Don, Dennis, Mike, and I returned yet again to the John F Kennedy Campground trailhead to work on Osha Trail in the Manzano Wilderness, hiking up 4.25 miles and 2000 feet elevation gain to clear about 17 blowdowns with a crosscut saw or dragging off the trail. We also blocked about a dozen false paths caused by game trails, short-cutting switchbacks, and temporary reroutes around blowdowns.
We were not able to get all the way to Osha Peak this outing, so perhaps we will come in from the east for a follow-on project, parking at Capilla Peak campground. Upper Osha has many more false trails, and past work thinning trees near the peak makes it hard to spot old trail by looking at saw marks.
Don and I scouted the Comanche-Osha-Crest-Trigo 10.5 mile loop, starting at the trailhead parking just below the permanently closed JFK Campground at the west side base of the Manzano Mountains. We are hoping to create a small add-on project for the NMVFO, using one or two 4-person teams with crosscut saws, to add to previous projects this year on Trigo Trail. The Comanche Trail leaves from the parking lot, at the furthest uphill corner from the trailhead parking area from the entrance, unsigned. The trail is relatively flat for a mile or so, heavily used by horses, and a well-signed intersection starts the Osha Trail, which generally follows the high point of a climbing ridge going up to the crest. About 2.8 miles into the hike is the first fallen tree needing removal, and about 70 trees needed clearing up to Osha Peak in a two mile section. Several switchbacks have been cut off, and numerous game trails create false routes off of Osha. Near to the peak, the correct Osha route becomes nearly impossible to find, as numerous trees have been cut for fire control, and we could not use our technique of looking for old saw marks to find the correct route.
After a lovely hike on well-cleared Crest Trail, we descend onto the upper part of Trigo, where about 25 logs remain to be cleared. This upper trail is also very brushy, and will benefit from corridor lopping when the Forest Service allows this work to resume. From Trigo Falls down to the trailhead, the path is clear and in good condition. Good hike!