Okanogan Ghost Towns

We took a sput-of-the-moment day trip to Okanogan County to explore some of the inticing-sounding ghost towns that I had read about in Gold Creeks and Ghost Towns of Northeast Washington.

A secondary objective was to find a great photo of a vintage outhouse. This was a special request of a subject by a neighbor for their bathroom. So given the kind of places we were exploring, we were sure to find one.

Originally, my trip plan was to start out on Omak, and make a look from Oroville->Nighthawk->Loomis, then another loop of Molson->Chesaw->Bodie->Wauconda. Given our extremely tight window of essentially 1 day, up to 3pm (to get the kids into bed for school the next day), we were limited to the Molson loop, which we agree was the best of the two anyways.

Our first stop was to be the town of Molson, however with the poor signage we ended up all the way in Chesaw. Chesaw was rather disappointing from a historical standpoint: the buildings were either in poor locations to photograph, or were occupied. So we backtracked and found the Poland-China road, which is one of the particular areas I was most interested in seeing. We managed to find the site of the Poland-China camp, however, the buildings which I was hoping to photograph had all but collapsed since the publication of the book. So we continued on to Molsen.

The open-air museum of Molsen first was an excellent experience for the kids with everything being wide-open and hands on. We then decided that we'd continue to see Bodie, which was very accessible, then Wauconda, then to Tonasket to see if we had time for Nighthawk and loomis.

Bodie was a great stop. All of the buildings hugged the road and were easy to get to. The porch of the Bodie Hotel had collapsed since the book was printed and there were a few more trees atop the homes that remained, but it was a great look at how things were in the decades before. Managed to find a couple outhouses to photograph, but they were in tight locations.

On to Wauconda. Just outside the main town area I spotted a pristine, yet vintage outhouse in the middle of a large pasture near some other buildings. I hopped a fence (not the first of the day) and scampered through the grass and managed to get some excellent photos of the outhouse and its surroundings. It was probably the best moment of the day photographically. The skies were partly cloudy, however they were picturesque cumulus clouds.

After a delicious burger at the local cafe, we quickly found the Pflug Mansion, however a large herd of cows and its protective bull prevented me from jumping yet another fence to get closer shots of the structures.

Overall, it was a fantastic day of history, exploring and photography.