Railroad Trestle Trip Report

Report courtesy of Stan Rohrer, W9FQN

For me, the Trestle hike was especially interesting.

Back two years ago John KT6E, Bill AA6J, and myself did this same hike in one day with only fanny packs. Barbara KA6FPS and Glenn KE6ZLY took off from Bow Willow up Carrizo Canyone to hike up to the trestle from below while John KT6E, Bill AA6J, and I went to Mortero Palms to assault the bridge from the top by climbing several tall mountain ridges and dropping down through Goat Canyon.

I seem to remember a nice day and only carrying a couple of canteens of water. After arriving at the Trestle we kept in contact with Glenn and Barbara via radio working their way up. After an hour or so of waiting it became evident that they had run into some problems which we only became aware of in our trip down below the trestle in Goat towards Carrizo: lots of rocks, a 100 foot dry water fall, and lots of brush with hooks (not to mention the Cholla).

Well, we all made it out of Carrizo after stopping to see the Indian paintings. I seem to remember still having some water left after that hike. It certainly did seem like a good day hike and while we were somewhat tired, everyone was in good spirts.

Ok, what does the hike this weekend have to do with our previous hike?

Well, everything seemed to be different.

With two days to do this hike as a simple overnight, it really seemed like it was goiing to be a walk in the park. How wrong it turned out to be.

For one thing, it appeared that all of the small earthquakes in the area has raised the mountain 1,000's of feet higher and dropped bigger boulders down into our path. Someone forgot to tell the sun to stop shinning ... and I for one really got HOT ... really HOT ... I brought my little spray bottle when I should have had my tanker truck bottle. Then all of a sudden I was wondering what the heck I was going to be doing with all of the equipment I had brought along with me when I would much rather have had water .... and all the gadgets hanging from the sides of my pack and belt made me look like a Christmas tree with little practical value.

I think that my pack weighed in at a light 38 pounds but then Colleen, who has never hiked with us before, had a pack that weighed 50 pounds which she drug around like she had nothing on her back. What was really disgusting was Jeff KF6GXR, probably the strongest one in the group (besides Colleen) had only a 25 pound pack! Many thanks Colleen for coming back down and taking my pack when I got heated .. and to you too, John and Bernie.

After dropping over the two ridges we camped in a small bowl at the head of Goat Canyon. Really a pretty nice place. I did not feel warn out but I was certainly dehydrated. When we camped out earlier in the month at the Bow Willow palms area, after a fairly long hike, I gave away most of my surplus water. I had with me then 101oz, 48oz, and 56 oz for a total 205 oz which is about 1.6 gal of water. So this trip I decided not to take so much water and only had with me 173 oz which I thought would be more than enough. But Saturday and Sunday were HOT ... really HOT. We are not sure of the temperature but I suspect up in the mid 90's and possible even hotter down in the V canyons among the hot rocks.

When I woke up Sunday morning I knew that I was headed for some problems since I could not eat my food bar. I just did not have enough saliva to wet it before swallowing it so I went for a can of beans which turned out to be the only food I ate all day since I never had enough saliva to eat the rest of the food that I had. I should have had some fruit cups as some of the group had.

After dropping down through some dry waterfalls and lots of rocks we arrived at the Trestle. One of the dry water falls was about 50 feet which John allowed me to drop down with a rope. The rest of the group worked their way around the falls. Colleen, I hope you got a picture of that.

After reaching the trestle, we did a lot of snooping around for almost an hour before we decided to head down on through Goat Canyon. Jeff, Julie, and Colleen took the right hand ridge and took off. I was able to pass out some information on the Hiker's Reflector to several rail hikers and also a lone German girl up on the two ridges the previous day.

Bernie, Sarah, John, and myself opted for the Canyon V .. and I really mean Goat is a real V with sharp sides and rock obstacles. Sarah hit some loose rocks below the trestle and she dislodged a really big one that went crashing down the canyon walls.

We made it down to the 100 foot steep dry water fall. We worked our way around the falls on the left side being very careful of the loose rocks. My memory of this area was completely in error except for the 100 foot falls. The famous slit we worked down 2 years ago did not seem to be there even though it existed in my mind all of this time.

Julie, Jeff, and Colleen were waiting for us at the mouth of Goat canyon having made the downward plunge on the ridge much faster than our bolder hopping ... but then they missed out on seeing the underside of the bridge and the fantastic dry water falls which took your breath away as you peered over the steep drop off.

The rest of the trip out of Carrizo was much easier on the body but for me it was not very nice. By that time I was again spitting cotton and reluctant to drink the rest of the water that I had for fear of running out. So I spent a lot of time looking for boulders with shade. One of the most terrible sounds you can hear is the sucking of air on an empty water bladder!

Carrizo is a dry river bed BUT there are several spots where the water comes to the surface where it is surrounded by reeds and brown vegetation. Jeff and his group who were ahead of Bernie, John, and I mentioned finding a small water hole where they could splash water on their clothing to cool down. So we were on the lookout for water. John struck out on his own to find the water ... and did he find water. Up against a big rock there was a deep pool and by the time that Bernie and I arrived he had taken off his clothing and all you could see (thank goodness) was a hat floating in the water which we assumed had John under it.

By this time I was so hot that I decided to join him. Boy, was that water cold. It was clear with a moss type substance floating in blobs on the surface here and there. But it was so nice that John and I did not ever want to get out. There were small fish in our swimming hole about 1 inch long and I caught several in the cup of my hands. The pool sort of reminded me of a canoe trip in Indiana in 1947 when we had to get out of our canoes and push them down a narrow stream. I ended up with 17-18 blood succers on my legs which I had to burn off. John then immediately informed me that stagnant pools like we were in sometimes had the illfamous scrotum bug ..which he immediately pointed one out on the back of my right arm ... I quickly brushed it off before it could work its way down to the amusement of all around.

While sitting in the pool, Bernie who spots Indian pottery fragments while walking spotted one of the famous Borrego sheep walking along the hill beside us about 35 yards away. It could tell from our activities that we were no harm to it so it just kept jumping from rock to rock like Jeff and Colleen browsing along eating things we could not see.

John and I finally responded to Bernies request for us to get moving so John and I reluctantly crawled out of our cool spa and got dressed. Bernie had scouted up several Mexican illegal's water containers and we started soaking ourselves with water as we walked along.

It was surprising to me that while we had run out of water about this time that John and I did not feel the need for water for quite some period of time. The cooling of our bodies and Bernies jugs of water really seemed to reduce the need for water.

We were really sorry that the rest of the other group gotten ahead of us because John and I were anxious to see the YL's in our favorite spa.

But it was good that they were all ahead of us since Jeff had previously given me his 25 pound pack and he took my 40 pound pack which really felt good. Then after Jeff reached the car and truck, he hiked back into to John, Bernie, and I to supply us with water which was greatly appreciated. Although I must confess that John and I while in our nice cool spa could just visualize the rest of the group camped out in the hot sun by the cars while we were fraternizing with the small fishes ...and bugs. We really felt badly about that! We really did.

After Jeff's resupplied our water, we blasted down Carrizo to the vehicles .. and then from there to Glen and Glorias mansion at Bow Willow campground where he had obtained for us ice, cold drinks, and some cookies. You just don't know how good this was all to a bunch of beat hikers. Many thanks Glenn and Gloria. You were an oasis in the middle of the desert.

It was really comforting to have amateur radio with us. It allowed intergroup communication. We always knew where everyone was and besides that, we had contact with hams in the San Diego area so we never really felt alone ... especially if there was any type of emergency.

I am sure that others have other memories of this hike and I certainly would like to hear your version no matter how long or how short ... and I hope that we can see some pictures on the WWW sometime soon when you have time to unload them.



P.S. Physical report:

My pulse rate always seemed below 110bpm and I really did not seem tired but I really was afraid of heating up too much and causing everyone else serious problems. When at Glenn and Gloria's oasis I laid down for awhile but when I got up I had minor cramps in my upper front leg muscles which I was able to walk out. Bernie gave me a towel and I took off my shirt and wiped my self down (where I could) with cool cool water. Julie did the honors of scrubbing my back. Thanks Julie. Then on the way home for the first 20 miles or so I had minor cramps in my accelerator foot and in both hands which rather quick passed. This morning I only have sore upper long muscles so I should be ok for some tennis doubles this evening. Hope the rest of you are fine.

One can only imagine what the Mexican Illegals go through in coming down Carrizo Canyon ... probably at night with the grabbing brush and Cholla .. and all the heat ... no wonder so many of them perish during the summer and the winter months. Ours was a "walk in the park" compared to what they must have to go through.