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Ophir is a treat for history, nature lovers

26 Dec

“‘Are ghosts shadows?’ asked 4-year-old Weston, as we turned southeast onto SR-73 just south of Stockton. ‘Actually, West,’ 6-year-old Bridger said, beating me to the punch with his own explanation, ‘Ghost are the spirits inside people and that’s who live in ghost towns.’With its weathered buildings surrounded by snow-frocked evergreens, Ophir in winter reminds me of the Christmas town on top of my grandma’s piano. The modern houses are quaint and blend near seamlessly with the many charming original structures. A string of old ore cars lines a rickety part of rusted track near the old mine entrance and venerable edifices like the old town hall stand against an almost overwhelming backdrop of giant staircase-like mountains.”

Something about this “living” ghost town draws me there more often than time allows. I’ve been visiting Ophir ever since the government trusted me to operate a motor vehicle. Comparatively, its original structures and mines are in much better condition than other semi-populated ghost towns, thanks to preservation-minded landowners and an attitude conveyed best by Ophir’s mayor:

“We welcome people up here but tell them not to think of staying.”

Enjoy the pictures below, and head to the Transcript Bulletin’s website to read the full article.

The road to Ophir (photo by Clint Thomsen)

A group of mule deer at the mouth of the canyon
(photo by Clint Thomsen)

A small cabin on the east end of the town
(photo by Clint Thomsen)

Old ore cars along old Main Street
(photo by Clint Thomsen)

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