A quick tour through the geothermal site near the green church, Mammoth Lakes Ski Area, and the June Lakes Scenic Loop brought me to my afternoon destination, Bodie, California.
Bodie is an old mining town that has been left exactly as it was....and it has not been restored. Tattered curtains hang from the windows... Pots and pans in the kitchen... clothing hanging on a hook on the wall. The gold mine had a reputation as being one of the richest gold strikes in the country, as well as spawning one of the most lawless towns around. The decline of the gold rush dropped the population from about 8500 to 1500... then a fire took its toll... I think the last fire was in the 60's? and burned all but 10% of the towns buildings. It was really quite fascinating, and I would love to spend a couple of days more thoroughly examining the place. I also intend to library up on the town. So many books I would have liked to snag from the little museum... which was quite amazing of itself.... but I don't really want to own books... other than guides and references. So, hopefully, I can find some of the reading material I am lusting for at the local library.
Exhausted after just a few hour roaming around in the heat and thin air, (and just a little self conscious about my really gnarly body odor, as I have been camping this whole time without a shower), I headed back down the hiway toward Mono Lake, destination South Tufa beach. I really wanted to try and capture this area in the sweet and gentle light of evening.
So, it was really quite amazing, but I'm a bit disappointed with my photographic efforts. I don't really feel like I came away with anything spectacular... and I didn't want to wait another 1.5 hour for the full on sunset to see if it made that much of a difference. It was really quite difficult to get into a position to create an interesting composition which included both the tufas and the lake.
I decided to buy some food at Lee Vining and head out on the hiway to get as close to Yosemite as I could before camping for the night. The food available at that tiny little store was quite amazing! Vegetarian wraps (the best I've had) and organic produce even! I thought I should gas up before leaving town... $3.99 a gallon for regular!!!!!!!! ACKKKKKKKKK!
So, I set off traveling down the hiway (up the hiway?), and I took the cutoff to Sonora Pass.... ROAD CLOSED. What the @#$@#??????!!!!! GRRRRRRRRR. It was supposed to be open this evening. Sigh.
I had passed a forest service campground sign just a mile or so before the cutoff... so I turned the car around. Now I am back at this deserted campground. Even the fee box has been removed (oh darn!). I keep hearing really weird noises, and I feel kind of scared. This place is really isolated. It sounds almost like voices or bits of
unintelligible conversation... maybe I've stumbled upon a bigfoot colony or worse
yet.... some good old fashioned deliverance style backcountry folk who are planning to make me their next meal....
Oh yeah... I'm gonna sleep good tonight.... NOT!!!!!
A Gallery of photographs from Bodie can be found here: http://www.pbase.com/splashphoto/california_ghosts