Tuesday, December 27, 2011
A notable release from last year: Death Clouds on Mt Baldy: Tucson's Lost Tragedy by Cathy Hufault. (290 pages, Arizona Mountain Publications, $19.95) For more information, click here.
On a lovely November day in 1958, six boy scouts set out to climb Mount Baldy in the Santa Rita Mountains. A freak snow storm caught them totally unprepared. Three stumbled back down the trail and the other three became the focus of the largest search and rescue operation in Arizona history—19 days—on foot, by helicopter and horseback.
Death Clouds on Mt Baldy is a haunting historical adventure drama which relays harrowing accounts of rescue, survival, bravery and tragic loss.
The book was written as a tribute to this diverse group of inner city kids who ran into trouble on a carefree adventure hike in our wilderness. It also honors the over 750 people who desperately searched for them. Many do not realize that this was the start of SARA, the Southern Arizona Rescue Association.
A sister of one of the survivors and a close friend of another, Cathy had just turned age 15 at the time of the tragedy.
Born third oldest of twelve children, she grew up with her family in railroad housing next to the tracks in Tucson's inner city. Shortly after the tragedy, she joined the Civil Air Patrol in a desire to help search in future emergencies.
To help finance her college education, Cathy took a job waiting tables. Temporarily leaving college after two years, she and her husband, John explored South America for six months. There, she took a stint at teaching English as a foreign language at a business school.
Returning to the States, she finished up college at the University of Arizona earning a BA in Secondary Education and Political Science. Through the years, Cathy pursued a variety of careers from designing clothes to designing custom homes. As a successful Real Estate Broker, Hufault helped to start up a company called Executive Relocation and served as its vice-president for several years. In 1986, Hufault entered into politics. She was elected to the Oro Valley Town Council with 85% of the vote. Later, she was selected twice by the Council to serve as the town’s Mayor. As a public official, Cathy did extensive research on issues, wrote guest editorials for the Oro Valley town newsletter, directed the development and publication of the town magazine, map guide, and the town brochure.
Married since 1963 to John Hufault, Cathy and her husband now live on the outskirts of the metro-Tucson area. They have two adult sons, Craig and Scott, and five grandchildren.