If you're anything like me (and I hope to god you're not, you poor thing), you can't see a ghost town named St. Elmo and not sing the song. You know the one. You know you're humming it now, all desperate synthy horn hits and and strained fauxmotional vocals. You know you are. Also I think fauxmotional was just coined by me. You can use it. I will allow you. I'LL BE WHERE THE EAGLE'S FLYING HIGHER AND HIIIIIGHER!
Right. There's this town. It's deserted. A ghost town, if you will. And it's named St. Elmo (I CAN SEE A NEW HORIZON!) and it was a bustling mining town that went bust (UNDERNEATH A BLAZING SKY!) and dried up in the hills of Colorado. Some lucky people still live in it though, and behind the high street of the abandoned town were a few little old wooden homes with real, actual people still clinging to life here. Wonderful! Though we weren't permitted to enter any of the buildings, I pressed my lens to as many windows as I could and hoped for the best. I also snapped far, far more photos than are posted here (even this is bordering on overkill, I mean, how much wood texture do you need to see?) and wandered around, despite seven mosquito bites from the relentless pests that followed my sweet meat havin' ass everywhere.
St. Elmo, I now know thanks to my Wikipedia pilfering, was founded in 1880, and during its lifetime saw its main mine, the Mary Murphy extract over $60,000,000 of gold. Originally named Forest City, one of the founding fathers decided to name it after a book he was reading at the time, since there were too many Forest Cities already in Colorado. The Mary Murphy mine operated until the 20's, when the gold supply dried up and the railway gradually discontinued service to the area. Eventually, after most people had moved away for greener pastures, the postmaster died and thus the town effectively dried up completely in 1952.
Did you notice the face peeking out of the top window? Because it made me SHIT MYSELF when I looked up and saw it. Why would you do that? Why wouldn't you do that!
One of the old shacks had been converted into a sort of catch-all market for old trinkets and bits and bobs, which was almost as good as the deserted town. There were horse bits and wagon wheels and old radios and bottles of pop- and even a ceramic figurine who looked exactly like my old boss! Best purchase though? $3 for a battery-powered, primary-coloured, portable record-able cassette player. Still in box. You guys.
The original 1880's wallpaper was still untouched (apart from by time) on some of the homes, and as I pressed my lens to the glass and leaned in, hoping I'd focused well, I could smell the mildew and the years and the old of it all. It was lovely. The aroma always reminds me of my favourite tube station, London Bridge, which always had the most fantastic damp-mildew-old-books smell. I'm certain I have some sort of hematological deficiency which makes me also think petrol smells delicious and sort of like I would like to eat some.
As I walked back to the general store the town still keeps in operation (ice cream break), I was delighted to see hummingbirds! Real hummingbirds! They flitted about merrily, gulping down the sweet mixture the shop had kindly provided, and I tried not to squeal with delight. I'd never actually seen a real one in real life before, and here were at least eight or nine, buzzing (for that's what they seem to do- I would not say they fly- they move like little spaceships!) about, oblivious to the hundreds of frenzied photos I snapped. It was a perfect day out in nature- mosquito bites, hummingbirds, and a roll of ancient, crumbling Necca wafers from the equally-old and crumbling general store.