Naturalist Journeys, LLC - Small Group Birding and Natural History Tours

White Mountain Apache SealWhite Mountain Apache Wilderness Journeys
June 5-10, 2011 and June 19-24, 2011


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White Mountain Apache Wilderness Journeys


Naturalist Journeys, LLC - Small Group, Family and Independent Travel. Join us on worldwide adventures that feature Wildlife, Conservation, Birding, Hiking and Geology - from Alaska to Argentina and beyond!
- photo, Evelyn Earlougher


Maverick Camp - White MountainsThe White Mountain Apache Reservation is situated on some of Arizona’s finest wilderness lands. Featuring lush forests at elevations of 7000 ft., the landscape blends elements of the Rocky Mountains and Mexico’s Sierra Madres. White Mountain Apache lands offer a green oasis in an otherwise arid Southwest and June is a peak time for wildflowers, nesting birds, and elk calves – the latter a real key to locating local Black Bear and wolf activity. We plan to be out early to see as much wildlife as we can. Afternoons we return to scenic Maverick Camp to share Apache culture. One of the highlights of this journey is that of sharing time with tribal people, whether they are elders, working biologists, outfitters and guides, chefs or talented artisans.  Maverick Camp offers us a place to be immersed in wild nature.  There is no other opportunity like this one, and space is limited – we are open for 2011 registration now. 

Firesticks - White Mountain Apache Reservation    Waterfall - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Apache trail horseback riding



Pine trees - White Mountain Apache ReservationDay 1. Sunday, June 5/June 19 Arrive in Show-Low, Arizona
Guests will arrive at the tribally owned and operated Hon Dah Hotel and Conference Center throughout the day. Those arriving early may settle in and relax, or enjoy exploring the nearby communities.  See Transportation Information for details on daily flights into Show Low. Parking is available for the journey at Hon Dah Hotel.

1:30 - 6:30 pm  Room Check-In, Relaxation time (pool, casino, early dinner on your own, etc.).
6:30 - 8:00 pm  Apache Wilderness Journeys Introduction, Tour Overview and Entertainment at the Hon Dah Hotel Conference Center/Whiteriver Room.
Accommodations at Hon Dah

Friends - White Mountain Apache Reservation  Cabin - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Day 2. Monday, June 6/June 20 Fort Apache / Bonito Creek / Maverick Camp
Scenic skies - White Mountain Apache Reservation6:30 - 8:00 am (Breakfast on your own at the hotel)
8:00 am Meet in front of the Hon Dah Hotel with your luggage, prepared for departure
8:15 - 9:00 am Travel to Whiteriver/Ft. Apache
9:00 - 11:30 pm Tour of Ft. Apache - Introduction to the White Mountain Apache tribe's culture. Exploration of Museum and Cultural Center
11:30 - 12:15 pm Travel to Bonito Creek
12:15 - 1:30 pm Lunch at Bonito Creek
1:30 - 3:30 pm  Travel to Maverick Camp
3:30 - 5:30 pm  Settle into Cabins, meet the camp hosts
5:30 - 7:00 pm  Traditional Dinner
7:00 - 8:30 pm  Music: Joyner George and the Beazley Boys
Evening Campfire
Accommodations at Maverick Camp (L,D)

Musicians - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Day 3. Tuesday, June 7/June 21
4:30 - 5:00 am   Breakfast at Maverick Camp
Wolf watching - White Mountain Apache Reservation5:00 am - 12:00 pm Wildlife viewing, wolf monitoring (tracking, telemetry, calling, etc.)  Please note: as Arizona does not go on daylight savings time, it is light as early as 4:30 am – thus the early start!
12:00 - 1:30 pm Lunch and a break at Maverick Camp
1:30 -5:30 pm Apache Survival Skills (Demonstrations of Flint Knapping, Fire-Making, Traditional Camp Cooking – participation welcomed)
5:30 -7:00 pm Dinner at Maverick Camp
7:00 -8:30 pm Apache Crown Dancers
      Evening Campfire
Accommodations at Maverick Camp (B,L,D)

Hike to the falls - White Mountain Apache ReservationDay 4. Wednesday, June 8 / June 22
4:30 -5:00 am Breakfast
5:00 - 6:00 am Travel to Pacheta Falls, wildlife watching en route
6:00 am – 4:00 pm All day afield in wolf country. Enjoy a 3-5 mile hike, picnic lunch, wildlife monitoring (check trail cameras, track counts, radio-telemetry/monitoring of wolves in the area, birding, etc.). This is a field day with some flexibility. We will aim for scenic Pacheta Falls, and mix in other walks/opportunities of the area according to the group’s interests and pace.
4:00 - 5:30 pm Return to Maverick Camp
5:30 - 7:00 pm Dinner at Maverick Camp
Campfire with tribal wolf biologists and staff
Accommodations at Maverick Camp (B,L,D)

Field lunch - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Wold tracking - White Mountain Apache Wilderness

Hike - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Day 5. Thursday, June 9 / June 23 Sunrise Ski Area / Horseback riding / Wolf-country overview / Sweat Lodge (Men) or Crafts (Women and Men) Return to Hon Dah
Telemetry - White Mountain Apache Reservation7:00 - 8:00 am Breakfast at Maverick Camp
8:00 - 9:00 am Travel to Sunrise, wildlife watching en route
8:00 -12:00 pm  Horse backing riding at Sunrise, Wolf country overview, visit fladry sheep-pasture - those not wishing to ride may walk, or relax and enjoy the scenery.
12:00 - 1:30 pm Lunch at Sunrisewith Wolf Coexistence Partnership rancher.
1:30 - 3:30 pm Split the group, men part take in the Sweat Bath with Ramon Riley, or Men’s and Ladies traditional crafts at Hon-dah (demo of basket-making and beading).
5:30 - 7:30 pm Final Buffet Dinner for the group at Indian Pine Restaurant at Hon Dah
Tour Wrap Up follows dinner, share highlights of your experience and help us plan for Apache Wilderness Journeys 2012!
Accommodations at Hon Dah (B,L,D)

Leopold Country - White Mountain Apache ReservationDay 6 Friday, June 10 / June 24 Optional Walk and Birding / Departures
Optional morning birding and walk, Woodland Park near Pinetop with Peg
6 - 7:00 am Breakfast (on your own). Shuttle available for transportation throughout the day to Show Low Airport from Hon-Dah. Those driving may depart at your convenience.



Traditional Sunrise Ceremony – A pre-or-post tour opportunity
Those wishing to witness Apache culture may arrive on Saturday, June 4 / June 18 to see a Sunrise Dance. This ceremony often takes this time of year, where you will experience more traditional songs, dance and observe a young girl; coming of age ceremony. There are Saturday evening, and Sunday daytime activities.

Lewis Woodpecker - White Mountain Apache Reservation

If this is of interest, we recommend you plan to arrive no later than 5PM the day prior to your Apache Wilderness Journey. You will need to make your own reservation with Hon-dah Hotel for the pre-tour night, and pay an extra fee for the tour guide which will be Krista Beazley. We will let all participants know ahead of time if the Sunrise Dance will be available. These are hosted by individual families, and scheduling does not occur until a few months ahead of your stay. If there is not a sunrise ceremony, there are many things to do in the Pinetop / Show Low / Lakeside area, and as an alternate, either Krista or naturalist Peg Abbott will plan and guide sightseeing and wildlife watching in the area. Cost for the activity portion of a pre-tour opportunity is $125.00 per person, based on a minimum of four persons. A shared group dinner is included in the cost.

Krista Beazley - guide

Wolf camera - White Mountain Apache Reservation

Parabolic - White Mountain Apache Reservation

June 2010 Journey participant Denise Joines, Program Officer of the Wilburforce Foundation, shares her wonderful GALLERY of photos.


Defenders of WildlifeDefenders of Wildlife applauds the work of the White Mountain Apache who are helping to rewrite history for these highly endangered Mexican Gray Wolves, opening more than 1.5 million acres of tribal lands to Mexican wolves and to YOU!

* Find a great article on their website about Mexican Wolves with descriptions of last year's journey.

* Watch a video taken at last year's inaugural journey HERE.


Protect yourself with Access America Travel Insurance.

Offset your Carbon Footprint. Show us the receipt and we'll take 50% - up to $50.00 - of your carbon offset fee off your final payment.

Cost of the guided Apache Wilderness Journey is $1500.00 per person, based on shared accommodations.  A single supplement is available for the two nights at Hon Dah, for an additional $TBA.  Cost of the journey includes 2 night’s accommodations at the tribally owned hotel/casino at Hon Dah and 3 nights shared accommodations at Maverick Camp.  It includes meals as specified in the itinerary, professional guide services, tribal permits, activities as described in the itinerary including horseback riding, and local transportation in vans. It does not include items of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages from the bar, porterage for luggage or miscellaneous program expenses.   

Air: Great Lakes Airlines offers scheduled airline service between Show Low from Phoenix, Farmington and Denver seven days per week with roundtrip flights daily. Please call (800) 554-5111 or (928) 532-1009 for details. Utilizing a twin-engine Beech-1900 pressurized aircraft, passengers can fly one-way to Phoenix in less than 40 minutes and to Denver in a little over two hours with a short stop in Farmington. Great Lakes is a code-share partner with United and Frontier Airlines and from Phoenix or Denver, passengers can connect to any of the major airlines operating from these airports. 

Driving: Hon Dah is approximately a three hour drive from Phoenix, three and a half hours from Tucson, or four hours from Albuquerque.

Pace of the Journey
To participate fully in this journey you should be able to walk 3-5 miles over uneven ground on forest roads and trails. You should be able to readily get in and out of 12-15 passenger vans multiple times per day as we travel backcountry roads. Expect early mornings as that is when wildlife viewing is at its prime.

Two nights of our journey are in modern hotel rooms at the Hon Dah Hotel and Conference Center, a tribally owned and operated business. Single accommodations are available here. Three nights of the journey are based out of Maverick Camp, a rustic but very comfortable facility in mixed conifer and aspen forest.  Here we have five cabins with in-cabin bath facilities.  We have private space available for 2-3 couples per tour, and single travelers will share either male or female shared space in the larger cabins, with 3-4 persons per cabin. Meals are served in a central community building with fireplace and a large outside deck.  At Maverick, hiking trails and wildlife viewing are just outside our door.   Evening activities take place around the campfire.

Registration for the 2011 Apache Wilderness Journeys will be handled by Naturalist Journeys, LLC, based in Portal, Arizona.  Deposits and balance of payment may be made by check, money order made payable to Naturalist Journeys, or by Visa or MasterCard. Please complete and sign this Registration Form (required) and return with payment. It is highly advisable to call to reserve your space prior to mailing payment – space is limited so the sooner you can plan the better!

Naturalist Journeys, LLC  P.O. Box 16545  Portal, AZ  85632  520 558-1146 toll-free 866 900 1146.
We highly recommend TRAVEL INSURANCE.

Naturalist Journeys, LLC is an equal opportunity service provider and committed to the goal of ensuring equal opportunity for all in employment and program delivery.

Photo Credits:
Horseback riding, Ron Dungan; Parabolic, telemetry, wolf camera and wolf tracking, Craig Miller; all other photos, Peg Abbott.