Sunday, May 31, 2015

Carrizo Gorge Wilderness Backpack - ABDSP

Gary and I spent the long 3 day Memorial Day weekend leisurely traversing the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness with no more of an agenda other than getting back to our trucks sometime by the end of the day Monday. Mr Tom was kind enough to drop us off at Jacumba on Sat morning and was going to hike with us for the day but the weather was kinda cold and blustery and I guess his jacuzzi and booze back home sounded better so it was just Gary and I.

Carrizo Gorge is one of those easy to get to wilderness areas that just never gets old and it has a long history with the railroad and the now famous Goat Canyon Trestle. The trestle seems to be growing exponentially in popularity and I suspect that will continue until the railway patrols pickup again. This particular trip we saw as many as 10 motorcycle adventurers in addition to all of the usual hikers and MTB'ers.

There is something about the Gorge that seems to beckon film photography and I always enjoy taking at least one older analog camera with me. The B/W photos here are from my Fuji GW690 6x9 medium format camera and the film is Fuji Acros 100 developed 1+2+100 in PMK Pyro @13 minutes. A few of the photos I took were an attempt to mirror photos found in the The Impossible Railroad book.

Carrizo Gorge with Sombrero Peak way off in the distance to the right
View of Carrizo Gorge Anza Borrrego Desert State Park from the Railroad Tracks

Following the tracks, some of the trestles are in good shape, others not so much
Carrizo Gorge Train Tracks near Tule Spring in Quad 19 USGS Maps

One particular set of railway cars that has been out on the tracks for several years now has been heavily vandalized.
Inside one of the railraw cars abandoned on the tracks. It has suffered quite a bit of vandalism over the years, When I first saw it there was no graffitti or broken windows.

On page 36 of The Impossible Railroad book there is a picture showing the Young & Crooks Camp 1 and all of the workers tents and the compressor plant equipment. This is the roughly the same photograph but the only thing you can still see are foundations of cement and many of the cleared areas that were built up with rocks to form a tiered foundation for the large tents they used
Young & Crooks Camp 1 in Carrizo Gorge. This view is looking straight down at the camp area and was me trying to capture the same image as on page 36 of the San Diego And Arizona Railway Impossible Railroad book

Gary at a few of the railroad camps
Gary at Railroad Camp near Indian Hill

This workers camp overlooks the gorge and has approx 5-6 built up tiers for large tents. Most of it is overgrown with cholla now though.
Gary standing on an overlook at tunnel 17

When building the Carrizo Gorge Railway sections the workers would build camp sites on the bypass roads for the tunnels. Some of the rock wall foundations are still visible and are quite elaborate

Here is another photo from The Impossible Railroad book
on page 40 showing tunnel 15 where they eventually gave up on that tunnel and built the tracks around it
Carrizo Gorge Tunnel 15a near Goat Canyon Trestle. This tunnel was abandoned after multiple collapses and the tracks were built around the side of the mountain. This view was me trying to capture the same image as on page 40 of the San Diego And Arizona Railway Impossible Railroad book

We found a huge horseshoe, looked more decorative than useful
We found a large horseshoe at one of the railroad camps, it looks decorative and not functional

This is one of the cooler tunnels out there
This is a cool tunnel built deep into a large boulder mountain

Gary heading into tunnel 16, this one has a history of fires and collapses which is evidenced by the tweak on the top. The inside supports you see in the other tunnels are missing which I am guessing is from the 1986 fire that burned it out
Gary walking towards tunnel 16

What would a trip thru the Gorge be without a photo of the Trestle
Goat Canyon Trestle in Carrizo Gorge

Eventually we found our way to the East Fork and the Carrizo Palms. There was some water and lots of wildlife tracks
One of the several palm groves in the East Fork of Carrizo Gorge

Unfortunately this poor gal was not able to make it to the water source. I was able to go out a few days later with a Fish & Game Biologist to perform a post-mortem and the cause of death was determined to be from disease
Dead Ewe we found in a remote canyon. Cause of death was most likely dieasese as evedince of horn and foot dieasese was present. The collar indicates she was about 13 years old.

Rock Art
Carrizo Gorge Pictographs

I did manage to get some digital shots as well, love the sunrise photos with a super zoom
Sunrise over the Coyote Mtns

The Goat Canyon Trestle has several "catwalks" built in to facilitate repairs and maintenance duties and there is also an elaborate fire supression system built into the trestle with many pipes and valves that lead up to the water tanker on the hillside above. This photo is looking straight thru the first catwalk and some of the water pipes are visible. I can't recommend walking these catwalks at all, they are sketchy at best
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Gary enjoying some of the water at Carrizo Palms
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Reptiles were out and about, we found 2 in the same spot with head injuries, pretty strange, anybody have any ideas? We were thinking hawks or such
2 dead snakes with their heads bitten into

Bloody head of one of the snakes

This guy was chilling in the shade of the tunnels
Snake in a dark tunnel

Railroad camp debris, re-purposing a shovel for something?
Curious hole cut out of a shovel

This is more my speed, a real fifth bottle of whisky
A real fifth of whisky

Anyways, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed...time to turn in.....
Sleep setup in the Gorge