This was a new (for me) and relatively easy "off-trail" loop hike that started/ended at Camp Grasshopper- Mogollon Rim-C/Site#3 at 7435 feet. This one was my first of two planned loop hikes on a nine day (7/20 to 7/28) vehicle camping trip (via Camp G/H style). I had originally planned to do this hike on my Aug'15 visit here but due to awaiting some minor surgery in Sept'15, I needed to postpone this one until my first return visit this July 2016.
Fortunately, Oregon_Hiker who joined me for the Aug'15 visit did hike this similar loop and enjoyed it, so I knew I wanted to include this one for my July'16 visit. Also having his posted GPS Route to download and follow was a big help. I added a few additional points of interest hiking in the Merritt Draw section that are documented by my posted GPS Route with "key" way points.
Maverick Canyon was the only close proximity canyon that I had yet to hike so I was really looking forward to this hike section. Maybe I was expecting a little too much, but comparing it to enjoyable hiking in middle/upper Barbershop Canyon, middle/upper Dane Canyons and the Bear Canyons, I was not that impressed with Maverick Canyon. I found it to be kind of too closed-in for much of the lower sections, heavy vegetation, with some slow going in spots due to rocks/downfall. A lack of scenic wall rock formations was also missing for me. I will say that the upper most section of Maverick Canyon before crossing FR9734P had a very
nice, relatively large, quick access area of Big Tooth Maple that I bet would be a nice view location during our prime Mogollon Rim
(~1st & 2nd weeks of October). To view this area in Autumn, the recommended plan would be to drive or hike access FR9734P from FR139 then hike down from the upper end of Maverick Canyon (see my "key" way point that marks this location of FR9734P/Upper Maverick Canyon). I should also say that Maverick Canyon does appear to have a few perennial springs seeping but I was only able to confirm one significant spring flow source in an upper section of the canyon that I did also mark with a labeled way point.
After exiting out of Upper Maverick Canyon and following Oregon_Hiker's Aug'15 route down into Upper Merritt Draw, I took a slightly different route over to view perennial "Whistling Spring" box (not accessible due to being fenced into one of the three Merritt Draw Riparian Enclosures). I then continued north along the side of this Riparian Enclosure #1 to its end then continued north to view another "UN-named" perennial spring. I then continued north along Riparian Enclosure #2 to it's end at most always reliable flowing "Merritt Spring" Box. I was very disappointed this visit to find that Merritt Spring was a minor seep with no flow from the ancient built cement-rock spring box
I had a late lunch at Merritt Spring which was cut short by a second monsoon rain storm I encountered this day.. the first being during my Upper Maverick Canyon hike section.. interesting what happens when you have a touch screen GPS (like my Garmin Oregon 600) & BIG rain drops hit the screen while trying to navigate off-trail
I continued north along middle Merritt Draw passing along the side of Riparian Enclosure #3 to its north end then taking a 90 degree right turn up hill to hike the ridge-line that runs parallel to FR139C back to my Camp G/H #3 to complete this loop. I should mention that if you have Verizon Wireless, there are a few areas along this ridge-line where you can actually receive/send text messages.
I did enjoy this 5.2 mile loop but would probably not plan to do the lower section of Maverick Canyon again (the middle to upper Maverick Canyon sections are nice and would be easily accessible for an "out and back" hike from FR9734P crossing with Maverick (see key way point location on GPS route).