May 9, 2012

Ghost Ranch

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On my second full day  exploring central Nevada out of Austin I set out for the ghost towns of Ione and Berlin. Like Belmont, there are people living in Ione, but very few. Berlin, on the other hand, is a true ghost town. It is now maintained as a State Park.

On my way to Ione I got sidetracked. As I was driving down a long dirt road I passed several working ranches and even had to slow down to allow cattle to cross. Then I came upon the Hess Ranch … more like a ghost ranch. The original ranch house looked to be wide open. The stables and other buildings were in various states of decay. There was plenty of evidence that cattle were recently roaming the property (had to watch my step). But there was no sign of human life on the property. As a fan of urbex photography, it was a great find. A fantastic find. I had to explore it.

I spent about two hours shooting the ranch. Today’s shot is a sample — a long view of the Hess Ranch.

After I had my fill of the ranch, I moved on to Ione where I did a quick photo walk sown main street. Then I moved on to Berlin. At least I tried to. At some point I missed a turn or missed a sign. Probably both. It was getting late and I didn’t think I was in the position to keep exploring the dusty dirt roads. Especially since the nearest town was Ione and the nearest gas station was a good 30 miles away.  I turned around and managed to re-trace my tracks to Ione.

It wasn’t the end of the day. When I got back to Ione, I stopped again and explored the town a little further. That extra stop gave me some of my favorite shots from the trip.

When I got back to my hotel in Austin Cindy (the owner), asked me how my shoot went. I told her it was great, but that I was unable to find Berlin. She told me that she and her husband got lost trying to find it as well — and her husband had been there before.

Maybe she was trying to make me feel better.


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  1. Nice shot. I like the place very peaceful faraway from the crowded city. Thanks for sharing your site with us. You did a good job.

  2. Great selection of picture. I pretty liked the place. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. Enjoyed your photo of the ” hess ranch ” – you have a good eye – was recently vacated as the owner of the land in 2011 sold to an out of state cattle corp.


  4. This big old house was built in 1910 by my grandfather, Patrick Walsh, at a cost of $15,000. The smaller white house was built in 1923 for my father, when he married.
    I would love to see more pictures of the place. I was over there last summer (2011); the big house is fading fast.