2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

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BorregoWrangler
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2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#1

Post by BorregoWrangler » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:37 pm

Hidden away in a remote and rugged part of the southern end of the Anza-Borrego Desert is an engineering feat that hasn't been viewed by a large number of prople. The Goat Canyon trestle was built in 1932 after an earthquake collapsed one of the tunnels of the Carrizo Gorge section of the San Diego and Arizona Railway. At 200 feet tall and 750 feet long, it remains to this day the longest, tallest curved wooden trestle ever built in the United States. Dubbed "The Impossible Railroad" by many engineers of its day due to the immense logistical challenges and ruggedness of the terrain involved, this 11-mile section through Carrizo Gorge was built from 1907 to 1919.

Despite damage to the lines from heavy rainstorms, landslides, fires, and vandalism the line stayed in operation for over 50 years. In 1976 hurricane Kathleen caused widespread flooding and damage in this area. Three trestles belonging to the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway were destroyed, and five others were damaged. At more than 50 other locations, tracks were buried by mudslides or had the ground under them washed away. After assessing the damage from Kathleen, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company decided in 1977 to abandon most of the SD&AE railway, but in 1978 the Interstate Commerce Commission disallowed this plan and the railway was restored.

Parking at the Mortero Palms trail head, we headed up through the palms and around the boulders an up the mountain. After the trail leveled off for a bit we soon found ourselves dropping down into Goat Canyon. The hike out to the trestle is always quite an adventure. We were at the edge of the storm that was raging back in town. Although we didn't really get rained on, it was very windy with 40mph gust and a light drizzle along the way. Our biggest concerns were slippery rocks that had to be traversed on the way down into Goat Canyon. The views of the beautiful desert scenery, the trestle and surrounding area make this trip well worth the effort.

Getting my gear together.
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Looks like an old watering trough?
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Starting to get a little tougher.
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Coming into the Mortero Palms.
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This would really provide some shade on a sunny day.
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Up the waterfall.
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Break time.
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Looking back down at the desert floor.
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Continuing on.
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Still climbing.
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Rainbow awaiting us.
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Starting down into Goat Canyon.
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Gotta bypass this waterfall.
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Watch those slippery rocks!
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Hope there's some gold waiting for us down there!
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First glimpse!
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Coming down this wasn't easy.
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Steve gets bold and makes his way over to the old collapsed tunnel.
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Doesn't look like there's any activity here with all the rock and mud slides covering the tracks.
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All this was here back in April.
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That had to hurt.
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Looking down into Carrizo Gorge. I'd like to hike through here one day as well.
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Someone had a bad day.
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Big palm grove down there.
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Almost back to the truck.
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We started the hike a 8:00 and finished up around 2:30pm so we made a little better time than I had thought we would. Despite the windy conditions it was great not having the sun beat down on us along the way. Hopefully one day I'll be able to get the wife out here. Looking forward to my next outing. Until then, my sore legs are resting up.
-John Graham
1989 YJ & 2000 TJ

View all my trip reports here at my blog: GrahamCrackers

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photojeeper
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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#2

Post by photojeeper » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:43 pm

So who was on this hike? Did not see Mr. Ollie. Myself and two others tried to hike from the gorge but were turned back due to the thickness of the vegatation. We looked for a way around but unless you are very good a scaling the sides of mountains you will not get though. Now we did not have anything to chop the vegation with.

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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#3

Post by BorregoWrangler » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:13 pm

photojeeper wrote:So who was on this hike? Did not see Mr. Ollie. Myself and two others tried to hike from the gorge but were turned back due to the thickness of the vegatation. We looked for a way around but unless you are very good a scaling the sides of mountains you will not get though. Now we did not have anything to chop the vegation with.

JJ
Ollie had to work so he couldn't make it out with us. Steve (THATSALEXUS?) also came along with one of his coworkers and his father. So there was four of us out there.

I've heard of folks trying to get to the trestle via the gorge. Despite the thick vegetation, I'd like to traverse the whole canyon over a couple of days sometime. Just have to bring my machete.
-John Graham
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View all my trip reports here at my blog: GrahamCrackers

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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#4

Post by jdholder » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:11 pm

Great report!

Did you hike out the same was as in? Looks like you may have taken a different route from the pics.

I'd love to be in shape enough to do that hike one day!

Jon
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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#5

Post by smslavin » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:14 pm

Looks like a great hike. Glad you guys had a good time. I'd like to try and make it with you the next time you go.
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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#6

Post by Navy_FJ » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:51 pm

Great photos I fly through that valley all the time mostly at night but it would be great to get out there on foot and see it from a different angle.

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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#7

Post by OLLIE » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:12 am

Looks like another great trip John. Sorry I missed it. Looks like you made the RT with time to spare.
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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#8

Post by BlueFJ » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:33 pm

Awesome report and pics, John! Did you take the tracks back? I'd like to get out there sometime, but I definitely don't want to take the route you guys took. :o I'd like to take the mountain bike out there sometime and ride along the tracks.
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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#9

Post by BorregoWrangler » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:01 am

Thanks guys!
BlueFJ wrote:Awesome report and pics, John! Did you take the tracks back? I'd like to get out there sometime, but I definitely don't want to take the route you guys took. :o I'd like to take the mountain bike out there sometime and ride along the tracks.
I guess you could say we took the outlaw route on the way back. Still not sure if the tracks are in the process of be abandoned or being fixed for transport. With the amount of people I've talked to who've been out there, it seems that the tracks are not being patrolled right now. We did see quite a few mountain bike tracks along the way as well.

However, upon reaching the trestle we could hear what sounded like jackhammers or some type of heavy equipment working a distance away. It could have been a crew working to clear the tracks.
-John Graham
1989 YJ & 2000 TJ

View all my trip reports here at my blog: GrahamCrackers

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Re: 2010-11-20: Hike to Goat Canyon Trestle trip report

#10

Post by Sanderhawk » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:56 am

Do you have GPS cords for this place? My wife and I have been trying to go to this place since I saw the first write up about this a couple years ago. This place looks amazing and I have finally gotten in great hiking shape so I really want to go here. Any infor would be great. Thanks Steve

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