Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Making Tracks On The Tracks

This past Sunday, Mandie and I headed out to the Anza Borrego Desert to walk along the Carrizo Gorge Railway towards the Goat Canyon Trestle (GCT). Our plan was to walk along the tracks for an undetermined amount of miles but not all the way to the actual trestle. We were on the lookout for a mummified skeleton that another hiker had posted pictures of on Reddit.

If you are unfamiliar with the Goat Canyon Trestle it was completed in 1933. At 600 feet long and 200 feet high, it is the longest curved and one of the hightest wooden trestles in the world. It is worth checking out if you get the chance.

We headed East out of San Diego at around 9:30a and stopped in Alpine for some breakfast at Carl's Jr. and arrived in Jacumba at about 11:00a. If you take the Jacumba exit off the 8 fwy, make a couple of rights, and drive along a dirt road you will come to the DeAnza Springs Nudest Resort. The kind people at the resort will let you park your car, for a small fee, at the actual trail head rather than parking along the dirt road and making your hike a mile longer. They are really nice there and I don't mind helping the community a little bit. No, you do not need to be nude to park there.

As we walked away from the resort we came to our first set of old dilapidated trains.

From there we walked along the train tracks (which is illegal) towards the GCT. The journey takes you across several smaller wooden trestles which are pretty scary to walk across. The wood is dry and brittle, plus you can see exactly how far you would fall if things were to go bad. It is exciting and vertigo educing. There are also many tunnels of varying lengths that you must pass through. A headlamp is suggested.

Along our journey we came across some train cars that I had not ever seen before. Based on our super sleuthing skills, and reading the French signs posted in the cars, we determined that they were French train cars.

Off to the side of the tracks we spotted an old tunnel that appears to have collapsed. It was pitch black in there and very dusty, like a fine powder type of dust. Our headlamps did nothing to repel the darkness that this tunnel offered. It seemed to absorb the light from our headlamps rather than reflect it back. It was awesome in there and we want to go back there with brighter lights.

We finally came across the real goal of our hike, to see the mummified body of a baby big horn sheep. At least that is what we think it is. It looked even better in person than it did in the photos I saw. It was way cool looking but a little sad at the same time. It had a look on it's face like it died screaming in agony, but that could just be me anthropomorphizing.

I decided to poke it with a stick, cuz, well, what else ya going to do with it?

We finally decided to stop for a bite to eat in the sun, as the dark tunnels were very cold and damp. We both ate some tuna fish wrapped in some of the mummified skin (I am kidding) and ate some yummy fig bars.

We continued on for a little while longer so that we could hit double-digits in our mileage. A hike less than 10 miles just doesn't seem worth it anymore. :P Any hike, of any length, is a good hike. Hitting the 5 mile marker on our GPS we turned around and headed back to the car. The sun was setting, the shadows were getting longer, and the temp was dropping.

Isnt she a cutie

As we got closer to our car we the sun was just below the horizon, casting a pinkish band of light on the mountains across from it. This effect is knows as Alpenglow and it is one of my favorites parts of the day.

Back at the car, we headed home by way of a burrito shop. :) It was another great day hiking with mah baby.