From the Introduction
The wild and primitive region which constitutes the Territory of Arizona exhibits a remarkable diversity of surface in its mountain ranges, grassy plains, and desert wastes; and its Fauna and Flora are varied in a corresponding degree. The traveler meets, at each successive day’s journey, new and strange objects, which must interest him, if only through the wonder and astonishment they excite.
Elliott Coues, Army Surgeon
Fort Whipple, Arizona Territory, 1864-5.
The seasons of Arizona make cheerful pilgrims of us all, calling us on quests of “wonder and astonishment.” We descend on the deserts in spring, beckoned by acres of Mexican goldpoppies and purple scorpionweed. Summer finds us confronted by topography, as we trek or climb or drive among Arizona’s remarkable landscapes. In autumn we seek out radiant golden cottonwoods along a stream or make bittersweet journeys to upland forests, where fluttering yellow aspens and rust-red oaks token the end of the green and growing time. Winter, too, has its ardent devotees—bound for high country snow or the southern haunts of migratory birds.