White Tank Mountain Regional Park AZ

If anyone wondered whether I’d ever drive Essie again, wonder no more, I did it all on the trip from Lake Pleasant to here. I hadn’t driven since before last summer, and we figured I’d better renew my skills before I regressed to being terrified at the mere thought. It wasn’t a long drive, but it included maneuvering between traffic delineators (new term alert!), squeezing through the park entrance gate, pulling into the dump station, and backing into our site.

A perfect 10!

The stormy skies you see in this photo didn’t actually show up for a few days, though something else almost immediately did.

Costa’s Hummingbird!

Although we’d seen this variety with their flared royal purple gorgets twice before, both times in Palm Springs CA, this was the first time I’d had one visit my feeder.

Since we didn’t have a long drive, that left us enough of the day to make a grocery run and take a short trail walk. The mountains blocked our sunset views at this park, but the skyscrapers of Phoenix blazed like the city’s namesake.

The fire bird rises.

Unlike the last park, the campground here was not close enough to the Visitor Center for a daily walk. Reaching it on foot required a 7.8 mile trek, which we happily did the next day.

VC or regional library? Why, it’s both!

We checked out the critters (three types of rattlesnacks, king snake, gopher snake, Gila monster, bark scorpions, desert hairy scorpion, and a hibernating desert tortoise,) filled our water bottles, and had a snack at a shady table on the patio.

The weather was getting set to change, so we got out ahead of it the next day for a ride to the Competivie Track. It also happened to be TBG’s birthday, making it the perfect activity.

Being that it was a dedicated mountain bike track, I wrongly assumed it would be mostly rockless. It was not, but I only had to chose to walk a few short downhill sections, and I gifted TBG a grumble-free birthday ride.

Wheeeee! It’s my birthday!

Then the rains came,

bringing moody skies.

There were flash flood warnings in all the surrounding areas that, fortunately, did not impact us in our spot, and gave us the opportunity to just stay in and relax.

and enjoy pieces of rainbows that showed up about every hour.

Aside from providing a good reason not to venture out, the thunderous deluges had, we hoped, made the waterfall run. We geared up in between downpours to go find out.

Freshly showered desert air.

The Waterfall Trail itself is only a mile long, but we walked from our site to stretch our rain-cramped legs for a roundtrip of 5.7 miles.

Non-compliant sign pointer!

Heading into the beautiful canyon.

Though it looks like it, we were not alone on this trail, since the break in the rain brought out many others like us who were eager to get a peek at the falls.

Well, shoot.

It was hard to believe that all that rain hadn’t created more cascading water. There was water actively running down the rocks forming this pool complete with toadpoles, but the falls we’d anticipated were a bust. We were not at all disappointed, though, since that section of canyon was particularly pretty.

It also showcased a hall of petroglyphs.

Almost as soon as we got back home, the skies opened up again with another round of lightning and thunder. We risked life and limb and took our showers anyhow.

It turned out OK. This time.

You all know to avoid all water during lightning storms — even washing your hands — right? Well, you do now.

You may be asking yourselves if a bike ride was the only birthday treat for TBG. Good question, and no, it was not. In our pre-RV days, I used to make cannoli, TBG’s favorite, from scratch for his birthday each year. The whole process is a bit involved, and not one that is easily done in an RV kitchen, so that tradition had to be put on hold. When I was looking ahead at stores and such in this area, I stumbled upon an Italian bakery that was very near. I told TBG that in between the laundromat in the morning and a family friends’ house for lunch, I was going to plug a location into the GPS, and he was going to go there no questions asked. He asked A LOT of questions.

“Take a right, it’s just down this road.”

“Is it the KFC?”

“Yes, I’m buying you a Little Bucket Parfait.”

“Really?”

“No.”

“Is it the Lowe’s?”

“Yes. I’m getting you a faucet.”

“Really?”

“No. Stop guessing.”

Birthday surprise in Surprise AZ!

Despite his best efforts to ruin his own surprise, I successfully (and for the last time) managed to surprise him.

I make better cannoli than your daddy.

They were very good, and we took a box of them to our hostess, but they were not as good as the ones I used to make if I do say so myself. TBG said so himself, as well.

Between our delicious lunch and dessert, we had a lot to work off, and we headed into Ford Canyon to do just that.

TBG chooses the right path.

It was a relatively easy hike for about 2.5 miles, then there was a sign warning of hazardous trails, hikers beware! We be’d wary and pressed onward.

Movin’ on up.

I think I look photoshopped into this picture. My knees know the truth.

Clinging to the rocks to avoid a drop in the drink.

Looking for snakes.

Just kidding! Sort of. I wasn’t purposely looking for them, but I don’t particularly care for crawling where they can live. To my relief, I found none, and none found me. At another point, where no footholds presented themselves up the face of a large rock, I simply threw myself at it and slid up on my belly like a lizard. Observing the ways of the critters pays off! TBG had less trouble being big and all.

Finally through the hard part!

The trail stayed up along the hillside for a few miles, traversing several long switchbacks. The slightly overcast day and the breeze were blessings.

The choice is clear.

At this junction, we started to see more people and horses, our feet were beginning to ache, and we were glad to be making the final descent in our 11.3 mile day. After reaching the picnic area, the final mile or so was mostly level desert walking to home.

We went our separate ways for the first part of the next day. I drove myself down to the VC to see the critters and take a short solo walk.

The Costa’s were showing off.

I had to take a sign selfie.

Thank goodness they’re not allowed on the trails!

On my way back home, I stopped off to check out the short wildlife trail that led to the pond.

Well, yuck.

The pond obviously hadn’t been tended to in quite some time, the black plastic retainer visible and dirty water pooled in it. I felt bad for the families whose memorial benches lined the pond.

Back at the rig, TBG’s friend, Jerry, from Mesa had come to visit so the two of them could do some mountain biking. When they got back, they were scolded by the camp host for having a big glass beer bottle outside. There is a very small sign at the entrance regarding glass containers. According to the host, no one sees it. According to me, that means move the sign or make it bigger. Also, folks might like to have a large glass bottle to defend themselves against the coyote that stalks the dumpster. Just my thoughts which I kept to myself.

Not only the Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds visited my feeder, but the Gila woodpeckers were a constant guest. I like to see them, but I worry they will break the feeder. A pretty little Verdin (thanks, Laurel, for the I.D.!) barely bigger than the hummingbirds, showed up a few times for a sip, too.

We did take one more hike during our stay, a 5.7 mile trail combo. None of our photos came out very share-worthy, except this one.

I declare the (rare?) Crested Saguaro will be our official Christmas tree.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we have a month to go. So with that, I wish you all a very

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

15 thoughts on “White Tank Mountain Regional Park AZ

  1. Pingback: White Tank Mountain Regional Park AZ II | Chasing Dirt

  2. Props to you on the driving. While I do about 40% of our road driving these days, I do not back into our sites. We have very comfortable roles now, with me directing and Kevin driving. I know we should switch, but neither of us have any confidence in our abilities to do the other’s job. Good for you guys for really switching roles on this stuff. It doesn’t really solve any problem if I can only drive and not park… Though, I guess I could just keep driving until I ran out of gas and pulled over on the side of the road….

    Anyway, you really need to make me some cannolis. TBG may be OK with these substitutes, but as an honorary Italian (meaning, I am the furthest thing from Italian), I know good cannolis and require only the best. So, get crackin, little missy!

    Speaking of TBG, Happy Belated Birthday, buddy! I’m going to assume the amazeball bird pics in here are his… they really are terrific!

    Finally, did you REALLY find another crested saguaro? Wow! You must have special skills. You know how rare those are, right??? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! We were both pretty impressed when I successfully navigated those traffic cone thingies — that was squeezy. He definitely has to help me back up and talks me through some turns because I still don’t have the visual feel for that right front corner i.e. I often think I’m going to go off the road or hit something with it. I think you’d be fine on your own — just get pull thrus or those parallel roadside spots! That reminds me that while I’ve pulled into the fuel pumps, I haven’t ever fueled it up myself. Dang it, something else for my to-do list.

      I would happily make you cannoli, but I no longer have the dough forms. Someday, when I have them again, you will taste the best cannoli you’ve ever had.

      As TBG said, that 2nd hummie pic was mine (TLG, The Little General.) I couldn’t even really see whether those shots were coming out when I was taking them — just what every photographer wants to hear, right?

      Can you believe that cactus? I’m like a saguaro diviner or something!!

      Like

  3. So enjoy your Blog. Always puts a smile on my face, and have to also tell my hubby your story. OH NO! No Cannolli for TBG. Tell him I feel his pain. I remember when he brought it to work for us to sample. I had never heard of it before. It sure was tasty. Thinking of a driving trip to Arizona in April. We have several friends that live in the Phoenix area. Happy Thanksgiving to you and TBG!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Belated Happy Birthday TBG! Your wifey sure knows how to search for alternatives or substitutes birthday dessert, but she still has to make you the real deal! right, Joodie?
    Did you use a tripod for that purple beauty! great shot of him checking you out too πŸ™‚
    While we almost had the same weather pattern at this time, I did not see any rainbow and moody skies like all your beautiful captures.
    We too had some good times hiking most of the trail at White Tanks. We had similar achy feet after 11 miles the difference is that ours was an unplanned long hike. and we did not have enough water 😦

    Since you are at Cave Creek now, both of you might be interested in seeing Michelin Man (he is more than a crested one) standing out there in the desert in one of the trails. I think he is a better Christmas tree πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was pretty proud of myself for finding that authentic Italian bakery, but I will have to get new cannoli-makin’ supplies someday again. Looks like I’ll have to throw a big cannoli party for TBG, too, and invite you all to eat ’em.

      I did not use a tripod for my Costa’s pic. It was sort of a dumb-luck point and shoot.

      You didn’t get any rainbows during that other storm? That’s surprising since we had so many all throughout the day.

      I’m glad you didn’t dehydrate in the desert — that is scary. Sometimes I know people are looking at us thinking we’re taking too large a pack or over-geared for certain hikes, but I’d rather carry more than I’ll use than cut it too close (which I’ve done a time or two — yikes!)

      We are definitely going to find the Michelin Man. I looked it up, and seems there is one at McDowell, too. They certainly look impressive!

      Like

  5. Props to you for renewing your familiarity with driving the rig. As you know, RV ladies being self-sufficient is a soapbox issue for me so I am pleased that you are leading the way.

    I really love the contrast of the desert environment and the distant views of the Phoenix megalopolis. Looks like a great place to celebrate many occasions. Belated happy birthday to TBG, and Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with your soapboxing — it was one of our “rules” for full-timing πŸ™‚

      Isn’t it something how close these regional parks are to the big city? I wish the pictures of the blazing buildings had turned out better, it was amazingly bright. The parks, in the order we’re seeing them on this run, are getting better as we go. The weather isn’t, but it’s still better than late autumn many other places.

      Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one, too!

      Like

  6. What a fabulous birthday for TBG!! A rocky trail to ride and broccoli cannoli! LOL. Your conversation on the way to the ‘surprise’ destination for his birthday treat is hilarious. You’re not really going to make that the last surprise for him, are you?? Then you would be missing out on more great dialogue to share with us next year. πŸ˜‚

    White Tanks is another of the Phoenix Regional Parks we haven’t yet been to, but those hikes look fun! The Waterfall Trailβ€”even without a waterfallβ€”is gorgeous. And your photos of the Costa’s are fabulous! I’m always happy to help you with bird identification. I just make stuff up if I don’t know what it is (just kidding!!).

    Happy Thanksgiving! We’re grateful to have you met you guys and are looking forward to more time together this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know, broccoli cannoli is healthy!! πŸ˜€ I’m still debating whether or not I’ll try to surprise him again. It’s sort of excruciating LOL

      That was a good park for sure. I think the Waterfall hike was my favorite for beauty, and Ford Canyon for physicality even though my arms were sore. Who gets sore arms from hiking?!

      Those little Verdins are absolutely adorable, and I know you didn’t make it up because, even though I trust you implicitly, I looked it up once you named it. πŸ˜€

      We are thankful to have you in our lives, too, and eagerly await a reunion ❀

      Like

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