ASH FORK, Ariz. - Six-Shooter Molly Trading Post in Ash Fork is a destination rather than just a stop for gas and a Coke or a triple dip of Dryers Ice Cream on a cone.
"I just came back from a conference in Vegas," Maryanne Harvey of Chinle says. Harvey works in Social Services and stopped in on her way back, to do a little shopping and cool off.
"We love all the western influence," Stephany Tindall from London, England, said. She enjoyed laughing over the refreshing ice cream, with her young friend, Olivia Carlan, nine-years-old, also from London, who marveled over the children's corner, with its wood-carved furniture, Pendleton blankets and lots of black bear-themed items. Cheyenne Tooley of Chino Valley served up the ice cream.
"We have the largest selection of Minnetonka shoes in northern Arizona," Lynn Murphy says proudly, who is owner with her husband Rick. Her pair of coral and silver studded flip flops are testimony to her joy of not only shopping for all the merchandise, but utilizing it in her own life. Wonderful soft deerskin moccasins of fawn, brown and even red with silver studded designs beckon tired feet to try them on.
Museum quality Native American jewelry and heirloom pieces are under dust free glass. There is a large Concho belt, and a Navajo pendant with a rare Bisbee turquoise stone, stamped in gold leaf, signed by D.J. Artistic, leather tooled purses are adorned with cowgirl art by former Williams resident Lynn Brown, who moved to Texas with her husband a few years ago. Select pottery includes pieces by Mitchell Blackhorse, a full blooded Navajo, who does three-dimensional etchings that he explains, "allow each layer of color to be brought out." Then, happily for John Wayne fans, there are clocks and large framed prints of the "Duke."
Ice cream is a new feature added this summer, that Ash Fork residents enjoy along with the tourists. In their sixth year of running the trading post, in the larger building, "Six-Shooter Molly's has become a place a person could accomplish their whole Christmas list. The Rick Murphy Chevron and Food Mart began the family business in 1991, at its current location, 1198 West Old Route 66. Then it became a place on the map with museum quality jewelry, clothes and décor.
"Six years ago we built the larger trading post and named it after Rick's professional hunting guide and outfitter business," Lynn explains.
Rick's trophy animals blend into the western surroundings with the preserved, life sized Elk, lion, buffalo mounted on the gracious high ceiling architecture of the first room.
Rick shares that he "comes from a long line of hunters starting with my great - great - grandfather Jim Emett who, along with Zane Grey and Buffalo Jones, hunted the Arizona Strip and was famous for roping lions on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the early part of the century." More of the guiding business, with photos and history, can be seen on Rick's Web site: http://www.sixshootermolly.com.
If you're a hiker, don't miss a barrel full of hand carved wooden walking sticks with creative accents include a tiny compass on the top of a Big Sky creation. There is also lots of Route 66 memorabilia, Grand Canyon souvenirs, wildlife and western art, cedar furniture and cow hides.
Much of the fun of your visit will be talking with Lynn or Rick if you catch these Arizona natives, coming and going.
"My Aunt Rosy knew Marshall Trimble pretty well," Lynn shares about the historian with roots in Ash Fork, which leads to an assortment of books you may want to pack along, for history or southwest cooking.
When you visit, you can ask the Murphy's who Molly is. As it's too late for this writer to call and I missed that one looking at all the fun merchandise "through the trees."