Clouds go up in smoke sometimes

I remember from a long time ago, glancing through a magazine, I came across Bodie, the California ghost town. It struck me right then: I had not seen anything like this before. It piqued my interest no end, and, over the years, I read about Bodie and other ghost towns. Empty and forlorn, they always painted, to me, the picture of post-apocalyptic landscape, of a time when the people that made up a place were no more. Will a place still be the same, I wondered, when its soul is gone?

So it was a sunny early summer afternoon in May when we drove up the winding gravel road into Bodie. We were driving across Yosemite National Park to see Mono Lake, and Bodie. Leaving Mono lake, the road starts to climb to about 8400 feet by the time it reaches Bodie. The area around Bodie is bare and desert-like. Nothing to attract the attention except for the snow-clad Sierra range in the distance.

Bodie was a gold mining town, from the days of California gold rush. From 1859, when gold was first discovered around Bodie, to 1962, when it was converted into a State Park, Bodie had already gone through its share of ups and downs. In the between years, gold supply dried up many times, and were found again. By 1912, it was already considered to be a ghost town, and the decline was written large all over it. The mines and the saloons were closing down, the population declined to a few hundreds, from a boom-time maximum of five or six thousands. The gold prospectors had moved on to new-found deposits in Nevada and elsewhere.

Bodie, currently, is in a state of arrested decay. Only a few of the houses still remain, a window to California's gold rush past. There is an eerie feeling peeping into the window of the abandoned houses, schools, and banks, and knowing that people had lived there not so long ago.

Bodie is best perhaps described in pictures. So, here is a gallery of photographs from the time I spent in Bodie.

The Bodie Methodist church
The Bodie Methodist church


By an abandoned house
By an abandoned house