Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wildlife of the week

I am still unable to identify the different hawks I encounter. This hawk has been flying around my backyard since spring, I believe he might be a juvenile Cooper Hawk..but I could be completely wrong. He loves to scree-scree all morning as the sun comes up and flies around the canyon near my house. He routinely has sky battles with the crows. These photos were taken on a misty, cloudy and drizzly morning. He was bathing himself in the drizzle in a tree in my backyard. The photos were difficult, the backlight was really bright compared to the shadows of the tree branches. He was about 40'-50' up the hill and I used a 300mm lens to photograph him, the photos are slightly cropped.

Hawk in my backyard
Hawk in my backyard
Hawk in my backyard

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carrizo Gorge Railway Goat Canyon Trestle - ABDSP

On my way home from hiking Whale Peak and exploring Inner Pasture I stopped off in Jacumba to meet up with some friends to ride out to the Goat Canyon Trestle in Carrizo Gorge. Let me say this was by far the easiest way I have traveled to to see the trestle.

I had a flat on my MTB and Scotty "C" promised to fix it when I got there, he totally lived up to his promise..thanks Scotty!

Trespassers Beware

Our first wood plank crossing
Our first side plank crossing

Scotty C heads off into a tunnel. Riding thru the tunnels was a blast, especially the really long ones

This train is now becoming famous the longer it sits out there
Raillway Cars still out on the track
The caboose is from Mexico

The funky aqua/turquoise colors of the interior are so cool
Inside one of the railcars

Possibly one of my favorite window stickers yet
Practice common courtesy please

Tried out some of the B/W filters for the camera
I don't know what this does

Scott and Greg immediately saw what was wrong with the train, somebody had wedged a piece of wood under the wheels
Scott and Greg found the problem with the train, someone had wedged a peice of wood under the wheels

Canadian Car & Foundry (Can-Car) manufactured these railway cars
Canadian Car & Foundry (Can-Car) manufactured these railway cars

There was a lot of debris left near an abandoned tunnel
There was a lot of debris left near an abandoned tunnel

This was an abandoned tunnel that looked caved in several hundred yards into it
This was an abandoned tunnel that looked caved in several hundred yards into it.

No idea what this is
I have no idea what this thing is

ta'da..! the Goat Canyon Trestle
The Goat Canyon Trestle

Riding the steel side grates was sketchy
The Goat Canyon Trestle side grates

Inner Pasture - ABDSP

The next morning following my Whale Peak Hike I hiked to Inner Pasture for some exploring. There is no easy way out to Inner Pasture, you are almost guaranteed a minimum of 6 miles round trip just to get to the edge of the valley. My trip was about 14 miles total, I could have done close to 20 miles if I had left earlier but I got a late start.

You can see all of the pictures from the trip here

Inner Pasture is raw and vast, if you decide to go explore Inner Pasture be sure not to follow my actions and go with a few people if possible. The undocumented travelers in Inner Pasture is obvious and active, hiking solo out there is not recommended.
Inner Pasture is raw and vast

Cool Dragonfly

Morteros and Pottery around this rock shelter suggest it was used by Native Americans
Rock shelter used by the Native Americans. Undocumented travelers have already left much garbage here and also left graffiti on the underside of the large boulder
Morteros inside the rock shelter

There was also evidence of undocumented travelers in this shelter and others nearby.
One of many rock shelters with undocumented travelers garbage

Pottery sherds and what appeared to be a possible projectile made from stone
Lots of pottery with an interesting looking tool shaped stone
Interesting looking tool shaped stone

Lots of morteros nearby
Morteros with possible picto paint around the edges

Yoni rock carvings are always a favorite to find
Yoni rock carving

Inner Pasture was once home to cattle who grazed the open valley. You can still find evidence of them today
Steer bones left over from when feral cattle grazed the valley
Thought this looked like a scary mask
Steer skull

Here is a close up of the steer teeth just in case you wondered what they looked like
Close up of steer teeth..just in case you wondered what they looked like

Here is a close up of the horn
Close up of the steer horn just in case you wondered what it looked like

I also stumbled across a small shelter with a really funky pictograph, not really sure what it is supposed to be.
Pictograph in Inner Pasture

Here is an enhanced version with DStretch
DStretched version of pictograph

This is with my hand in front as a reference for size
Pictograph in Inner Pasture. My hand is in front of it for size reference

This the alcove wall I found it in, look in the lower right
Pictograph in Inner Pasture. This is the small alcove I found it in

Here is my mandatory scat inside of a mortero photo
More scat with bones in a mortero

Total mylar balloon count for this trip - 5

Whale Peak via Bisnaga Wash - ABDSP

I finally got around to hiking up to Whale Peak. I planned a route up from Bisnaga Wash almost one year ago and never went. I would not recommend this route for anyone who just wants to summit Whale Peak, I would suggest one of the more popular routes up from Blair Valley or Pinyon Mtn. It took me most of the day to hike it but in the end it was worth it.

See all the pictures from the trip here

Here is a Google Earth image of the actual route recorded by my GPS
Google Earth image of my actual GPS recorded tracks

This is the route going up just after getting out of the wash. Whale Peak is way off in the distance about 5 miles away
Whale Peak way off in the distance, I have a long way to go

This was a steep wash ravine Google Earth didn't show me
Google Earth doesn't always show you the deep washes you have to go down and up

Yours truly
Yours truly..I think I am getting old and pudgy..

Started finding pottery going up
Starting finding pottery on the way up

More "trail"
Here is the trail going up

Got to walk in a small sandy wash for awhile, lots of animal tracks
Picked up a nice sandy wash with lots of animal tracks

There was some more pottery and a small milling feature along the way
There was some pottery near a small milling feature going up
More pottery going up

It was at this steep climb near the top I almost convinced myself to turn around and go back to my truck where there was cold beer waiting
This is where I started thinking about turning back and going to my truck

I pressed on and found this cool old Juniper tree at the top of the ridge line
Old Juniper near the top of the ridegline

I still had two valleys like this to cross to get to the top of Whale Peak, that would still be another 1.5 miles or so.
Once I got to the top ridgeline I still had to cross two valleys to get to the top of Whale Peak

At the top of Whale Peak looking west towards the Laguna Mountains and Vallecito Valley below
From the top of Whale Peak looking back down into Vallecito and the Laguna Mountains in the distance

On the east side of the peak you can see the Salton Sea
You can see the Salton Sea on the east side of the peak

There is a rock shelter that guards the hikers register. There were many great places to camp overnight at the top.
The rock wall shelter that guards the register

The register. This is a popular peak with entries every few days.
The register. This is a very popular peak to summit it seems as there were entries almost every few days.