Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Just This Thing I Have . . .

I don't know what it is with me and ghost towns.

Back in the late 80s, a Dutch exchange student we were hosting wanted to go pan for gold. He'd gone to the local army surplus store and bought an authentic gold-panning pan -- they have everything at our surplus store, except the gold -- and wanted to try it out. I figured, why not go gold-panning where the prospectors had found gold years before?

So we headed to Stanley, Idaho.

Stanley itself is nto a ghost town, though it is almost. Nearby, however, is the ghost town of Bonanza, which sounded as a likely spot.

We camped, made a fire, monkeyed around as high school kids will do, then went panning for gold. Didn't find a single flake. But we had a ball poking through the old buildings at Bonanza, wondering who lived there, why they left, and why in the world they used such splintery wood for the seats in their outhouses.

Then on out, I was hooked.

I've been through ghost towns in extreme southern Idaho, where they built their homes out of stone because trees were scarce. I've been through several in central Idaho, where the roofs have crumbled and trees are growing up through the buildings.

And I've been to Gilmore, Idaho, time and again, hoping against hope that on the next journey, I can convince my wife to buy a lot there. They're for sale, you know. Owning part of a ghost town. How cool would that be? Read more about it here.

Gilmore, Idaho, from the surrounding hills. Photo by Michelle Davidson.