On May 29, 1979, Peter Bigfoot and a group of students started a trek into the Superstition Wilderness from the Cross P Ranch (now the J-B). They had intended to start at the Campaign Trailhead, but the road was so washed out they couldn't drive in. So on the first day they hiked from the Cross P up to the Upper Horrell Ranch, stopping along the way to cool off in the creek.

When they reached the Upper Horrell, Bigfoot says he felt right away, "This is home." He had a strong sense of deja vu, and he could already feel what it could become, although he wasn't able to put it into words right away. Ever since he'd been a boy in New Jersey, Peter had felt drawn to Arizona and to the Superstitions in particular. When he saw the Upper Horrell Ranch, he felt this was where he was supposed to be.

The next day the group hiked up to Reavis Gap and then back to the Upper Horrell, where they camped again. Bigfoot was already starting to talk about the possibility of owning the land and what could be done there.

Back at the Cross P, he found out who owned the Upper Horrell, a rancher named Jim Tidwell. And by chance, Jim Tidwell, who also owned the Spring Creek Store, was at the store when Peter dropped by that day. Tidwell had received many proposals to sell the Upper Horrell but had never been interested in selling. The land had been in the family a long time. Peter asked him, "What are you going to do with it?" and Tidwell said, "What are you going to do with it?" Peter said, "I'd like to live there and put in an orchard and a garden and make it into a little Garden of Eden." Tidwell said, "That's the best idea I've heard yet. Give me a few days to talk to my wife."

The next thing Peter did was to go to his friend John Goodson. Goodson is an attorney and a close friend of Peter's. They had been teaching land navigation classes together, and Goodson was the friend who had dropped Peter off at the start of his July 1976 trek. When Peter mentioned Tidwell's name, Goodson said, "I think I know that guy." It turned out that John Goodson and Jim Tidwell had been fraternity brothers at law school.

Bigfoot and Goodson visited Tidwell and eventually negotiated a sale. Goodson created the legal partnership called Ecological and Environmental Experiment for Everyone (EEEE) by which funds were raised to purchase the land. EEEE received title on December 15, 1979, and preparations were begun for living on the land. Peter and about eighteen others moved to the farm - now called Reevis Mountain School of Self-Sufficiency - on June 10, 1980.

It's been thirty years since Bigfoot first discovered the place that would become Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance, and conceived what could be done here. We are so grateful to John Goodson and the innumerable others who helped Reevis get started and reach where we are today.

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Reevis Mountain School is a division of the PAAK Foundation, an Arizona 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Copyright (c) 2000-2019 Reevis Mountain School. All rights reserved.

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