Bodie, California


Back in September of last year during my American road trip I visited one of Californias ghost towns, Bodie. Located east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California. 

www.bodie.com / www.parks.ca.gov

I was staying in a small town called Twaine Harte which was about a 2 1/2 hour drive away, so it was an early morning start to get to Bodie for some nice morning mountain light.

The majority of the roads were standard paved highways until you get close to the state park where it turns into graded gravel roads which in my little rental car was a little bumpy for the 13 miles it took to get up to the ghost town. The video above from the Bodie website gives you a good idea of the length of the road and the terrain into the park itself.

I spent hours exploring the abandoned streets of the town and peeking into the windows of old decaying buildings, glimpsing moments of a life from the Wild West gold rush days gone by. The light creeping through the gaps in the old wooden walls cast lines of light around the interiors that just highlighted the decrepit wooden constructions of these old buildings.

The air was thin being high above sea level, the sun was hot and the strong winds blew the dusty air across the town making you feel windswept and at times almost sand blasted, but Bodies charm kept revealing itself around every broken down wooden framed corner. Beautiful old barns with old stagecoaches and wagons lay waiting to be discovered, old shop front windows still displaying their sun faded goods. As I crouched to get different angles for my photographs I brushed up against one of the many bushes in amongst the buildings and realised that they were Sage bushes. The smell instantly transported me back to memories of cooking, roast chicken and sage & onion. It was a strange mix of memories and moments combining my comforting, home cooking food memories with the much more harsh Wild West environment I was stood amongst. But it is one of the strongest memories and moments from my visit to Bodie, and one that returns to me whenever I smell sage back home.

Bodie was a town that grew over the 80+ years of it's existence but could never sustain itself through its mining origins. Walking in and around the old homes and buildings you get a sense of history and times changing with revealing layers of wallpaper, worn flooring and old furniture. Many of the old Bourbon bottles and jars that I saw either broken outside in the bushes or remaining in the displays of the windows told a story of how everything had to be imported into the town as it was so remote.

Light streamed through the old dusty windows creating an atmospheric glow to each room I explored, each building and barn providing it's own character with gaps in the wooden roofs letting in light as dust drifted through the air. It is a magical place really, one that I'll never forget and hopefully will get to revisit one day at a different time of the year. Recently an earthquake nearby forced the park to close and be assessed for potential structural damage, so hopefully it'll reopen again soon.