BY Tamara Hillman Sept. Edition
Can ya believe it’s fall already? It snuck up on me this year. Summer was busy and went far too fast as usual. Up here, on the rainy coast of Washington State, it wasn’t a summer to brag about. Off an’ on rain showers came down from the Heavens far too often this past three months, accompanied by wind that started way last fall and forgot to quit.
We took turns with having our eight grandkids up for lots of fun at the association pool, and card games on rainy days. They think ol’ granny is a real card shark! Actually, it just comes from cutting your teeth on a deck as a child. Winters were five months long on the ranch back home so indoor entertainment was a must!
This last month, the ol’ boy and I did something we try to work into our schedule each summer, and that is—take a meandering weekend trip around our state visiting (or revisiting) ghost towns. We have quite a few up here, and I love wandering in the footsteps of long ago folks who made their living off the land or some played-out mine way back in the desolate hills. My imagination runs wild seeing the old false-front buildings in small western towns that have stood the test of time. They are weather-beaten and leaning precariously at times but still hangin’ on.
Roslyn and Liberty in Kittitas County are two of my favorites east of the Cascade Mountain Range. They still are inhabited to a degree with locals who now make a living off curious tourists. There are no other resources left to survive in these places by today’s standards. The food is great in the old time restaurants, and you’ll see wonderful antique stores and hear great stories in each shop. Just visiting the old graveyards is a history lesson in itself. And if you happen to stay past sundown, you may glimpse shadowy characters lurking on narrow streets, or in dark alleyways. A ghostly dog may even sniff at your heels as he searches for those long ago days. Don’t pay any of these spirits any mind. They’re just friendly souls clinging to another time, another era.
If you travel north a bit on the east side of the mountains, you’ll come across several ghost towns in Okanogan County, too. Molson, Chesaw, Bodie, Conconully, and Ruby are all fun to see. Some are left to bake in the hot sun with tall yellow weeds surrounding the old buildings and wooden sidewalks, while others, such as Conconully, are still active little towns with wonderful state parks, RV parks, motels, etc., still kept in original styles of the eighteen hundreds.
We find it to be very relaxing and a peaceful journey whenever we can sneak a weekend to explore these quaint and sometimes deserted ghost towns of the old west.
If you go on the Internet and type in GHOST TOWNS with your state name, you may find some fun adventures right at your own backdoor…
Y’all take care now,
Poem for September: Ghost Town