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Saving Lives While Exploring an Abandoned Train

Welcome to The Abandoned GOAT CANYON TRESTLE Train

Location: California

This is entry number 12 of my urban exploration blog. Click here to go read the last ones!

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The Video

The Property

Built in 1919 from the vision of John Speckles, this railroad was built for $18 million and was known as "The Impossible Railroad," because of its sheer size and the difficulty of the terrain. We would learn on this day what it meant to be prepared.

Getting Past Security

We asked some locals for directions to this spot and they told us that there might be some Border Patrol roaming the area to keep people off of the train tracks. Apparently this place used to be open to the public, but for one reason or another they decided to end that. So, for those of you who may want to check this place out, just remember that you might get fined for being there.

To those of you who are fellow explorers and you're thinking of checking this place out, I have to advise you that during the summer months it is absolutely unsafe to be walking out there for hours like we were. Even with the water we brought it wasn't enough.

That being said, if we hadn't been there a couple of guys that gotten lost in the desert might have died before they were able to find help. We were in the right place at the right time. Read on for the story.


The Spoils

As we rounded a bend we came across the train, just baking in the 100 degree heat. I pulled myself into the back of the first car and started immediately snapping photos. I knew that the longer we were out there, the hotter it would get. We arrived at about 1PM to the train and began filming our music videos that we had come to film.

Jumping around and sweating profusely while out in the desert is not considered the safest thing to do, but the cool breeze that flowed through the train helped significantly. It made it tolerable.

I'm obsessed with shots of trains taken out of the windows and have taken my fair share of those photos on the Alaskan Railroad. You should definitely read the blog from my adventure to Alaska if you haven't. I wanted to take a few window photos at this spot. If you'd like a print of any of these photos you can pick one up in my PRINT SHOP.

Now, I'm not sure who this baby belongs to, but I have seen it on many of my California adventures. I must find out who the tagger is so I can explore with them one day.

Some of the signs in the train looked brand new. I'm not sure when or why this train was abandoned here, but what I've heard was that the train came from Mexico and was unable to travel any further into America and it was left here at the end of the tracks.

There are eleven tunnels along the train tracks, but we were mostly there to explore the train and all its glory so we stuck around this area.

This is the big "X" that marked the end of the train tracks, where this giant metal beast was laid to rest.

Of course I brought my book, No Tracers with me. Any time I explore an abandoned place now I bring it to make a new promotional video to sell the book. If you'd like to read some amazing urban exploration stories and own some of my photography, pick up a copy here.


After about three hours of exploring the different train cars and filming music videos we decided to wrap it up and head back to the car. As we jumped off the train and started walking back toward the route we took to get there, from behind us, in the distance, we heard someone yell, "HEY!"

Fearing that it was a Border Patrol officer we picked up the pace, but then, again, he yelled, louder this time, for help. We stopped immediately and turned to listen to him. He expressed that he had been in the desert for hours with his friend riding dirt bikes until the heat started to affect them. Their last bottle of water fell down a cliff and they had been trying to walk out of the desert with their bikes for hours. They had to walk their backs back along narrow ledges with only inches to spare between them and a steep drops.

We approached him and gave him a bit of water. He told us that his friend had laid down about ten minutes down the trail to rest, because he was beginning to lose consciousness. I knew that anyone out in the now 120 degree heat would be toast without water and Rian and I decided quite quickly to break one of the most important rules of hiking/exploring; don't split up. However, in this circumstance we knew that something needed to be done. We had our new friend lie down in the cool shade of the train, Rian went to seek help back at the nudist camp and I trekked on, with my backpack on, to go find his friend. I didn't leave my bag in the train because, honestly, I didn't know if this was legit or if we were going to get robbed. I was scared, honestly of what I might find out there, further down the tracks, but I had to try to help these men.

After about ten minutes I saw the bright orange colors of his friend's motocross suit, stumbling toward me, like a zombie. He was so far away that he looked like a mirage in the distance. I approached him and immediately handed what I had left in my water bottle. He drank it slowly and caught his bearings. I told him that all he needed to do was to keep walking with me to get back to the train and then he could rest.

He ditched his gear in the shadow of a hill and we walked slowly back across the creaking trestles. I tell you what, I had never been more afraid to walk with someone over rail ties. I was afraid he was going to pass out and fall off the side so I kept him talking.

We made it back to the train where we found his friend, naked, cooling off in the shade of the train. I was so relieved that the two had been reunited, but now we were stuck in the heat with no water.

I wasn't sure if Rian had made it back to the camp we started at and feared that maybe he had succumb to the heat as well, but then, from a distance, I heard his voice and the sound of a vehicle approaching.

My two new friends thought that it might be the police and they feared the trouble they'd be in for being out past the "no trespassing" signs. I reassured them that even if it was the police, they'd be more concerned about their wellbeing than the fact that we weren't supposed to be out there.

It turns out that Rian had found the owner of the nudist camp and they had hopped in an off-road vehicle to come find us. Thank God for Dave, the owner of the camp for bringing us a canteen of water to share. Without his help I'm not sure we would have made the journey out of there.

We heard from the two men the next day and it turns out that Dave let them STAY at the camp for the night while they recovered. They were able to get their bikes the next morning.

I got to have lunch with one of them a few days later. I'm glad they're okay.

*bando (n,): slang term for an abandoned location; an urban exploration trip

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