scott thybony

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

There is a long-standing tradition in Arizona of literary pilgrimages. People journey to Walnut Canyon where Willa Cather gathered inspiration for her 1915 novel ‘Song of the Lark’. Others belly up to the bar at The Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff where Zane Grey wrote ‘The Call of the Canyon’ in an upstairs room in 1923. And some venture to the North Rim Lookout Tower where Edward Abbey worked as a fire scout in the early 1970’s, filling up journal after journal with observations and musings. Scott Thybony made his own pilgrimage to the tower for his latest Canyon Commentary.


The archives of the Old Trails Museum/Winslow Historical Society

It’s time for Scott Thybony’s latest Canyon Commentary. Today, we hear the story of Cecil Creswell, a former Harvey Girl and the only known female cattle rustler in the 20th century. Scott takes us to a stark, desolate landscape where Creswell lived alone on land she homesteaded.


Scott Thybony

Anyone familiar with Scott Thybony’s Canyon Commentaries knows the Colorado Plateau is the landscape of his soul. That’s probably why the poem “Perhaps in a Crown Royal Bag” by Arizona writer Amy Hale Auker speaks to him loudly. Scott recites it for us on this Poetry Friday.


Doug Nering

Navigating the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is a big responsibility, especially when you’ve got a boat full of passengers … especially when those passengers are visually impaired. In this month’s Canyon Commentary, Scott Thybony recalls one of his final trips as a river guide. It was one of the most epic and memorable runs he ever made.


Pages