A Secret Idaho Ghost Town

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There is a ghost town in the forest of North Central Idaho that I didn’t know existed.   I found it while exploring a small forest road that was overgrown, steep and a little scary.  I even had to move a small tree out of the road to get through.  What I found was so cool though.

It was a beautiful fall day and the sun had come out again after many days of rain.  I was out driving in the forest to see what I could discover.  This little trail, that seemed like it was a road at first, turned into a steep and winding mushy mess with nowhere to turn around.

My big red pickup struggled and then some.  The brush was lightly scraping down the sides of my poor truck.  This might deter some of you from going on, but anyone who has explored with me can tell you that I always keep going.  I couldn’t turn around anyway, right?  That left one direction; up the side of the mountain and around the next corner to see what is there.

I came to a tree laying across the road, but backing down that path was NOT an option.  I got out and pulled the tree to the side with my bare hands.  Well, mostly……I ran over the rest of it.  Up the road, I drove and bounced as the brush closed in around me.  There was a point that I came to a fork where I could turn around.  I had to make a decision at this point.

Should I turn around or press on a little more?  After all, except for the smell of the trees and the quiet peaceful forest, I had not really discovered anything yet.  So I went right because it was down hill, and I thought at least it might take me back to the highway so I wouldn’t have to backtrack.  I was of course, wrong, but after a mile or two I came around a corner and saw this:

an abandoned gold mining stamp mill.

A gold mining stamp mill that has not been in use for a very long time.

I was so excited but depressed at the same time.  You see, the road going to it had a gate and lock and many signs to stay out.  It didn’t look like it was an extremely old lock, so I respected the signs and just snapped the shot you see.  I would’ve loved to have gone in and documented this awesome piece of history.

Just as I was getting back in my pickup, I heard an ATV coming down the road in front of me.  It soon came into sight, and as he stopped next to me on the little road, I was in his sights.  I say sights because there were two rifles strapped on the front and they were pointed my way.  As long as he didn’t grab one though, I figured I was safe.  I introduced myself and told him what I was up to, asking if he knew anything about the stamp mill.  He turned out to be really friendly. We talked about the property and how people have come along before and vandalized and stolen the owners’ property.  The person who owns the claim is a descendant of the miners who once used it.  He said I could probably go take pics, thinking the owner wouldn’t mind.

Then he mentioned they may be coming along sometime soon, because they were hunting farther up the road.  That did NOT feel comfortable, so I asked if there were any more old buildings ahead.  He said that his father used to have the next claim up the road and that I could take pics on the outside there.  He also said before I got to that claim that I would pass this old hotel.

an old ghost town hotel in the forest.

The old hotel was not very big.

I drove a little farther and was pleasantly surprised that the claim my new friend spoke of had several old buildings, a mine shaft, and rusty stuff galore.  I can’t disclose the exact location because I agreed not to.

If people would respect other people’s property, there would be a lot fewer problems in the world.  If you find someplace like this, enjoy it and take pictures.  It’s such a shame that folks break windows, trespass and are so destructive.  Even if no one cares about the place now, others that come after can have that same great feeling of discovery and wonder.  Since others have ruined this place before,  I can show you the pictures but not the site.  See the FULL GALLERY of this mining camp in my galleries.

oil painting of a cabin ruin

I tried an artistic painting effect on this cabin with Jixipix Impresso software.

an abandoned gold mine.

The mine is flooded and dangerous looking.

Several old mining buildings are still present.

Several old mining buildings are still present.

Everything was locked up and posted to keep out!

a chained up gate

The chains of a clean conscience are sometimes more substantial than physical ones.

I did try a forest version of the awesome urbex abandoned pictures that I see on the internet.  I put my lens right up against the glass of the remarkably unbroken window to get a HDR shot of the inside of this cabin.  It looks like only rodents have been there for a while.

Rurex shot of the inside of the miner's cabin.

Rurex shot of the inside of the miner’s cabin.

Here’s one more shot of a cool rusty relic that I loved the look of.  I don’t know what it is.  I would guess that it’s a generator, air compressor, or welder.

rusty old equipment

an awesome patina on this old equipment.

What do you think it is? Put your answer in the comment section below and share to support Rustic Lens Photography.

You can purchase prints or downloads of these and many more images in My Gallery .

The camera and software gear used in these shots is listed below:
Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera, Body Only (Black) (ILCE7RM2/B)

Sony SEL24240 FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Zoom Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

Rokinon FE14M-E 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Sony E-mount and Fixed Lens for Other Cameras

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop CC + Lightroom)

ON1 Effects 10 FREE

You can also help me to bring you more stories and photography like this by clicking this Amazon link if you are planning on purchasing anything.  Thank you!


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