Progress on South Fork Trail

A team of four volunteers led by John Sumner continued trail work in the Chiricahua Wilderness last week. The plan at this stage of the project was to ascend and work on the higher and more remote section of the trail.

The Chiricahua Regional Council is sponsoring this multi year project to fully restore the eight mile route through South Fork canyon and onto the southern crest of the range.

Last fall, the trail work brought major improvements through to mile 5.5. Similar to last year, this time we worked in advance of a Wild Arizona paid crew. Our task was to remove brush and logs from the badly eroded and overgrown corridor. Removing thickets of oak, New Mexico Locust, and Ceanothus is bad enough, but the mountains had some wild weather in store for us too. We were treated to numerous hail storms accompanied by intensive lightning.

Much was accomplished. We cut and removed 75 logs, along with massive amounts of brush.

The night before we packed out brought one of the heaviest thunderstorms of the season. Parts of the watershed received three inches of rain. As a result, the creek rose dramatically. There were 20 wet crossings to make on the trail. Luckily we navigated these without incident. Needless to say, we were relieved to be out.

This has been a major undertaking. Many thanks to John Sumner, Jody Hansen and Jane Hiscox for their hard work.

Later this month brings the final phase of the project, when Wild Arizona will bring their expert Wild Stew crew to rebed the trail.

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