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Photos from a hike along the SD&A tracks

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Photos from a hike along the SD&A tracks
Posted by Ray Dunakin on Sunday, January 28, 2018 8:40 PM

Wednesday night I went out to the desert east of San Diego, camped out over night near the tracks of the former San Diego & Arizona Railroad. Got a few night photos:



I got up right around sunrise and hiked along the tracks, which pass through an incredible canyon known as Carrizo Gorge. I was hoping to make it to the famous Goat Canyon Trestle (roughly 700 feet long and 200 feet high), however I didn't get that far. In fact, I didn't even get into the actual gorge -- the tracks first pass along the edge of a much smaller (yet still very large) canyon that is just a tributary of the gorge. As you can see, this whole area was the inspiration for my In-ko-pah Railroad.

Here I am standing in a culvert made from large blocks of local granite:

 

Here's Tunnel #21, the last tunnel on the line but the first one you'll come to when entering the gorge from the north:


The tracks still have the original rails from when the line was first built. This rail is dated 1913:


I flew my drone a few times and got some interesting shots:


Some aerial views of Tunnel #20:


Looking south from above Tunnel #20:


Looking east from above Tunnel #20. This area contains traces of the old railroad construction camp:


On the ground, looking south towards Tunnel #20:


The other end of the tunnel:


This was as far as I got. Unfortunately I crashed my drone pretty badly when I tried to fly it through the tunnel. When it lost the GPS signal, it started to drift. I tried to back it out but it drifted into the side of the tunnel. Good thing I paid for the first year insurance on it.


I still have to edit the video, so I'll post that later.

.

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by mlehman on Monday, January 29, 2018 8:43 AM

SPECTACULAR!

Looking forward to the video, Ray!

Mike Lehman

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, January 29, 2018 10:30 AM

Ray,Excellent photos and I must say you're far braver then I because that area looks to be prime  Rattlesnake country.

Larry

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, January 29, 2018 11:25 AM

Some great-looking shots there, Ray!  Thanks for sharing them.

Wayne

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Posted by garya on Monday, January 29, 2018 11:20 PM
Wow, I'm loving all the stars. That is some desolate and rugged terrain...
Gary
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Posted by staybolt on Monday, January 29, 2018 11:53 PM

Wow...what a fabulous experience that must have been! I enjoy camping and 12 in.-to-the-foot railroading, too. Terrific photos of the night sky [guess tripod + manual settings on a digital (?) camera?]. Somebody else mentioned snakes...yeah, when I've been in country like that I (actually my wife first) encountered a rattler....love that rattler...otherwise we might not have seen him!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 12:10 PM

Thanks Ray, I knew it would happen, but early this morning, there I was, face in the screen, taking a Google Maps/Satellite walk on the grade. 

Excellent trip!  Talk about having to take the long way around to get to the Salton Sea, wow!

Those tunnels have to be a haven for snakes, getting out of the sun!  NO WAY.

As Indy Jones says, "why does it have to be snakes, I hate snakes".

After my "trip" this morning, I'm going to have to take a closer look at your layout. I have always admired your modeling skills.

Mike.

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 3:13 PM
Thanks guys!
 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:23 AM

On February 7-8th I made another trip to Carrizo Gorge, and managed to hike all the way to the “big trestle”…

 

There is an old water tower next to the tracks at Dos Cabezas siding, that was used to supply the steam locomotives in the days before diesels. I stopped there and got some pics of the tower silhouetted against the stars:

 

 

 

In the morning I got some scenic shots at sunrise:

 

 

 

 

 

Then I parked as close to the tracks as possible, and started hiking:

 

 

 

Here's Tunnel #19:

 

 

 

Cactus and rocks along the track:

 

 

 

After passing through Tunnel #19, I entered the Gorge itself. Here the track clings to the side of the mountains, supported by a series of trestles where the slope was too steep to carve out a ledge. The huge Goat Canyon Trestle is visible in the distance:

 

 

 

 

The catwalk on one trestle was smashed in by fallen boulders:

 

 

 

The steep mountainsides are covered with ocotillos, cholla and barrel cactus, and other desert plants:

 

 

 

 

 

Straight sections of track are rare, as the line snakes around the mountainside:

 

 

 

 

A pair of boxcars that derailed and went over the side back in the early '70s:

 

 

 

 

Tunnel #18:

 

 

 

More rocks and cacti:

 

 

 

Tunnel #17, with the remains of a construction road above it:

 

 

 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:24 AM

The north end of Tunnel #16 is blocked by a rock fall. I had to hike around the mountain on the old construction road:

 

 

 

The view from the railroad construction road, looking to the north:

 

 

 

As I came around the end of the mountain, I got a great view of the famous Goat Canyon Trestle. This trestle was built after a massive landslide destroyed the original tunnel. I've added some red lines along the top of the mountain that show how far the slide came down:

 

 

 

 

 

The ends of the trestle are blocked off with a chain and metal stakes:

 

 

 

A short tunnel was created when the big trestle was built:

 

 

 

Here are a couple aerial views of the trestle:

 

 

 

 

The other side of the trestle:

 

 

 

 

Here is the end of the caved-in tunnel. At the time of the landslide, it was undergoing repairs including reinforcing the portal with concrete. The landslide crushed the tunnel interior and moved the portal at least twenty feet downhill:

 

 

 

 

 

That's it for now. Enjoy!

 

 

.

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:40 AM

  I have some very similar pictures - my best friend and his former boss used to mountain bike out along the railroad when he used to work in San Diego.

                            --Randy

 


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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:05 PM
The hopper next to the big trestle is a ballast car that was left there by the last failed operator of the line, the short-lived Carrizo Gorge Railroad. Here are a couple detail shots of the ballast car:
 

 

 
 
 On the hillside above the hopper is an old tank from a tank car, which used to hold water from a spring somewhere up the canyon. It was connected by pipes to outlets on the trestle, for use in case of fire
 
 
The first time I hiked into the Gorge was in early 1977, just a few months after the line had been severely damaged by the remnants of Hurricane Kathleen. The Southern Pacific owned it and had filed for abandonment due to the extent of the damage. At that time, there were two tank cars equipped for firefighting. These were parked where the hopper is now, and remained there for many years later. 
 
 
At that time there was also a small building on the flat area near the trestle, next to a semaphore signal. Vandals totally destroyed that building within a couple years. The semaphore still stands, however all the glass has been shot out, the wiring ripped out, and the whole thing covered with graffiti.     :(
 
 
Here are a couple photos of the semaphore. The tunnel in the background is blocked at the far end:
 
 

 

 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by Lonehawk on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 2:53 PM

Amazing pictures.  Especially the night sky pics.  I'd love to take a crack at those skies with my 4" reflector. Alien

- Adam


When all else fails, wing it!

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:09 AM

Here are a few photos from my early trips into the Gorge, back in the late '70s...

 

This photo was from my very first visit in 1977. It shows the Goat Canyon Trestle, the two firefighting tank cars, and an orange crane. This was the only time I ever saw the crane there:

 

 

 

 

Here's a shot of the water tank on the hillside:

 

 

 

 

These shots of the tank cars were taken sometime around 1979 or possibly 1980:

 

 

 

 

 

 

This track speeder was later dumped off the cliff by vandals:

 

 

 

 

This photo was taken sometime around 1978 or '79, at the site of one of the construction camps. It shows the ruins of a small cabin that was made from empty blasting powder cans:

 

 

 

.

 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Monday, March 12, 2018 10:59 PM

Last week I took another trip out to the Carrizo Gorge. This time my brother-in-law Matt was with me, which was great. We've wanted to do a trip together for years, but he lives in CO so it's never worked out until now. Anyway, we spent the night at the end of the trail, got up just before sunrise, and started hiking at 6:45 a.m.

 

 

 

Here's a shot of Matt hiking the tracks:

 

 

 

I had more camera gear I wanted to bring this time, so I bought a luggage cart and hauled some of it on that:

 

 

 

This worked ok, but the tiny wheels were far from ideal and made for slow going. The round trip to the big trestle and back took eleven hours -- two hours longer than on my previous trip.

 

 

The weather was perfect, both for hiking and for flying/photography. It was warm but not overly hot, with winds variable from zero to five mph. During much of the day there was a thin, hazy overcast that not only kept the heat down, but also provided a fantastic diffused light for shooting photos and video. 

 

 

 

Here are just a few stills from the many videos I shot:

 

 

 

 

 

I have so much video that it's going to take me a while to get it edited into something I can upload. Once I do, you can be sure I'll post it here.

 

 

 

.

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, March 12, 2018 11:21 PM

Excellent Ray!  Thanks!

Mike.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:01 AM

Sounds like a fun hike.  Thanks for posting.

Henry

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, March 15, 2018 5:48 PM

Beautiful Scenery, Beautiful Photos!

It just happens that two recent photos of SD&A equipment were posted on the Barriger AC&F Album:

 SD&A tank car lot 5601   002 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

This sure looks like one of the tank cars in your photo.

 SD&A caboose lot 5618   003 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

If that's not coincidence enough, the Goat Canyon bridge was just featured on the Wikipedia main page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goat_Canyon_Trestle

Thanks for posting these terriffic photos.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Saturday, April 07, 2018 11:58 PM

Here’s my newest video! I really put a lot of work into this one…

 

 

 

 

This is the first in a short series of documentary videos on the historic, scenic Carrizo Gorge and the San Diego & Arizona Railway line that runs through it. This video explores the northern end of the gorge route. 

 

Coming soon: 

"Carrizo Gorge Part 2: The Seven Sisters Trestles"

"Carrizo Gorge Part 3: The Goat Canyon Trestle"

 

Music for this video provided by:

 

"Sunrise" by Eric Matyas, courtesy of SoundImage.org

http://soundimage.org/

 

"Inspiring & Uplifting Acoustic" by Den Bass

Licensed through AudioJungle

https://audiojungle.net/item/inspiring-uplifting-acoustic/19383890

 

.

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by middleman on Sunday, April 08, 2018 9:57 AM

Thanks for the tour and history,Ray. Very nicely done. 'Looking forward to the next installment.

Mike

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Sunday, April 08, 2018 1:25 PM

I enjoyed your video and also the pictures. I plan on checking out the area in person sometime. I never knew about it before. Thanks for sharing.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Monday, April 09, 2018 1:22 AM

Thanks guys!

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:50 AM

I just finished part two!

 

 

 

This is the second in a short series of documentary videos on the historic, scenic Carrizo Gorge and the San Diego & Arizona Railway line that runs through it. This video explores the area between tunnels #17 and #19, including the group of hillside trestles known as the Seven Sisters.

 

Music for this video provided by:

 

"Sunrise" by Eric Matyas, courtesy of SoundImage.org

http://soundimage.org/

 

"Forever" by Gentle Jammers

Licensed through AudioJungle

https://audiojungle.net/item/forever/21236639

 

Coming soon: 

"Carrizo Gorge Part 3: The Goat Canyon Trestle"

 

.

 

 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:33 PM

I must say, your videos are very well done. Nice job. Cool

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:47 PM

A real treat Ray, thanks so much. 

Is it possible to drive the route you took or get to some of those access roads by driving? I have driven a lot of the Kettle Valley rail bed up in B.C. I am past long hikes and I have done some doozies but exploring by truck is still happening.

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Saturday, April 14, 2018 2:38 PM

Thanks guys!

Brent, the only way into the gorge is on foot or by rail. I got as close as I could by driving all the way to the end of Dos Cabezas Road, which is really more of trail than a road. 

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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Posted by cedarwoodron on Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:28 AM

Fascinating visual work- you say you used a drone in the process of making these videos? The arid vistas remind me of my Navy days in SDIEGO when my roommate and I would drive to Anza Borrego and hike around the old calcite mines on the weekends. I realize the rail line is not operational but it would make for a great tourist rail route. Just yo think of all the work done over a century ago to build that rail line in the midst of such scenic beauty. Great job sir!

Cedarwoodron

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 15, 2018 3:17 PM

Very nicely-done, Ray! Thumbs UpThumbs UpBow

Wayne

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:20 PM

Quite a hike.  I am looking forward to pt. 3

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:21 PM

Thanks! I too think it would make a great tourist route. Unfortunately it doesn't seem likely to ever happen. Insurance would probably be a killer.

 Visit www.raydunakin.com to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

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