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Mother, daughter try Goat Canyon trestles

What would we do if bit by rattlesnake?

Hiking to Goat Canyon Trestle, legally
Hiking to Goat Canyon Trestle, legally

It’s all about the footwear, at least that is what advertisers would like you to believe. Expensive footwear, expensive daypack, invest a lot of money. Well, we did it with an older pair of Sketchers and a pair of off brand running shoes, one size too big, left at our house by my daughter’s best friend in high school. 

It was time to do the bucket list hike, the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge, over 90 years old, and still in glorious condition. Good enough to walk across its over 600-foot span, good enough for a mother-daughter late winter adventure. 

The cactus wanted to bloom, but was not there yet. The buds on the cactus looked like small, green pears, with a hint of yellow, about ready to burst forth. We were surrounded by a cool day, clouds dancing against a bright blue sky. The winter rains produced noticeable greenery amidst an otherwise barren landscape, normally accustomed to only shades of brown. 

We hiked parallel to a winding stream, which ran deep in the bottom of the Carrizo Gorge, giving life to the inhabitants of this desolate landscape. As we traveled along, we noticed this area is home to sparrows, quail, ravens, lizards, bees, and even centipedes, all vying for their place in this secret community. And secret community it was. I felt like an intruder in this remote location, with critters surrounding us, seemingly startled by the presence of humans, which they rarely see. 

Making it easier on ourselves, there was no need to drive from North County, then do a long hike. We treated ourselves to a night at De Anza Springs, the former nudist resort. While checking in, one of the owners greeted us along with his golden doodle, Noodle, one of the friendliest dogs I’ve ever met. 

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Almost every source says the walk/hike along the rails is 8 miles or longer each way, but we found it to be “only” 6.5 miles each way, much more encouraging.  As far as time, the hike took us a total of 8 1/2 hours, with several short breaks, and an hour-long lunch at the trestle.  

Which brings me to the big surprise. As we walked through a dark, formidable tunnel, we strode out into the daylight onto another trestle, but this one did seem a little larger. We looked into the distance, and saw at least seven more trestles stretching out for miles in front of us. At this point, we had walked enough, and my daughter and I agreed that the trestle now appearing in front of us would be the last one for the day. 

Imagine our surprise when we compared some photos of our targeted trestle to the one in front of us, and it was the one. Again, the correct historic trestle was confirmed by two hikers, heading away from us on another access trail, a shorter, but more strenuous hike over a boulder-filled mountain in the direction of Ocotillo.  

We gave several hoots and hollers in the direction of the other adventurers, hearing our voices echo and come back to us from the distance. That brings me to the point of safety. The day my daughter and I went on our adventure, we were the only ones hiking on the rails. My daughter asked if we were to be the unfortunate victims of a rattlesnake bite, what would we do? Probably not make it, I told her. With no phone service, we would have to use a tourniquet and walk out, not a good situation. 

Bottom line is, watch where you are stepping and bring a flashlight for some of the darker tunnels. Interestingly enough, a military helicopter gracefully flew through the canyon when we were outbound in the morning, and returned in the afternoon. It was close enough that if we were in some type of distress, the crew onboard could’ve seen us desperately trying to get their attention.

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Hiking to Goat Canyon Trestle, legally
Hiking to Goat Canyon Trestle, legally

It’s all about the footwear, at least that is what advertisers would like you to believe. Expensive footwear, expensive daypack, invest a lot of money. Well, we did it with an older pair of Sketchers and a pair of off brand running shoes, one size too big, left at our house by my daughter’s best friend in high school. 

It was time to do the bucket list hike, the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge, over 90 years old, and still in glorious condition. Good enough to walk across its over 600-foot span, good enough for a mother-daughter late winter adventure. 

The cactus wanted to bloom, but was not there yet. The buds on the cactus looked like small, green pears, with a hint of yellow, about ready to burst forth. We were surrounded by a cool day, clouds dancing against a bright blue sky. The winter rains produced noticeable greenery amidst an otherwise barren landscape, normally accustomed to only shades of brown. 

We hiked parallel to a winding stream, which ran deep in the bottom of the Carrizo Gorge, giving life to the inhabitants of this desolate landscape. As we traveled along, we noticed this area is home to sparrows, quail, ravens, lizards, bees, and even centipedes, all vying for their place in this secret community. And secret community it was. I felt like an intruder in this remote location, with critters surrounding us, seemingly startled by the presence of humans, which they rarely see. 

Making it easier on ourselves, there was no need to drive from North County, then do a long hike. We treated ourselves to a night at De Anza Springs, the former nudist resort. While checking in, one of the owners greeted us along with his golden doodle, Noodle, one of the friendliest dogs I’ve ever met. 

Sponsored
Sponsored

Almost every source says the walk/hike along the rails is 8 miles or longer each way, but we found it to be “only” 6.5 miles each way, much more encouraging.  As far as time, the hike took us a total of 8 1/2 hours, with several short breaks, and an hour-long lunch at the trestle.  

Which brings me to the big surprise. As we walked through a dark, formidable tunnel, we strode out into the daylight onto another trestle, but this one did seem a little larger. We looked into the distance, and saw at least seven more trestles stretching out for miles in front of us. At this point, we had walked enough, and my daughter and I agreed that the trestle now appearing in front of us would be the last one for the day. 

Imagine our surprise when we compared some photos of our targeted trestle to the one in front of us, and it was the one. Again, the correct historic trestle was confirmed by two hikers, heading away from us on another access trail, a shorter, but more strenuous hike over a boulder-filled mountain in the direction of Ocotillo.  

We gave several hoots and hollers in the direction of the other adventurers, hearing our voices echo and come back to us from the distance. That brings me to the point of safety. The day my daughter and I went on our adventure, we were the only ones hiking on the rails. My daughter asked if we were to be the unfortunate victims of a rattlesnake bite, what would we do? Probably not make it, I told her. With no phone service, we would have to use a tourniquet and walk out, not a good situation. 

Bottom line is, watch where you are stepping and bring a flashlight for some of the darker tunnels. Interestingly enough, a military helicopter gracefully flew through the canyon when we were outbound in the morning, and returned in the afternoon. It was close enough that if we were in some type of distress, the crew onboard could’ve seen us desperately trying to get their attention.

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