Sunday, May 1, 2011

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: A Review of Sorts

Yesterday I finally got to go to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell, Arizona. I’d been wanting to visit for a while after I picked up a brochure on the parks that are located within an hour’s drive of where I live. There are quite a few, I’m happy to report.

The White Tanks are so easy to get to. All I had to do was wake my hubby up early and drive 3 miles north to Dunlap Avenue and then head west until Dunlap became Olive Avenue and then kept heading west until the road ended in the park.

The drive was one of my favorite parts. We drove through the neighboring cities of Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, and finally Waddell. The only indication of changing jurisdictions in this metropolitan area are the signs posted welcoming you to their city.

After Sun City and on the way to Waddell the countryside was beautiful. Farm country with tall old trees surrounding their homes, county roads with four-way stop signs, a rail road track on the right and an irrigation ditch full of fast moving water on the left. Even on this Saturday, the fields had workers in the middle of them. There are no weekends off for farmers.

Both my hubby and I breathed in the clean air and felt nostalgia for our childhoods wrapping itself around us. I grew up in farm country and when he was young, Glendale was still new and building up around the open farm fields. Today it is full of concrete and asphalt, the farms just a memory.

Waddell is a farming community that is suffering modern housing developments now, too. It won’t be long and Waddell will be another Glendale. But until then, I hope to enjoy many drives over to the park.

The entrance to the park is overlooked by the newest county library building in Maricopa. The fee for entering the park with a motorized vehicle is $6.00 and you use the honor system of paying until someone can get to the little shack to give you the human touch.

We drove into the park and were met with a beautiful, immaculate, and well laid out facility. Having printed a map of the park before we left, I knew that our destination, Black Rock Trail started from Ramada #4. We pulled into the large parking lot, used the very clean restrooms, then stepped out onto the groomed trail.
Along the easy path were stone benches that had bronze plaques dedicated to the memory of someone. Some were simple, others had lines of poetry, but all were read by us.

Also located by the benches were wooden stands that held information about the plants and animals that live in the park. They came in handy when Hubby and I had a mild disagreement on one particular cactus. We were both wrong!

When the trail ended we sat at one of the picnic tables enjoying some fruit that we brought with us and watching the hawks circle in the near distance. The vista was magnificent. I could see for miles across open desert to a blue mountain range on the horizon. It was yet again one of those times when I wish I could paint.

On the way out of the park we turned into the library’s driveway and after a too brief perusal of the art show and nature center, we headed out. Duties awaited our attention at home.

I encourage anyone who lives in my area to make at least one visit to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park. You won’t be sorry. Just remember to bring your camera, binoculars, or a sketch pad!