A LITTLE FAMILY STUFF
The Developing Agitator: Hunter Gray [JRS, Jr.] at age seven with War Drum
A kind of "fun pose" -- with serious undertones and dimensions: my father and I in the early 1950s. As a kid, it was extremely important for me to kill a bear. I killed my first -- an extremely large Black Bear (about 650 pounds live weight) -- in the vast Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area southwest of Flagstaff, Arizona. We tied the bear's head securely in a scrub oak (blackjack) tree. (I should also add that we subsequently, over several years, ate every bit of the bear meat.) Around the same time, my father killed a Mule Deer in the same area and tied its severed head up in a tree. Much later, when I was home on leave from the Army, we retrieved both heads -- now skulls cleanly picked by birds and insects -- and posed with them at our hunting camp on the rim of the great (Sycamore) canyon. The bear skull -- with special feathers attached -- now hangs, as it always has, on the wall of our home.
The Wolf Robe (partially in the background) is made up of portions of three timber wolves, killed about 1865, by my great/great/great/great uncle, Lewis (Louis) Annance -- a St. Francis Abenaki from Odanak, Quebec. One of three famous Annance brothers, Lewis was educated at Dartmouth, settled then at Lancaster, N.H. and finally, over the long pull, in the Moosehead Lake setting near Greenville and Rockwood Strip, Northern Maine -- where these wolves were taken. He was Maine's most famous Indian guide in the 19th century -- a close friend of the historian, Francis Parkman -- and Lewis raised both my great grandmother and my grandmother. The Wolf Robe, no longer taken on hunting trips, resides on the wall of our home. It now belongs to my oldest daughter, Maria, who with her two children, lives with us.
Sycamore Canyon is my most special wilderness setting. And it alway will be so. Extraordinarily deep and wide, filled with massive cliffs, almost thirty miles long, no roads of any sort into it and virtually no trails [other than game trails], it starts in the high pine country between Flagstaff and Williams and cuts its winding way, deeper and deeper, southward -- eventually emerging into the northern end of the relatively open Verde Valley (north of the rough old copper mining town of Jerome and the old smelter town of Clarkdale -- those operations now shut down for almost half a century.] There its Sycamore Creek joins the Verde River. I began hunting -- almost always as a lone hunter -- on the eastern rim of Sycamore -- in the 'way up high pine country -- when I was 15 and 16 and soon began going down, ever deeper and deeper, into the vast chasm. I established a permanent camp on the rim above Dorsey Spring -- excellent year 'round water on a down-in plateau.
FOR MY LONG TRIP DOWN SYCAMORE CANYON IN 1955 AND A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE CENTERED IN THE CANYON IN LATE 2003, SEE GHOSTS: http://hunterbear.org/ghosts.htm
In November, 1957, Argosy Magazine, a very well known and nicely done popular "man's magazine," with a huge circulation, published as its lead fictional piece, my short story -- "Last of the Wild Ones" -- which is set deep within Sycamore Canyon. http://www.hunterbear.org/ARGOSY.htm
(More family material on next page.)