Wilderness Ridge

Part 2:  The Permian Trail from McKittrick Canyon to Wilderness Ridge

Page One: McKittrick Canyon start

A TIMELY TIP:

If you rely on a cell phone to tell time, remember that here you are on the boundary of the Central Time and Mountain Time zones.  The National park (hence the time the gate closes on McKittrick Canyon parking) is on Mountain Time, but most of your hike above a certain level you will get a signal from a tower located below you to the east, in the Central Time zone.  So don't worry about that lost hour on your ascent.  Be happy.  You will get it back on your descent.

Page One of Part 1 showed a map that includes where this hike took us.  Here is another map showing the Permian Trail.  Because of below freezing temperature and very high wind on top of the ridge (guessing it was a sustained 55 mile per hour wind, with gusts--I needed all 4 of my clothing layers just to stay decently warm) , and time constraints (this part of the national park has rather early closing times), and snow on the trail, we get to the top of Wilderness Ridge but turn around without venturing far.

Driving to the McKittrick Canyon visitors center gave this view of the ridge we will be climbing (blessed are the trailmakers and maintainers that make this possible for me!).  The goal is the high point of the ridge just above the tall vertical cliffs.  Note the rather jagged formation at the extreme right in the next photo, expanded on in the photo to the right:

 

We saw that formation before, from the west, when walking part of Big Canyon Ridge we got a view toward this rock formation on the terminus of a side-lobe  off Wilderness Ridge.  Two years later we get an even better view at the end of Forest Road 9553.

But let's get a move on, time is limited! We start at the Visitor Center at 5013 feet elevation and walk along a very good trail toward our destination.  The trail takes us across the main drainage channel out of McKittrick Canyon where the debris piles along the bank's vegetation remind us of last September's flood through here:

    

Soon after, we embark on the trek to our destination, seemingly far above us at this point:

Looking back to the south at the higher peaks surrounding McKittrick Canyon in that direction:

The Visitor Center is still visible from here, showing we are making some progress:

The first, lower, cliff ahead has a rock leaning away from it, we will walk around it on the next page:

Time for the next page.

Go to Part 2, Page Two: Up to the first cliff

Go to Part 2, Page Three: Up to the high cliffs

Go to Part 2, Page Four: Backside of high cliffs and switchbacks

Go to Part 2, Page Five: Coming to the ridge top

Go to Part 2, Page Six: On the ridge top

Go Back to Part 1, Page One: Orientation

Go Back to Part 1, Page Two: Road 3008 to Trail 45

Go Back to Part 1, Page Three: Views north, east, and south

Go Back to Part 1, Page Four: Final view into McKittrick Canyon

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