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Merritt Draw Loop - Mogollon Rim
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Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking Aug 16 2011
Hiking5.78 Miles 320 AEG
Hiking5.78 Miles   5 Hrs      2.10 mph
320 ft AEG   2 Hrs   15 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked descriptions
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Hank PMed me about playing "hooky" or taking the day off to go for a hike with he and Jack up to the Rim. Let me see, "work" or "hike" ;) . Well since I have nothing on my hiking agenda for the next couple months, I checked with my boss (after just getting the okay for my 8 days off for my Glacier Park 2012 trip), to see if I could push my luck... and I got the day off :D . So after jamming my little toe at 5:20AM the day of the hike, I met Jack and Hank at Wendy's in Fountain Hills for our drive up to the TH at Camp Grasshopper, The Rim. I had not driven on that part of the Rim before so it was very interesting; especially with Hank filling us in on the Beta for the area.

We could see the remnants of the heavy rainstorm as we crossed over and in some puddles along the way. Of course it was the last road heading east that we hit all sorts of fun and even larger puddles as well as a big tree that had fallen across the road :o . Grasshopper said if we parked here it would add several miles to our hike :sweat: so I surveyed the area to the north of the tree and fortunately, it was clear enough that Tonto could get around a few trees, down and back up the hill without much duress :) . It was AFTER that area where Tonto scraped a rock that may have brushed a strut :scared: as the road required us to stay high to avoid the deeper ruts.

We arrived at Camp Grasshopper but not without having to cross over a bit of water where a couple rocks had been placed to prevent sinking into the mud. We were so happy to be out in the cool air :y: of the Rim. We got on all our gear and headed east along the road before turning onto the old forest/logging road. We followed it through the forest and by four very stately, tall and lonely aspen. Next we came around a bend that headed northwest and it was from there that we would head down into the draw. It was a bit steep but was tiered so not too bad to get down to the cairn Hank had placed at the bottom.

Next we went east in the Draw in pursuit of the Driftwood Spring. At first we came upon the water on one side of the draw but then Jack heard water running from the other side of the draw with a big pool in front of it. We found the source of the spring! :DANCE: and it was a scenic area as well. See Video of trek up to this point:
And then it was on to the antlers; but along the way as were crossing by a pool of water, Hank miscalcuated and fell backward :o into the pool. Fortunately his pack saved him from any injury and he got up laughing at himself. We all know the feeling! [-X

Draw hiking is very much like creek hiking except there was a little less water. The yellow corn flowers were getting toward the end of their bloom life but the butterflies and moths were still deeply attracted to them so I got some good stills and movies of this happy event. Eventually and not much further, we retraced our steps to where we entered the draw and headed back up the hill. Half way up the sun was lighting up a moss covered trunk. The color was simply glorious. Within moments the vibrant color changed as the cloud began obscuring the sun. The moss was so lovely and soft :) . It was not too far from here that we also had our lunch.

We finished off the climb out of the canyon and continued on the old logging/forest road to the south. Much of this road has filled in with luscious short grass that made it feel like you were walking through a meadow :budrose: . It was absolutely delightful. The clouds were coming out in earnest now so we occasionally wondered if the monsoon would roar its head 8-[ but it never did. It was also in this area and into the riparian area that I would smell cow. We never saw evidence of cow until coming back thru the riparian area. It was an old and small pile... unless there is another animal's poo that smells like a cow :-k . However, I know that smell all too well [-( . Here is the video, Part 2 from Driftwood Spring to the antlers, back down and out of the Draw and to the Riparian area:

Eventually you get to the clearing which seems to extend for a couple miles. This is the riparian area and was quite a treat to check it all out. We walked in it and around the east side of the two fenced areas all the way to the south before crossing over and heading up the west side. Jack decided to head up the hill (SE) once we reached the end of the last fenced area. Hank and I continued on a track he was trying to create for others to follow. Soon we would also be following the fence line up and over the hill back to where Tonto was waiting.

Here is the last video starting at the meadow/riparian area and our hike around, finished off by a couple stills from our drive on FR300:

We decided to drive back via FR 300 on the southside of the Rim as we were only a few miles from it. We headed west on FR 300. It was a very rough ride :tt: as the road over the culverts was settling deeply. And there were a lot of these culverts; even when you slowed down, it was pretty bumpy. I would hope the Forest Service would get that contractor back out there to fix the situation cuz obviously they did a louszy job if the road was sinking around each of them :SB: . My brother thinks they may have not used enough gravel before putting the dirt back on. Nonetheless it was a pretty drive and we stopped in a couple areas to get some photos. You could see some rain showers out to the east and then somewhat to the south of us.

We stopped in Payson for some Mexican food at El Rancho. You should have seen the special they had for $8.99 :o . It was a giant plate of food and Jack ate almost every bite :o . Hank couldn't quite finish his off as he had munched on Jack's wife's cookies ;) on the drive. They were also both happy with the hotter salsa after they had almost finished off the house salsa.

It was a great little trip for the day. Jack had been wearing a new fabricated brace for his leg for the first time. I hope he's recovered from that and can do some tweaking so that it can be more comfortable. As for Hank, he discovered his glass case had broken but not his glasses so that was a good thing. As for me, other than my sore jammed little toe and Tonto's strut, we're a little worse for wear. I'll bounce back quickly, not so sure about Tonto
:cry: .
Named place
Named place
Drift Fence Spring
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.

580 Photosets
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