SAN FRANCISCO PEAKS - near FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA
Straight ahead on Country Club road (open May-Oct.) to the three SAN FRANCISCO PEAKS, 12. 5 m., Humphreys (12, 611 alt.), Agassiz (12, 340 alt.), and Fremont (11,940 alt.). Their names honor Andrew Atkinson Humphreys (1810-83), who surveyed for a railroad to the Pacific, was an authority on river hydraulics, a corps commander of the Army of the Potomac, and became chief engineer of the army; Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-73), the geologist and zoologist noted for his classification of marine fossils and theory of the glacial epoch; and John Charles Fremont (1813-90), governor of Arizona territory (1878-82), whose appellation the pathfinder has been changed by recent biographers to pathmaker. Early in the seventeenth century the Franciscans who established a mission at Oraibi gave the name San Francisco to these peaks to honor St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of their order. These mountains are so high and the air in the surrounding valleys and plains so clear that points in Utah, California, and Nevada are often visible from their crests. When seen from a distance in the early morning the lower slopes are hidden by haze and the peaks seem to hang from the sky. They are amazingly symmetrical and their snowy summits are constantly changing in color. At sunrise they appear gold; at noon they are Carrara marble against a turquoise sky, at sunset they are polished copper, ruby, coral, and finally amethyst. The Hopi call these peaks the Nuvat-i-kyan-bi (place of the snow peaks).
—Arizona, A Guide To the Grand Canyon State (WPA, 1940)
* * *
Matthias Topfstedt fell in love in and with America many years ago, having spent his time mainly in the Southwest and West. Living in Leipzig, Germany, he’s about to finish undergrad studies in Political Science and American Studies. Photography-wise, his main interests are architecture and landscapes. More of his work can be viewed at mtopfstedt.tumblr.com. Finally, he would like to express his love for Antonín Dvořák’s From the New World symphony.
This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.