Natural Landmarks of Arizona – David Yetman

I’m surprised I’m the first one reviewing David Yetman’s latest book, Natural Landmarks of Arizona. I would have thought someone else already did the honors, as the topics are interesting: landmarks and history of the territory. Plus, and this is a personal detail, I’ve been a Tex Willer fan for ages. If you’re familiar with the comics, you’ll know that many of his adventures take place in the Mogollon, or in the Chiricahua Mountains, or– suffice to say, I’ve been eager to see some of the locations featured there.

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Natural Landmarks of Arizona celebrates the vast geological past of Arizona’s natural monuments through the eyes of a celebrated storyteller who has called Arizona home for most of his life. David Yetman shows us how Arizona’s most iconic landmarks were formed millions of years ago and sheds light on the more recent histories of these landmarks as well. These peaks and ranges offer striking intrusions into the Arizona horizon, giving our southwestern state some of the most memorable views, hikes, climbs, and bike rides anywhere in the world. They orient us, they locate us, and they are steadfast through generations.

Whether you have climbed these peaks many times, enjoy seeing them from your car window, or simply want to learn more about southwestern geology and history, reading Natural Landmarks of Arizona is a fascinating way to learn about the ancient and recent history of beloved places such as Cathedral Rock, Granite Dells, Kitt Peak, and many others. With Yetman as your guide, you can tuck this book into your glove box and hit the road with profound new knowledge about the towering natural monuments that define our beautiful Arizona landscapes.

224 pages
Travel
The University of Arizona Press
Goodreads

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Cover: I like it! I have this chronic issue with mountains, as I’m unable to recognize them, but I love looking at them regardless. There are a few iconic ones visible from my house, I can’t tell them apart, and I still softgaze at them every morning.

Yay!

  • Natural Landmarks of Arizona is an odd one out, in a good way. As promised on the tin, it takes us roadtripping–mountaintripping?– across the great state of Arizona, and it does so while giving us interesting tidbits about the territory. From geological info to historical ones, Yetman covers all the aspects of each cliff and hill. 
  • It’s a technical work, but not overly so. I perused its Edelweiss card before asking for it, wanting to get a feel of the book: was it aimed at travellers or were academics its target audience? The answer is, Natural Landmarks of Arizona appeals to both. I got a little lost when Yetman brought up geology, but I appreciated a lot the personal anecdotes and the parts related to native history. 
  • There are fewer pictures than I was promised–not four per mountain, I’m afraid–but the featured ones are nice! Very pretty, clear and crisp.

Special mention:

  • Boundary Cone. The concept of volcanic plugs is fascinating.
  • Cathedral Rock, Sedona. It’s so majestic.
  • Cochise Head. Very distinctive.
  • Granite Dells, Prescott.
  • Picketpost Mountain.
  • Silver Peak, Chiricahua Mountains.

Nay!

  • I wanted more pictures. This is a recurrent complaint of mine, I’m aware, but– it just escapes me why some travel books tend to feature very few pictures. They’re useful to see, even by proxy, the places we plan to visit (or wish we could visit, in my case), and like this the book experience is cut in half. Color me puzzled.

TL;DR
3.5 stars on GR, rounded up to 4.

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