Just a few more pics during our first visit to the remote White Canyon Wilderness. We have visited the area many times and it has become one of our favorite places to do a little back country camping simply because of the variety of wildlife to be found in the area. I especially enjoyed watching the herds of Bighorn Sheep on top of the buttes.
We set up camp at the base of Battle Axe Peak, an ancient volcano whose top was heavily eroded exposing the magma plug of the main vent. The views don't get much better than this!
Don and I nick-named the following promontory "Minas Tirith" and it is a lot bigger than it looks. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if there was a way to reach the top.
It looks almost unclimbable from all sides, but as I explored the area I found out that this mesa is actually heart shaped when viewed from above, and can be accessed from a ravine/drainage that runs down the right atria if you follow the riverbed upstream (north).
After we set up camp I took my first short hike exploring the dry river bed that ran through the Canyon. We had heard that during the monsoon season, this creek bed runs pretty full, and there are several magnificent waterfalls running down the sides of the cliffs.
I had lots of fun trying to get a picture of this little fella, as I scrambled over rocks chasing it down the riverbed. Every time I was just about set up to take its picture, it fluttered away until finally I was able to sneak up on it! I'm not sure, but I think it might be an Empress Leilia or Hackberry Butterfly ( Asterocampa leilia ).
The Canyon is full of majestic saguaros, several of which have little nesting holes in them! Enjoyed watching the Gila Woodpeckers and Kestrils fly into and out of their cactus nests! I'm guessing that the kestrils we saw were actually squatting in holes that had been abandoned by the woodpeckers.
Every couple of days Don would run down to the spring and refill the water jugs we used for our dogs water.
The following is a short video showing the crags of Battle Axe Peak!
One morning Don and I drove down to the spring to fetch some water, and I decided to hike back to camp so I could get some pictures. On my way back I got a little surprise, as I spotted a black bear scrambling up the eastern slope of Battle Axe Mtn. It spotted me and paused just for a second and my heart just about stopped as I realized that I hadn't brought anything with me to protect myself. I was far enough away from camp that I knew I didn't have a chance to out run it if it decided to give chase. So lucky it decided to continue on up toward the area of the cave.
In the following photo the bear is barely visible just below a large boulder near the center of the pic. If you look closer you will see a fairly large cave tucked back into the crags of the mountain, and I wondered if perhaps the bear used this as its primary den?
The following is a picture of the massive Rincon which lies just west of our camp! You couldn't ask for a better variety of different landscapes to look at! So awesome!