North McKittrick Canyon

PAGE TWO of THREE

In the Meadow

The little clouds that gave occasional sun relief have now gotten much bigger, and the shade is still welcome:

We try not to look at what we have to climb back up to get home:

We walk through the meadow to its western edge where it spills down the cliff face that is the eastern wall of Dog Canyon:

If I were a ruminant I would probably be happy here, as long at the grass is green and the bobcats and bears stayed away, of course:

This deer trail up the wall that separates Dog and North McKittrick Canyons is very inviting but has to wait for another visit to this place, and there will be others:

A northerly view shows two roads, one winding up out of Dog Canyon toward the town of Queen (no services), and the other on the ridge to the right, also coming from Queen, the road we traveled to the top of Guadalupe Ridge and aptly named the Guadalupe Ridge Road.

A more westerly view shows the Devils Den Canyon outflow path and on the most distant horizon the Sacramento Mountains where the resort town of Cloudcroft and Ruidoso are located.  A large part of the range is Mescalero Apache territory and hosts two Apache resorts, "Ski Apache" and "The Inn of the Mountain Gods."

Looking straight west we see the meadow and trees spilling off the side.  As it goes over the side it leaves the jurisdiction of the Forest Service and enters Bureau of Land Management (BLM) jurisdiction.  What gets really confusing is looking at the three agencies involved here in the Guadalupes.  There is a large swath of land under considering for a wilderness designation, a Wilderness Study Area.  Each of the three agencies has its name on a piece of that swath and only talks about its own piece on its website.  If you look at the North McKittrick Canyon WSA on the BLM website they say it is just the slope on the wall of Dog Canyon, and there is no access.  So then why bother with the wilderness designation?  Because it is part of a much larger WSA, the Forest Service's Guadalupe Escarpment WSA.  Same is true for the BLM's Devils Den Canyon WSA, which we have visited a number of times.  

Our time ruminating in this pleasant meadow is up.  Time to start looking for the best way back up this ridge.

We will start up by first looking for the lowest rock cairn on the next page.

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