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Middle Miller Canyon - 1 member in 1 triplog has rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Aug 31 2018

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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Middle Miller CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 31 2018
Hiking10.36 Miles 579 AEG
Hiking10.36 Miles   4 Hrs   7 Mns   2.52 mph
579 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was on my own today, as my wife had to stay behind to care for our new kitten who the vet “transitioned” the day before. There wasn’t much traffic heading north on I-17, nor east on AZ-260, for the Labor Day weekend. Not at 7:00 a.m. anyway. It was a perfect 58℉ when I started hiking at 8:05 a.m. 😿

From the trailhead, I thought about heading directly across FR 320 for the obvious low ground, which I knew would take me into Miller Canyon. Instead, I headed north on FR 320 for .25 miles, splitting left on FR 6235, which is closed to vehicular traffic. (Several dead trees have been hauled across the road.) 🚫🚙

Where FR 6235 turns north, I turned left, down a draw. You could as easily continue west, down the spur. Either ends up on FR 9350E, or the “Old FR” as I call it. The Old FR has not seen vehicular traffic in years.

The Old FR heads north, a couple of contours up from the bottom of Miller Canyon. The walls are often sheer, but are frequently broken by draws which may more easily be descended to the canyon bottom. FR 6350E is smooth, easy, walking and dotted with mushrooms.

Starting when I descended from the Old FR to Miller Canyon’s bottom, until I exited the canyon three hours later, there were flowers end-to-end. I know we’ve had a great monsoon, and I was hoping for some flowers, but I never expected anything like what I found in the canyon. Later, up on Miller Ridge, the only flowers I saw were scattered lupine.

When I reached the junction of Miller Canyon and East Miller Canyon, I turned right, up East Miller Canyon, hoping to find an easy way up to Miller Ridge. I went about a quarter mile, but found nothing but cliffs, or draws so steep & choked with deadfall, that they didn’t look safe. It would suck to fall and break something out of cell range, though I do carry a PLB registered with the NOAA. If I hit the switch on that, the same cavalry is coming for me that goes for downed fighter pilots. Minus the Navy SEALs. 📡

I doubled back up Miller Canyon maybe a hundred yards, where I recalled seeing a doable route up to Miller Ridge. It was steep, and had some deadfall, but no tripper vines or grab & stabs that would throw me off balance. Better yet, it had a game trail. So, I followed that 150 ft. up, using the odd upright tree for a handhold or foot brake. I made the top in 12 minutes.

On the hike back along FR 320, I kept myself amused by singing, badly, my usual array of shower songs: “Joy to the World”, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”, “Mercedes Benz”, “Me & Bobby McGee” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” (from Disney’s “Song of the South”).

Halfway back to the trailhead, I sat on some pine needles, reclined against a tree, and took off my shoes and socks. While they dried out, a bit, I ate lunch. I could have stayed there all day, watching the clouds. ⛅️

On the way back to AZ-87, I had to dodge a couple of yahoos going too fast, too wide, on the forest road. There was tons more traffic — all heavy duty pickups hauling 5th wheel trailers, dirt bikes, ATVs and boats. Thankfully, I was heading the opposite direction of the Labor Day rush hour. 🙏🏻

Traffic on I-17 southbound was not bad, but I thank the Good Lord I was not heading the opposite direction as it was a 30 mile traffic jam from Phoenix to Sunset Point. Everyone “getting away from it all” by going to the same place. 🙄

Hike Video:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
A surprising quantity, and variety of species.
_____________________ : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
2 archives
average hiking speed 2.52 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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