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See Canyon Trail #184
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mini location map2011-10-29
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See Canyon Trail #184Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 29 2011
Hiking6.00 Miles 1,715 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   6 Hrs      1.20 mph
1,715 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break12 LBS Pack
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Linked none no linked trail guides
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My first "Official" hike and triplog as a HAZ member, Woo Hoo! :y: Trish picked a doozy! :lol: Was hoping to get a 2.5 in before this just to gauge my level, but never found someone to go with and didn't want to go alone since I don't know any of the trails...

Beautiful day for a hike and unbelievably for a Saturday on the rim, we were the only ones on the trail all day. Made for a quiet, serene hike interrupted only by laughter from the crew! :) The first mile and a half were good with only minimal elevation gain. You cross the creek a few times which was flowing nicely. The trail was well marked and defined to this point, but got sketchy in a few places further up. Evidently there had been a fire up there at some point, alot of the lower deciduous trees were gone, but the pines were pretty much unscathed except for scorched bark up to 15 feet. Controlled burn maybe? Whatever it was, it was low and fast moving. There was some nice color in the mid part of the canyon, and a couple of springs we crossed in the first part were flowing well. At the halfway point, you lost the flowing water in the creek and the creekbed was dry the rest of the way up.

You pay for the minimal elevation gain in the first half with the second half. Trail becomes much steeper and although the trail was still well marked, there is need for some maintenance although it looks like they have been working on it. There was alot of deadfall across the trail, and in a couple of areas, the deadfall wiped out the trail in some not great spots where the trail is already barely on the slope of the creekbed. You had to get past the spot and try to pick up the trail again and unfortunately in those areas the trail itself was not too defined. I got lucky in that I guessed where the natural path of the trail should be and didn't have to do a "sweep" to find a marker. There are alot of spots on the second half of this trail where the trail is pretty much carved into the slope and narrow, so you don't want to do a faceplant here or you'll be wearing the rocks in the creekbed at the bottom. Lots of steep climbs in this area with one gratefully level area to catch your wind about 7/8 up. This trail seemed like it would top out long before it does (maybe that was just me getting tired :lol: ), but the trail takes you all of the way to the back of the canyon. I was disappointed that I had to stop with what seemed like only about 200 foot of elevation to go, but with the tendency of this trail, the trail length was probably another 1000 feet and I had no legs left...I shall return! :D

Knowing that I still had the return trip, and with the length of time away from the rest of my compadres, I headed back down. I also was really feeling the elevation at this point since I have not been in any kind of elevation in about 2 years and was starting to get a headache. What took at least an hour to go up, was less than a half hour to get down as I was almost at a run. Joined back up with the rest of the crew and hiked out after stopping to medicate the arthritic knees that were stiffening up. They didn't care for the downhill portion too much, especially the rocky steep parts. Thank God for Ibuprofen, :) Took most of my pics on the way down as the lighting was better. Enjoyed this hike immensely. The scenery and colors were awesome and so was the company. This trail will be on my list for Spring. When that upper creekbed is flowing it is going to be spectacular with some great waterfalls.

For a 3.5, was a little sore today, but a good kind of sore. The kind that tells you that you did something and pushed yourself, but you didn't overextend to the point of not being able to move for 3 days...Thanks Trish for a great first hike!
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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