Bodie and the Wild West


BODIE AND THE WILD WEST: WATCH THE VIDEO

One of my earliest childhood memories is of a dusty road and a bouncy ride in the back seat of my family’s sedan on our way to Bodie. Way back then, Bodie was not yet a state park. It was a genuine, abandoned ghost mining town in the high, harsh and starkly beautiful hills east of Highway 395. On that day we were the only living souls wandering among the crumbling buildings. I imagined myself to be a flinty sheriff wielding a fast revolver and swift justice in a tough town. I‘ve returned to Bodie many times to let my inner-sheriff out to play and to find out more about the people who once lived there and the challenges they faced in extreme conditions. Bodie’s climate can be hot and dessicating in the summer and bone-cracking cold in the winter. The weather there always demands attention and can take its toll on the vulnerable and unprepared. Bodie was, by our modern standards, a hard place to live. Those who sought their fortunes there, legally and otherwise, often paid a price. As it has all my life, Bodie easily stimulates the imagination of kids and adults seeking to visit the rough edge of the old western frontier. There’s still room for a few more sheriffs in town.



Bodie and its fine California State Park interpreters continue to give voice to an important piece of American history. As you’ll see in the video, the main road in is better than it was when I was a child and more people visit in the summer. But I’ve never experienced crowds and the old town is as fascinating, haunting and authentic as it ever was.




Bodie was once reputed to be the baddest burg in the Wild West. Now it survives in what’s called, arrested decay, as a ghost from a rough and bygone age.
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