Juan, logistic assistant to Judy Piner all pose for a photo at the campsite.

Monica Marquez hosted the evening meal with a large skillet of shredded beef and spices and Katherine Marquez, who is the former director of the Nation’s Yavapai Culture department, cooked the torts on a hot flat skillet.

The Nation was not charged for the use of the camp site as Judie Piner from the Preservation and Technology department had made prior arrangements with the forest service and camp ground hosts. The camp ground hosts came to the camp site only to observe and were greeted by Judie Piner (Project director and support)  and Monica Marquez.

Elder Katherine Marquez had rejoined the walkers in Punkin Center Sunday  morning December 11 after coming out of the walk last week in Strawberry after climbing the Fossil Creek trail and camping

overnight the previous night inside of Fossil Creek where the APS power plant once sat for 100 hundred years since 1909 until it

was completely torn down within recent years.

Mrs. Marquez’s son, Damien brought his wife Monica and grandson Ky’noe Honwytewa on the Long Walk Sunday at Roosevelt Lake. Young Honwytewa walked a considerable distance that day  with his grandmother Monica.

On December 12, the mapping crew, Phillips and Lewis boarded a boat that took them across Roosevelt Lake to the eastern side, a distance of 7

miles.  The satellite transponder mapped the lake’s bottom from inside

the boat  where the original long walk meandered through small canyons.

The progress of the mapping was reported daily to Compass Data via satellite and wireless communication where Phillips is employed.

Nancy Ruiz is the granddaughter of Nancy (Smith) Guzman and is a member of the Smith family. The Smiths are the largest family group that live on the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Their elders have figured heavily in the social organization of the Apaches on the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Ruiz is an EPA specialist with the Nation.

Phillips and Lewis were joined by Ron Juan, husband of Nation’s member Lorna Hazelwood, who gave added support (and security) to the mapping crew. Nancy Ruiz, daughter of Esther Sanchez, who began the Long Walk and exited temporarily from the stop in Baby Doll Ranch west of Payson on December 4, rejoined the mapping group in Roosevelt Lake on Monday December 12.

During the lake crossing, Lewis used a Go-Pro video camera which recorded their cruise across the lake.


The long march of February 27, 1875 is corroborated by a Dr. Corbusier, a surgeon general of the U.S. Cavalry that was based in Camp Verde who escorted the 1,000 Yavapai and Apache that were rounded up in Verde Valley and marched to old San Carlos along the route that the map crew is now documenting. The current comments by YAN members walking along this route spoke of the formidable passages of canyons, washes and steep inclines and challenging mountain sides some angling as far as 45 degrees and the biting cold at night. The current walkers encountered blisters from hiking shoes and long dormant aches and joint pain.

But the Yavapai and Apache of 1875 had no compasses, no maps nor support vans with water or food and satellite communication/ cell phones to keep in touch. There were many deaths on this march and the temperatures became colder in February as opposed to December.

The cavalry had some cows that were butchered along the way.

The Plan

The mapping crew followed the route across Roosevelt Lake parallel to the original trail even though they walked on the highway onto the shores of Roosevelt Lake. The main concern was that the mapping will document the trail using satellite Google Earth technology that allowed the Nation’s members to see the final result on the electronic sky-view mapping board that is located in the YAN’s culture center when the mapping study was completed.

December 14:

The Nation’s mapping crew are continued  their journey December 15 from Globe into San Carlos along the Gilson Wash tributary into the community of San Carlos and Peridot.

Mainly members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation sit down before a short ceremony to cap off the Long Walk of 1875. San Carlos community members were also in attendance.

The mapping crew  arrived on the northwestern  edge of Coolidge Dam at the old San Carlos military camp December 17 at noon.

Vincent Randall, Apache culture director for the Nation and Judie Piner coordinated the activities for the final arrival in old San Carlos through the San Carlos Apache Culture office in San Carlos through a Terrill Goseyun, the director. The Yavapai Culture department was also involved with this commemorative walk.

Some members of the San Carlos administration came to old  San Carlos and greeted the mapping crew and other members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation  people  along with medicine people from all the Nations at the old San Carlos site.

The Ft. Mc Dowell singers came to the final day of the arrival to dedicate some traditional Yavapai songs to the walkers who arrived. Katherine Marquez (who walked a good portion of the long walk) , Shirley Bonnaha, Monica and Damien Marquez, Everett Phillips-map maker, Jordan Lewis, cultural specialist for the Nation and Fred Sanchez arrived into the final destination as elders from the Yavapai-Apache Nation awaited the arrival of the walkers.

Apache   songs were also sung by Harold Kenton, Apache medicine man of San Carlos. Hutch Noline, San Carlos long-time public figure and Apache leader spoke about the significance of old San Carlos.

Terry Goseyun, San Carlos Apache culture director arranged all of the logistics for the public gathering in old San Carlos.

UPDATE: Visitors to the Nation’s culture center can now view an interactive Google Earth map in the hallway of the culture center. Judie Piner, coordinator the Preservation and Technology Center who attended the Google Earth seminar in California last year, implemented this comprehensive interactive map that has place names on the map and the detailed map of the 2016 mapping project which shows the precise trail that the contemporary map makers walked. Vistors can actually tap on the very large video screen to bring up items relating to the various topics of Yavapai-Apache country.

Piner directs a comprehensive media department that also documents family trees, the history of the people, interviews with the Nation’s members and a comprehensive language center with learning materials and audio cds for language learning for both the Yavapai and Apache people.


Don Decker ddecker@yan-tribe.org

Photos by YAN News/Don Decker

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