I finally got time to completely hike my adopted 11-mile segment of the CDT, starting at noon on October 23 at the southern terminus on forest road 4017L, lopping brush the entire afternoon, and arriving at the northern boundary at 7PM dusk.
Because this is USFS land, I am required to wear protective gear: hard hat, boots, long clothes, eye protection, and work gloves. The first few miles are flat on burnt and cleared land, with parallel stock trails.
Later the parallel trails became more braided, sometimes 6 paths across. Cattle are still present– how long will they be left to graze?
Five NMVFO members (Don, Ed, Kitry, Bill M, and myself) returned to New Canyon Campground and hiked up to the crest for a day of crosscut sawing in the Manzano Wilderness.
A few new obstacles had fallen across the trail, and we tackled a few Problem and Hazard trees bypassed on previous outings. Bill, a sawyer with deep experience, talked us through analyzing a complicated situation, anticipating how the tree would move after a cut, and how to plan our escape paths.
The oak had turned a dark red on this brisk fall day, contrasting with the yellow aspen and dark conifers.
Heart of the Gila led a trail project from the Gila River to near the summit of Granny Mountain, clearing corridor, building cairns, and repairing some tread. We met October 5 at the trailhead on Sheep Corral Canyon Road (high clearance vehicles recommended, 7k elevation) and hiked 8 miles down to the river and camped at the base of Granny Mountain Trail, after 9 or so water crossings, at elevation 5.2k. The Gila Chapter of Back Country Horsemen NM helped ferry down gear and food, and provided meals.