Saturday, March 31, 2012

a trip to bodie ghost town, eastern sierras

in january, we got to visit bodie state park while visiting mammoth mountain with friends, our first trip in the new year.


and if you've never heard of it, a visit to bodie is highly recommended. it's fantastic: an actual, intact, perfectly preserved ghost town. think spaghetti westerns, gold mines, shoot-outs, brothels, saloons, gambling dens and the lawless west.

it's quite a drive to get to bodie, about an hour if you're coming from june lake and mammoth. after a long, rough ride up a winding, rocky 13-miles, the last three miles on unpaved road, you get the dreaded sense you're going nowhere.

and then you see it.


and your heart starts to beat, as you feel this excitement and wonder.

what is this place?


at 8000 feet elevation, the town is located on a forbidding, isolated mountain and is a scatter of old buildings--churches, cottages, shacks, barns, lean-tos--servicing the old mining industry. resting amongst the grass are rusted equipment and machinery.

i love exploring ruins, it is one of my absolute favorite things to do. i can imagine i was the archaeologist i never was yet i can fantasize about the past, like a kid.


it was nearly dusk when we arrived and the setting sun cast this golden, red-hued 'magic hour' light onto the entire mountain high up in mono lake county--and when the light hits, creating these grand shadows, bodie became one of the most mysterious places i've visited and seen.

my photos really doesn't do it justice, folks.

i remember feeling the same awe when walking through the ruins of pompeii in southern italy, another place where i hope to visit again (and where i will spend countless hours wandering and getting lost, yes).


inside the old methodist church

looking into some of the houses, you could well imagine everyday lives and the people who lived here. the rooms reveal, in their 'frozen in time' state, that perhaps the residents just up and left yesterday and not over 100 years ago.


on the road rangers had erected a small sign, written in french of all things, stating it was forbidden to remove antiquities and objects from the park.

c'est interdit!

it made me think of rumi: 'where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.'

especially for french-speaking artifact-hunters.


and the little ones absolutely loved exploring.


dylan, zayla and zowen, right before they got chased out of bodie.
we'll return...with a vengeance, mr. park ranger!


and JUST when we were having fun, the park ranger drove up and knocked us out of our wild west daydream. he rounded up our group and shooed us out before we had a chance to pee in bodie's functioning outhouse. we scrambled out of the weather-beaten houses and its haunted rooms, the intimate, preserved living quarters, the shops, places of worship, totally fascinating and worth visiting again. we didn't have time to tour the mine or visit the bars or banks.

but we'll be back!

thanks to our friends diana, zeth, zay, and zo for making our trip so great!

more info on bodie here.

No comments: