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Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking Sep 20 2011
Hiking6.50 Miles 1,127 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles
1,127 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked descriptions
Partners none no partners
With the forecast of slightly cooler weather and lots of sun in the rim country, we did this beautiful loop on Tuesday. Parked at the Maxwell TH and walked the forest roads around to the Tramway TH, and descended down that steep trail. That put the car at our immediate disposal when we exited the canyon on the Maxwell, a great way to finish the hike. In my three trips into Maxwell over the last 3 or 4 years, that big mud puddle on the branch of the "Y" down to the TH has always been wet and this trip was no exception. Great fun mud bogging through, but you need high clearance and 4WD adds to the confidence of getting through. The last stretch of road in is the worst shape I have seen it - I doubt that it gets any maintenance. But that just means a little slower driving which is fine.

Left Mesa at about 6:15 to 6:30 am and were at the TH at a little after 9:30. On the trail (FR to start) at about 9:50am and got back to the car 4 1/2 hours later - but we took our time to enjoy the scenic wonderland in the canyon. My GPS logged 6.5 miles a little more than the 5 miles listed for this hike. That's about 4 miles over the FRs and about 2.5 into and along the canyon. I lost the GPS signal a few times in the canyon and I edited out that false wandering.

Max temps were in the low 80s - another advantage of parking at the Maxwell TH and doing the sun-drenched 4 miles at the beginning of the hike is that the temps will be lower in the morning making this part of the hike more pleasant. Saw our first ever Arizona Alligator (lizard) on the hike over the FRs.

Water flow seemed normal and water temp was delightful. We could always find places to cross WCC that were shallow enough to get not much more than ankle deep except for a couple of places. Then we didn't need to get more than knee deep (although we did some deeper wading just for fun - maybe we're still young at heart if not body?).

We didn't see a soul the whole trip, but there was a pickup truck parked near the last "Y" in the roads. Maybe they hiked downstream (east), in which case we could not have seen them.

This area has to be one of Arizona's real gems in beauty. Stunning views of the canyon from near the top of the Tramway trail, challenging trails in and out, and lush and bold beauty along the creek. Sweet!
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace. -- Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD – 117 AD)

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