Exploring is not only a quest for the new and unkown, but can be a quest for the forgotten. Welcome Chelsea to the blog today as she discusses exploring lost and forgotten places full of history.
“I grow very fond of this place, and it certainly has a desolate, grim beauty of its own… that has a curious fascination for me.” – T. Roosevelt
It’s the lonely house, left rotting in the forest. The desolate ghost towns, laid merciless to the seasons past. It’s the stories of the lives lived, lost, and left forgotten that lead my hiking crew to our new found love of what we’ve dubbed “historical exploration”.
Take a little backcountry, mix it with some historical preservation (We love you California State Parks!), add a dash of urban exploration; and you’ll find us, standing in awe between the harrowing, moss covered graffiti of post-apocalyptian suburbia and the perfectly preserved moments in time, laid cared for and protected by our beloved state and federal agencies.
In order to understand the future, it’s pertinent to understand our past. What better way to learn, than to immerse yourself in it?
This journey into time blossomed from an impromptu getaway to the beautiful Eastern Sierra mountain range, and somewhere amongst the rotting decadence of Bodie State Historic Park, our love affair with the abandoned began.
It was there, nestled in between the rusted carriages and delicately preserved town houses, the history of the wild west breathed itself to life. We walked the path of the 1800’s miners, gazed through the windows of early 1900’s loggers, payed respects to the former townsfolk’s gravesites, and gazed into a world left to the winds of the harsh California backcountry. The true wild west was alive and well, and all we had to do was EXPLORE IT.
Research, diligent research, would follow. The towering 1900’s brick building on the edge of the city, left crumbling and forgotten; the Russian fortress erected in the 1800’s, standing preserved through the state park system; the abandoned 1920’s asylum, standing like a horror movie just off-trail; the preserved mine site of the California gold rush, open to the public to explore daily; the adventures would continue to grow, with the addition of our teens and on occasion, our pups. The rides to the trailhead would become story telling sessions of days past, stories we would inevitably trudge gleefully together, one boot print following the next. We have evolved from peak bagging, muddy mountain dwellers to time travelers, historical explorers… dirt-coated historians.
“Each little teeny thing, whether it’s a spring or a nail… the time it took to be created & the time it took to get to the place you’re experiencing it… that’s treasure. That’s pure imagination.” – J.B.
There are gems, treasure boxes to be unlocked surrounding every state in this country (and beyond!). Consider taking a moment to do a little research, learn about a local historical site, find out about that creepy house on the outskirts of town, and walk the trails the past has left stretched out before you. The memories you’ll build will be immeasurable, the photos you’ll keep, incomparable.
When you explore these places, immerse yourself in their beauty, a passion is awoken. It’s this passion, this built love, that is so desperately needed in order to further preserve and protect these unique, irreplaceable places. It’s up to us to protect what we love. I encourage you to research, explore, protect, and DEFEND those loves. May a touch of history in your trails be one of them! Explore on!