The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 114
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
standing of "wilderness"; a fictionalized account of the never-completed reports
of the 18o6 Red River expedition, led by Peter Custis at the behest of Thomas
Jefferson-what was intended to be a second Lewis and Clark Expedition but
was instead turned back by the Spanish; the history and impact of the arrival and
spread of horses in the Near Southwest and the trade that drastically reduced
the numbers of wild horses; the Chihuahua Desert in Texas and the history of
efforts to set aside national parks and other public-land reserves; the Llano
Estacado of West Texas and eastern New Mexico; Abiquiu, N.M., and Georgia
O'Keefe and the Hispanic land claims; and a meditation on wolves and the wild
and Flores's own twelve acres of property in the Llano Estacado area.
This book is not environmental history as such. It has no footnotes but a chap-
ter-by-chapter bibliography. It is informed by history and includes research of
primary sources. But it is primarily a set of personal and impressionistic nonfic-
tion essays, with some fictional passages based on research.
Horizontal Yellow is aimed not at scholars but a larger general public. It is well
written, wry and humorous at times, informative where based on research on
such topics as the ecological and then economic niche filled by the Spanish rein-
troduction of horses into North America.
But the book will appeal mostly to what Flores labels "romantico-environ-
bioregional-primitive-earthists" (p. 277) who share a '60s-'7os back-to-the-earth
ethos. And unfortunately, that focus limits its possible achievements.
In its heart of hearts, Horizontal Yellow is another romantic, nostalgic, individualis-
tic, and narrowly focused retreat into the wild for rejuvenation from the ever
encroaching modern world. Flores never makes good on his promise to explore
the connection between modern alienation and the religious experience of wilder-
ness. He shies away from confronting head-on the ills of the modern in a way that
would expose the emptiness at its core and perhaps articulate a way to translate that
critique into the hard-headed political arena to bring about meaningful change.
In the end, Flores flees the Horizontal Yellow for the vertical blue mountains
of Western Montana.
Salt Lake City ThomasJ. Harvey
A Portal to Paradise: 1z,537 years, More or Less, on the northeast slope of the Chiricahua
Mountains. ... By Alden Hayes. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999.
Pp. xxx+361. Illustrations, preface, maps, bibliographic essay. ISBN o-816-
51785-1. $29.95, cloth.)
South of Interstate lo, the Chiricahua Mountains rise dramatically in the
southeastern corner of Arizona. Today, they represent a premiere birding loca-
tion and a refuge for artistic and literary types who blend with older timers to
form a colorful off-the-beaten-track society. Before he died, in 1998, Alden
Hayes-a self-described "failed farmer, bankrupt cattleman, sometime smoke-
chaser, one-time park ranger, and over-the-hill archaeologist" (p. iii)--complet-
ed a history of the area. Incurably tongue-in-cheek, he subtitled it 11,537 years,
More or Less, on the northeast slope of the Chiricahua Mountains, Being A Fairly
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/142/ocr/: accessed December 6, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.