Tales from the Trails

By Chris Reed

As a trail ambassador at the White Tanks, I walk the trails, talk with people, and enjoy the outdoors. Each week the desert looks different: from crispy brown in October to wet green and energetic in March to brownish and animate in May. This year was special with the outcome of all of the rain. The desert became surreal with lush green grasses and bushes pin flagged with abundant colorful flowers. Everyone wanted to test their skills as a photographer or artist. Added to this natural experience was the cultural parade of baseball hats and T-shirts during baseball spring training season. A highlight was to see the waterfall flowing. The adventurous would have to boulder hop around the rocks, slide their bodies through the rocks, or get their feet wet.

There are always diverse groups of hikers: family members chatting, dogs with their owner, mothers with children and strollers, runners, and winter visitors. I always ask the dog owners what are the dogs are sniffing – mostly rabbits and lizards. Many like to talk about snakes, few were seen this year. I direct people to visit the nature center with our collection of living snakes. One day everyone was getting excited spotting a chuckwalla showing off on a boulder. Near the petroglyphs, I ask the viewers what these images mean. Their insight was interesting to hear, but we may never know the true meaning. At the end of the trail in the cool shade by the waterfall, the visitors will ask me to tell them a story about this scenic and historic park.

Super Scorpion Search has more than Scorpions

By Steward Steve Rugh

 On Saturday, August 19th, 85 men, women and children were enticed to hike the White Tank Mountain Regional Park Black Rock Trail after dark.  The purpose?  To find scorpions!

Armed with black light flashlights, the people managed to illuminate dozens of scorpions on the 1.3 mile hike.   The group I was with counted 47, ranging in size from about two inches long to a half an inch.  In fact, there ended up being a competition between a husband and wife as to which one could spot more (unofficially, I think the wife did a little better).

It was a bit of a surprise to the group that there were a whole lot of moths and spiders out and about as well!  In fact, the moths kept flying into us – annoying to the adults, scary to the children.

And that’s not all.  Back at the starting point, in Ramada A at Area 4, Interpretive Ranger Justin Williams set up boxes with live specimens (including a black widow spider), information sheets, games and a rubber Emperor Scorpion, found only in Africa, which was black and almost six inches long!  He also told the kids that even though it was black, it too would glow green under black light!

In addition to Justin and myself there were four other volunteers, as well as the new Supervisor of the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Dove Luidhardt.  A great time was had by all!