We went back to the White Tank Mountains today. Our oldest son kept asking me what the name White Tank means. I did a little research on the internet and came up with this explanation. A tank, here in the Southwest, means a depression in rock that contains collected rain water. Some of the tanks in this small mountain range are made from granite that has been weathered and bleached. Thus the name White Tank Mountains.
Today we hiked the Waterfall Trail. (There is a waterfall at the end of the trail only after a heavy rain.) The trail is about 1 mile long. The first half of the trail is smooth and easy, stroller and wheelchair accessible. Here our second son is standing near a creosote bush (in the front with small yellow flowers) and what I think is a palo verde tree (right behind him).
The smooth trail ends near several rocks covered with petroglyphs. Supposedly some of these carvings are 10,000 years old. (Click the pictures to see it enlarged.)
The next section of trail is rockier. The trail slowly climbs through the canyon. I kept thinking of old western movies, "This would be the perfect place for an ambush!"
Once past the rockier part, the trail is no longer maintained. In other words, there isn't much of a trail there! The canyon gets more and more narrow.
Our third child is such a trooper! She made it the whole way. Here she is at the tank at the end of the trail. I'm not sure how the waterfall is made. There must be another tank at the top of the big cliff behind her and then the water spills down.
On the way back down the mountain it started to sprinkle. My husband called me and asked, "Where are you? Are you getting wet? You'll be getting really wet in a few minutes!" We could see down into the valley and had noticed the lightning and rain moving our way. He said that down in Surprise it was pouring rain and they even had hail. While taking pictures I managed to get one with some of the lightning. (You have to click on it to see the lightning.)
It an amazing thing to be standing in a canyon and hearing the booming thunder echoing all around you. Very cool! We made it back to the car just as it started to pour.
A few final pictures
An ocotillo, not a cactus. It still has wickedly sharp spines though.
Our only brush with a dreaded snake. It was about as big around as my finger. I wonder what got the other half. We saw a fox as we drove into the park and we saw a coyote crossing the road as we drove out.
At the base of the mountains is a new housing development. I just thought it would be cool to have a roof to hang out on like this house.