Shoshone

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges

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The town of Shoshone California, on the southeast edge of Death Valley, is one block long, if that. On one side of the road is a post office, a gas station, and a motel. On the other is a local museum, a cafe, and the Sheriff’s office. I’m not sure whether or not it’s a real sheriff’s office as the town looks a little too small to have a dedicated officer of the peace. It doesn’t even have its own fire department, for cryin’ out loud.

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I became aware of Shoshone one weekend last year as I was out driving on my own towards Death Valley and ended up in Tecopa with less than a quarter tank of gas. Tecopa is known for its hot springs and that’s it. There’s a small craft beer brewery on the outskirts of Tecopa where I stopped to ask directions to the nearest gas station. They said I could go on up the road about ten miles to Shoshone, where the gas would be about $5 a gallon, or go back to where I came from and stop in Pahrump, which was more than 3 times as far but the gas would be less than half as much. I didn’t think I’d make it back, though, so off I went to Shoshone.

And I fell in love.

The original “man cave” that kicks off this post is where the miners lived during the years the community was active. It is NOT the local motel. I actually met two travelers who were staying at the motel and they had come all the way from France. Everyone in Shoshone was friendly once you smiled. But maybe that’s true for everywhere you go. Those French people sure were nice!

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Anyway, behind the local diner, The Crowbar, was an old abandoned shack that I could only imagine belonged to the mine boss. No cave for him. His one room shack had all the comforts of home; a bed, a wood burning stove, a kitchen table and a chair. What it didn’t have was indoor plumbing. But the outhouse was only a few short steps from the front door.

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The train tracks were pulled up, melted down and recycled during WWII. The old train station no longer exists, either, but a mockup of what it looked like stands exactly where the old one did.

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Up on the hill, across from the miner’s homes, is the old cemetery.

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If, one day you decide to head on out to Shoshone or Tecopah or any part of Death Valley, please don’t go in the middle of summer. The hottest recorded temperature was 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913, at Furnace Creek, which is the hottest atmospheric temperature ever recorded on earth. In a typical year, the park experiences about 140 days of triple-digit temperatures, including 89 days at 110 degrees or hotter, 18 days above 120 and three days above 125. Last June, the high one day was 129.

And let me tell you, once the temperature hits anywhere above 115, there’s not much difference between that and 134.

Hot is hot!

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50 thoughts on “Shoshone

    1. Friday? My wife and I were there, but didn’t get any pictures because it was overcast and raining on and off, as I remember. Then on Saturday we went to Kingman. On Sunday I was on my own and went back to Shoshone because I wanted to get some shots around there. What a weekend of driving. I’m exhausted.

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  1. Great photos to go with your story. I love the composition of the photo of the old shack … I looks like you could reach out and touch that long streak of clouds. I like that ‘weathered’ look your photos have.
    I guess they don’t call it Death Valley for nothing!

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  2. thanks for this tour- and it amazes to me think of the effort in pulling up tracks – not an easy endeavor – and such a time of recycling….
    the outhouse was fun to see and your images are beautiful, E.

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  3. These are great shots. I love the tones here. Shoshone reminds me a bit of Madrid, New Mexico, a former mining town about a block or two long. Of course, it’s a lot cooler in New Mexico. I can’t handle Death Valley!

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  4. Great shots Emilio 😀 The first shot looks like Hobbit condominiums or maybe they filmed the Geico commercials with the Cave Men there. I has to get my ass out west where I can photograph some of these for myself.

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    1. One of the first times we were in Death Valley, we stopped at a diner and spoke to the waitress who told us they are swarmed with busses full of Japanese tourists in the summer. She thought maybe they like to have bragging rights when they get back home.

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  5. Emilio,
    I am so jealous. You came across a little treasure. It looks very historic. The photographs are spectacular.
    I can’t imagine a town with only one block. I’m sure everyone has been there forever. One of those town
    where everyone has a story. I would love to go there … actually, maybe not, this temperatures sound mighty HOT.
    Great post … I throughly enjoyed it.
    Isadora 😎

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    1. Gee, sorry to make you jealous. It was not my intent. Although, OK, I admit it makes me feel good! 😀 It’s weird but all the homes I saw that people still live in were behind the gas station and motel, none on the opposite side of the street where that single shack is. And as I said in the comments earlier, right now the temperatures are great, 50’s and 60’s but starting to climb. Get out there soon for a visit!

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      1. LOL … I really did enjoy your posting on your blog immensely. ~~~: )
        I’ve been out west to Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California. In fact, we own land in NM. Still deciding whether or not to build. I love Florida too much to leave. My sister lives in Laguna Beach. Her daughters middle name is Shoshona. I’d say the town has a lot more for you research. I wonder if there’s something in a historic book about the town. Oh … and is it considered a ghost town? Mmmmmm … many, many questions. Have as super weekend.
        Isadora 😎

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        1. We have land in Monticello Utah but probably won’t build there. They voted in a home owner’s association and made up so many rules that it has become restrictive. Not what we had in mind at all. I doubt it could be classified as a ghost town as the only old structures I found are the ones in the post. But the local museum has books there and I bought one called Death Valley to Yosemite: Frontier Mining Camps & Ghost Towns. No mention of Shoshone in it but they would probably call the town a frontier mining camp if anything.

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    1. Thanks! I was an English minor in college and did dabble in writing for awhile. Actually finished two novels but never pursued publishing them. And every so often I would enter a 100 word challenge on wordpress. But not lately.

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    1. I never really had a desire to go to India, but that’s probably because I don’t really know anything about it. But my wife recently showed me some photos online of the country and there are some beautiful places I would like to see. Maybe one day…

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  6. We stayed that area and stayed at the Longstreet Inn and Casino further north on 127 in March. The whole place certainly has character, and I like your capture of it in this forgotten town. One imagines the hard lives of people in those times under the harsh conditions of the desert.

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    1. Thank you. I don’t remember seeing the Longstreet Inn but the motel next to the gas station in Shoshone had people from France who we happened to meet. They were very happy with the place. We’ve been thinking of staying out that way sometime for the dark night skies..

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"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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