" This short three-mile hike was a real treat during our visit to Pheonix "

Hiking White Tank Mountain

Back in January, Niecie’s family flew us down to Pheonix to see her grandparents. They’d recently retired and purchased a winter home in the community near Surprise on the west end of Pheonix.

While there, Niecie and I snuck away to enjoy a short hike at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. It was a big gesture coming from Niecie. She’d never really enjoyed hiking the way I had, but she knew it would mean the world to me.

White Tank Mountain isn’t so much a mountain as a rocky outcropping. Here miles of hiking and horse trails snake around hundreds of slender green cacti.

It being January, the normally red-orange landscape of the desert was awash in green-blues. Looking back at the pictures, it was almost surreal just how green everything was.

We arrived at the park a little before noon and the temperature had already reached 70. In the thin desert air, it felt far warmer than that.

All around us saguaro cacti rose 20 or more feet from the desert floor. It was the first time I’d ever seen saguaros with my own eyes.

I’d spent time in Arizona and New Mexico two years earlier, but that had been in the high desert and far from the classic green cactus.

Hitting the trail

After spending more time than I’d like to admit turning the map upside down trying to get oriented, we parked the rental and set off to explore the Waddell trail. It was really a rather short hike before we joined Ford Canyon Trail. Along the way, we stopped for a snack. I wanted to keep Niecie’s moral up so we could hike as long as possible.

I love the desert and I was going to spend as much time here as I could.

While we snacked on Halo oranges, chocolate turtles and Twislers, we got a surprise visit from a couple of horseback riders.

White Tank Mountain

As we continued up the trail, the narrow path became rockier as it angled upward.

About this point in our hike, we turned back. It was a further 10 miles before we would loop around to where we’d parked.

Neither one of us was prepared for a hike that long and neither of us had brought the right shoes for a hike anywhere near that long.

Instead, we followed Ford Canyon back towards the rental car before veering off on a detour along Ironwood Trail. We were taking our time, enjoying the sites and sounds of the unfamiliar environment. Every now and then, we’d catch sight of a lizard darting amongst the sage brush.

We stopped frequently to take pictures of strange fauna and Niecie even had a couple close calls with a few prickly cactus balls which stuck to her boots.

All told, the three-mile hike was a real treat. I have to thank Niecie for working it into our visit.

FullSizeRender 13

Our route

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  • Customs -N- Classics

    Sounds like you had a great time. I worked out in Phoenix, in the early ’90’s, during the summer as a demolition and construction laborer. I remember how hot it can get by 7 am.
    If you get back there again, see if you can veer off into New Mexico, the scenery is amazing!

    April 12, 2017 - 1:35 pm Reply
    • tobiasmann

      I loved New Mexico. There are so many things to see. I only spent a short time in the North-Western part of the state, but it left a lasting impression on me.

      April 15, 2017 - 12:35 pm Reply
  • usathroughoureyes

    Great photos. Have to add this one to the bucket list.

    April 12, 2017 - 2:36 pm Reply
    • tobiasmann

      This part didn’t make it into the post, but I wasn’t all that thrilled to go to Pheonix at first but it ended up being a lot of fun and a great trip.

      April 15, 2017 - 12:31 pm Reply
      • usathroughoureyes

        Isn’t it funny how sometimes it works out that way. When you least want to partake in something is when the some off the greatest things happen.

        April 15, 2017 - 2:51 pm Reply
  • Boots on the Trail

    Unless it’s specifically a roadtrip or a train trip, all of our trips are centered around hiking – it’s what we do. There are a lot of easy/moderate trails in the Phoenix area: South Mountain (south Phoenix / Ahwatukee), Usery Mountain (east Mesa), Estrella Mountains (west Phoenix / Goodyear), Cave Creek Regional Park (north Phoenix / Cave Creek), Piestewa Peak (north-central Phoenix), Dreamy Draw (north-central Phoenix), Lost Dog Wash (north-east Scottsdale), McDowell Mountain Regional Park (Fountain Hills), Papago Park (east Phoenix / southwest Scottsdale), Camelback Mountain (north-central Phoenix). Mount Lemmon down by Tucson and Chiricahua National Monument in SE Arizona are also great destinations. When I worked in Arizona, we worked at night because the equipment got too hot to touch during the day!

    April 12, 2017 - 4:44 pm Reply
    • tobiasmann

      I love Arizona and New Mexico. I spent two weeks working in Arizona with a documentary team out of Winona State University and Diné College in Tsaile. It was an amazing experience. We spent a lot of time hiking the canyons. Maybe one day I’ll share pictures from that trip. I was going back until the program ended abruptly after our premiere.

      April 15, 2017 - 12:29 pm Reply
  • Richard

    I want to see more of these adventures. Love sharing in the experience.

    April 13, 2017 - 8:04 pm Reply
    • tobiasmann

      We can’t wait share more adventures like this one. We won’t always be able to just jump on a plane and show up in a beautiful desert playground every week, but there are plenty of great places to go close to home. Maybe we’ll have an adventure in Kenosha next fall while visiting Frannie and Dusty. Niecie hasn’t been to the ORV park in Gilbert yet, that could be a fun adventure too.

      April 15, 2017 - 12:24 pm Reply

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