Ghost Towns and Abandoned Mines in the rugged backcountry
With the feel of autumn in the air, it’s always fun to spend some time in the higher elevations. After hearing about the abandoned Chemung Mine near Bridgeport, California I planned a day trip for some photo-adventures. Checking on the Internet, I also learned of the Masonic Ghost Town that was just three miles past the Chemung Mine.
To arrive at these locations, I took the Mason Road which is just past the Bridgeport Reservoir. Starting out, the scenic dirt road was wide and fairly well maintained.
Arriving at the Chemung Mine, the day was still young so I decided to go on to the Masonic Ghost Town.
Up ahead, the road was becoming narrower and did not appear to be maintained. I was not too concerned since I was in a 4-wheel drive truck with aggressive tires. Stands of aspen trees just turning to fall colors accented the rugged landscape.
Just before reaching the Masonic Ghost Town I decided go and check out the road on foot. It’s best to be cautious and not get stuck far from civilization!
When gold was discovered near this area, the town was founded in 1862 by the Freemasons, therefore giving it the name of Masonic. At one time, the town had 3 levels: the Upper Town of Lorena housed the mine offices and a post office; Middle Town was the largest with a hotel, general store, stage station, school and post office; and Lower Town was anchored by the Pittsburg-Liberty Mill.
On this day in 2018, not many of the structures were still standing--either due to acts of nature or vandalism.
What caught my eye was the workmanship on the rock walls and how the structures were built into the rock formations.
The remains of a stone house left its legacy against the weathering of nature.
To the left I saw a metal plaque on an outcropping of rocks.
On closer observation, the plaque told the legacy of Masonic.
As my eyes wandered across to the west, I noticed what appeared to be an aerial tramway. I have since read that the tramway was used to transport ore from the mines in Lower Town. And this structure deserves a repeat visit on another trip for a closer view!
At this time, I decided to end my photo-exploring at Masonic and return to the Chemung Mine, which I will cover in the next post. So check back and see where my adventures will go.
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