Canyon Commentary

Thousands of firefighters are putting their lives on the line this summer in Arizona and across the West as wildfires rage on drought-sticken land. In this month’s Canyon Commentary, writer Scott Thybony brings us a story to honor these firefighters. It’s about the 1996 Hochderffer Hills Fire near Flagstaff, and it gives us a snapshot of the risks fire crews take to save our homes and forests. 

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: Healing

Apr 29, 2020
Scott Thybony

KNAU commentator Scott Thybony always spends a lot of time outdoors, but that’s been especially true of the last 6 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott’s been walking canyon rims, volcano craters and hollowed-out cliffs filled with rock art images. In between hikes, he’s been writing. And in this week’s Canyon Commentary, Scott reflects on his recovery from encephalitis many years ago, drawing some parallels to the current situation. He says being able to connect with others was part of the healing process.

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: In Place

Apr 7, 2020
Scott Thybony

Much of the country is sheltering in place as best they can right now while the coronavirus continues to spread. For commentator Scott Thybony, this is a chance to do what he loves best: get outside, away from people and reflect on the natural world and the human spirit. Here is Scott’s latest Canyon Commentary.

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: Point Sublime

Feb 27, 2020
Scott Thybony

Just below Point Sublime in the Grand Canyon, a rock cairn marks the site where a small plane and a helicopter collided in 1986, killing everyone onboard. The cairn was placed there by KNAU commentator Scott Thybony…his brother John was one of the victims. Scott’s trek to the crash site nearly cost him his own life, and in this month’s Canyon Commentary, he recounts his journey of love and loss.

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: Road To Nowhere

Feb 6, 2020
Shutterstock

Most roads take you somewhere. But the Southwest is filled with a lot of roads that lead nowhere in particular. Commentator Scott Thybony has acquired a taste for them and recounts a recent road trip to one of his favorite destinations on the Colorado Plateau…nowhere.

Erik Thybony

Driving on Highway 89 across the Navajo Nation, you're likely to see the giant art installations of Chip Thomas painted on abandoned water tanks and trading posts. Thomas, a physician, has lived and worked on the Reservation for more than 30 years. Under his street artist name, Jetsonorama, he creates large scale murals that tell stories of Indigenous people. In KNAU's latest Canyon Commentary, writer Scott Thybony shares the experience of introducing his son to Thomas' work on a recent road trip; in particular, to a m ural called 'The Green Room.'

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: The Naturalist

Oct 1, 2019
Google Images

A stand of bear-clawed aspen trees on the San Francisco Peaks is the jumping off point for this month’s Canyon Commentary by Scott Thybony. It was the base camp of naturalist C. Hart Merriam in the late 1800’s. He was working on a groundbreaking project: studying the distribution patterns of plants and animals from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Humphrey’s Peak. Merriam called them ‘Life Zones’, the boundaries which reflect climate and ecological variation in mountains, deserts, rivers and canyons. They are still used today to assess how ecosystems respond to a changing climate.

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: A Prisoner Of War

Sep 23, 2019
Scott Thybony

Some years back, KNAU commentator Scott Thybony took an assignment for a magazine article about Native American POWs from tribes of the Colorado Plateau. He interviewed WWII veteran Sam Antonio, an Acoma Indian, who lived through the Bataan Death March, Hell Ships and unimaginable torture by his captors. Antonio credited his survival to his Pueblo religion. In Scott Thybony's latest Canyon Commentary, he tells the story of their first meeting. The two remained friends until Sam's death two years ago. 

Scott Thybony

Commentator Scott Thybony was in northern Canada in 1972 when he realized he’d had enough of the freezing-cold and wanted to come home to the Southwest. Upon his return, he and his brother decided to live on the Navajo Nation with an elderly medicine man and his wife who needed some help tending their land. But not sharing a similar language, the adventure led to a funny miscommunication about food. Scott tells us the story in his latest Canyon Commentary.

Scott Thybony's Canyon Commentary: Swimming For Shore

Jun 18, 2019
Scott Thybony

It's been 150 years since John Wesley Powell made his voyage down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Along the way, he experienced countless hardships, including the loss of crew members, boats and supplies. The river continues to take names of river runners, including commentator Scott Thybony. In his latest Canyon Commentary, Scott recounts a couple of close calls when he was a young guide in training on the Colorado. They left a lasting impression. 

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