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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Meadow Canyon WCC, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Camp Verde > Camp Verde
Rated
3.8
3.8 of 5 by 6
 
6
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
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View 5
Grade3
WaterB
Risk
TimeIII
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,103 feet
Elevation Gain -1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
15  2016-08-19
White Box & Hanging Gardens of WCC
Peter_Medal
7  2015-06-21 CoryTallman
64  2013-07-04 GrottoGirl
49  2010-07-31 Vaporman
50  2010-07-11 Vaporman
15  2010-05-31 nonot
25  2009-07-12 PhilipMueller
Author PhilipMueller
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 5
Photos 926
Trips 53 map ( 310 miles )
Age 43 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
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Named place Nearby
Meadow Canyon, Hanging Gardens, White Box & Out
by PhilipMueller

Likely In-Season!
Gear List General Canyoneering Gear: dry bag(s), grommets in your backpack, and water purification device (you'll come across plenty of water so it's nice to lose the weight of carrying a lot).


Rappelling Gear: 100 ft rope, pull cord, descending gear, harness, carabiners, webbing, rap rings, and helmet.

Gear to acquire when the time is right and nature provides: walking stick(s).

Meadow Canyon & the Rappels After you park your truck and reach the pond (see "Directions to trail" below) hike for about 20 minutes down a rocky streambed until you come to an intersection. At the intersection, turn left/downstream. You'll do a little boulder hopping and easy downclimbs for a bit until you reach an 80' dry fall. When facing the fall, you will see a relatively large tree to your left. This is the tree that we used for our webbing. We used a 100 ft rope with a pull cord. Continuing down the canyon, you will enter a section where large boulders choke the canyon floor. Eventually you will reach a 45 foot dry fall for your rappelling pleasure. We used a large boulder for our webbing. When you are done with that, you are back to some more rock hopping. You will come upon another approximately 80ft steep, drop. One in our group simply scrambled down this drop, another rappelled about 1/3 of the way and then scrambled, and one used a hand line for about 1/3 of the way and then scrambled. We recommend either rappelling at least part of the way or using a hand line part of the way. After this, you can secure your rappelling gear because you won't need it any more. The canyon will slot up moderately for a short while and pretty soon you will be splashing around in West Clear Creek (WCC). You will have done about two miles at this point.

West Clear Creak Get ready to be wet for a while! Also, get ready for the slippery bottom of WCC. It is time for you to look around for a sturdy hiking stick or two. We don't recommend bringing your own poles because they will get in the way prior to this point. Fear not, nature WILL provide. For approximately the next two miles, you will be hiking and swimming upstream through the crystal clear waters of the creek. From time to time, you can walk on dry land, but most of the time you'll be in the water. Use your dry bag as a floatation device. In early July, the water temperature was comfortably refreshing. Enjoy seeing myriad fish and crayfish until you come upon one of Arizona's Edens: the WCC Hanging Gardens. Others on HAZ have described that beautiful place and it is truly amazing. (I always enjoy drinking water straight from the source, myself!) After the Hanging Gardens, you will soon come upon the White Box... essentially several hundred feet of deep water swimming through a narrow canyon. Shortly after the White Box, you will come upon the WCC exit for this trip. To your left you will see a bus sized slab of rock in the canyon with various root markings on it, and about a 100 yards up from that on the right is an obvious, steep chute out of WCC. You have done a total of about four miles at this point.

Voyage Home The hike out of WCC is quite steep with about 800 ft of elevation gain in approximately 1/4 of a mile. It is relatively straight forward, but in one stretch, the ascent will open up a bit to the right. Stay left to stay on the trail. Once on the rim, when facing away from WCC, you will see power lines in the distance, perpendicular to you. You will be standing on a road. Follow the road as it heads up a slight incline and meanders to the right and diagonally toward the power lines. You'll walk along this road for quite a while among a seemingly never ending quilt of grass and junipers. Eventually, you will be walking parallel with/under the power lines. Follow this route to a small, wooded canyon (an eastern fork of Meadow Canyon). Drop into the canyon and then scramble back out. Soon you will see your truck by the gate. You have canyoneered, swum, and hiked about eight miles.

Conclusion WCC via Meadow Canyon is yet another amAZing adventure. It contains three distinct segments. In the first segment, you tackle some intermediate to more advanced rappelling opportunities in Meadow Canyon. In the second segment, you enjoy being wet most of the time as you head up WCC. In the third segment, you march and march some more back to your truck. If you parked under/near the power lines as we did, be careful when you get back to the truck. Ours was electrically charged when we came back, and it literally shocked the hell out of some of us!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your canyon trip to support this local community.

2009-08-01 PhilipMueller
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    What a long day, long canyon, long I got nothing else to throw in there I guess. With the weekend heatwave across the state we changed our minds of what part of the state to head to and what canyon to drop into. We decided that getting into water was the best option for the day and with the group approving the decision off we went back to WCC.

    With the roads in this area being so bad we just decided to forgo the shuttle option and do the long hike out at the end of the day. Meadow Canyon is quite different than the others I have done in WCC for sure, more open, mostly dry, lots of vegetation including poison ivy. The rappels are even more spread out and not one after the other like the others in the area seem to be. The sandstone formations in this canyon are quite the sight to see. The large boulder hoping is fun and very lengthy. No swimmers through canyon stew, only thigh high pools to walk in if you really wanted to. And with it being warm all six of us chose to do so, even if there were wasps and tadpoles in them.

    Once we arrived at the base of Meadow and into WCC we were all open to get wet, but hated the annoying slippery rock you just cannot avoid. I got the group a present for the day, a 99 cent store special float ring with various designs on them. I chose the Pink Princess one for Mike and to all of our disappointment it was the only one that had a hole it in to begin with so it could not be used. But for 99 cents the rest of us all thought it proved to be worth it on the long swims ahead.

    The hanging gardens were just amazing, to finally see it with my own eyes was worth every minute of this long trek. The swim through the white box sealed the deal and the long wait of seeing and doing this swim was worth it. That and seeing how poorly Scott is at trying to catch a crawdad.

    And now the decision to not shuttle was felt differently once we hiked back out to the top and saw other vehicles up there. They drove in a different way than where we had come in from so it was time to hike back a few hours to the vehicles. Good thing the beer was still cool once we got back to base. Thanks to crew for not killing me on the decision to change canyons and make a very long day happen.
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Did this as a day hike, going down Meadow Canyon to WCC and exiting just past the White Box. Got a fairly late start at around 11:00AM. We did have to wade through one chest deep puddle on the way down, just before the first 80' rappel. We ended up doing 3 rappels, and probably should have rappelled down that last 20' drop just below the chute like Todd recommended, but we ended up down climbing it. WCC and hanging gardens was absolutely gorgeous and we had a very pleasant lunch stop there. I ended up doing 5 swims total, but others in our group negotiated around at least a couple of them. The water was still a bit chilly. Nobody had wetsuits, and a couple of people in our group of 4 were at risk of hypothermia after the white box swim. A steady breeze down there robbed warmth fairly quickly. The climb out effort and hitting the sun again warmed things up very quickly. The exit trail is well marked with a cairn, and there was even some kind of hamster cage looking contraption hanging there. The climb out is indeed steep and relentless. It was a great trip and we all had a blast. You get a little bit of everything on this, and it definitely personifies the AZ wilderness experience. Next time we want to do an overnighter and spend more time camping out at the hanging gardens.
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I'm already getting the WCC itch and Meadow Canyon is a great canyon to start the rim season off with as long as you have wetsuits for the all the swimmers in WCC. :D Parked along the highway and huffed it down upper Meadow with all it's bushwhacking & rock hopping. Eventually hit the down climbing section and pools to bypass though that big one requested a wade before reaching the first 80ft rappel. Loads of more rock hopping and the that 50-footer. The sandstone cliffs are very sweet thru here especially when we got near WCC. That sloped 3rd rappel we just down climbed since it was dry and that 4th rappel is down climbable but we all decided to just do the 20ft rappel than a tricky down climb. :sweat: Once at WCC, we dropped the harnesses and suited up for the cool waters and grabbed some lunch. Hanging Gardens was just as amAZing as ever and played in that a bit before chilling in the flintstone chairs at the campsite. :) Further upstream we hit pool after amazing pool, finding a few places to cliff jump, hitting the rope swing thru White Box, and just when my arms were practically burned out the swimming sections ends and were at the steep exit trail. :y: When dry, that steep trail isn't too bad but we still had a good 5 mile or so road/rim walk back to the highway...

    Such an amazing canyon loop with good friends and SO glad this was a much more peaceful trip than last year during monsoon season. :lol:
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    What was I thinking?!? ](*,) My one regular weekend of local hiking/canyoneering on my calendar out of 5 and a major statewide thunderstorm thinks it going to spoil my plans. :x Meadow is a wider canyon without too much in the way of narrows until the end and I've never had issues with creek hiking WCC in monsoon season and even right in the middle of a monsoon. In fact three weeks ago, I did this same exact loop while getting poured on in the White Box without any issues. : rambo : After just coming back from 4 days of canyoneering in Zion and having recently done this route, I was afraid I'd get bored :lol: doing it again so soon and mixed it up by making it an overnighter and spending the night at the amazing Hanging Gardens. :D

    I worked in town until noon, so we got a late start and hit some light rain & fog on the drive up to the rim but nothing to scare us enough to change to a backup plan. ;) We parked along the highway and trekked in to the drop-in point of upper Meadow and I found it pretty cool to finally see this canyon with some light water in it. It was only flowing lightly in the upper reaches while the middle section had larger pools than I'm used to seeing. We of course had loads of rock hopping, down climbing, and some pools to wade before the sandstone walls closed in a bit and started to get technical. We geared up and dropped down that sweet 80ft double drop and a little further down canyon we dropped down another 45ft drop. Some more rock hopping and the canyon narrows up with that sweet 80ft sloping chute that we of course rappeled because it was wet and that was quickly followed by a short 20ft drop. IMO, this is the sweetest section of the canyon as it further narrows with loads of boulder hopping until it opens up and dumps you into WCC. :)

    Reaching the confluence with WCC is were the trip turned from an easy canyoneering loop into a challenging nail-bitting adventure. :roll: Up until this point, I thought we'd dodged the 70% chance of heavy rains, we didn't get rained on at all dropping down Meadow Canyon, and in the past 4 summers of hiking WCC thru monsoon season this canyon seems to rather unaffected by them. So needless to say, I was a little shocked when we reached the creek and its flowing muddy brown and at least a foot above normal. Ohh snap! :o Well we can't go back up Meadow Canyon and going downstream thru the Red Boxes and up Rim Tank Canyon seemed like a worse option than just sticking to the plan of going upstream thru the White Box. As if WCC isn't slippery enough when its clear, now we can't see the rocks thru the muddy water and its flowing about twice as strong as normal making it extremely slippery & slow going. :whistle: So we stick to the sides & bushwhack as much as possible and use sticks to cross the creek whenever necessary. It's not too far upstream to the amazing Hanging Gardens and we made fairly decent time to them considering and setup camp at that great spot well above the creek. With an hour of daylight left, we enjoyed those amazing falls/spring despite the muddy water and took a quick bath in them before retiring for the evening. :)

    Now I was hoping that since it didn't seem to be raining much that the creek would drop over night and clear up by the morning, when in fact it spiked overnight according to USGS data. :scared: When we woke up and saw the creek still muddy & lightly raining outside, we were in no hurry to break camp and instead slept in a bit. Eventually got up and enjoyed the Hanging Gardens a bit more before finally breaking camp around noon. I guess it was a good thing we got a late start because the flow was dropping back down all morning and was lowest around noon but was ramping back up by late afternoon. It's only a mile in the creek from HG to the White Box trail; that shouldn't take too long. :roll: So it looks like the flow was about 25cfs Sat evening but on Sunday afternoon it was up to 30-35cps when its normally just a spring-fed gentle 18 cfs... We again stuck to the sides and bushwhacked as much as possible, using stick for whenever we had to cross the creek, and the swimmers were tiring but ended up not being too bad to swim up. It took some time & energy but we eventually reached the White (muddy brown) Box without too much difficulty and I of course had to do the rope swing at least once and found it comical that the bottom of the rope was no longer above the water but a few inches in it. :-k Above the White Box is where the canyon really narrows up and were I was the most concerned about but up until now there was always an easy side of the creek & pools to swim up. Then we reached that normally easy chest-high wader were the canyon is only 15ft wide and try as we might we didn't have any chance of swimming up that strong current as it roared from one side to the other. I gave it a few tries on both side but the current washed me away like a rag doll. ](*,) Before I even had a chance to get scared or think about turning back, my 'climbing eyes' saw a flat bench a good 40ft above the creek and nearby I found a class 3/4 route up to it. So I geared back up and climbed up there with my 200ft rope and sleeping pad, found a huge flat bench up there to easily walk above those narrows, found a solid tree to build an anchor on, and rappeled back down to the creek. I tied the rope around my sleeping pad and floated the rope a good 100ft to Kelli for her to tie it to my pack and was able to easily pull it up thru the current. I sent the rope back down to Kelli and was thankfully able to pull her thru the current without too much difficulty but it almost looked like she was about loose her grip a couple times. She was quite the trooper thru it all and had a big smile on her face now that we had that behind us. A little more battling our way upstream and we were finally at the exit trail. :y: Holy crap, it's almost 5pm?!? Looks like it took us about 4 hours to do that one mile upstream from HG to the WB trail with a whole hour of that burned getting past that swift-current narrows. :o

    That trail out was super muddy in the lower sections and we were sliding & slipping like crazy, but we eventually made it up to the more solid sections. My pack was waterlogged and my body was sore from battling the creek, so that was a tough hike out with all the gear but it SO nice to top out on the rim and look back and reflect on what we just went thru. : rambo : The muddy road walk out was rather peaceful in comparison though we did had to kick thick mud clumps off of our shoes every few minutes. We eventually made it back to the highway and I surprised both of us by walking right back to my car randomly parked alongside the highway with just my personal GPS (guy positioning system) :lol: and thankfully it was untouched. I can't even begin to express how sweet it felt to finally take the pack off, put on some clean dry clothes, and drive away from this amazingly beautiful yet rugged & challenging WCC wilderness. And not spend another unplanned night down there... :sweat:
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Well all my canyoneering friends had already left for the weekend, so I was left deciding which canyon in the area I wanted to do, that I hadn't recently done, and I could safely do solo. Well I'd done all the other WCC technical canyons already this summer, a solo run thru Horsetank would be testing my luck, but I hadn't done this 'easy' Meadow Canyon since last summer. :) I had bad luck with my car being vandalized last summer when I did this canyon, so I parked along the 260 in another spot that's more visible to other drivers. Or maybe I should just hide in the bushes and shoot at anyone that looks at my car the wrong way... :gun: :lol:

    From along the highway, with a late start I huffed it in to the power lines near where they cross over upper Meadow Canyon and dropped in at that cow tank and headed down canyon from there. This definitely isn't the most interesting or scenic canyon in the area but it's plenty lush and does challenge your patience with loads of rock hopping and an occasional down climb. That late night caught up with me and I found a nice rock to take a half hour nap on (one of the perks of solo hiking). :zzz: Eventually the canyon narrows some and I hit that cool first 80ft rappel, with the 2nd 45ft about a half hour further down canyon. Some more rock hopping, watching the sky & noticing some big puffy clouds slowly building, reached that 80ft sloping rappel, and ate a light lunch. Of course I'm doing that as a rappel because I have no reason to show off and if I try down climbing it & slip and break my legs it'll be at least a day before someone comes for me. :roll: That cool rappel is followed shortly by another 20ft drop before you go thru those sweet bouldery narrows just before the confluence with WCC. Now it rained on about here last time I did this canyon last summer, so it kinna funny when it started sprinkling at the confluence. I made the slippery creek hike to the amazingly beautiful Hanging Gardens and probably snapped some of my best photos yet of it since the sun was being block by the dark monsoon clouds. I didn't stay as long as I'd like since it was raining and the loud thunder spooked me a bit. :o After about a half hour more of rock hopping upstream, while getting sporadically dumped on, I hit the first of many long swimmers before reaching the super sweet White Box. Thankfully it was a warm day, so that even without a wetsuit, in the middle of a monsoon storm, while soaking wet I was still able to stay plenty warm. That rope swing in White Box is still and I of course had to do a couple swings on it before continuing. :GB: Now doing swimmers in a narrow canyon in the middle of a monsoon might not be the safest thing to be doing, but at least I was near the exit trail and I have work tomorrow... The exit route was a steep as ever and soaking wet gear on a muddy trail didn't help either. :roll: Up on the rim, I made the long road walk to the power lines, south in between them as their buzzing kept me company, and then broke off to follow my GPS back to my car safely along the highway. :y: Such a beautiful section of WCC that I have to visit at least once a summer, but you certainly have to work for no matter how you approach it. :sweat:
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    A long day with a great canyon, very lush and green. No problems at all, it is fairly fun and easy.

    The real treat of this is the section of west clear creek you hike out upstream. Words fail to describe the beauty of the hanging gardens, shower spring, and the white box. :y:

    A bunch of swimming and the long hike to/from the canyon made this a full day!
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I did this as an overnighter since I worked a halfday Saturday morning and wanted to do some exploring once I was down in WCC. I was a little confused as to where the beta wanted me to drop in, but I figured it didn't really matter too much since I was in the general vicinity and this was upper Meadows for sure. Looking at it again from Google Earth, I left the powerlines one dirt road too early and ended up dropping in one of the upper forks to the north. The canyon is a bushwhack in the beginning, then loads of boulder hopping, some down climbing when you hit the Coconino sandstone layer, startled a pack of large elk along the way, and eventually u hit that first 80ft rappel. There were scattered showers in the area and so far it'd been dry, but when I hit the technical section it started sprinkling on me off/on. Some more down climbing and rock hopping and you're at the 2nd 45ft one, though just above that rappel is a small pool that I caught a good-sized black bear taking a bath. :o He took off at lightning speed as soon as he saw me. Needless to say, I setup that 2nd rappel awful fast with a bear just around the corner. :scared: Some more rock hopping brings you to that 80ft slick chute and the rains picked up just for that occasion. Of course I rappelled it since it was soaking wet and then after that 25 footer just past that, the rains just completely let up just before sunset. I finished thru those lower narrows and popped out to WCC around 7pm as dusk was setting in. No great camping options in the area, so I found a small rock ledge to spend the night. The rain dropped the temperature a good 10° that was forecasted, so it was a little chillier that what I was prepared for but I managed to get enough sleep.

    The main reason I dropped in on Meadow Canyon is that the section of WCC from Hanging Gardens to Rim Tank Canyon is the last few miles I've yet to hike of the whole WCC from Bull Pen and up both tributaries over the last few summers. :GB: The next morning as it was slowly warming up, I hiked 15 minutes upstream to Hanging Gardens to enjoy that beautiful gem though the ferns above it have mostly died off for the season. Since it was warming up, I decided to continue upstream thru a few swimmers and check out White Box for 3-4th time. There was a rope swing setup that I just had to try. :D Headed back downstream, loaded up my camping & canyoneering gear and continued downstream towards Rim Tank Canyon. The first half mile or so is kinna bland, then it starts to cut into the Supai layer and some cool pools appear every now and then. It's so sweet to be in a clear creek surrounded by loads of green trees & shrubery while the canyon is multi-colored/tiered with Supai sandstone on the bottom, Coconino sandstone taking up most of the middle, and capped off with a Basalt layer. :D Now I thought I'd seen most of what WCC had to offer, but then I hit that section that I think most people call Red Boxes though I thought Red Boxes referred to some swimmers below Rim Tank... But these Red Boxes consisted of like 10 pools all back to back with small cascades in between most of them. The first 7 were mandatory swimmers while the bottom 3 could be bypassed or waded. I was so blown away with the beauty of what I was seeing that it wouldn't have suprised me one bit if I came around a corner and found a plaque with 'Made by God' on it. :o The next half mile or so got bland again and then I finally hit my exit canyon. Now that scramble up Rim Tank Canyon is quite the butt kicker and I don't think I'll be back anytime soon. :sweat: I finally topped out around 6pm and walked back to my car parked not too far off of the highway to find that it's been vandalized... :x

    They knocked off my sideview mirrow, jumped on my hood so hard there's dents left in it from my engine, and they kicked dents into all four of my doors. :bdh: I'm guessing by the closeness to that rough FR142, they left very muddy shoe prints all over my car, and they definely weren't hiking shoes that it was probably some 4x4ers or quaders who were riding in the area and couldn't think of anything better to do that trash the crap out of my car. Thankfully it was still drivable and they didn't try to break in or smash any of the windows or lamps/lights. :roll: I spent this afternoon after the hike suction cupping some of dents out and trying to JB weld my sideview mirror bracket back together...

    Now that I got WCC all hammered out, I guess I need a new goal. How about the 6 published technical canyons and I've done 2 of them so far. :D
    Meadow Canyon WCC
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    A very pleasant canyon that combines with WCC for a great loop. I think the photo of the 80' chute makes it look a bit steeper than it really is, I was able to butt slide down it pretty comfortably. But since you've got your rap gear with you anyway, no reason not to rope up if you're so inclined. Fun day!

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Strictly 4x4

    To canyon trip
    From Phoenix take I-17 N to Camp Verde to exit 287. Turn right (E) onto Highway 260. Follow 260 to just before post 245 where you will turn left onto an unnamed dirt road. There is an unlocked gate that you will have to open/close. Once on the dirt road take an immediate left and follow this rutted dirt track 1.2 miles until you reach the power lines. Turn right and follow the road that runs beneath the power lines. Drive about 0.3 miles under the power lines and then park near a gate that you will see to your left. On foot, open/close the gate and hike down a rough road about 0.2 miles to a pond. (Don't attempt to drive this little stretch. It ain't worth it!) At the pond, look to your right and bushwhack your way into the rocky streambed. Let the adventure begin!

    Note: You MUST use a 4 Wheel/AWD, high clearance vehicle for this adventure. Also, we don't recommend driving these "roads" at night (like we did).
    page created by PhilipMueller on Aug 01 2009 10:12 pm
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