|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 8/19/2019
|Topics/Keywords: #WhiteTankMountainRegionalPark #Hiking #Arizona #Travel||Page Views: 988|
|All the photos from today's hike in White Tank Mountain Regional Park.|
Since, by some miracle, I had a little money left over this month—even after buying little boxes of raisins to give out for Halloween—I talked Keith into taking a little drive West to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, where I hoped to take him on his first hike along Waterfall Trail.
Waterfall Trail is just a mile long (and one-way; you'll be retracing your steps to return to your car), and there is no great change in elevation, so it counts as a middling-easy hike.
After refreshing ourselves in the facilities, we paid our $6 admission fee and proceeded into the park.
The parking area for Waterfall Trail is clearly marked, and includes a clean, water-flushed restroom. (Many restrooms in Arizona are pit or vault toilets to accommodate the fact that this is, after all, a desert.) The trail is also clearly marked, and the first 4/10 mile of it is broad and accessible to people with disabilities as it's wide and flat enough for a wheelchair or electric scooter.
The air was unusually clear today, probably because of rains we had yesterday and the day before. That gave me hopes the waterfall at the end of the trail would actually be running. But whether it was or not, the view in every direction was nothing short of spectacular.
About 500 years ago, the Hohokam people lived here. They liked to draw on rocks.
But they weren't the first. Earlier peoples, called today Meso-Indians. Some of the petroglyphs are theirs, but most are believed to be Hohokam.
The Pima Natives now indigenous to this area gave the Hohokam their name, which means something like Used Up People.
But then the more sedate nature trail came to an end, with the final 6/10s of a mile getting steeper—not very steep, but steep enough to discourage most wheelchair drivers. The trail also narrows somewhat, as the walls of Waterfall Canyon start to close in.
Well, the waterfall was dry again this time (as it's been every other time I visited). The only water left after the rain was in the basin at the foot of the dried cascade.
Keith found a wavy-line petroglyph. "It's not a snake," he said. "There are snakes all over the place here, and wouldn't have required attention enough to make all that carving worth the effort. It's actually a warning that a dragon lives here. Dragons are known to live in pools of still water."
As a Navajo, Keith is privy to lots of information that anthropologists haven't thought to ask. He was quick to point out, however, that Navajo are not indigenous to the Phoenix area. Still, there are many concepts that were generally known to the pre-Columbian peoples who lived across the continent.