Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Silver City

For some time now I thought it would be cool to visit the historic Silver City. Labor Day seemed like the perfect day. The husband had the day off work and the weather wasn't too hot-- so off we went.

Now this trip isn't for the faint of heart. It's a long drive and the last 10 miles or so to Silver City are horrible if you are in a vehicle. If you're riding an ATV it'd be a blast. But I can tell you it's miserable when you're sitting in the back of a van and you're sitting back there because you're nice and you let your daughter who got car sick sit up front. The dirt road was narrow and steep and bumpy and windy. We had a GPS and I was counting down the 0.1 miles until we "reached our destination." "Don't worry Mom," the girl would say, "we just have 8.3 miles to go. Don't worry Mom, we just have 8.2 miles to go." And so on and so forth.

When we got there we realized we weren't the only people with this brilliant idea to check out Silver City. There were lots of cars and lots of ATVs parked along the dirt roads. That's okay, it's not every day you get to go to a crowded ghost town. You're loving the irony aren't you?

We had a little mishap during our first five minutes. We had just gotten out of our car that's now caked with dirt and didn't know what to do or where to go. It's not like Disneyland where your every step is directed, analyzed, and marketed . So we walked up to the first building we see and this guy comes up to us and says really loud and really mean, "Can I help you?" Ahhh.

I think the scared looks on all five of our faces made him realize we weren't trespassing on purpose. He softened his voice a little and informed us that the buildings are private property and that there were two open buildings, the Idaho Hotel, and Pat's What Not Shop. He then informed us if we wanted to come back in two weeks they would have 10 buildings open for visitors. Thanks but no thanks was my thought. I'm not coming up that mountain again for a few years.

So we checked out Pat's What Not Shop and the Idaho Hotel. Not too impressive if you want my honest opinion. But we did have a great time looking at the abandoned buildings and taking pictures. I guess my favorite part of that was just feeling like I had gone back in time. Not that I'd want to do that for real or anything.

Then we spent a considerable amount of time looking for a non-existent bathroom. Finally we found an outhouse near a campsite. Then we found a trail that led to Silver City's cemetery. It was about a 5 minute hike. (Well, 5 minutes for most people, 10 minutes for us.) The cemetery is awesome. It's hard to find something this old in Idaho.

The cemetery is situated on the slope of a mountain and there's beautiful wild flowers and grasses growing every where. It was nice to see something other than cheat grass. A lot of these people buried young children and babies and it was a reminder to me of how lucky we are to live with so many modern conveniences and technologies that help keep our children safe.

Things to keep in mind if you go. Leave early enough in the morning so you're not driving home in the dark. It's about a two hour drive from Meridian. Do not attempt this trip after November 1st or before June 1st. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and your car doesn't need new brake pads. Definitely hike to the cemetery. Do not trespass on the properties marked "Private Property Keep Out." And remember that the bathrooms are outhouses and that there is no running water. Don't forget your children and your cameras. Check out their website for more info and directions. Have fun.

****Four out of four stars. It's not every day you get to go back in time.


Gina Owens said...

Looks like you guys had a great time! I love ghost towns.

gina said...

I wish you would have told me you were going there, I would have given you some pre-hints! And I have a book on the whole town and what each building originally was! bought it in august when we were there for the 2nd time! It is a much easier drive in our big tire, lifted jeep and jeep cherokee...i bet it would be really bumpy in a van! The cemetary was our favorite too! There are actually two of them, one of them is hidden way up behind the church.

Amanda said...

I had no idea you guys had been there. Would have been cool to see your book. Did you have any run ins with the property owners like we did?
I knew about the other cemetery but John didn't want to hike more than he had to so we settled on seeing just the one cemetery.

Dee and Karen said...
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Dee and Karen said...

Ghost towns are so fun. You are really doing a great job at finding all the fun places to go in and around Boise. We love seeing all the fun things you and John and the kids and doing. Thanks for sharing with us.

Angela said...

I LOVE Silver City!! The Friday evening of Labor Day weekend we went ATV riding up there with my parents, Aim and Rick, and Amanda and Jon. It was a BLAST!! That was my second time there. It is an amazing place! It's a must see if you live here. The other weekend, I just stood there and tried to picture what it was really like a hundred years ago. I wished I could just rewind time for a moment and peek at the happenings there. It's such a beautiful, fun place to take four wheelers!!