By Patty Wilber
On Wednesday, we went back to retrieve empty water containers and some gear for the trail crew that was working on Pine Shadow Trail at the southern end of the Manzano Mountain.
We drove in on 131 from Manzano, and if you check the map, you can see the road has a big switchback. That area is one lane+ and has some wash boarding on which I was happier in 4WD, but it was not necessary.
The trail head has ample parking for horse trailers and four large horse pens–two are missing gates and the gated two have large chollas in them, but other than that they are servicable.
There is a good size stock tank that is dry, so bring water. There are shaded picnic tables and an outhouse.
The trail crew re-established the trail up to the Crest Trail, they said. We only rode it to their camp, which was within the Wilderness boundary but not too far in, so I cannot tell you the trail conditions after that point. I can tell you that it was essentially impassable to stock prior to their work.
The southern aspect of this trail makes it a hotter and drier micro climate than Red Canyon. More oaks, prickly pear, cholla and juniper.
The alligator junipers are really large and beautiful. In my next lifetime, I want to do portraits of these trees. They look like they hold many secrets in their gnarled limbs. They have dead twisted snags and tough, living parts and I am always struck by something about them. Their resilience?
Not sure. And my poetic side is not helping me find the right words, either.
Sorry for the late post and as a consequence, lack of editing may be quite apparent, so please forgive that as well.