Due to a variety of circumstances, we've decided to put off any international trips this year. Instead, my beloved and I will be heading to Arizona in October. I've booked reservations for us to take a hot air balloon ride over the majestic red cliffs of Sedona with Red Rock Balloon Adventures. That seems like an appropriate way to celebrate my 50th birthday. We'll also do some exploring / fishing / hiking / geocaching in Oak Creek Canyon. We will be going to the Apple Fest at Slide Rock State Park, which just happens to be located on my grandfather's homestead.
Frank L. Pendley came to Arizona from his native Texas in the early 1800's. He arrived in Oak Creek Canyon 100 years ago this year. Through hard work and amazing ingenuity he mastered the challenge of getting water to his property - something that had stumped all those who tried to settle the place before. He planted an apple orchard and built a house, developing the property a little more each year. This is the place where my father was born and where we scattered his ashes when he died. It's where I wandered around the hills as a kid and the spirit of the place has shaped me in more ways than I can name.
Although my grandfather died before I was born, I've heard so many stories of his life that I feel as if I had known him. So I'll gather at the ranch with a bunch of my cousins to honor this amazing pioneer and walk again in those red cliffs of my youth. Should be a good trip.
................................Frank L. Pendley
There's a nice photo of the packing shed HERE over on Flikr.
About the park: Slide Rock State Park, originally the Pendley Homestead, is a 43-acre historical apple farm located in Oak Creek Canyon. Frank L. Pendley, having arrived in the canyon in 1907, formally acquired the land under the Homestead Act in 1910. Due to his pioneering innovation, he succeeded where others failed by establishing a unique irrigation system still in use by the park today. This allowed Pendley to plant his first apple orchard in 1912, beginning the pattern of agricultural development that has dominated the site since that time. Pendley also grew garden produce and kept some livestock. As one of the few homesteads left intact in the canyon today, Slide Rock State Park is a fine example of early agricultural development in Central Arizona. The site was also instrumental to the development of the tourism industry in Oak Creek Canyon. The park is named after the famous Slide Rock, a stretch of slippery creek bottom adjacent to the homestead. Visitors may slide down a slick natural water chute or wade and sun along the creek. The swim area is located on National Forest land which is jointly managed by Arizona State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service.
Together these areas have seen the making of many Hollywood movies such as "Broken Arrow" (1950) with James Stewart, "Drum Beat" (1954) with Alan Ladd and Charles Bronson, "Gun Fury" (1953) with Rock Hudson and Donna Reed, and a scene from "Angel and the Badman" (1946) with John Wayne.