Trail Clearing

By Patty Wilber

One of the things I love doing withour horses is trail clearing and packing with the Back Country Horsemen.  This requires agreements with the Forest Service and some training, so on Wednesday, four members of the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen attended a recertification class for cutting trees.  Our current three-year certification runs out in September, but this class was available, so off we went. (Not everyone in the club has to be certified, but some folks do.)

It was a valuable refresher, and we also learned some new things.  We had been taught that our two-man saws were “pull” saws, meaning that they only cut on the pull, but it turns out they are actually “push-pull” saws and cut both directions.  The key is that the pusher has to push judiciously so as not to outpace the puller.

We also got to use a Silky Katanaboy saw, which is a Japanese folding saw that is all the rage as they are sharp and light and long enough to cut high limbs and do the final cutting on fairly large logs to keep the vintage two-man saws many of us use out of the dirt when the logs fall.  We just got two Katanaboys for our club from the Cibola Forest!

A Katanaboy!

Not that you can really tell, but the Katanaboy is being used to finish the cut.

The really top-notch two-man saws were last manufactured in the 1930’s, which is why we have to protect the ones we have!

We also used non-vintage type that was new to us: a New Zealand-made M-tooth Tuatahia work saw.  This company makes racing saws (for fast cutting at, say, lumberjack competitions) and work saws (and axes).  The steel is exceptionally hard and they retain their sharpness for a long time.  Also if you accidentally fall with one, and land on it, they will cut you.  Fortunately, when I performed this feat of grace, I only nicked my finger, right through my glove, of course.  We got to practice our first aid, but first I shook my bleeding finger to get the blood off (like that makes any sense) and sent blood flying. That made everyone duck. No one wants to come in contact with other people’s blood potentially infected with HIV or hepatitis or any other blood-borne pathogen.  Luckily, I didn’t blood spatter anyone and I also don’t carry any blood-borne pathogens.

It was a fun and productive way to spend the day!

Currently, the Red Canyon and Spruce trailhead in the Manzanos is closed due to the massive number of trees that came down over the winter due to snow and wind.  On May 18th we will head there to put our new tools and skills to work to finish Box Trail in that area.  Some of our members worked on it two weeks ago. (Forty trees in less than half a mile.)

Penny napping at Ox trailhead two weeks ago with Jim.  Ox leads to Box trail which goes over to the Red Canyon/Spruce trailhead). Penny is carrying a vintage two-man saw and a first aid kit. Note that most people do not like to see the saws bent like this, as there is some danger of breakage, but we have been carrying our saws this way for 20+ years (the same saws, too) and have not had any trouble, so keep your fingers crossed for us rebels.

If you are interested in volunteer trail work with the Back Country Horsemen Peco Chapter, please reach out!  If you do not have a horse, we could still use you, or you can work with Volunteers for the Outdoors, or Friends of the Sandias!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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1 Response to Trail Clearing

  1. dorannadurgin says:

    I am having Katanaboy envy–what a neat tool!

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