Here is a very fresh 10 on 10 photostory from a California ghost town that I visited this morning. I was on my way home with friends from Yosemite and wanted to share some gold rush history. We started the day with breakfast in a classic diner in Mariposa, which is the first town on the 49 hwy following the mother lode of gold discovered in the Sierras (in 1849). Nothing was really open in town, but we looked at the Main Street buildings with typical details from this time like wrought-iron balconies, large shutters, arches, colorful facades on brick buildings, and covered sidewalks.
We then decided to take the small back roads to Hornitos - a ghost town not entirely deserted, but with only about 60 inhabitants living among the leftover buildings from a once thriving Mexican mining town.
It was a very quiet place and we mostly heard the sound of birds and a few barking dogs. We saw goats and cows in the fields and a couple of turkeys where walking around too.
We did meet a few people, but there were no shops. Just post office boxes and a few inhabited houses. One person pointed us in the direction of the church and graveyard where ghosts are known to roam at night.
We didn't meet any ghosts though - just a couple of tourists like ourselves. There were many old graves from the time of the gold rush where 15000 people were said to live in the town.
A miners shovel on an anonymous grave. Below is the ruin of the shop where Ghiradelli used to run a general store and made his fortune and recipes to open the still existing chocolate brand in San Francisco.
Not everybody in town seemed friendly although we had read that they try to preserve it for visitors. We had a feeling that a guy in a jeep kept following us. He was always near us and stood out of the car staring, but he never approached us. Some houses had metal fences and keep out signs.
Curious pig ;-).
We really felt far away and alone here. It was beautiful and odd at the same time. So much history had past here. A famous Mexican bandit had escaped the law and there had been lots of bars and fandango halls.
With history in our minds we headed back to the Bay Area through almond groves and cattle land.
If you want to visit this ghost town it's only 15 miles from Mariposa off the famous gold rush 49 highway. You can find more information on California Ghost towns here and more about Hornitor here. If you are crossing the Sierras from Yosemite to Lee Vining, I will recommend you go and visit Bodie. Its a completely deserted ghost town, where you can look inside the houses as they were left behind.
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