Thursday, October 29, 2015

Haunted Legends for Halloween Night



Join me if you dare, the spirits are waiting!




 Halloween has always been my favorite time of the year and not just for the sweet candy treats but because it was fun to dress in costume and get all scared going door to door.  I remember my mom decorating our house and later that night, reading scary stories like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  Maybe that is the reason that I am drawn to haunted houses, ghost towns, and spooky legends.


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 For this Halloween, I have decided to give a tour of some of the spookiest places that I have been photo-exploring with my camera.




Speaking of spooky places, I will begin my tour with Spooky Rock, a very unusual rock outcropping in Mineral County, Nevada.  Located in Garfield Flats, the area was prone to much volcanism. Even in the bright sunlight the grimacing faces on these rock formations make the hair on my neck stand at attention. As the sun drops down and one cloud to the left appears as a hand beckoning, it really begins to get me in a spooky mood.


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A brick arch stands out in the desert of Central Nevada and is about all that is left of the Delamar mining town.  Once a town of 1,500 residents with an Opera House, hospital, churches and numerous saloons, Delamar soon became known as "The Widow Maker" due to the dust from mining that contained glass like particles. It caused an incurable disease of the lungs--Silicosis.  The hazardous dust not only brought premature deaths to the miners but also to anyone living in Delamar.  I will never forget that smell of rose perfume that greeted me as I wandered around this ghost town.

  
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Spring Mountain State Park is an oasis and peaceful retreat from the hustle of Las Vegas.  However, I have heard some pretty scary tails from the rangers who worked there after dark in the winter months.  Windows rattling, doors creaking, footsteps on the wooden floor!  Some have even seen Vera Krupp wearing her 33.19-carat Asscher cut diamond as she wanders from room to room.  After a settlement from Alfried Krupp,  Vera purchased the 500 acres west of Las Vegas and enjoyed a life of cattle ranching and country living.  


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Bodie State Park, California was once a thriving mining town turning out millions in gold bullion.  As I peek through the dusty window of the undertaker's parlor, I am reminded of all the mining accidents and a harsh winter that brought the demise to hundreds of residents.  Today the ghost town is protected from vandals or looters by the spirits that call Bodie their home.  Anyone foolish enough to remove even a pebble will suffer the "Curse of Bodie".


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Founded in 1902, Goldfield, Nevada grew to a population of 30,000 and produced $11 million in gold.  Know for its longest bar of all mining towns, it took a staff of 80 to serve all the libations.  A stove exploded in a millinery shop and burned two blocks before the wind shifted and saved the town from destruction.  Today, Goldfield is mostly deserted as it sits quietly on Interstate 95.  After sundown you might just catch a glimpse of ole Virgil as he heads down to join with the other spirits.


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Driving through the back roads of Lyon County, you cross the rail road tracks at Wabuska, "The Shadow Town" of Nevada.  The town saw a boom in 1881 when the Carson & Colorado Railroad station was opened.  There was a general store, hotel and hot meals for hungry rail workers.  Over time, the town started its decline and all that was left was a bar and a few rooms for the weary.  You can stop for a cold one on a dark night, but you must be pretty brave to enter that outhouse all covered in vines! 


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Some houses aren't the source of legends to be scary; they just look that way from wear and tear of time.  This house caught my attention and made me stop for a closer look but I declined the invitation to go inside. 

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Other houses stand as a reminder of what life used to be.  The mining boom in the surrounding areas of Aurora and Bodie depleted the forests of pinyon pine which was used for lumber and firewood.  A house near Lee Vinning, California void of any trees except for a stump is a reminder of those days.  The house stands abandoned but the spirits  linger, drawing me to come inside.

  
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Pioche Nevada in 1860's was the scariest town in the west, meaner than Tombstone and badder than Dodge City. Pioche was a mining camp with dozens of saloons and brothels.  Seventy-two people were killed before the first natural death occurred.   No wonder this is still called the "Hanging Tree" and to me is the scariest of all the places that I've been spooked to visit.

   



No images on this blog are within Public Domain.





With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


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Many of these images are available on our website.
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Marietta Ghost Town


"Borax" Smith, Wild Burros and Spirits of the Old West



What can be more intriguing than wandering amongst the spirits of a by-gone era of the old west and maybe catch a glimpse of wild burros and horses along the route? 


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Such was my day at the historic mining town of Marietta, located within the 68,000 acre Marietta Wild Burro Range that is on BLM public land.   

 
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During the late 1800's gold and silver prospecting brought miners to the hills around Marietta.  However, salt became a more lucrative resource which was mined on Teel's Marsh and transported by camel trains to the mills in Virginia City. 


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 The discovery of borate in 1872 by "Borax" Smith drew more people to the area and in 1877 Marietta had become a town of 150 residents with a post office, general store, stage station and many saloons.  


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During its heyday, life in Marietta must have been pretty lucrative. The horse stage was robbed 4 times in one week and 30 times in 1880.


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As I wander through abandoned, ramshackle houses I can only guess how their lives must have been.  Were they happy living out in such a remote place?  How did the children play and with what?  When I was a small girl, I would spend countless hours in my grandparent's yard exploring nature or watching the pecan leaves waving in the breeze.   
 

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Here today, there are no trees with leaves swaying in the breeze, only boards askew with abstract patterns in the deep blue Nevada sky.  


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The walls of "Borax" Smith's general store stand out in the desert landscape.  Two long rectangular side walls and the end wall are all that  stand the winds of change.  


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 As I gaze over the workmanship of laying each stone by hand, I can just image people gathering to shop and socialize in such a well made store.  
   

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Once noble dwellings abandoned to nature's whim stand as testament to a bygone era. 
  

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 A portal leads the view back to a wall and beyond the wall are clouds with open space.  I watch intrigued and my imagination wanders with this preview of times past.
 

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On this transitional autumn day, I was lucky to only encounter a western fence lizard crossing my path and no rattlesnakes.  One never knows what might be hiding in the shadows! 

 
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A cistern is left to oxidize, a reminder of the element water, more precious than gold for those who make the desert their home.  


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 Around the 1890's, more abundant borax sites were discovered in Death Valley and Marietta began its decline.   

 
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In the near distance, the cemetery overlooks Teel's Marsh and the town of Marietta.  I am pleased that this grave yard lies as a respectful resting place with no sign of vandalism, unlike so many others that I have visited. 

 
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 Even ole Chet gets to be remembered with his boots and whiskey bottle.  


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 Wonder if he would like some company when my time has come?  With my hiking boots and wine bottle, we might share stories and bay with the burros at the rising moon.   

 
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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.





Sunday, October 4, 2015

Marietta Wild Burro Range



Wild Burros, Wild Horses, Ghost town and Abandoned Mines!


What could be more exciting than finding wild burros, wild horses, abandoned mines and a ghost town all in one day?  These are just some the highlights of my interesting encounters when I went photo-exploring in the Marietta Wild Burro Range in west-central Nevada. 
 
 
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Venturing out on the second day of October following a low pressure system that brought rain the previous night, I took my chances on what the weather might bring and hoped that the forecast for a partially cloudy, calm day was accurate.  Come October, the weather can be very unpredictable in the high desert country of Nevada.  

The Marietta Wild Burro Range extends for 68,000 acres on BLM public land and was dedicated in 1991 on the 20th. anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  Up to 100 wild burros plus a number of wild horses are free to roam across this open desert. 
 
 
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Traveling west on the maintained dirt road, a group of wild horses were spotted in the near distance, grazing along the hillside.  
 
 
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The wind was blowing just enough from last night's passing front that I tried to shield the camera and 80-200mm lens in between the front passenger door to catch the group of wild horses.  
 
 
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By the looks of the dark cloud hanging over the hill in back of the road by the horses, I decided it best to continue on the main road.  A micro-bust of rain in the desert can create flash floods in a matter of seconds.  Furthermore, I did not want to disturb the horses by driving any closer.  
 
 
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Continuing on and almost shadowed by the overhead cloud, I noticed a group of at least 10 wild burros grazing not too far off the main road.  
 
 
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The wind was starting to calm down which always makes my life easier with nature photography.  
 
 
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Up in the distance more burros stood out.  The first hints of autumn were starting to highlight the desert floor with the yellow of rabbit bush and four-wing saltbush.  
 
 
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 Borax and salt deposits brought settlers to the Marietta area during the 1800's. Burros were used by gold and silver prospectors as pack animals.  Originally from the deserts of northern Africa, the Equus asinus asinus adjusted well to the hot, dry summers.  Edible desert plants like Indian ricegrass and four-wing saltbush comprise the diets of wild burros and horses.  
 
 
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The wild burros at Marietta tend to be the Nubian africanus subspecies with the characteristic black stripe across the shoulders and down the middle of the back. 
 
 
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My day of photo-exploring had just begun with the sightings of burros and horses, there was much more to discover and the day was still young.  As I drove past the last group of burros, my travels took me past some intriguing rock formations.  Looking carefully and I could see numerous trails made over time by the wandering burros 

 
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 Follow me on my blog as I continue on my photo-adventures into the Marietta ghost town and see if my camera sensor picks up any thing unusual.  





No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.