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.
A steam shovel excavating for the San Diego and Arizona Railway line, circa 1919.
Rail cars on Goat Canyon trestle.
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 all my gear (minus the water) ready for the trip.
A little ways up from the trail head.
The Mortero Palms.
Climbing up a waterfall.
Taking a break.
Looking back down at the desert floor.
Gotta keep climbing. There's a rainbow waiting for us.
Heading down Goat Canyon.
Hopefully there's gold at the end of this one!
Our first sight of the trestle!
What we just came down.
This thing is huge!
Steve felt adventurous and made his way over to the old collapsed tunnel.
Goat Canyon trestle.
Time to head back along the tracks.
No need to worry about trains with all the rock and mud slides here.
Looking down into Carrizo Gorge. I'd like to hike this sometime.
Someone had a bad day...
Nearing the end.
It was good to shed our packs and get off our feet for the drive home.
We started the hike a 8:00 and finished up around 2:30pm so we mad 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 rest up.