A Ghost Town Of The American West

Spending a day in Bodie means driving. Driving up, or down, depending on where you are starting from, Highway 395. The turn onto Highway 270 will send you traveling east for 13 miles (I really thought it was 23 miles, but all the information materials say it is 13) on the two lane paved road until you meet the washboard. Then it’s another three miles of bouncing and dodging ruts, small rocks, and other people’s dust.

But it’s worth it.

Bodie sits out in the middle of nowhere on the eastern side of the Sierras and seems really random in connection to the landscape. It was an old mining town that boomed during the gold rush years but later turned into a real ghost town as people slowly left for greener pastures. Bodie now sits in the state of what has come to be known as arrested decay.

Walking from building to building, house to house, I felt like nothing more than a peeping kimba – putting my cameras up to the windows and capturing the rooms that seemed to be stopped in time. I am so fascinated by the archaeology of life, that this abandoned mining town out in the middle of nowhere held my attention until my feet grew weary of walking.

There were a few of the homes that seemed more staged than others and I think I only noticed that because of my attention to details. It definitely did not take away from the experience. This is the kind of place that had me reliving all those old black and white westerns from my childhood.

Bodie was established as a California State Park in 1962. There is an $8 entry fee and there is no overnight camping at the park. There are three designated nights during the summer where you can stay as late as 10pm but reservations are required. Get the booklet at the entrance kiosk if you can, otherwise head to the general store to purchase one as it tells the stories of each numbered building in town.

Here is a small sampling of the images I took that day last October.

There are many (many) more of the Bodie images in my Alamy/Stockimo account that were taken with both the iPhone and the dSLR.

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