An abandoned home in Bodie, now a ghost town.
Just a little while after the gold rush in California started, a man named Body discovered gold in a hole he was digging a rabbit out of, in what is now the ghost town of Bodie. Somehow, it exploded into a huge mining town as word spread, and eventually had 10,000 people living there. That's amazing considering where it's located (all secluded in high desert mountains at 8,375 ft). In its day, it had 2,000 buildings, and 65 saloons along a mile long main street! More than 20 million dollars worth of gold was mined out of Bodie. Eventually, it went bust, and by 1915 it was officially a ghost town already. People still lived there for a long time after it was abandoned. I'm sure there were some squatters too. In the 60s it became a state park and the few buildings that were left are now preserved in arrested decay.
A gymnasium and a bar (I think).
When we went to visit, there was already snow on the ground. It was pretty cold and windy, but we put on a bunch of clothes on and hats and went out into the town. Most of the buildings were locked closed, but one of them was open to walk around in. All of the furniture was left like it was when abandoned, and a huge layer of dust had collected on top of everything. I thought the kitchen was most interesting.
Abandoned kitchen, but a beautiful pastel color.
Some of the buildings looked better than average. When we got up close, we realized that was because people (the park rangers) were living inside! I thought that was neat. I wonder if the buildings are haunted. One of the hotels in Bridgeport, the larger town in the valley west of Bodie, has a hotel that was ported piece by piece from Bodie. Its called the Victorian Hotel, and its right on the main street running through town (Hwy 395). Once we met a local guy who told us he knew the maid who worked there. She said that it was totally haunted (although the hotel isn't known/famous for its hauntings, just its history). She said that she would see figures down the hallways and when she was making the beds, she would feel the presence of other beings in the room. One time, she even saw somebody sit down on a bed, except there was nobody there, only an imprint! I am so determined to go stay at the hotel, but nobody wants to go with me, except Nicole. Once she moves here, we will go together.
The general store.
Inside the general store.
Many of the buildings were insulated poorly, with only cardboard or cloth lining the thin wooden planks that made up the walls and ceiling. Maybe that's why people drank a lot there - to stay warm in the winter! I heard that it had almost no police. The few policemen who patrolled the town were extremely corrupt themselves. Many disputes were settled personally, and violently. A lot of people killed others, and it was supposedly one of the most dangerous towns in the wild wild west.
The town of Bodie (what's left of it).
Lanterns all hung up in a row inside the fireman's garage.
I think this park is best seen in winter, when all the crowds leave and the ghost town seems more like a ghost town - deserted, cold, and silent. We drove by it once in the summer a few years ago about 1/2 hour before it was closing for the day and it was just packed with people. That day we decided to come back another time, and I'm glad we came back at the end of October instead, what happened to be the eve of Halloween (while everyone else was having some wild Saturday night halloween parties, I'd image). All the crowds were gone. There were only about 4 other cars in the parking lot.
Self portrait inside one of the houses in Bodie.
One of the rangers' residences.
Half the fun of going to Bodie was the drive to Bodie.
Driving down CA 167, one of the many roads that lead to Bodie.