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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

LAWS SPRING

LAWS SPRING Kaibab National Forest For thousands of years, the turbid, but reliable waters of Laws Spring have sustained wave upon wave of indigenous peoples and newcomers alike. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this tiny natural wonder, tucked into a volcanic ravine, has played host to a slew of quirky episodes in American history. We know this because archeologists and modern historians have used hundreds of rock etchings on the basalt boulders that line the Laws Spring trail to reconstruct the area’s transition from prehistoric hunting ground and spiritual center into a way station for thirsty Europeans blazing westward trails. The petroglyphs range from prehistoric, wind-scoured scrawls of elk and mysterious spirals to modern etchings pecked into the smoky-black rock veneer to denote the location of the spring. Near the end of the trail, above a muddy pool, a bronze placard mounted to a boulder gives a concise history of the area, which was created in a volcanic cataclysm and steeped in colorful chapters of Americana on the harsh, dusty flatlands of the Kaibab Plateau. HIGHLIGHTS: Ancient rock art, historic marker, muddy spring-fed pool. LENGTH: 0.5-mile round-trip RATING: easy  ELEVATION: 6,900’ – 6,850’ Driving distance from Phoenix: 185 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, travel west on I-40 to exit 171 (Pittman Valley). Drive north on Forest Road 74 for 7.7 miles to Forest Road 141. Go right on FR-141 and continue for a half-mile the intersection with Forest Road 730. Head left on FR-730 and go 2.25 miles to Forest Road 115. Turn left onto FR-115 and follow it for roughly 2 miles to Forest Road 2030. Follow FR-2030 for just under a mile to the circular parking area and the sign for Laws Spring. Information: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/kaibab/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=11675&actid=50

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