Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Waterfall Hike at White Tank Park with Doug.

12/4/15. Friday.  Doug felt like we ought to do something interesting while the weather was comfortable.  The hiking club had told me about the Waterfall Hike at White Tank Regional Park.  That sounded interesting so we decided to take the 2 mile round trip hike.  However, the water only flows after a heavy rain storm so the name of the trail sounds a bit misleading.  Um, I am not so sure I would want to be in a canyon right after a heavy rain with fast flowing water through a narrow canyon anyway!  We paid the $6 entrance fee and drove all through the park to checkout the scenery and the campground before hiking.  

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The day was a bit overcast and made the hike pleasant.  Right many people were on this very popular trail.  The trail was nice and level, wide, and hard packed over what used to be be pavement, so was an easy hike.  We also had lots of nice views of the valley and distant mountain ranges.   

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This bird in a desert bush nearby caught my attention and I was really pleased at what the camera captured when I enlarged it.  I haven’t seen a bird with these colors before.    

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We reached the portion of the trail that narrowed a little and took us into the canyon and the base of the waterfall.

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I bet the fall is pretty when flowing and the canyon was filled with huge rocks along the streambed. 

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The only water we saw was just a small pool at the base of the rock face where the water would flow.

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There were also some interesting petroglyphs up in the canyon.  Makes you wonder who the people were and what they were doing way up in the canyon, plus how the petroglyph rocks got to where they were, and obviously something caused them to break apart and tumble into the canyon.  Wonder what the carvings mean. 

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This little guy was waiting for us back in a tree by the truck.  He even waited to pose for me!   Just a fun little short hike to get us outdoors.  We stopped by the nature center and watched a live snake feeding,  They fed 7 snakes, some were rattlesnakes, with warmed thawed out frozen white mice.  Yuck!! 

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving and Return to Pleasant lake

11/30/15. Monday.  Whew, need to hike off some of that Thanksgiving dinner!  Our Thanksgiving Day was quiet and restful.  Tickets for the dinner here at the park were sold out before we got here.  I had bought an oven stone for our gas stove and it sure has made a difference in our baking.  So we bought a nice sized turkey so we would have leftovers.  We had the usual trimmings and everything sure was good.  Plenty for leftover turkey sandwiches with mayo and salt on white bread-Umm!  Fattening but we’ve just got to sneak one day of cheating with something good besides lo-fat, no-fat, salt-free, no-taste health food!  Yep, got our turkey sandwich fix.  

Besides, I knew there was a good hike coming up on Monday.  We returned to Pleasant Lake Regional Park to hike the 6 mile round trip Beardsley Trail.  It was 35 degrees when I left the RV at 7:30 AM!  Now, that was cold!  But needed the exercise and the fresh air, and we had clear blue sky with some wind.

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This trail took us down and close to the dam that created the pretty lake.  Boy, we could really feel that wind up on the ridge that gave us views of the dam.  Even blew my hat off several times!  Thank goodness some of us also wore earmuffs.  Brrr……  But old Joe had us warming up quickly with his fast pace!  I was the “sweep”, meaning no one can hike behind me since the “sweep” makes sure everyone is accounted for.  I think they did that to me since I like to stop and take pictures.  But then I am the one that has to race to catch up! 

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This trail has the reputation of having thick growths of Saguaro Cactus and open views of the distant landscape.

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We turned around at the 3 mile point to return the same way we hiked in.  Break time!  That hat sure did a good job of keeping my head warm. 

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On the way out, we noticed the nice view of Lake Pleasant that we saw the week before.  There were even a few brave souls in the campgrounds even though it was cold.  As the trail took us just behind the campground, we asked the campers if they had the hot chocolate and coffee ready!  Man, that blazing campfire sure looked inviting!  This was a good hike but a bit tough because much of the trail was on a steady incline in and then back out.  I like the going down parts! Felt good to get warm on the way home. 

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

White Tank Park-Black Canyon Loop Tail

11/25/2015.  Wednesday.  Another cool morning and overcast.  Six of us including Joe, the leader, headed West of town this time to White Tank Park at the base of the White Tank mountain range, about 15 mils away.  The White Tank Mountain Regional Park encompasses 29,271 acres of desert and mountain landscape, it is the largest regional park in the county.  Opened in 2010 and located at the park's entrance, is the White Tank Library & Nature Center that features views of the park plus live native reptiles, information center, and gift shop.  There are several picnic and campground areas.  The AZ regional parks are fee paid areas and you can also buy a yearly pass per car that saves on the entrance fee, so several hikers from the park have a pass. 

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The park is better renowned for its extensive network of 26 miles of hiking trails.  Only six of us made the hike this time for the 4 mile Black Canyon Loop Trail.  Joe called us “Joe’s Hiking Harem” since he was the only male!

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It started off cloudy but then the clouds started breaking up and we began to see some nice blue sky.  It sure made for some nice pictures.  This hike was far more scenic than the one on Monday. 

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It finally warmed up enough for us to take our jackets off, especially with Joe just taking off down the trail!  Gosh, but it was pretty out there and pictures really don’t do it justice.

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Joe just wanted to make sure his “harem” was headed in the right direction when we came upon these 2 cowboys heading out onto the trail from the While Tank Stables next to the trail and the park.  Loved it!  Found some real cowboys!  I got to pet the horses.  The cowboy in the second picture convinced me I could ride, so 3 of us gals are going to go for it!  I will let you know if I chicken out! The ladies that want to go are a bit older than I am, so I can’t let them show me up!  I love the second picture because the background is so pretty that it almost looks like a backdrop instead of being real.    

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We finished the scenic loop hike under the warm pretty sky. 

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We had a great morning and were back home before noon. 

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11/23/2015. Monday.  I’m back and at it again!  Oh, boy!  I was really looking forward to joining the hiking group here at the park.  I was a little worried that the scenery might not be as pretty as it was in Tucson since some of the mountains are not that close.  I was not disappointed!  It is just as scenic and our small group of hikers headed out to Lake Pleasant.  This group hikes twice a week! Whew!  Sure hope I can keep up.  The leader is tall and has long legs, likes a faster pace, so he really moves!  Everyone knows I love taking pictures of scenery so I am getting really good at taking pictures on the run! 

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Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a large outdoor recreation area straddling the Maricopa & Yavapai border northwest of Phoenix, and is a major recreation area for the Phoenix metropolitan area.   The morning was a little chilly and warmed up quickly.  There were only 7 of us.  We left the park at 8:00 AM for about a 20 minute drive to the park.  All the hikers I met were very nice. 

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The cornerstone of the park is the 10,000 acre lake, created by the Waddell  Dam, the largest agricultural dam project in the world. The lake was filled by the Agua Fria River, capturing a large watershed throughout Yavapai County. Lake Pleasant is used as a major water sports recreation center.  A number of boat docks and beach access make the lake a popular destination for water sports, plus there are a couple of campgrounds.  There is a big resort out there as well, but we didn’t see any of it from where we were.  Our trail took us around this end arm of the lake. 

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Break time!  A nice hike to start getting into shape for some of the longer hikes ahead.  This one was in and back out for a total of 4.5 miles.  I don’t like hats (except my cowgirl hat) but that old nasty thing called A-G-E has given age spots a new host!  I do worry about so much AZ sun, so I have resorted to a hat to protect my face and neck.  I just tell everyone I am the trail guide and looking for a new safari to lead! 

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