Getting the flavor of...
Oklahoma’s fabled cattle trail
All along the Chisholm Trail, cowboy culture lives on, said Robert Reid in Oklahoma Today. In the decades after the Civil War, cowboys drove millions of longhorns along this 800-mile cattle trail, which stretched from the prairies of Texas to railheads in Kansas. To mark the route’s 150th anniversary, I decided to trace its path through Oklahoma, on and off U.S. Highway 81. Spotting the actual trail is difficult, but museums in the towns of Duncan and Kingfisher help bring its history to life. Eager to see some longhorn cattle, I drive to the Hitchcock ranch of Marna and Doug Davis, who wear circa-1867 clothes and invite me to do the same before introducing me to their beautiful animals, which hustle over for snacks. At dusk, we dine outdoors, eating a spicy beef stew cooked over a fire while Doug reminisces about his cowboy days. This is the real Chisholm experience: “sitting by a fire, eating hot food, hearing moos, and swapping stories.”
The Grand Canyon’s quieter side
If you want a crowd-free Grand Canyon experience, head to the North Rim, said Steve Larese in NationalGeographic.com. It attracts only 10 percent of the National Park’s 5 million annual visitors— and is cooler than the South Rim, because it’s higher. The road trip to the canyon’s “other side” can be “just as rewarding as the destination.” Start in Albuquerque and drive three hours to reach Chaco Culture National Historical Park, where you’ll find the ruins of massive “great houses” built around 1100 by the ancestors of today’s Southwest Pueblo tribes. On the Utah- Arizona border lies Monument Valley, a landscape whose towering buttes “symbolize the American West worldwide.” You need a Navajo guide to visit Antelope Canyon, but the dramatic slot canyon is a marvel. Once you reach the North Rim, short hikes deliver “big visual payoffs.” On the Navajo Bridge, condors may be wafting nearby as you look down 467 feet to the Colorado River. ■