Don’t open until you arrive
5. Home on the Range
Take a picture!
N 36° 07’ 05.2”
W 113° 30’ 05.8”
♪ Where the deer and the antelope play. ♫
Follow County Rd. 103 as it turns into NPS Rd. 1203 and continue until arrival at destination. Find a safe place to park away from any blind corners and hills leaving room for other vehicles.
Difficulty: ♦ ♦ ♦ -
By the mid 1960’s, J.D. “Slim” Waring was the largest private land owner on the Arizona Strip, with 13,000 acres of land and three grazing allotment permits. You’ve just arrived at Waring Ranch, his headquarters in Horse Valley. Hand-hewn logs make up the cabin and structures. Built in the era of kerosene illumination, Waring never modernized his ranch with electricity. Imagine, after a long day in the saddle, riding home beneath the stars, guided by the pin pricks of kerosene lanterns in the windows.
Though Jonathon “Slim” Deyo Waring grew up in New York State, he was destined for the West. He admired Teddy Roosevelt for serving as the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Rough Riders, the famous cavalry regiment that helped secure victory in the Spanish-American War. The Rough Riders were composed of volunteer cowboys, miners, hunters, gamblers, and Native Americans, the very people that intrigued Slim Waring the most. In 1912, at twenty years old, Waring moved across the country to Phoenix, Arizona. He worked as a miner and ranch hand, and bought a motorcycle for transportation. His dreams were coming true.
1916 found the adventurous Slim on the Arizona Strip. He traveled through Pigeon Canyon via Grand Gulch Mine and camped temporarily at Hidden Lake. Rumors about large herds of mustangs roaming the harsh, wild lands swirled through his thoughts. He wanted to trap, break and sell them, but the young man soon found out just how remote the Strip truly was. Wild horses abounded, but there was no infrastructure.
Something about the Strip got under Slim’s skin, though. His company left, but he remained and began acquiring government land. From the railroad, he got territory surrounding Green Spring on Parashant Mountain. Later, he partnered with the legendary colorful character, Bill Shanley. Their property stretched all the way from Green Spring to Kelly Point, encompassing nearly the entire peninsula above the Grand Canyon.
Preston Nutter, an Arizona Strip cattle baron, was a rival of Slim’s. Both ran cattle at the same time, and both believed they owned a certain parcel of land at the rim of the Grand Canyon. When Nutter built a fence around the contested parcel, Slim retaliated by burning it down. Not long after this incident, Slim was conscripted into the U.S. Army to serve during World War I. He ended up in the in the Argonne Forest trenches of France, fighting in the largest offensive in United States Military history.
Friends on the Strip were overjoyed when Slim returned in 1919. Many felt that by surviving the war, he
had thwarted Nutter, the man many believed “arranged” for Slim’s sudden departure. Regardless, he promptly took up where he’d left off and determinedly acquired more land and cattle. In 1969, Waring sold the peaceful property ringed by ponderosa pines to the National Park Service. Forty years of his stories and footsteps remain on the land where you stand.