Descending from the wilderness of Sequoia National Park and Yosemite, we made our way through the scrubland to a different kind of wild place. Nestled between the backbone of California and the plains of Nevada lies the isolated Bodie ghost town. Once home to countless brothels, saloons and murders, Bodie is a living relic that symbolises the greed and excess of the 19th century gold rush. Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the eerie Mono Lake, Bodie is as isolated as it gets. It took us 30 minutes to drive the 10 mile dirt road, reaching the town in a cloud of dust. Bodie itself is now only a fragment of what it used to be, after two fires ravaged through it in the late 18th century.
Today you can wander through the remaining streets and peer through windows at abandoned homes. Toiletry bottles lie next to children’s toys and clothes. Food tins and bottles line kitchen worktops. Beds remain empty and dishevelled. To visit Bodie ghost town is to visit a shell. Bodie’s history is dark and rich and desparate, and I doubt the world will see a place like it again.
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