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Merrit Barbershop Dane Lower Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-09-13
33 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Merrit Barbershop Dane Lower Loop, AZ 
Merrit Barbershop Dane Lower Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 13 2018
Hiking14.10 Miles 1,277 AEG
Hiking14.10 Miles   7 Hrs   43 Mns   2.26 mph
1,277 ft AEG   1 Hour   28 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Lower Merritt

This trip to the rim is to finish up some undone sections of Barbershop and Dane Canyons. I started out on FSR 139c that follows the ridge between Merritt Draw and Barbershop Canyon. At about 2 miles in parked along 139c and continued on foot along 139c to FR 9735p, which is an old logging road now closed to vehicles. This old logging road takes you to the drop off point to Merritt Draw which is just at the point where Maverick Canyon enters Merritt Draw from the west. Merritt Draw at this point all the way to Barbershop Canyon is fairly easy to navigate unlike the central portion of Merritt Draw which is all choked up with dead fall. Both times I’ve been to Merritt Draw the central portion was dry but on this trip the lower portion the stream was flowing above ground. At about .4 miles from Maverick Canyon is Drift Fence Spring, I did not see the spring but I was not really looking for it either. After two miles of fairly easy walking along the stream Merritt Draw empties into Barbershop Canyon. The U Bar Trail also crosses Barbershop at this point.

Lower Barbershop

Lower Barbershop Canyon from the Merritt Draw intersection to the Dane Creek intersection is 1.6 miles. There was a trail crew working on the U Bar Trail where it crosses Barbershop Creek. After a short chat I continued on down Barbershop Canyon. This canyon is a little bit more overgrown than Merritt but still easy to walk with just a little bit of maneuvering around rocks and dead fall. In almost no time at all Dane Canyon joins Barbershop from the right. Took a short break at the Dane Barbershop junction and pondered about Barbershop Canyon as it continues on down to East Clear Creek, Wonder how doable that is, Oh well, that’s another day.

Dane Canyon

One look at Dane Canyon as I approached it from Barbershop Canyon and I got this feeling this was going to be pure torture. The entrance to the canyon was choked with brush. As I took my break I also kept thinking about how hard was Dane Canyon going to be. As I found out when I started hiking in Dane, it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. It is more congested than the other canyons I was in but wasn’t terrible. I worried about nothing. This canyon would be a little harder if the water was higher especially in the marshy areas. Beautiful canyon and the almost 3 miles went by pretty quickly with all the scenery. Well worth the effort to see this lower part of Dane Canyon. I'm usually very careful about tripping or falling since I am alone but this canyon did me in twice. Luckily both falls didn't result in injury. The first time it was a hidden branch that snagged my boot the second time it was while crossing a stream stepping on a rock that had small logs on it hanging onto a bush to keep my balance and the logs under my feet shifted and I went down. The sad part is all while I was performing this maneuver I was thinking to myself this is a bad idea. I need to listen to that little voice in my head when it is screaming "BAD IDEA". I took the U Bar Trail where it crosses Dane Canyon back to Barbershop Trail and headed up Barbershop from there.

Barbershop Canyon

At the junction of the U Bar Trail and Barbershop Canyon I headed upstream about 3.5 miles to my exit point to FSR 139c. This portion of the Barbershop like the previous portion was fairly easy to navigate. Would definitely be a little harder if the water was higher. It does require a lot of stream crossings and in places going around dead fall. There was one spot that required crossing a log jam in the creek. Even though it’s a little bit of extra work it is worth it to see this portion of the canyon.

The sandstone rocks in all these canyons are Coconino sandstone of the Paleozoic era about 260 Mya and are an eolian deposit, remnants of sand dunes. You can see the cross hatched pattern typical of windblown deposits. Occasionally these deposits are swept away flat by some ancient event only to have more windblown deposits laid down and this is repeated over and over again. I wondered what that event was and how much time passed between events. Barbershop and Dane Canyons had some excellent examples of this along some of the canyon walls.
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