Changes Inc. was a federally-funded Outward Bound-style program, headquartered in Las Cruces, NM. An educator by the name of William O. Evans had talked the United States Post Office Dep’t. into making their ubiquitous facilities available for store-front schools in blighted urban areas throughout the country. The personnel of these schools would be inner-city activists. I was hired to be the Director of Confidence Training, and I was joined by Doug Kruschke , the Director of Human Relations Training. Before leaving Cambridge, Mass for New Mexico (after having dropped out of a doctoral program at Harvard) my first job was to visit the Dep’t of Defense warehouses in Philadelphia, to pick out the equipment I would need for our expeditions. This equipment included Vietnam packs, sleeping bags, boots, kitchen equipment etc., along with a fleet of Jeeps, personnel carriers and radios. The vehicles were delivered to Las Cruces by rail. I also needed to round up a staff, and had my friend, David Hiser, run ads on the Aspen, CO radio station for mountaineers. This is the Changes Inc. brochure:
After arriving in Las Cruces, I was given the use of a single-engine plane with which to scout out the various ranges and canyons that I might wish to use for expeditions. The pilot let me both take-off and land the plane. Pretty exciting. The first participants to arrive in Las Cruces were to be the Directors of the program in various cities. The Director from Washington, DC was a Black Muslim, who arrived with his five wives. The Director from Chicago arrived with a bullet in him. One guy wore a 50 cal. bullet on a lanyard around his neck, and had a ruby embedded in one of his front teeth. These guys were the REAL THING. Of course, they started getting into trouble immediately. The local Congressman, a notorious rightist, got very upset when he got wind of who was in town and demanded to know why he hadn’t been consulted beforehand.
Our initial trip was to Havasu Canyon, in the Grand Canyon. It was winter but we bundled all the participants into the backs of the personnel carriers and headed west. I, with staff, rode in a Jeep, keeping contact with the convoy by radio. The participants amused themselves by getting stoned. Just west of Flagstaff, we pulled into a filling station/restaurant across from an Army depot. Our very conspicuous assemblage of Army vehicles had no license plates on them, and we were soon visited by Army police from the depot. But all it took was me pulling out my letters of authorization. In Havasu Canyon, we hiked down to the tiny town of Supai. There, the participants expected to be welcomed with open arms, assuming that the Havasupai Indians would recognize them as fellow marginalized people, but the only interest on the part of the tribe was to collect fees. We hiked downstream past Havasu Falls to below Mooney Falls, where we set up a camp. We had the place to ourselves. Havasu was still relatively unknown. We continued as far downstream as Beaver Falls. While on the top of a cliff I walked over to one of the men, who immediately moved away. They were very suspicious of our intent, supposing that they may have been sent on this outing so as to get bumped off.
The photos below were taken with a medium format film camera. The spring water that feeds Havasu Creek contains a lot of dissolved solids, which solids precipitate to form a limestone rock called travertine. I have no other photographs from my time with Changes. Eventually, the program was moved to a facility in Mountainair, NM. The locals went nuts when they saw what had been plopped into their midst, and the program was then promptly ended.