Day 303 ~ Waterfall Trail Waddell, AZ

January 22nd, 2017 ~ Day 303

Wanting to get more mileage for the 100 miles in 100 days challenge, Eric and I took my two youngest children over to the White Tank Mountains to do the Waterfall Trail. An easy trail for the kids as it’s only a two mile hike. A nice little family hike to continue on my journey, spend time with the kids and get them outdoors and into nature.

The last time I was here, we had the whole family. My Grandma D was with us and my son was only a baby. Good memories of that day came flooding back to me. My grandma and Jimmy, my children’s father, who are no longer with us in this life, were both on this trail the last time I was here.

My little guy hiking along. He had to bring his hiking stick and wear his momma’s hat.

One of the features of this trail, besides the waterfall at the end, is the petroglyph’s you get to see along side the trail. Ancient markings from the Native Americans who once inhabited this area long ago. This area must have been popular with the waterfall and the flowing creek. Nowadays water rarely flows, but you have to wonder, was it flowing regularly so long ago?

We came across a rustic looking object, I assumed to be a water tank. Bullet holes covered the face of the tank. I wonder how old this is and who placed it here? Was it in recent years or could it be from the miners? So much history on this trail, it left me with more questions. Maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity to research the answers to my questions.

It didn’t seem like we climbed any elevation on this hike, but with views of valley behind us, it looks like we were a little higher than I expected.

We made it to the waterfall. A small little trickle coming over the mountain side. With the recent rains I knew there had to be water flowing and luckily I was right. It was a great day to make it out here for a hike.

There was a pool of water at the base of the waterfall and my little girl wanted to climb across the water and up to where the water was actually falling. Trying not to get her feet wet, she made it across a few rocks. Frozen for quit awhile deciding where to go, she moved and fell in the water. Feet soaking wet, she made her way back and gave up.

Climbing back through the rocks to get to the trail, I had to help my little man through the crack.

Grateful my son did this hike today. He’s not always happy to go hiking and usually complains, but the smile on his face made it all worth it. It was a great family day with my son, daughter and boyfriend. Life is good and I’m grateful I’m out here living it!

 

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Day 253 ~ Mesquite to Willow to Ford Canyon to Mesquite Loop Waddell, AZ

December 3rd, 2016 ~ Day 253

Officially starting out on the Waddell Trail for a tenth of a mile, we then began our hike on the Mesquite Trail. It was a little chilly when we began, but soon we were taking off layers. 

It was only Kim, Kristen and Zoe today. A small group, but I was excited to hike in the White Tank Mountains again for this 100 miles in 100 days. 

The sun began to shine and the tempurature began to rise. Hiking through what felt like deserted desert, we only ran into a few people along the trail. The White Tank Mountains are a beautiful place to hike. I’m grateful in getting the opportunity to explore more of it. 

We turned off the Mesquite Trail and headed up Willow Canyon Trail for a couple miles until we reached the Ford Canyon Trail. This was going to be a nice long loop.

It was great having Zoe along, she kept us on a great pace. She was definitely in the lead for today’s hike. 

Coming to a crossroad, trying to orientate ourselves, we luckily figured out where we were. Assuming we were going to make a right turn, this could have been a much longer hike. Instead we turned left on the Ford Canyon Trail to hike or originally intended nine miles. 

Seeing the amazing views from the top of the mountain never ceases to amaze me. This is part of the reason why I go hiking. You will never get to see such beauty unless you get out there and walk to it. 

It was a beautiful nine mile hike through the desert. Having never been on the Mesquite Trail or the Willow Canyon Trail, I was excited to explore. I’m grateful for another opportunity to hike in an amazing place. Love this life!

 

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Day 225 ~ Ford Canyon to Goat Camp Canyon Loop Waddell, AZ

November 5th, 2016 ~ Day 225

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Tackling a 13 mile hike in the White Tank Mountains today, my first time here since I’ve begun this journey, I was so excited. Our hike begins at the Ford Canyon Trail. The Ford Canyon Trail, along with the Waterfall Trail, are the only two hikes I’ve ever done in the White Tanks, and I was anxious to explore new territory!

Today’s hike was a Meetup with Hiking for Hops. This would be the third time I’ve hiked with this group, although I’ve known Bob, our leader, a few years. A story we got to share a few times today, of how we missed a turn while hiking the National Trail on South Mountain and ended up hiking over 18 miles on our 13 mile hike. A day I’ll never forget!

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The Ford Canyon Trail begins as a flat desert hiking trail with a slight incline for the first mile. The desert views are beautiful right from the start. We took off at a quick pace of 16 minutes that first mile.

Once into our second mile, we began hiking up through the canyon. We encountered beautiful rock walls and a little bit of boulder hopping as we continued along our hike. The white granite was glowing a bright white. Everything about this canyon was amazing.

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Climbing over the enormous slabs of granite, we made our way through the canyon. It had rained a couple days ago and there were still small pools of water from the rain. Years of erosion had created these natural pools. I only have to assume the name White Tanks comes from the “granite pools”.

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Once we passed the last wall of granite, which looked possibly like a damn, we were done with climbing over boulders. On to the next terrain, hiking through a dried sandy river bed. I’ve always found walking through sand is harder than anything. Your feet tend to sink down farther towards the earth and you have to work harder to get them up again.

The trail was difficult to navigate through the river bed. I followed the foot prints of the hikers who were in front of me. Bob was with me, but he let me lead the way.

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After hiking through the dried river bed, we continued a gradual uphill climb. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had thought after we made it through the rocks and boulders, we’d have a nice easy hike on somewhat of a level trail. I was completely wrong!

We stopped in a wash to take a break before our next climb. I found a little bush and sat down under it for a little shade. There wasn’t much shade out here, but luckily the temperatures weren’t scorching.

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Not too long after our break, we came to an intersection where we then began the Goat Camp Canyon Trail. Luckily I was with the group, because I wasn’t paying attention. That is definitely one thing I love about Meetups, I just follow the leader and enjoy the outdoors.

Seeing the White Tank Mountains from afar on a daily basis, you never realize how deep this mountain range is until you hike it. We continued on a gradual uphill climb through the mountain. It looked like a desert prairie with cacti scattered about.

It was beginning to seem as though the uphill was never going to end. From the higher elevation, you could see the small specks of the granite wash we just hiked through below.

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Seeing the valley from a completely different view today. Having never been in this portion of the White Tank Mountains, I was amazed at how far I could see. It looked like I was above the clouds. With the highest elevation in this range being 4083 feet, I believe my perception may have been a little off.

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Finally after ten miles of mostly uphill hiking, we were on our way down. Although, the downhill climb was treacherous. After all my complaints about going uphill, I would have rather done uphill both ways than climb down this. I had to be cautious with every step I took. My pace slowed to a 28 minute mile as I navigated my way down the giant rocks and slippery gravel. Luckily it was only a couple miles before we were on level ground again.

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The view of the range I just hiked down was spectacular. Looking back at this scene, made this entire hike worth it. In the last mile, I couldn’t wait for this to be over, but seeing this, I’m so grateful to have enjoyed the journey today.

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After five and a half hours and 13 long miles, we were done. A portion of the group headed out to have lunch, and since the group name is Hiking for Hops, they all had their beer of course.

It was a great day and an amazing group! I’m looking forward to the next hike!

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