Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer Stories by Eric Cachinero Produced by Nevada Magazine
Nevada Magazine's 12,000-mile tale of the Silver State's ghost towns
Introduction Sagebrush Soul Searching
In 2016 and 2019, I traveled 12,084 miles in Nevada exploring ghost towns as associate editor of Nevada Magazine, and the pages that follow tell of my adventures. It's generally accepted that Nevada has more than 600 ghost towns, and during my travels, I visited roughtly one-sixth of them. Some of these ghost towns are incredibly well-preserved, with schoolhouses, cemeteries, stamp mills, banks, and mines; some are nothing more than sagebrush, dirt, and a dot on the map.
I spent countless hours on Nevada's highways and dirt roads driving to these ghost towns. The incredible things I experienced during this odyssey are hardly mine alone to tell, though, because the people and things that kept me company along the way are as memorable as the ghost towns themselves. I traveled the first several hundred miles with my grandfather, Paul McKee; the vast majority of the miles I traveled alongside Nevada Magazine Executive Editor Megg Mueller; and I traveled alone for a good chunk of them, too. I traveled miles to many graveyards, where the eternally resting residents of these ghost towns still tell a small piece of their story by the words on their headstones. I traveled many miles with nothing but my thoughts, and many more bellied up to the bars at small-town Nevada saloons, speaking with Nevadans about ghost towns and their history.
That really is the most special part about Nevada ghost towns -- the history; the indescribable moment when you step into one of these places, sit in total silence, and imagine what life must have been like. You can almost hear the school bells, and picture what color the one-room schoolhouse used to be; you see the remnants of a stamp mill and imagine the deafening thunder it must have produced; you discover a bank vault, and wonder what riches it once contained; you see a mine entrance, and picture the blood, sweat, flesh, and riches that traveled in and out of it every single day.
Nevada history is fascinating, and reading about it is exciting, but experiencing it firsthand -- laying your eyes upon it -- is nearly indescribable. I hope this book encourages you to get out and explore, experience, respect, and protect Nevada's ghost town treasures, and create your own adventure.
Nevada Magazine Associate Editor