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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cerro Gordo, Inyo Mountains - "below the floor was a black abyss"

We turned right, just before Keeler, onto the Cerro Gordo Road.
Our destination was about 5,000 feet above.
Driving through the narrows and the route was in very good condition. Later I learned that a county road crew had recently graded the road.
Climbing out of the canyon.
The last switchback. 100 years ago the view of the valley would have been a gorgeous blue because Owens Lake would have been full of water.
My intent was to surprise Beth and Brian and it looked like I accomplished my mission. They were spending ten days at the town as substitute caretakers and I had planned to visit the week before but had to cancel.
I set up camp near the bunk house and joined Brian and Beth for dinner.
The sun set behind the Sierra Nevada during Beth's delicious lasagna dinner and after that we sat in the warm comfort of the cabin talking late into the evening.
A morning view of our Cerro Gordo camp.
Brian asked if I was ready for a tour. I answered yes and he led the way to our first stop, the American Hotel.
The dining room now.
The dining room then.
The kitchen now.
The kitchen then.
On the wall in the dining room is a photo of Jody Stewart Patterson who bought a 25% share of the town from her uncle in 1973 and the rest in 1984.  She died in 2001 of cancer and is buried in the cemetery atop the hill. -
Next stop was the hoist house.
This piece of equipment must have had quite the journey from Chicago to Cerro Gordo.
The man who sat here controlled the hoist that lifted men and material up and down the main shaft of the Union Mine.
Large flywheel on generator.
The hoist man-cage. Below the floor was the black abyss of the Union Mine.
The hoist house and the town of Cerro Gordo.
Next stop the assay office.
Oh, to go back in time and see what it was really like living in this town. But only for a quick visit because life was tough 100 years ago. My grandfather, who was born in 1899, had 11 siblings but only seven lived to adulthood.
View of Cerro Gordo from the SW looking NE.
Relaxing in the Belshaw House until it was time for bed.
Another sunset at Cerro Gordo.
The next morning after visiting a bit with Brian we drove down through the serpentine curves to the Owens Valley 5,000 feet below and started our drive for home.

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