"Late for Breakfast" - Bodie, CA
Or in this case, inside the gold mining ghost town, to be exact. (Some of you from the same generation as me will recall that snippet of lyrics from the Doors "The End", which I am listening to right now because it sets the mood perfectly.)
The town of Bodie is found in a desolate high-plains area east of Yosemite and north of Mono Lake, 13 miles down a dirt road from the main highway, almost right on the Nevada border. It began as a small mining camp around 1876 and grew to it's ultimate size of 10,000 people/2000 buildings in 1880. Think of "Deadwood" if you ever watched that HBO series; it once had 65 saloons on Main Street, it's own Chinatown with opium dens and plenty of wild times... the epitome of a lawless wild west boom town. You can feel how hard life must have been here... although at 8400 ft. elevation, this is not the mountains; rather open, grassy hills where the wind howls and deep snow falls in the winter, while the sun beats down relentlessly in the summer. Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" was filmed just south of here, near Mono Lake.
As the supply of gold dwindled over the years, so did the population, until there were only about 120 residents left in 1920. A fire destroyed much of the town in 1932 and the last of the mines officially closed in 1942. The remaining buildings have been preserved exactly as they were left; stores still have goods on the shelves, some houses have furniture inside, child-size coffins are on display at the undertaker (very creepy), so the overall feeling you get from this place is decidedly ghostly.
Photographically, it's the kind of spot that, ideally, you can get to when the sky is stormy and dramatic, but unless you live in the area or get lucky, you just have to make do. It's also a "gold mine" of textures, tones and untold stories if you concentrate more on the buildings and the interiors. I think it's worth a few posts and I feel like a short break from pure landscape subjects. The small images are clickable for a higher rez view on this post.
There's danger on the edge of town
Ride the kings highway, baby.
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby.