Snow storms, Mountain Lions and Ghost Towns... Oh my!

Wells Travel Blog

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I woke up this morning bright and early, ready to throw some clothes on and quickly hit the road!

Today I was going to see Nevada for the very first time! And that my dear friends will make state number 47!! But when I looked out my hotel window, instead of being greeted by the expected morning sun, I was greeted by heavy grey clouds and thick sticking snow..... Ugh.. My heart dropped! The weather was so lovely when we came through the area a few days ago; now it almost seems like a cruel joke that when I have the time to explore a region that the sun would hide from me.. Still I am not faltering from my desire to have a Nevada adventure, and I left with hopes that I would be able to outrun the weather!

I had done my research the night before and found an old ghost town off of Interstate 80 to explore.
The town was or is called Metropolis and was established around 1909 by a few business men looking for a investment. Basically people, mostly emigrants, were lured to the area under the false pretenses that there was high quality farm land… Now anyone who was visiting the area could have told you that the land was probably best for ranching instead of farming. Despite all the monetary investments, such as a magnificent hotel and several other town buildings, that went into the town; it didn't last too long. Farming didn't work since there was no access to a watercourse, a large jackrabbit population destroyed the dry farming crops because the settlers killed all the local coyotes, and around 1921 the town became bankrupt. Most people left by then. By the 1940's the post office closed and the town was officially declared a ghost town by 1950.
All that is left now is the foundation of the Hotel, the arch door way and basement of the school and several odd pieces and items reminding those who walk the area that there was once a town there..

By the time I got to Metropolis I had manage to escape the snowstorm in Idaho, but the sky was still mostly white with small slivers of blue…Not exactly the sky I wanted in my photos, but better than solid angry snowy gray! I had taken a broken paved road from Wells, Nevada that eventually became an uneven dirt road to the "road" that would lead me to Metropolis. Along the way I stopped at a old house that caught my attention! The ground was covered in snow! LOL again my shoes are never the best for these kind of adventure! I kept losing them in the deep pocketed of snow thus causing my frozen foot to jam more snow into my shoe as I struggled to get them back without completely losing my balance! I couldn't get inside the building.
Tracks of a mountain lion and its victim meeting.... I think the lion won.
The wooden floor was EXTREMELY fragile!! I didn't want to damage the building, nor did I want to fall through the floor into the basement below… While walking back I came across what looked like the tracks of a large cat…. It then occurred that I was far away from people and there are mountain lions in the area… While I considered the issue of my safety I then came across a spot where the possible mountain lion chased and attacked its meal… well If the big kitty ate then I guess I am safe! :P So I hopped into Simone (my car) and continued on one of the crappiest roads I have ever driven for Metropolis!

The final couple miles wasn't even a road! it was a path completely covered in snow. I could see the tracks of a vehicle from several days ago, but that was about it.
The final stretch to metropolis
. I wasn't even sure If Simone could handle the rest of the way without getting wholly stuck… but I wasn't about to give up! I put the car in low gear and slowly moved along. reminding myself not to hit the gas pedal. (I hate going slow!)

Well, my patience paid off and I parked Simone at the four way of the "road" near the remains of the Hotel. At this moment I was overcome with excitement! I immediately broke into a giddy run and headed toward the arch of the old school entrance, stopping for a brief moment only to take a photo or two and giggling all the way!! I was completely alone in this little frosty and forgotten world. The ground was still covered evenly with crisp white snow and my footsteps looked to me like they were the first human steps in a new world, or in this case an old world.
The school arch
My voice was the only human voice that could be heard for miles and miles around! It was a remarkable experience that one does not often feel in this cluttered and crowded world. Strangely I didn't feel alone..

At first I wasn't sure if I could or really should go into the basement area of the old school. The snow made it extremely difficult to evaluate the best way to get inside. Plus I wasn't sure how safe the cement ceiling over the basement room was…. Of course I did find a way inside that I felt comfortable with and I figured that since others had obviously been there before me the chances of the cement rock above my head crushing me to death was fairly slim… So down the snow covered rubble I slid into the basement (on my butt cuz I am that cool to make THAT kind of entrance ;P).
Inside I tenderly wandered about the place, careful to not "pull an Amber" by tripping on my own feet and falling face first into the column that was probably holding everything up.. That would have sucked! Inside was some graffiti, but not too much. some of it was thoughtful most of it was crude… Can't people think of better things to spray paint on stone walls besides lewd comments regarding the female body??

After exploring the school I wandered the surrounding area and looked around the hotel.. I didn't get inside the Hotel foundation, because I couldn't find a good entrance inside with all the snow… There was also plenty of other stuff to find in the area, but again the snow covered up all the cool items left behind by the town's previous denizens.

found out about the town via this site: if your going on a USA road trip and looking for places to visit this would be a good source..

Please remember to not take any souvenirs.. If everyone takes something from these old ghost towns then there will be nothing for future travelers to see.. every scrap of metal, nut, bolt and piece of wood left behind by the former occupants are often all that remain behind for us to find and explore…

On the way back to Wells, Nevada I thought about finding the local hot spring… however i wasn't sure which snowy trail was the right trail and I didn't trust Simone to get me up a snowy and muddy mountain trail without getting stuck… I plan to return to the area later when the season is drier… :P

A few words about Wells, Nevada.
The hotel...

Wells is a small town off of Interstate 80. The down town is a wreck!! Apparently in 2008 there was an earthquake in the area and cause some severe damage to the historic downtown buildings. only two business are even open. the rest of the buildings are closed and behind fences. The local people are determined to bring the downtown back, but lack the funds to make the needed repairs. I don't even remember hearing about the earthquake… Check it out if your in the area..

Now I am off to Utah… My 48th State!!! ;P
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Tracks of a mountain lion and its …
Tracks of a mountain lion and its…
The final stretch to metropolis
The final stretch to metropolis
The school arch
The school arch
The hotel...
The hotel...
Wells, Nevadas Downtown
Wells, Nevada's Downtown
See how the ceiling is caving in..…
See how the ceiling is caving in.…
Chalk board???
Chalk board???
old appliances in the hotel founda…
old appliances in the hotel found…
photo by: esterrene