April 11, 2012
Three-and-a-half miles up Barnhardt Trail’s many switchbacks, you will arrive at a grotto in the mountainside. A shallow pool of cool water, often dry in the summer, flows out of the almost hidden waterfall a few yards back in the narrow opening in the grotto.
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Stepping out of my Jeep, at the parking area at the beginning of the Barnhardt trailhead, I shield my eyes from the bright morning sunlight five miles up a rutted dirt road, leading up from Highway 87. Cactus and stands of juniper crowd together on the mesa, jockeying for space in the rocky soil beneath a hazy, blue sky. My companions, all members of the Payson Packers, have been here before, but we keep coming back because we know this four-mile trail never disappoints.