Arizona Memories: Snow at the Canyon

March 06, 2012

As we continue to celebrate Arizona's 100th year, we reached out to you to share your favorite Arizona memories. This story is about a woman who received a chilly reception when she first arrived.

Marion Durham Marion Durham came to Arizona in 1967. (Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)

I am Marion Durham. I live in Tempe, and I'm a retired federal employee. When I was working for the government for about 30 years, I was an archaeologist for the National Park Service.

I started with the Park Service in 1967. They sent me for Park Ranger training, which was at the Grand Canyon. I showed up from San Francisco to the Grand Canyon--in California, in San Francsisco, you don't really need down parkas, and you don't need boots. So I came with insufficient clothing for the results of a huge snow storm!

The drifts at Grand Canyon were -- I'm 5'6", and they were probably a good two foot, if not more, over my head. So we had to walk between these gigantic drifts. It was very intimidating to face that much snow! It was extremely cold, difficult to function, and as a matter of fact, I ended up at the little Grand Canyon hospital with pneumonia.

But it was probably the most beautiful I have ever seen the Grand Canyon. There's something about the Canyon in winter. It's a little bit like looking at a layered chocolate torte. Later I heard that the experience of living through that storm was really bad because the storm totally immobilized all of Northern Arizona. My husband tells me that he was working for the Pepsi Company up in Flagstaff and none of the trucks could get out. There was no traffic on the interstates, there was no traffic up into the reservation, so there was a lot of airlifting. But we laughed about it, because he said some of the very first trucks that went out were food and soda pop trucks!

Since 1967 I've been a resident here, so that's over 40 years. I think I have to say I'm not a Californian anymore, I'm definitely an Arizonan, and married to an Arizonan (native-born). But I am very concerned about the future of Arizona. I'm hoping that the next 50 years, if not the next 100, will bring us people that have a vision for the future that does not require us to overuse our natural resources.

We met Marion through the Public Insight Network. Click here to find out more.

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