Arizona has always been my home. Since I was born, I have resided within the state limits. It is a special place to me because there are so many interesting things about Arizona that make it unique. Upon being raised in Phoenix, my family and I experienced living in a large city with its glorious desert scenes. When I turned fourteen, however, my parents decided to move to a rural northern Arizona town. Out of every place in Arizona, my parents chose the most special town. My hometown is called Happy Jack, Arizona. Located in the center of the Coconino National Forest, it is nearest to Winslow and Flagstaff. It is literally fifty miles or more from any city or civilization. That is one of the main reasons why I love it so much!  It does not have the crime, pollution, or congestion that some cities do. Happy Jack is a large forested community with many beautiful lakes. It is one of the few places in Arizona that is very peaceful and quiet. In fact, it has quite a bit of history behind it as well. There are a few highlights in Happy Jack, such as the establishment of the second smallest post office in the United States. For these reasons and many more, I believe Happy Jack is the best place to live in Arizona.

Happy Jack, interestingly, has quite a bit of history. James E. Cook, an Arizona Republic columnist, stated that Happy Jack originated in 1947 when the Saginaw & Manistee Lumber Company established a logging company there. The company resided in Happy Jack and shipped its wood to Flagstaff. The workers and their families lived in this unique place. Over the years, the town thrived with cabins nestled in the woods. In time, the shipping company became less vital to the economy and the forest service dominated the community. Many people are now employed through the forest service, either as forest rangers or as firefighters. Most of the residents today are part time residents, while there are some full time residents. The majority of homes in Happy Jack are vacation cabins for families.

The area of Happy Jack is quite inviting to its visitors. Surrounded and enthralled by a beautiful pine forest, its environment is one of a kind. The hiking trails and lakes in Happy Jack are very conductive for entertainment activities. Visitors can walk among the pine, alligator juniper and shrub oak trees in the woods. Wildlife like coyotes, elk, deer, javelina, and birds make up the majority of natural life in the forest. It is quite a feast for the eyes when you look out the front window of your cabin and see an 8-foot bull elk looking directly at you!  The climate in Happy Jack is unusual compared to Arizona’s generally extreme hot and dry temperatures. In the summer time, Happy Jack receives an annual monsoon storm about every afternoon along with forty-degree temperatures late at night. In the wintertime, Happy Jack averages about six feet of snow per winter. Temperatures generally range from seventy-five degrees to eighty-five degrees and sunshine is prevalent every day. Enjoying the fragrance of the pine trees and kayaking Blue Ridge Reservoir is one of the best experiences that I have had in my surroundings. Happy Jack’s climate and environment allow my community to stand out from the others.

There are unusual facts about Happy Jack that people are not normally aware of. Happy Jack has a unique post office along with a telescopic observatory. For instance, Happy Jack has the second smallest post office in the country. It is literally no bigger than a very small one-car garage. It originated in the 1960s and is still very useful today. In addition to this, the Lowell Observatory has considered Happy Jack as an ideal place for a new Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT). In 2001, tests were done in Happy Jack to prove that it would produce successful results. The tests proved to thrive because the forest conditions were almost perfect for testing. Therefore, a telescopic observatory is planned to be built in Happy Jack soon.

Residents in Happy Jack are very welcoming and generous to new people. When my family and I first moved to the community, we were welcomed with open arms and sincere hearts. It is with pride that I can say that I live in a place that people are genuinely nice to newcomers. Most of the residents wave hello to each other and often engage in friendly conversation. Bake sales, yard sales, and barbeques are very popular in the community because they foster new friendships. One significant aspect of my personal social life is my church, Happy Jack Bible Church. We are a close church family and I love how our small community unites us even more.

Rurally located in a large forest, Happy Jack is definitely one of the most special communities. It has a beautiful environment with many different kinds of wildlife. Happy Jack serves as a tourist attraction allowing its visitors to enjoy several lakes, reservoirs, unusual trees, and spectacular wildlife. The community enables families such as mine to experience rural living in rustic cabins surrounded by friendly people. It is a memorable experience getting off the Coconino County school bus each day to absorb the beauty of Happy Jack. I believe Happy Jack is the most unique town in Arizona because of its attractive features. It is with pride that I call the state of Arizona my home.