|All we could find of Gillette|
What followed was a about an 8 mile stretch of road that made its way up 3000+ feet of elevation, starting in the desert, and climaxing in the high pines of Crown King, some 6000 feet above sea level. An amazing drive, and the road is good enough for just about any car to make it up (we even pasted a Mustang on our way down).
Again the “ghost town” of Crown King was not at all what I expected. At this point, I was beginning to question as to weather or not I understood the definition of a ghost town. There was nothing ghostly about Crown King at all. In fact, quite the opposite. We actually a hard time finding a place to park. We finally squeezed into a spot, between a large pick up, and several ATV’s (ATV’s appeared to be the preferred mode of transport up here) and made out way up the road to the Crown King saloon.
|Bar at the Crown King Saloon|
|Road to Oro Belle|
|Oro Belle ruin|
|Bumble Bee Creek|
Although I was a little disappointed that the “ghost towns’ we were seeking out turned out to be little more then authentic, historic sort of tourist trap, it was still a very rewarding trip. We found a few local watering holes that you only find a few times in a life time. These places are honest, genuine and comfortable, and well worth a day trip to experience not only their hospitality and warmth, but also the fairly recent history this region has to offer. Although the highlight of the activity in this area was little more then 100 years ago, it seems like ancient history, and hard to imagine my grandparents were alive while men still struggled with this harsh environment with little more then a mule, and pick ax.
If you have a day, and are looking for something to do, I suggest you head north, and take a drive up to Crown King. Bring you camera, a good pair of walking shoes, and leave your cell phone at home, and for a few hours, enjoy a small slice this great state has to offer, yet so little have get the privilege to experience.