Back in the year 1889, an gent by the name of Joseph Pearsall discovered silver and gold in the South Fork of the Sauk river. Over the years a mining company turned the pristine Washington State wilderness into the town of Monte Cristo.
The boom attracted thousands looking for their piece of the American Dream, even some that already had their fill, such as John D. Rockefeller.
The boom lasted from 1895 until 1912. By 1920 the town was all but abandoned. If this was a play, enter the adventure seeker on stage right during the modern day, looking to find the trail through the pacific northwestern wilderness that will take him back to this hidden ghost town.
I drive along the back country roads in early morning light, stunned by the beauty around every turn. The road comes to an abrupt end, with two trails heading in opposite directions. Their aren’t any signs indicating the way to Monte Cristo, which is just how I like it…challenging.
I decide to not follow the trail that seems to summit the mountain, choosing to follow what looks like an old logging road.
Erosion from the overflowing creek has caused the trail to collapse. It does seem as though I should cross the creek, and choosing my stepping stones carefully, I make it to the other side. I find a bridge that re-connects with the logging road, and carry on.
After a few miles, a faded and weathered sign propped against a giant boulder reassures me that I’ve finally come to my destination. I tread lightly.
Thick overgrowth and shiny spiderwebs cover the buildings that remain. Railroad ties and tables lay in dormant fashion along the ground, seeming ready to cry out the stories that lay within. I slip my gas mask on and explore…
Two girls appear suddenly and they scream at my sight. I quickly rip the mask off my face and let them know I’m not a psychopath out to harm them. They shake their heads and move quickly on, which is probably just as well.
I don’t need the distraction.
Signs point out the remains of what once was, a local store, post office, sleeping quarters, etc…
as I move among the fragmented bones of a town that once was, history that is clinging to the past by a thread.
I hope to help keep the memory alive.