Hed Lines: A journey to the far reaches of Mohave County

I have not traveled as extensively in Arizona as I would have liked.

An assignment for an upcoming special edition of the Miner gave me a rare opportunity to travel to the Arizona Strip, that stretch of Mohave and Coconino counties north of the Grand Canyon.

I offered to do an assignment on Pipe Spring National Monument, which preserves a Mormon fort that was established in 1871.

Making the 290-mile journey to Pipe Spring requires traveling through Nevada and Utah.

Pipe Spring is located on the Kaibab Moccasin Indian Reservation about 20 miles east of Colorado City.

I took Friday off to get a head start.

I arrived from my motel in St.

George, Utah, by late morning, and talked to two park rangers.

Ranger Benn Pikyavit (CQ), who lives on the reservation, told me the monument draws about 50,000 visitors a year.

Many visitors discover Pipe Spring by accident as they head to better-known recreation areas such as the Grand Canyon or Lake Powell.

I took a photo of seasonal ranger Andrea Chynoweth (CQ), dressed in period garb, demonstrating the use of a drop spindle to spin wool.

Then I noticed my flash was not working.

The gift shop did not sell batteries, so I drove to a nearby mini mart.

I inserted new batteries, but the flash did not function.

The store clerk informed me that the closest camera shop is located about 21 miles away in Kanab, Utah, and said it would be open on the Saturday.

Undaunted, I drove the 20-plus miles to Kanab, passing through Fredonia, which sounds like a fictional town in a Marx Brothers movie.

Kanab is a scenic, tourist town that promotes its Hollywood history.

A small visitor center has photos of John Wayne and other actors who filmed movies in Kanab.

I stopped at a one-hour photo store, and the employee referred me to the full-service camera store a block away.

It was closed.

I returned to the one-hour establishment, and the employee tried to figure out what was wrong with my flash.

He determined that a mechanism was loose.

He tried to fix it with transparent tape and a paper clip, but to no avail.

I told him where I worked and what I did for a living.

To my surprise, Doug Reddick said he used to live in Kingman and worked in the pressroom at the Miner, when the late Herb Gollis was publisher.

After moving to Kanab in 1984, he edited the Southern Utah News, a weekly.

His family used to own a small daily in Paso Robles, Calif.

While having lunch at a small sandwich shop patronized by European tourists, I met another newspaper man: Bill Marzahn, ad services manager for prepress of the Buffalo (N.Y.) News.

He combined a business trip and vacation by visiting a software company in Springville, Utah.

"It's how we make up our ads," Marzahn said.

"We're 97 percent paginated.

We're trying to jump into year 2000 from 1985."

I jumped into the past by returning to Pipe Spring.

I told the rangers about my flash, and indicated that I may need them to send me a courtesy photo of the interior of the fort.

Fortunately, one tourist let me borrow his flash, so I hope at least one interior shot turned out.

On the way back, I drove through Colorado City to get a feel for a community in which polygamy is practiced.

Incorporated in 1985, Colorado City better resembles a vast neighborhood - with two-story, multiroom homes - than a city.

Boys rode bicycles while girls clad in long dresses walked down streets.

Colorado City has a mercantile, small motel, restaurant, clothing store and other businesses.

The dairy store sold large jugs of milk and packages of cheese, and other products high in calcium.

The locals appeared unaffected by news accounts of the world's impending doom.

"Rumored 'end of the world' date passes," a headline in the St.

George's daily, the Spectrum, stated on Saturday.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors about the world's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

A motel in adjoining Hildale, Utah, is named for Twain and keeps his memory alive.