Started at area 7 and went up Mesquite. I went "off trail" and took the original route for MQ. Instead of wrapping around 3032, it goes straight over to the west section of the trail. Did my best to tread lightly as the trail had been disguised and grasses were growing. There were still a couple brown posts with the hiker sticker on them.
Quite a bit of ice has formed on the shady slopes along the climb and switchbacks leading into Ford Canyon. On the last switchback, I saw a herd of 6 deer on one of the opposing hills. They held still for the most part while I snapped a dozen photos. In the wash, I ran a short distance and it was super
fun. I wish I had the stamina to run the whole thing... Somewhere along the route three javelina took off out of the canyon. They were faster than my camera reflexes. Nevertheless, I was excited for my first sighting.
Rather than exit the wash and continue on trail, I followed the canyon a little further. Lots of tall, slippery rock walls. I came to a spot where my options were: 1. Squeeze under a very large boulder, 2. Take an awkward leap, 3. Slide down a slick, 6ft piece of granite, and 4. Turn around. Option 4 didn't even cross my mind, I couldn't fit under the boulder, and the jump was just too sketchy. I chose the slide and hit a little hard at the bottom. My left ankle was certainly awake after that one! Figured I had enough fun and got back on trail. Saw a lot of petroglyphs north of Waddell trail, but there are numerous posts saying the area is closed to everyone due to erosion and animal habitat.