PCT Section I: Kerrick Canyon (mile 972-986)

Miles 972 to 986 on the PCT offer gorgeous views at the price of real effort. This was one time on the trail that yours truly, age sixty, was passed by folks, both younger and older, from twenty-somethings coming south from Truckee to family groups passing heading north, in both directions. Didn’t manage to capture portraits this day.  Spectacular to see though. Let me feature this image of the lake at the top of the first pass, a sizeable jewel, which had an excellent campsite that appears rarely used — perhaps because it’s at the top of a pass. I wanted to make it here on day three,  but ran out of steam at the end of day two of this part of the trail, section I.

This is what it looks like as you crest the top of the ridge at 9002 feet, headed northbound, at mile 975:


Not too shabby, no? I wished I had camped there. For more of this section, featuring yet another paradise called Kerrick Canyon, please see below the fold.

Here’s a young man working hard for the California Conservation Corps at eight in the morning as I headed up the steep ridge. Gotta love those beautifully-laid steps of smooth granite! Characteristic of the whole Yosemite region, both park and wilderness.

I thanked this fellow, and he thanked me for hiking these trails and making this work possible. True story.


Here’s that campsite by the lake at the top of the pass I mentioned. Camping is prohibited within one hundred feet of water, and the park service makes visitors promise to abide by that prohibition, even though most campsites and fire circles in this part of the PCT are, yes, within one hundred feet of water.


Though this was the top of one ridge, to reach Kerrick Canyon one must go over Seavey Pass, which was only a couple hundred feet higher, but seemed much more.


Hiking the trail in summer though has compensations, including tiger lilies by the score:


Enjoying the six-mile saunter through lush, inviting, mostly flat Kerrick Canyon, I mostly forgot to take pictures, but this gives some idea:


Didn’t fully appreciate the joys and wonders of Kerrick Canyon until I climbed Macomb Ridge and looked back.

Kerrick Canyon
Kerrick Canyon

Continued on to yet another gorgeous little lake with no name at mile 986, and camped in perfect peace and serenity on a ledge about a hundred feet above it.


Slept in a cleft in the rock of the world, it felt, to echo Blanche Dubois’s yearning in life.



Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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