Desert Automobile Graveyard
Posted on 06 July 2013
Desert Automobile Graveyard. Death Valley National Park, California. March 4, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A group of old automobiles abandoned and left to decay in a gully at an old desert mining site
I have passed this old mining site quite a few times, looked up at it, and kept going. On this morning I had a bit of extra time so I decided to pause and poke around a bit. Certain obvious signs of the presence of an old mine are clear from nearby, but a bit more exploration revealed a more extensive than expected site – as is often the case. Although an old gravel road headed into the area, I decided to first walk up the road, partly to avoid nasty surprises while driving and partly so that I would see a bit more – which is typically what happens when I’m on foot rather than inside my vehicle.
The gravel road twisted up a small gully and soon reached an area that revealed views of quite a bit more mining evidence than I had suspected. I’m certain that if I had continued to explore that I would have found even more, but I’ll save that for another visit. I often have this feeling that these sites should be much older than they really are, and I’m still somewhat surprised to find that some of them were electrified. The surprise at this location was the number of not-really-that-old vehicles that had been abandoned. They are decades old, but I’m guessing that they might date to roughly the WWII era or even a bit later which, in the grand historic scheme, isn’t all that long ago. Several of these vehicles had been abandoned, somewhat oddly, in the bottom of a wash that must flood at least occasionally, considering the amount of gravel that swamped their undersides. The back of this one was open, so I positioned my tripod just outside the car and shot through it toward the other abandoned vehicles. (If you find and explore such places, please be extremely careful to leave things as they are. The effects of our individual disruptions are cumulative and accelerate the destruction and eventual disappearance of these sites.)
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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