December 12, 2019

A Short Trip To Miller Canyon


I had seen the road sign "Miller Canyon Rd" every time I was driving south to the Coronado National Forest or down further where I could turn back north on Hereford Rd. It's a popular road for the local mountain bike riders and was part of the weekend ride a few weeks ago in honor of a young lady that had passed away too early in life. So today I grabbed a few cameras and drove down to see what I was missing. It is not as high nor as steep as Carr Canyon or Montezuma Pass but the road is narrow and in many places just one lane.


Turning off Hwy 92 I passed through a small residential area of very nice homes that had fantastic views.


It would be the first trip for the 2007 FJ but from the past FJ's I've owned I know what it can do in this type of terrain. It is the best 4x4 of all the cars and truck that I have. I started the morning by trying one more time to find the camera shop in town. I had a phone number this time and a better idea where it was located. Only one problem .. the number was disconnected and in that small shopping center there wasn't a sign that a camera shop ever existed. So I had four different cameras with me including the iPhone camera.


See if you can tell which camera took which photo.


As I pulled into the Lower Parking area there was plenty of room for RVs, trucks with trailers, and had restroom facilities. I am not sure if overnight camping was allowed but I did NOT see any signs saying it wasn't allowed. Based on the map I had, it was farther than I wanted to walk to the trails and possibly too much incline for my walking at this time ... so I took a few photos, hopped back in the FJ and headed to the top.


Believe it or not, that FJ hit the road for the first time in November 2006 ... 13 years old and only one owner before me. There is not a scratch or dent anywhere and it's very possible that it never drove off paved roads until I bought it.


I was not going to the top of this, it was just a closer view of what I took standing by the FJ.



Looking at this picture I have to wonder just how many different kinds of landscape do you see between the trees, wild grass, flowers etc.



At this point of the drive there was enough room to pull over and let a large truck towing a horse trailer pass by, coming at me. Up ahead I would have had to backup to a place I could pull to the side of the road. It wasn't scary steep but quite narrow at times.


From the way the map looked I didn't think this road was going to get too high in elevation. I did know for sure that I was not going to be driving along the side of the mountains straight ahead nor going to the top of them.


As I pulled into the Miller Canyon Upper Parking Lot, there was a U-turn with a sign for private property straight ahead ... or to the right of this picture. I didn't see a sign but the maps call that property the Beatty's Guest Ranch and Orchard. I did not see any entry or road leading to the Miller Canyon Recreation Area ... unless we are looking at the entry point in this picture.

Behind me and to the left of where I am taking this photo, all parking spaces were taken, leaving me no room to park and check out the trails. I had only two choices and that was to head back down to the lower parking area or head home.


If you can try to picture a 26'-29' Class C RV coming from the other direction. Luckily we were at a point I could slide to the right edge in the rocks to let her pass by. She would barely have enough room to make the U-turn at the top ... then again, she might have been too long to make the sharp turn back down the hill. Something tells me that wasn't the first time she had driven her motorhome up there.




I was able to go up and back down in 2-wheel drive. It just wasn't that steep and maybe two switchbacks at the most with plenty of room to turn out around the corner. It was the perfect weather to go hiking but I had done what I came for ... find out what is up here and take some photos. I'll come back another time to hike those trails at the top of the road.


Once you hit pavement it's just a short drive to Hwy 92. Those snowcaps you see are north of Tombstone almost 40 or more miles away.


When I walked into the house Heidi was nowhere to be found. She was outside sleeping in the sunshine but by the time I went back to get my camera, she heard me and met me inside. Stella on the other hand was sound to sleep in her crate. Once I opened the door she stopped as usual to get her collar put on then trotted outside. She wasn't finished sleeping and she loves the hot sunshine.


It took this with the patio post in the picture on purpose. I just wanted to show what a nice day it was. A little cool but still nice bicycling or hiking weather. I was/am going to take one more day off from riding. I am having very little if any pain at all in my lower back or right hip. Two of my bicycling friends feel that cycling will keep that hip loose and will help the healing process instead of causing any damage. Better to keep moving instead of being stagnant.


By the time an hour had passed, Stella had moved back inside because she gets too hot after about 15 minutes then came back outside to do the same thing she did before when she ended up getting too hot. It's a vicious circle I guess.

Here she is showing the the thoughtful process of a bloodhound sunbathing in the winter.  LOL





This is a zoom photo of Carr Canyon I think. If you look closely you can see the road in the center, switchback to the left and climb ... it would go behind what the photo shows. It is a road that I classify as 'scary' in some parts, 4-5  of them.


By the time I gave myself a haircut (13 years experience), Stella had moved back inside and was sleeping in the living room where it's nice and cool.

I'll end this post with some short notes, questions or comments ----

Those that use Blogger as your blogging platform, how do you like the "new Blogger"??? They are slowly changing it page by page. Is it time for me to install a new design??  (theme)

When I moved in June my old Dyson had been picking up dog hair out of the carpet for almost 11 years. That's a lot of dog hair. It was still working perfectly but more than a few people told me it was time for a new one. I waited until I moved before buying another Dyson. This time I went with the cordless model (can't remember the number) and that has really cut down on the time it takes to vacuum. Good purchase.

I have too many cameras.

I guess I should have NOT tried to save money when I bought the Nikon D3200 4 years ago and spent 2x or 3x as much to get a professional camera that does everything that I want. Instead I have spent too much money trying to save money. So I have two Nikon's and the small Canon G9X and EACH does one thing the best. Then the iPhone 11 camera improves so much it moves to the top of the list beating the DSLR's in everything but one thing ... 300mm zoom.

I replaced the D3200 with the D3500 because in the 4 years I've had the D3200 I've dropped it in a snow bank, had the wind blow it off a chair and bounced it a few times on my gravel driveway back in Indiana, plus it needed to be professionally cleaned. It looks like somewhere in Tucson is the closest place I can find to do that. Yet with the "Deal" at Best Buy this fall I could buy a new D3500 AND the 70mm-300mm lens I wanted for LESS THAN just the lens !!!

I am still not happy with the quality when using the 300mm zoom on the mountains from the patio. I am trying a different camera for that, "a loner" if you will, with 65x zoom and it is bringing in the mountains quite sharp and clear .... but that same camera does NOT take better pictures in low light, inside or even outside in the sunshine ... it has a "soft" picture quality.

Without any adjustments, the iPhone 11 camera I have now blows all of them away in picture quality ... except for the zoom.

I think I'll find a few camera shops in Tucson where I can sell some used equipment and get down to my iPhone camera and the camera that does well in max zoom. OR trade all that I have except my iPhone camera for something more professional that will do everything I am looking for in a sharp clear high quality photo. Stay tuned.

One thing good about blogs ... you can go back to any year you blogged, a lot of times on the exact date and see that things really haven't changed that much. I just found out this morning on this date just last year I woke up at 3:10am just like this morning. I also didn't get back to sleep in either year and got up to start the day a little after 4am. IN BOTH CASES, 2018 AND 2019 STELLA WANTED TO EAT HER MORNING KIBBLE WITHIN MINUTES OF WAKING UP AT 4AM !!!!  LOL

I was over on Wordpress this time last year claiming I was going to be more 'transparent' in my blogging and opinionated ... that didn't last long ... it was fun while it lasted but really not a good move. I came back here because it's free and Wordpress was wanting to charge me for a free account and they always had a limit on how many photos I could have in my account.

Their photos are better quality on the blog because they do NOT COMPRESS the photos like Google does on Blogger or in Google Photos. Bye bye sharp and clear when that compression happens to a photo.

(I hear the music for the ice cream truck that passes through the neighborhood every Thursday)

That music brings Stella out of a deep sleep.

So that's it for today. I am still debating on whether to take a 'short' bike ride today or hold off one more day. It's a confusing time for what to do.

These photos were taken with the following cameras/lenses:

Nikon D3500 / Nikon 18-55mm lens
Nikon D3200 / Tamron 18-200mm lens
Canon G9X
iPhone 11 Pro Max

Beautiful weather here in the 'Wild West' again today ... as usual.

8 comments:

  1. Nice! I have a Nikon D5200 that I leave the Tamron 18-200mm lens on most of the time. But in the interest of going wih lighter weights for hiking I went to the Olympus mirrorless OMD cameras. I just purchased their Olympus Tough TG6 camera for this winter and spring hiking without much equipment.
    My cell phone is a cheap Motorola one, but I must say your iPhone takes amazing shots.

    I'm can't tell which camera you used in which photo.

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    1. My small point and shoot Canon G9X has a black spot on the sensor that shows up sometimes on the picture. Still looking for camera shop to clean it but I might have to go all the way to Phoenix since two shops in Tucson are out of business. Or I could send it in to Canon I guess. Maybe the lack of sharpness is in my own mind and not the camera??? :)

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  2. Did you notice the reflection of your hand in the windshield? Looks like it's coming out of the sky... Nice special effect there. ��

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    1. not intended that way but yes, I did notice it.

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  3. Technically you were at the Miller Canyon Recreation Area when you were in that upper parking lot. It's not your typical recreation area with picnic tables, but really just the trailhead for a collection of trails, including one that goes back down to that lower parking area. (When I was there the upper parking-lot was empty so I was able to explore a bit before the sun set.) And apparently Beatty's is a premier hummingbird spot, but you have to book a cabin to get in.

    Rules vary depending on which NF unit you are in, but generally speaking camping is not allowed at trailheads, which would include that lower parking lot since it's the trailhead for the Perimeter Trail, but at the same time, dispersed camping is allowed on NF lands outside designated campgrounds except where expressly prohibited, so that's a confusing one. (You must be clear of the road but no more than 100 to 300 feet off it depending on the unit [Hoosier's rules are different than Coronado's] and preferably in a spot that's been used for camping before.) Best to ask the ranger, though there are a number of other spots to camp along this road, or any of the 5 other FS roads that lead off of it, and one of those is where I stayed.

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    1. I looked for FS roads as I traveled that road and saw signs of a couple and wondered which one you took. Otherwise I didn't see a lot of spots 100' off the road that could I could get to when needed. I will go back to the upper parking lot earlier in the week and check out the hiking trail.

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    2. Do you have the plasticized Leonard Taylor trail map? I bought mine at the visitor center for something like $6.

      I poked my nose down 5740 but there were two camps already set up down there. 5799 looked like it needed scouting on foot before I took The Van down there so I passed it up until I saw what else might be available.

      I actually stayed on a small loop off the north side of 56 (Miller Canyon Rd) about a third of the way down from the top. It's small and only a few feet from the road but I was only staying the one night, it was easy to get into and being nearly sunset the traffic was non-existent through the rest of the night.

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    3. I don't have that map. I did NOT check out the small book I have describing the Miller Canyon Road and Trails. I'll check it out. I remember seeing the area you stayed in. I almost pulled into that area to get some more photos. No bears instead of traffic at night???

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