Be advised that FR253 may be closed during winter months. I planned to hike Manzano Feb. 6 2006, but found the road gated off just past Manzano State Park. The signed said it was closed in winter "for resource protection." I don't know if FS422 might be open from Abo Pass to the south, at least far enough to access Pine Shadow Trail. FS 275 from Punta de Agua is another possibility, but again I have no idea how far the closure extends over these roads. I can't find any reference to the subject on the Forest Service website. If you are similarly unlucky, the closest alternative is to take FS 245 out of Manzano and hike Osha Peak instead.
"After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world."
--Oscar Wilde on Absinthe