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Merritt - Barbershop Short Loop
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2020-08-10  
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mini location map2015-08-13
10 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Merritt - Barbershop Short LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 13 2015
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking6.50 Miles 652 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles   6 Hrs   42 Mns   0.97 mph
652 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Headed up to Camp Grasshopper on FR139C on the Mogollon Rim for 7 days to escape the high temps in Phoenix. Hank was there when I arrived on Wednesday busy setting up camp in a forest glen covered with green ferns and grass. We both managed to get our camps set up before the afternoon rain burst hit but Hank soon had a small stream flowing through his tent. It rained almost every afternoon of the trip but usually only for a short time. We were serenaded by a pack of coyotes at both sundown and sunrise the first two evenings but for some reason never heard any elk calling.

The next morning I set off for a loop hike from the camp descending into Barbershop Canyon, then following the canyon down to its intersection with Merritt Draw and heading up Merritt back towards camp. My descent into Barbershop was at a location on its west rim near camp that I had scouted out the day before. It was a steep descent but no cliffs and no brush - just follow the elk trails. The bottom of the canyon was knee to waist high with grass and patches of skunk cabbage and sunflowers. It was still wet from the heavy rain the previous afternoon so I was soon soaked from the waist down but it felt good in the warm humid weather. My heavy duty Gortex backpacking boots leftover from a previous life in the rain forests of Oregon kept my feet dry for the first 3 miles but soon succumbed to the wet grass. My feet were soaked by the end of the hike. I've never found any "breathable" water proof lining for boots or clothing that could stand up to hours of walking through wet grass.

It was fairly easy bushwhacking along the bottoms of both Barbershop Canyon and Merritt Draw. Frequent stream crossings were required but the stream was small and rocky enough to make dry crossings easy to find. I was hoping to see some elk in the morning and tried to be stealthy but had no luck - not even fresh tracks. There were plenty of elk trails which always provided the easiest path through thickets and around fallen trees. I exited Merritt Draw just before its intersection with Maverick Canyon and crossed FR9735P (not approved for motor vehicles) on my way up the ridge between FR139C and Merritt Draw. I then followed the top of the ridge until reaching a point directly above camp and descended the hillside back to camp. Hank was puttering around camp and by now was wearing his fourth hat of the day (he brought 5 or 6 hats). It had been an enjoyable hike through the lush green forest of the Mogollon Rim providing the much needed green fix this Oregon Hiker needed.
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