Willow Canyon Hike in the White Tank Mountains

You might recall from this post, that I went into the White Tank Mountains after an early morning rain so I could specifically see/hear the water running down the various desert mountain waterways.  It had rained multiple times in the preceding week and again around three-something on this particular Sunday.

I had a somewhat fanciful goal of hiking the trail until the closest point of divergence that would allow me to “bushwhack” out and beyond that known area to find myself ascending the hill where those antennas were perched in the distance….they looked so close on the map….

It would very likely have taken me another two-plus hours to make it there over hill and over dale…and the dark clouds were coming in quickly with their occasional loosed drops of sky…so I postponed the goal and looked to the immediate landscape and much closer ground for what might be otherwise interesting.

I already shared a post (as mentioned with the link in the first paragraph above) with an image of a closer view of the bejeweled grass, but here’s another one with a bit of a broader view.

The brooding sky and a bit of trail in the foreground….

More foreground trail and the darkening sky above the antennas in the distance….

I know I’ve shared images of the Sonoran Desert’s cholla cactus in the past…probably numerous times…but it’s something that cannot be ignored when I’m out hiking, and no matter how many photos I seem to make, there’s something so strikingly individual about them that I’m compelled to share them again.

The cool, damp weather brought out a couple more “firsts” for me and my desert hiking adventures: a tarantula and baby frog on the trail in the White Tank Mountains.

And lastly, low clouds over the mountains partially obscured the towers just north of Barry Goldwater Peak at 4,083 feet in elevation.

Thank you again for visiting…I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the White Tank Mountains just west of Phoenix, Arizona.

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13 responses

  1. Great work Scott. Wonderfully crafted images and soft words.

    November 25, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    • Thank you, Brother Mike…I appreciate your words. 🙂

      November 28, 2018 at 7:50 pm

  2. I enjoyed the hike. I know that feeling of compulsion to shoot and share those special things you find along the way! Perhaps I could have done without the tarantula, though he looks rather cute on the big screen with those hairy little legs. Somehow I might not have expected a frog in the desert, but what do I know? And I do like your images.

    November 25, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    • Thank you, Gunta…I’m glad you enjoyed the hike…and the images…and have sensed that you have felt that compulsion to shoot and share your found special things, as well…seems that I’m in good company. 🙂

      I found a pool of tadpoles on a different hike a couple of weeks ago…something that I will share here pretty soon…and that was a surprise, too.

      November 28, 2018 at 7:55 pm

  3. How wonderful that you managed to capture the tarantula up close like that. I remember seeing one years ago, but didn’t get a good shot, and haven’t had the good luck to find another since then… many years ago. The photos here manage to convey the spirit of the hike.

    November 25, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    • I thought it was wonderful, too, Shimon, to find the tarantula and then to be able to make some decent photos of it before it scuttled away. It was a good hike…and I hope that’s the spirit that came through the photos. Thank you….

      November 28, 2018 at 7:58 pm

  4. Ah, the beauty of the desert!

    November 26, 2018 at 8:08 pm

  5. The frog looks pretty hard to spot . . . the tarantula, on the other hand, I think would stand out quite nicely.

    Nice photos. Nice hike.

    November 26, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    • I just caught the tiniest flicker of movement from the frog and had to stop and look really closely. I’ve seen some sizable beetles out there, so I had to actually stop to see what it was. And you’re right…the tarantula was very visible…a nice surprise.

      Thank you, Emilio….

      November 28, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      • You are Welcome, Scott.

        November 29, 2018 at 1:30 am

  6. I love seeing that bejeweled grass again – that’s such an interesting phenomenon. Wouldn’t it be cool to study the physics of it – like how dry do the surrounding air and grass have to be for the water drop to stay in place like that, and how long before it descends, or does it just evaporate? 🙂 And isn’t it the truth, that so often, places look closer than they are? I’m happy to keep seeing cholla – that’s a pencil cholla, right? I’m thrilled to see that tiny frog – what a beauty, how amazing that you spotted him. The tarantula makes me shudder though! Thanks for another desert walk, Scott.

    November 27, 2018 at 9:58 am

    • I love the bejeweled grass, as well, Lynn…and have one other photo of it that I will be sharing soon. I did find two articles that discuss how/why water droplets form on the tips of the grass…while they both seem legitimate, I’m leaning toward the second one’s position that it is not actually dew, so much as it is the result of the grass roots pumping the water upward from the saturated ground.

      Here are both links: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/science/study-explains-why-dewdrops-form-on-tips-of-grass.html AND https://epod.usra.edu/blog/2007/07/dewdrops-on-blades-of-grass.html

      Regarding the cholla, I believe it’s a buckhorn cholla…the pencil cholla is very sparse with its distribution of thorns…and while the one in my image is quite covered, it is not as thorned as the silver cholla or the jumping cholla.

      And yes…I was thrilled, too, to spot the little frog…and the tarantula! I rather enjoy finding new creatures out there.

      And you’re welcome for the hike, Lynn…thank you for joining me. 🙂

      November 28, 2018 at 7:49 pm

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