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dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/31/2015
dsefcik
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Gary and I spent the long 3 day Memorial Day weekend leisurely traversing the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness with no more of an agenda other than getting back to our trucks sometime by the end of the day Monday. Mr Tom was kind enough to drop us off at Jacumba on Sat morning and was going to hike with us for the day but the weather was kinda cold and blustery and I guess his jacuzzi and booze back home sounded better so it was just Gary and I.

Carrizo Gorge is one of those easy to get to wilderness areas that just never gets old and it has a long history with the railroad and the now famous Goat Canyon Trestle. The trestle seems to be growing exponentially in popularity and I suspect that will continue until the railway patrols pickup again. This particular trip we saw as many as 10 motorcycle adventurers in addition to all of the usual hikers and MTB'ers.

There is something about the Gorge that seems to beckon film photography and I always enjoy taking at least one older analog camera with me. The B/W photos here are from my Fuji GW690 6x9 medium format camera and the film is Fuji Acros 100 developed 1+2+100 in PMK Pyro @13 minutes. A few of the photos I took were an attempt to mirror photos found in the The Impossible Railroad book.

Carrizo Gorge with Sombrero Peak way off in the distance to the right


Following the tracks, some of the trestles are in good shape, others not so much


One particular set of railway cars that has been out on the tracks for several years now has been heavily vandalized.


On page 36 of The Impossible Railroad book there is a picture showing the Young & Crooks Camp 1 and all of the workers tents and the compressor plant equipment. This is the roughly the same photograph but the only thing you can still see are foundations of cement and many of the cleared areas that were built up with rocks to form a tiered foundation for the large tents they used


Gary at a few of the railroad camps


This workers camp overlooks the gorge and has approx 5-6 built up tiers for large tents. Most of it is overgrown with cholla now though.




Here is another photo from The Impossible Railroad book
on page 40 showing tunnel 15 where they eventually gave up on that tunnel and built the tracks around it


We found a huge horseshoe, looked more decorative than useful


This is one of the cooler tunnels out there


Gary heading into tunnel 16, this one has a history of fires and collapses which is evidenced by the tweak on the top. The inside supports you see in the other tunnels are missing which I am guessing is from the 1986 fire that burned it out


What would a trip thru the Gorge be without a photo of the Trestle


Eventually we found our way to the East Fork and the Carrizo Palms. There was some water and lots of wildlife tracks


Unfortunately this poor gal was not able to make it to the water source. I was able to go out a few days later with a Fish & Game Biologist to perform a post-mortem and the cause of death was determined to be from disease


Rock Art



I did manage to get some digital shots as well, love the sunrise photos with a super zoom


The Goat Canyon Trestle has several "catwalks" built in to facilitate repairs and maintenance duties and there is also an elaborate fire supression system built into the trestle with many pipes and valves that lead up to the water tanker on the hillside above. This photo is looking straight thru the first catwalk and some of the water pipes are visible. I can't recommend walking these catwalks at all, they are sketchy at best


Gary enjoying some of the water at Carrizo Palms


Reptiles were out and about, we found 2 in the same spot with head injuries, pretty strange, anybody have any ideas? We were thinking hawks or such




This guy was chilling in the shade of the tunnels


Railroad camp debris, re-purposing a shovel for something?


This is more my speed, a real fifth bottle of whisky


Anyways, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed...time to turn in.....




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surfponto
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5/31/2015
surfponto
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Looks like you guys had a great trip through the gorge. Nice pictures.

Mary and I were out in Jojoba Wash on Saturday for the night.
Super windy. How was it just sleeping in your bags on the ground with the wind?
We had the luxury of the rooftop tent wink

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dsefcik
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5/31/2015
dsefcik
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surfponto wrote:
Mary and I were out in Jojoba Wash on Saturday for the night.
Super windy. How was it just sleeping in your bags on the ground with the wind?
We had the luxury of the rooftop tent wink
Pretty sucky as was Sunday morning....cholla kept blowing into my head, we slept on a ridge Sat night with "gorge"ous views but windy and tons of cholla balls. Wish I knew you guys were out, we need to hike again, it's been awhile.

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dsefcik
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5/31/2015
dsefcik
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We did also see a grey fox towards the end of the day Sat as we were scouting a place to camp for the night. He was near the 2 dead snakes. Not sure if he was checking them out or responsible for them. Ziphius..??

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ziphius
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5/31/2015
ziphius
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I like the medium format photos Daren. Gosh, my first guess with the snakes is that they were mating and got interrupted. If you watch video of their mating ritual, their heads end up intertwined and the 2 snakes combined are not very mobile at that point. Maybe your fox came by and chomped on both of their heads at the same time. Otherwise, it's hard to catch 2 snakes at once and chomp their heads...they look like coachwhips / racers? ...which are pretty fast.

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tommy750
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5/31/2015
tommy750
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Nice trip, Daren. Wish I could have joined you especially since when I went back home, ended up eating bad takeout and was sick all week upset Looks less cloudy than I thought. Pics look really nice when you click on them and get a larger size. So the necropsy showed "disease"?? Any more specific?
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dsefcik
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5/31/2015
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
I like the medium format photos Daren. Gosh, my first guess with the snakes is that they were mating and got interrupted. If you watch video of their mating ritual, their heads end up intertwined and the 2 snakes combined are not very mobile at that point. Maybe your fox came by and chomped on both of their heads at the same time. Otherwise, it's hard to catch 2 snakes at once and chomp their heads...they look like coachwhips / racers? ...which are pretty fast.
I like your theory...very plausible...yes, racers I think also...Thumbs Up

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dsefcik
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5/31/2015
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Nice trip, Daren. Wish I could have joined you especially since when I went back home, ended up eating bad takeout and was sick all week upset Looks less cloudy than I thought. Pics look really nice when you click on them and get a larger size. So the necropsy showed "disease"?? Any more specific?
Gonna take some of the negs to the enlarger tonight...we'll see how they print...as for the ewe, official report shows "nonpredation – chronic sinusitis"....most likely a barrel cactus spine (or two) got stuck in one of the horns and caused a long history of infection, apparently common in sheep.

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tommy750
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5/31/2015
tommy750
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dsefcik wrote:
tommy750 wrote:
Nice trip, Daren. Wish I could have joined you especially since when I went back home, ended up eating bad takeout and was sick all week upset Looks less cloudy than I thought. Pics look really nice when you click on them and get a larger size. So the necropsy showed "disease"?? Any more specific?
Gonna take some of the negs to the enlarger tonight...we'll see how they print...as for the ewe, official report shows "nonpredation – chronic sinusitis"....most likely a barrel cactus spine (or two) got stuck in one of the horns and caused a long history of infection, apparently common in sheep.

Interesting. Spread of sinus and ear infections to the brain used to take a terrible toll on us humans in the pre antibiotic and vaccine days and looks like they still do for the wildlife. Thanks for the info.
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ziphius
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6/1/2015
ziphius
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So I'm seeing a radio collar on that carcass right? Any info on when it was tagged? (ah, now I see it was about 13 years old when I click on the photo.....)
edited by ziphius on 6/1/2015

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rockhopper
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6/1/2015
rockhopper
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Great photo log! The winds in May are right on schedule. I watched the dust devils marching across the Borrego valley from Clark Lake (dry) 2 weeks ago, but the mornings were still and calm.
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Canebrake Jeff
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6/1/2015
Canebrake Jeff
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The Coachwhips look like they were killed by a human with a rock. A predator would have eaten its kill. All the animals out there are hungry.
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dsefcik
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6/1/2015
dsefcik
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Canebrake Jeff wrote:
The Coachwhips look like they were killed by a human with a rock. A predator would have eaten its kill. All the animals out there are hungry.
Given the location, general environment and that they were not smashed at all, just bloody with holes in the head laying next to each other I am not thinking that is likely...when we came around the bend a fox took off running from the general location. We saw no signs or evidence of people anywhere in that location.

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tommy750
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6/1/2015
tommy750
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Daren, you might want to contact the California Herps guy regarding the weird snake kill. His site says he's interested in "Reports of interesting sightings or unusual herps in California or elsewhere." Gary Nafis at grynaf@yahoo.com


Love that site.
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dsefcik
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6/2/2015
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Daren, you might want to contact the California Herps guy regarding the weird snake kill.
Thanks Tom, I sent the photos to him..will post back with anything he may say.

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dsefcik
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6/2/2015
dsefcik
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dsefcik wrote:
tommy750 wrote:
Daren, you might want to contact the California Herps guy regarding the weird snake kill.
Thanks Tom, I sent the photos to him..will post back with anything he may say.
Gary's first thought mirrored ziphius..he also suggested what canebrake jeff said....so anyone's guess but I suspect the mating idea is probably correct since I doubt anyone was near the area we saw them and the fox was coincidentally present.

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ImpatientHiker
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6/11/2015
ImpatientHiker
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Hi Daren, your pictures are so good and you take so many. I wonder, do you display many around your home? Do you change them out? Do you do any framing yourself?
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Florian
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6/11/2015
Florian
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Those two dead snakes are very odd. Is that how you found them beside each other? Yesterday hiking near Palm Springs i came across a young king snake cut into 2" pieces. Weird. I buried the pieces as i didn't want to feed the damn ravens.

-Florian
edited by Florian on 6/11/2015
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dsefcik
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6/11/2015
dsefcik
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ImpatientHiker wrote:
Hi Daren, your pictures are so good and you take so many. I wonder, do you display many around your home? Do you change them out? Do you do any framing yourself?
Thanks for the compliments, much appreciate...can't say I do much of anything with them other than let people see them on the web. I just enjoy the process of it all and film has given me even more of a challenged process but more importantly film has given Tom something he can poke fun at me with every trip....poke

I have just recently starting doing prints in my garage/darkroom, they are really nice compared to inkjet printing and you can totally control how the print looks with dodging & burning.

I am happy to give my photos to anyone who wants to use them for personal use...better than just sitting on my computer buried away.

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dsefcik
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6/11/2015
dsefcik
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Florian wrote:
Those two dead snakes are very odd. Is that how you found them beside each other? Yesterday hiking near Palm Springs i came across a young king snake cut into 2" pieces. Weird.
Yes, that is how I found them....I would go with canebrake jeff's theory on yours and probably ziphius's theory with mine....just MHO...Spock

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tommy750
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6/23/2015
tommy750
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Think I just figured out the dead snake mystery! Make sure you read the entire article.
https://www.thedodo.com/mother-rabbit-attacks-snake-1211670128.html
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dsefcik
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6/23/2015
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Think I just figured out the dead snake mystery! Make sure you read the entire article.
https://www.thedodo.com/mother-rabbit-attacks-snake-1211670128.html
En Garde!

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Nice find Tom....

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ziphius
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6/23/2015
ziphius
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tommy750 wrote:
Think I just figured out the dead snake mystery! Make sure you read the entire article.
https://www.thedodo.com/mother-rabbit-attacks-snake-1211670128.html


That was fun to watch.

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