2nd Annual First Water to Canyon Lake Hike

I stole the title for this blog from our friend Debbie who contacted us immediately after I hinted that we might not be hiking with the club here in the park any more this year. She was aghast that we would leave Arizona without taking part in a hike that we first completed late in the season last year. When we heard that she wanted to put the group form last year together to tackle the hike again we jumped at the chance to head out with our friends.

First Water is the name of a trailhead that we have used for many of the hikes with the club, and Canyon Lake is a body of water that is part of the Salt River water complex that includes Saguaro, Apache and Roosevelt Lake. It’s situated along side the highway that winds it’s way out towards Tortilla Flat and is home to a large marina and waterfront restaurant. One of the bonuses of this hike is that we arrive at the restaurant right after the lunch crowd leaves, and the  chance to have a nice feed of fish and chips on the water is too much to resist.

As it’s a one way hike we needed to have a ‘taxi’ service available to take us from Canyon Lake back to First Water where we parked our truck. As Jim was planning on coming with us again, Cheryl volunteered to come and pick us up, as she felt the need to have a fish and chip lunch and wanted to enjoy our company. Unfortunately Jim turned up with a sore leg and bowed out of the hike, but they still wanted to drive up to the lake and partake of the lunch special. We really appreciated their efforts, as the road back to the trail head is 2.5 miles of pretty rough terrain, and not something that most people would want to drive a mini-van on.

It took us a little more than 5.5 hours to travel close to 8 miles, and as Sylvia said when we finished up, we both feel better than we did last year when we were all done. Maybe we’re getting the hang of this hiking thing.

A few minutes into the hike Sylvia noticed that Debbie didn’t have her customary camera along with her. None of us could remember her taking it out of the truck, but we weren’t sure if she had left it in the cab or on the tailgate, so Dana ran back to the parking lot to pick it up. I think Deb will be paying for Dana’s jog back to the truck for a little while.


At least I got a few minutes to take some pictures of the special scenery in the area, even these two!


Some of the cactus are starting to bloom, but all in all the desert flowers aren’t nearly as brilliant as they were last year. The latest theory is that there was no overnight frosts all winter, and the plants need this to begin the flowering process. One of the drawbacks of the good weather we’ve had I guess.


One dead soldier fell across the trail. This Saguaro might have fallen over in the big windstorm we had last weekend.


Part way through the hike we came upon an abandoned mine site where the red rocks were once mined for their pigments.


This was our lunch break spot just before we started to climb down to Canyon Lake.


A number of the Cholla cactus were flowering in this area.


A hummingbird was having a feast on these Ocotillo Flowers.


Our first glimpse of Canyon Lake.


Eventually these horses caught up to us. They were following the exact same trek we were, and had trailers at both ends of the hike. They move faster than we can, but for a while they actually held us up as one of the horses fell on the rocky terrain.


This was as close as I’ve ever been to an Ocotillo flower. They’re usually high above our heads, but this cactus was growing below us on the hillside, and the flowers were so heavy they were bending the plant over. They quite pretty.



We eventually made it to the restaurant, and enjoyed a good meal, and great times with our friends.

I don’t know exactly what these little boats are, but they were sure moving fast across the far side of the lake. Anybody got any ideas?



One response to “2nd Annual First Water to Canyon Lake Hike

  1. Great hike with great photos to show it off. The flowering desert is such a draw at this time of the year.


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