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March 1-2: White Tank Mountains, Surprise, AZ

We woke to another rain-washed desert morning here in Arizona. Yesterday afternoon and last night brought more high winds and downpours. At least we didn't get snow, as did the higher elevations around us. We hid out in the beautiful White Tank Library for a while, and then sat in the car enjoying our heated seats until the winds died down around 9 pm.

White Tank Library is a real gem - so gorgeous. (Photo on right belongs to Friends of the Library)

Waterfall Canyon trail is probably one of the most popular - in part because it is paved and accessible for the first half mile or so. Given that it rained about 3/4" over night, we saw a number of folks walking in to the canyon.

Waterfall Canyon Trail provides views of the dramatic, bouldered landscape.

Once we arrived nearly to the waterfall, I remembered the part where you have to rock-hop and navigate pools of water, which were quite full this morning. I held back with the dogs, while Glen made it the rest of the way into the box canyon and within view of the waterfall.

Glen rock-hops his way to views of the waterfall.

The plunge pools are quite full and the waterfall in the background is active. Nice pics, Glen!

Once back at the campsite, we had a very leisurely lunchtime. Glen cooked up some fragrant rice and I stir fried onions, broccoli, snap peas and Glen's homemade tempeh. Finished with some homemade hot sauce, tamari and a spritz of grapefruit juice, we had one of our best meals yet on this trip.

From Ford Canyon Trail, we could see mountains to the north of Phoenx, covered with snow. Glad we weren't camping there last night!

Having hiked some of the more nearby trails yesterday, this afternoon we hiked Mesquite Trail to Waddell Trail and then onto Ford Canyon Trail. Once at the 3-mile marker on Ford Canyon Trail, we turned back. There is some talk of doing a larger loop tomorrow.

True-blue lupine were in bloom along the trail and some sort of cholla were budded out (at least I think those are buds!)

As I write, we are already in the tent, since the sun has sunk behind the mountains and the air is very chilly. We will probably go out for a final walk before we call it a night.

We scoped out possible future backcountry camping areas while in Ford Canyon.

Tomorrow we might just check out the hazadous conditions, but today we turned back not long after these signs.

Ford Canyon opens into what seems to me to be an unusually broad, flat expanse - filled with saguaros.

Life is good.

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