North McKittrick Canyon from its North Rim: Part 1 of 5
I have made several attempts at walking through North McKittrick Canyon, as shown by the blue markings on the next photo (a photos of a Bing map):
One time we walked into the northernmost reach of the canyon (left side of the photo above), the other two times we walked up from the McKittrick Canyon visitors entrance off the highway from Carlsbad to El Paso. That time we stopped because we hit water, and were not equipped to deal with it. So what is the problem? The problem is there is much of this canyon we have not yet seen.
What is the solution to the problem? Start walking in from the northwest end of the canyon until we again hit water from the other end is the long-term plan. But if the canyon gets very rough that will not work for me, at my age I do not any longer do cliffs or scale large boulders. So the motive behind this walk was to look down into the canyon's north end from above and gauge its roughness below. Did we succeed? No, but the scenery was very nice and we want to share it. So this is the route we took, at two different scales, starting and ending on trails and going cross-country along the rim:
The photo on the right also shows where one of our previous walks ended, at the head of North McKittrick Canyon.
This is where the trails split (as shown in the above photos, clearer in the left photo):
We start on the Camp Wilderness Ridge Trail (45), are quite disobedient and get off the trail and meander back along the edge of the canyon wall, and eventually come back on the North McKittrick Canyon trail.
From near the above sign we look into the canyon and see the opportunity for looking down from that rocky point sticking out into the canyon:
On the trail, we quickly realize that the rocky outcrop we saw before is just one of many rocky outcrops and we keep looking for one with the best view to the western end of the canyon where we have walked before, below in the canyon bottom:
So when the trail itself comes nearer the canyon's edge we step over to take a look:
Good view into the eastern extent of North McKittrick Canyon, but we can get closer to the edge and see below where we walked until we hit water, on the other side of the large obstructing ridge in the middle of the photo:
Looking straight down and employing a bit of telefoto magic suggests a dry creek bed at this point, but we know it is not dry as it winds its way around the mountains that are tapering into the canyon at this point:
Getting creepily close to the edge allows a view further west, suggesting the creekbed is dry here too:
But, it also shows more opportunities to climb and see more of the creekbed in the canyon-bottom below.
We will go there on the next page.
Go to Second North McKittrick Canyon from its North Rim Page
Go to Third North McKittrick Canyon from its North Rim Page
Go to Fourth North McKittrick Canyon from its North Rim Page
Go to Fifth North McKittrick Canyon from its North Rim Page
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