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Ford/Willow/Mesquite Loop, AZ
mini location map2011-12-16
66 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Ford/Willow/Mesquite Loop, AZ 
Ford/Willow/Mesquite Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 16 2011
Hiking10.60 Miles 1,550 AEG
Hiking10.60 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.93 mph
1,550 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
Got a late start today, but made up my mind that I was going to do this hike today regardless of time. I have been wanting to do Ford Canyon for awhile and figured to make a loop using Willow Canyon Trail and Mesquite Trail. Did it counterclockwise, so went up Ford Canyon, hit Willow Canyon,and came down Mesquite Trail. First time in Ford Canyon and really enjoyed the scenery. Made good time for the first three miles as the trail only had a gradual ascent. Once you get deeper into the canyon, then the trail gets a little steeper and the Photo Opportunities abound. So not only did I slow down a little for the steeper ascent and the view, but I also went into serious "tibber" mode and probably took twice as many pictures as I have on any of my other hikes. There was some water in the canyon, but could hardly call it "flowing", mostly just leftover pools, but I'll bet that right after a serious rain, this canyon is rocking when it comes to water flow. Lots of Waterfall opportunities here. Encountered more Fauna in this canyon than in any other canyon that I've been in, in the White Tanks. 2 separate groups of Mule Deer, butterflies, a few different types of birds, a lizard, a Cottontail, and a Falcon. Oh ya, and several Fighter Jets. I spent a majority of my time in this canyon and left it for Willow Canyon way too late.

The sun was setting by the time I hit the Ford Canyon/Willow Canyon junction, so I flew through Willow Canyon pretty fast. I did, however, take the time to visit Willow Spring and before I got to the actual Spring, I must have startled a Falcon out of the Spring area. He was flying too fast and I could not get a decent picture. Before I actually saw the Spring, I heard water flowing. :D I hurried to the Spring and found that the Waterfall area was running just a little bit, but the pool at the base of the Waterfall had grown about 5 times the size since the last time I was there about a month ago. I don't think the Flow was from the actual Spring, although it may have contributed a little. The Spring area and Pool was more than a Seep too. It was actually barely running over the rock from the pool. The Salt Cedars in the area were just a beautiful golden color, much more colorful than a month ago. Very rewarding side trip to the Spring...

By the time I got to the junction with Mesquite the sun had set and it was getting pretty dark. I only made it about 1/2 mile before complete darkness and I didn't have a light. :sk: This made me fairly nervous as I knew the descent down could be pretty steep and rocky. Luckily for me, the city lights were reflecting on some clouds overhead and with the light tone of the trail, I was able to see just enough to stay on the trail and see most of the rocks. I still made decent time, but it was much harder on the knees and ankles due to the lack of light to enhance depth perception. I am slightly amazed that I didn't fall at least once. :) Made it back to the car and kinda breathed a sigh of relief that I was able to get down as easily as I did. I think by that time, I was the only one left in the park. I stopped at the Ranger Station on the way out and turned in some glasses that had been dropped on Ford Canyon Trail. I think they had been dropped by someone that I had seen on the trail, as they looked spotless. The Park Hosts told me that the Ranger had started to get concerned about me, because apparently I was the only car left in the Park, so they radioed him and let him know that I got out... :D I just hope Santa brings me a head lamp for Christmas. I have been "good" all year and this hike was an Inaugural Hike for my new pack. My Kmart pack was getting ready to blow all of it's seams, so I decided to splurge and get a Real Pack and it worked great! :DANCE:

Really enjoyed this hike and will do it again. My new Favorite in the White Tanks.
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Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Willow Spring Dripping Dripping
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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