Day In The Life: I Own A Ghost Town

In this video, I take you through a typical day in my life up here at Cerro Gordo. Living here since early 2020, I’ve developed a pretty regular irregular routine!

Thank you for your support and for subscribing. I have set up a Patreon for those interested in more content, live video AMAs and supporting me and the town!

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To provide ongoing support to the American Hotel rebuilding efforts, check out my bonus content on Patreon. Every dollar from that goes directly into rebuilding the American Hotel and projects around the town. Thank you!

I moved to Cerro Gordo in March 2020 because of the pandemic and to relieve our longtime caretaker so he could be back home. I’ve been here ever since. There have been ups and downs, but I feel I am learning a lot and becoming a better person.

Follow along on this channel for more from the town. I have no plans to leave and will continue making videos to update the progress on all the projects!

The town was originally established in 1865 and by 1869 they were pulling 340 tons of bullion out of the mountain for Los Angeles.

The silver from Cerro Gordo was responsible for building Los Angeles. The prosperity of Cerro Gordo demanded a larger port city and pushed LA to develop quickly.

The Los Angeles News once wrote:

“What Los Angeles is, is mainly due to it. It is the silver cord that binds our present existence. Should it be uncomfortably severed, we would inevitably collapse.”

In total, there has been over $17,000,000 of minerals pulled from Cerro Gordo. Adjusted for inflation, that number is close to $500,000,000.

It’s been a wild ride so far owning a ‘ghost town’ and we’re having a lot of fun figuring out what to do with it.

Subscribe by email to get one email per month on most recent renovations, artifact finds, cave explorations, ghosts?, and more…

The type of things that might lead you here are interests in ghost towns, abandoned mining towns, abandoned cities, California history, the zombie apocalypse, ghost stories, scary stories, nature, death valley, lone pine CA, mines, exploring, overnight challenges, exploration, urban exploration and yes theory.

Good morning my name is brent and we are here at the abandoned mining town of Cerro Gordo, and this is where I live. You know this is where I spend my days, and I want to show you guys what a typical day looks like. All right all right, all right time to get up rise and shine yeah. I think we’ll go with our ownership today. So so the first thing I like to do, even before making breakfast or doing anything else, is go for a hike and so to catch. The sunrise I wake up kind of early somewhere around 6. and then It’s almost like a race is on because I don’t want to get up first, but then I really want to see the sunrise as soon as It’s coming up.

So then, I’m like all right! Well, if I’m up, I might as well hurry and get out there. I’ve been in very few places in my life that There’s never been this sense of stillness or calmness. You know I’m used to growing up even in the suburbs, There’s always some noises, but here no noises, It’s just the sense of presence that I get here that I never had in the city. I think I can sit here and I cannotice how the bushes are going in the wind or which way the bird is flying or yeah any crack in any branch. I hear so I wonder what is that crawling around and just kind of brings you very much back into the present. So this is how I start off my mornings in saragordo.

I do the walk i’ll sit here for maybe 20 or 30 minutes watching the sunrise, and you know like anywhere the sunrises here different every every day, every season. I remember probably one of my first times trying to make a video. I was probably standing in a very similar position and it was snowing and I was so excited to kind of show off this view and I’m still excited to show off the view. It still kind of takes my breath away every day and I think that’s a good pace to the morning. You know before anything gets too crazy. I can come out here.

Relax spend time by myself, while I always spend time by myself, but you know computers and phones, away and just kind of think about. You know yesterday what I want to do today and then you know we’ll see what the rest of the day holds before even going back inside feed the goats good morning. Guys is this: what you’re looking for a little bit of this morning at tofu you’re, always the most vocal one out of the group and there you go enjoy – looks good, nice, okay, you got stuff all over. You clean you up a little bit! – this is tofu tofu – is doing quite good.

Tofu is the most vocal of the group she’s, the one that likes to alert me whenever they’re, even the least bit hungry, isn’t that right, tofu,and so you know if a sunrise is a good way to start the day. Beating the goats isn’t a bad thing to do. Second, after the goats are fed It’s time to feed the other animal children, cats, the cats have upgraded. The cats live in this house now pretty much to themselves and oh there they are good morning. Oh, that’s! That’S! Gordo, hello, hello, oh yes, I’ve missed you too.

How are you you? Looking so good, you guys look great yep yep good morning, whole gang’s here! Well, half the gang, the other half of the gang lives in a different house. How you guys doing you guys are hungry. I bet huh all right. What do we got this morning? We have white fish and tuna. Oh yeah, you want the white fish and tuna they’re eating what wet food now, which is much easier than the bottle feeding thing. Obviously, they’re hungry dig in he’s got to stay hydrated up here.

Hydration is important. Folks, the kittens are pretty much a constant source of joy. You know many times the other day I just wander over here and play with them. It’s hard to be upset when you’re petting a kitten. You know, and so they’ve been a welcome addition. You know I come feed them a couple times a day, hang out with them, just watch them. What you looking for you want to come over. This is the outside of my cabin. This was originally bellshaw’s, cook’s house, so bellshot house.

There was mortimer, belshaw and he’s one of the original founders of the town, and he was so well off that he had his own cook and this was his cook’s house, and I like this cabin because It’s kind of small It’s easy to maintain. You know It’s only one bedroom and that way I can kind of have my personal space when I’m you know living here, long-term razor, of course, don’t know what I would do without this thing, when a little gas run last night also had to go get water. So that’s the water for the goats and other things so i’ll show you guys inside here all right, It’s not quite eight!

Yet I’m gonna make some breakfast breakfast almost always the same. I make eggs, turkey or ham kind of make a sandwich out of it. My bread is frozen this morning because you know It’s an old refrigerator, but that’s surmountable, that’s easy, um! So yeah! This is the kitchen, as you can tell not a lot of room in here. So I don’t like to eat. There’s not a lot of prep space, but it gets the job done. You know. Even last week I didn’t have propane out of propane and getting propanes. You know fiasco so I got some now so I can kind of have it all contained here.

I’d love one day to get our own chickens up here. That way, I can kind of just be self-reliant and not need to go anywhere for the eggs, and I would like to get wild burrows. So apparently the blm bureau of land management lets you adopt wild burros and horses, and you have to have like a 20 by 20 space for them, and I have like 500 acres and so I’d love to have them up here. How cool would it be to just have you know burrows running around and wild horses everywhere? I definitely think the animal game is going to be stepped up in the next year at Cerro Gordo, yum,.

This is the best bread I’ve had for this bakery, not too far away from here called this. So, whenever somebody visits, I ask them if they’re coming through bishop, to get me some bread from here and It’s so good voila breakfast is served. I eat over at my desk dining area, which I know is not the best thing, but hey, There’s only so much space in here, one of the 100th best I’ve ever had gotta tell you make enough of these. You get mediocre at it time for some coffee and we’re thinking about making our own roast up here, so we’re working with a roaster to make a cerrogordo blend. So I am sampling a bunch of different samples.

He sent me and who knows you know in a month or so we might have a uh, a miner’s blend or high grade coffee from Cerro Gordo coming soon, but for now I’m just going to stamp them out. Make sure that It’s the best it can be, I’m excited about it and I’m excited about coffee and then I’m going to get to work all right. It’s just before nine. Some people have asked in the past. What do I do? I do have a day job. You know I have to pay the bills for sarah gordo. There are a lot of costs associated, so I’m a partner at a company called brass check and we help authors with their books, whether It’s marketing writing them. Things like that and we own a website called daily stock too. That kind of has an e-commerce arm.

So I my job is kind of just communicating with our employees making sure that everything’s going right, so I’m going to come in here, you know, answer emails. Make sure everything’s going right put out any fires, I need to that’ll take a couple hours so i’ll be here for maybe two hours working on that and then, when I’m done, I get to go explore again. So I’m gonna go down to the burn site. Try to find some treasure in the old dump and then ping back in here and some more emails, but for now not too interesting of stuff. But let me get to work.

A lot of people. Ask me how I get internet up here. I have right over there, a nighthawk router, which is basically an atd hotspot. Weirdly enough att has a tower on one of the neighboring mountains, and so I’m able to hot spot that signal and get okay internet. It’s fine for emails and stuff, but when I need to make these videos or upload them at the very least I’ll, usually time it with one of my supply runs into lone pine, and I know a guy down there that owns a hotel that I’ll be able To sit out for a couple hours and upload stuff, so I can edit and everything here when it comes time to upload. I just don’t have the bandwidth, so I try to time it down alone, fine, so some weeks, if I’m a little early or a little late, It’s probably because I had to time it with my supply run so apologies, but I do have internet up here.

No, It’s not fast, I don’t stream anything, I’m not watching movies at night, but it does allow me to do my job and pay the bills which hey that’s all you normally ask for right, and I also have you know, cerebral stuff to do online, we’re actively Trying to expand our merch, you know so we have t-shirts like I’m dealing with those people uh starting coffee, maybe maybe a whiskey, huh, cerebral whiskey, you guys in so just keeping up with all of them. Just that’s what I do and those are important, but I have about two good hours of emailing and kind of dead focus in on me and I gotta bounce.

So I’m coming up on that and then it is time to explore. So let me just get this final thing done. Stop interrupting me. I need to focus all right enough emails from now. let’s go find some treasure today. I am hunting for old bottles. Next to the hotel was the ice house, but the ice house was built about 10 years after the hotel, so for 10 years that was a dump for the original hotel. So all sorts of stuff was thrown in there.

So I am looking for old bottles, cool things that we can put into the museum or to the new hotel, and I know that they have previously found some very rare, whiskey bottles here. So that’s what I’m mainly looking for with ski bottles. But who knows what else is going to be in there? I dug in a little bit last night: There’s lots of bones in there. So It’s kind of weird, but I need to break up some of the concrete pad and get to work so without further ado. So we all came to see some treasure, hunting, go all right. I got the pan out and I got most of the debris from the pad.

Now I’m going to dig into this dirt. Surprisingly, the light of day in 140 years, so I’m gonna start slowly digging through this and see what we can find fingers crossed for some bottles, particularly whiskey bottles, but anything could be cool bone, holy cow. How big that bonus? Five minutes in, as you can see, There’s a bunch of bone, a bunch of porcelain and some bottles. You know this one’s the bottom of one.

This is like a cork stopper or a yeah. So I’m gonna give you a different angle to show what I’m digging into but There’s stuff there. I just gotta, find it, It’s obviously gonna take a long time because the pad goes way over there. But this is stuff I thought so far tons of bone tons of porcelain bottles, including these bottle stoppers. I see like lee and perrin on it the worcestershire sauce. This is a bone comb which is pretty crazy, but this is my project because this pad has to go anyways. We need this to be gone and I would be afraid to break it up with large equipment because it might ruin some of the stuff underneath. So I’m just doing it manually for now and uh yeah, I’m gonna do this for another 30 minutes or so. This is why I do midday kind of come back in I’ve.

Already done some email stuff. I’ve already done some work. I’m gonna eat feed the animals again and carry out the rest of the day. Breakfast gets to be the same thing as lunch, because I need to make a supply run. This afternoon’s menu includes two burritos have eggs and turkey, some beans, some hummus and some salsa on a recycled plate from this morning’s breakfast depressing, maybe filling.

Maybe I will say that I normally make a much better lunch than this, but I’m just out of stuff, which seems to be the case often, and I think most people in this situation would kind of show some gourmet meal that they had and obviously that’s not The case here, but I remember when we first bought the property the today show, was going to come up and do a segment about it, and so we were supposed to cook them. Lunch and john. My partner was like all right, I’ll, take care of lunch, and so, when it comes time to film us, making lunch john busts out, lobster tails and steak and shrimp skewers as if we’re like these that live in the desert that eat lobster and Shrimp every day it was uh, it was funny looking back, but no lobster in steak. For me today got these burritos gonna eat. It up do a little more work and then hit the property for more treasure. I mean if this lunch is depressing, can only imagine what dinner’s gonna be like.

There’s 400 acres that we own surrounded by thousands of acres of BLM. So I could take a hike every day until I die and probably not see all this land and every day you find something you know one day it might be an amazing huge, buy you never saw or another day it might just be the top to a can you know, then you go home and you, google, that can and you find out about when it was from, and maybe you start thinking why was there a can there maybe There’s another little shack around there? It just leads to another adventure, but today what I’m out here mainly doing is scouting for mines and usually what I do that is you go to one crest and you’ll go to the other side and see the tailing piles and figure out where you want to Go next and then, when you go over there, you’ll see ones over here that you never saw.

I mean It’s very difficult to kind of just stumble upon them when you’re hiking. So that’s why I like to kind of have a little bit of a plan when I’m out here exploring. I always look for signs of human life so anytime. Obviously you see something like this. You know some humans spend some time around here. So if you don’t see the my entrance yet when you start seeing you know the tin or particularly the wood, you know that It’s a good sign that the mine is close, so sometimes you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

You’ll see just even a scrap like that it’ll kind of bring you back to that. Exploring road. Put you down your toes a little bit, but I think that’s always cool another thing. I’ve gotten really into recently is rocks. I knew nothing about rocks before getting Cerro Gordo, but look at some of these rocks. I mean – I don’t know this first fact, so don’t quote me on it, but I think some of the darker stuff in here is some of the silver ore they were looking for. Maybe a bits of galena like this is quite heavy. Sometimes you can smash it and if it smashes easily, the glean is pretty brittle.

It’ll smash quite easily that one might not be it. But I am much more perceptive of rocks these days when I’m out here, and you can also find something called like smithsonite – that a lot of people come looking for and smith’s tonight. If It’s big enough can be quite valuable, I guess or if It’s the right shape, I don’t think I found any, but I’ve only started looking in the past two days. So don’t hold me to that. But yeah see that see how that’s like glittery. I gotta, I want to say that’s galena.

Hopefully, somebody sees this and says no bro, that’s not gleaning at all, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s what they were mining at Cerro Gordo, given the fact that this is outside of a mine yeah, that’s going to look at how It’s see the dust too. How the dust is very sparkly when you smash it, so that’s a silver and lead combo. It’s pretty cool huh. If you ever see one of these posts like this, when you’re walking around a mining area, that’s a claims marker, so I was kind of barking up.

Some boundaries of where their mining claim was here’s another tip that might be basic to you, but something to note if you’re walking around in the woods in a mining area – and you find the wash like this so the area where obviously the snow melts and washes Down walk the wash. If you walk the wash There’s a great chance, you might find something, because obviously this is where all the water is going and also uncovering stuff. And another thing is: if you’re in a mining camp, you gotta figure.

These trees have grown a ton, since maybe these things were left. So, if you check on the roots, sometimes the roots push out old bottles. I mean look at this. There we go. This is the top two, what a pot or something boom. So that’s a sign that maybe i’ll search around a little bit more, you know see all this stuff. Oh look at that. Some guy, obviously just hacked it out because he didn’t have a can opener. You don’t find a lot of glass out here. Strangely, so, whenever I find bottles I get really excited and that one’s cool come on, how pretty is that I don’t mind walking wash where’s the wash you get to walk. Oh, what have we here? This looks new.

It’s obviously not from what the is this a 40 millimeter practice as blue? So It’s probably practice around this again. I may correct it just like I did with the galena. I believe this is a small rocket launcher. I know There’s been military training out here because It’s so remote, I’m wondering if that’s one of their practice rounds from their military training. Well, It’s definitely a very typical day in the life I was planning on going to a different mine and using the uv light more on a certain rock. Then I started talking about walking the wash and here I am 45 minutes later now, where I wanted to be.

I don’t know my tripod, so I’m actually like kind of resting the camera on a rock right now and I hope It’s not moving, but It’s actually most of my days I plan to do something. I see something: cool get sidetracked, go a little further. How it usually works is like you see something and then just a little bit further. You see something cooler and then a little bit further. You see something cooler and then, before you know it you’re six hours out of your way you have to get back, but It’s part of the beauty of it. You know I wasn’t really going for a destination.

I had an idea in mind of what I wanted to do today. That idea changed lots of cool stuff, I’m almost to the peak, so I figured I’d go to the peak It’s getting later than I wanted to. I was hoping to get back already by now. It’s probably at least 30 minutes back down, but we just got a schedule with Cerro Gordo. This is weird, so There’s grenades. I found earlier look There’s more up here. There’s at least one two. Three, I don’t see the four. I don’t see the blue on these. I assume they’re practice yeah, they say practice on them, but still when you see grenades, but It’s like. Why are they here? I mean we’re, I guess we’re in the middle of nowhere. So if we’re practicing it’d be all right.

So It’s shower time and, as you know, if you watch this channel, Cerro Gordo has no running water and we had it for a little bit and It’s out again today. So this is how I take a shower. I have this thing called a camp shower and It’s got this little fancy temperature gauge on it. So what you do is take some water put in the bag put the bag in the sun. Let the sun heat up the bag, and now we wait and I get all this water from dining keeler. We own a property down there, so we’re allowed to take water. So I go down and fill these jugs, so I can have the water for the goats, cleaning, stuff and showers we’re at 104. So It’s about ready to go hello.

Cats, not right now I have to go. Take a shower bags. Hanging put this over the shower turn it on boom. You are showering in a ghost town with no running water, with usually with views of goats. It’s hard to beat guys, I’m not gonna waste. This I’m gonna turn this off. It’s my favorite time of day yeah. You know I got to get some mind exploring in each day, so I’m gonna go check it out. There’s this mine that I didn’t plan on going into the other day I was just wandering, I found it. Curiosity got the best of me. I went back into it. I ended up finding some really cool things, but I didn’t have that gear to bring it back. So I just leave it so.

I’m gonna go out there retrieve that bring it back and put in the museum It’s uh. It’s been bothering me It’s been on my mind. I keep thinking. Dang that’d be super cool to have framed in the museum I get excited about. It obviously any excuse to go into the mine I’m gonna take so let’s go get it, so. This is you know, kind of where I come to get away. Nobody can reach me out here at a cellphone reception kind of out of even the main town, so nobody coming to town can find me. that’s my place to just relax and It’s just like one of the only places in the world that I find myself fully in the present like when I go back into the mines.

Time almost escapes me, you know I’m back there and I’m so focused on what I’m finding what’s around me, my surroundings, that everything else kind of melts away, and I get that literal. You know tunnel vision that you know it doesn’t happen. That often, I think I’m always distracted looking at the phone computer this or that, but back there that all goes away, and I think that’s why I like it. You know this is a new thing. I didn’t have that experience six months ago when I before I came up here so you know being here, has given me that, and It’s kind of my my treat my treasure that I look forward to every day.

So this time of day don’t try to get a hold of me because I’m gone, and you know just so happens that I get to you know, retreat into just an amazing time. Capsule history almost perfectly intact dynamite boxes issue is we can move a lot of rock those are cool, though huh yeah look out for that. Oh dynamite, we’ll continue back more stuff to find dynamite instructions. Super cool, There’s a bunch up here.

I thought I’d frame them put them in the museum carefully go through this, just not disturb any old dynamite. It’s there, some back here before right. There, some wick, There’s some old wig with a blasty cap still on it. You see that that is kind of dangerous. Take your finger pretty easy, so clean up pieces rules and instructions dynamite la examiner January 11th, 1926, brains, help win many encounters. This is an article by ty, cobb huh, I’m definitely taking that as a big baseball guy. It’s hilarious!

Oh It’s an excerpt from his book huh. They were doing that even 100 years ago. that’s coming with us! that’s mainly what I came for old, denim, stronghold, suspenders, probably from about 1905 or so i’ll, go back in the museum, so cool on my ever ending quest to find denim. This brand still exists. It’s in Los Angeles, not Levi’s, but it’ll have to do exiting safely. Hopefully, light at the end of the tunnel hit my head classic. Look at that hand done timber, supporting watching what rock so cool, kind of, like sunrise sunset’s, probably one of my favorite times of the day.

You know It’s kind of another reflection time to come and hang out and we’re over on a part of the property. that’s pretty far away from the town core, and you can see going down the mountain here, some of the old tram. You know the old cable that would bring buckets down, and so you know you would mine the ore put it in buckets and then that would send it down into keeler. The wood that you see missing was actually used and reused to create a lot of the bar in the old saloon. It needed some rehab, so the wood was borrowed from this building to rebuild that and that’s why It’s just kind of down to the frame.

But after the sun hits a building for long enough, it just gives it this beautiful brown glow this kind of golden color that we want to use. So this building it won’t be used for anything else out here. It’s just going to end up falling down. So we’re going to reuse this wood in rebuilding the cabin that was next to the hotel, so this will be repurposed as the crapo house and its life will live on as a mining building, and that’s the cable that I was mentioning before. So the ore would kind of be brought down that on buckets and go down and down.

You know, as you can see, heads all the way down the hill. You can even see in the background there the pickup of the of the road at the very bottom, but generally you know if Cerro Gordo is peaceful. This area is even more peaceful because nobody comes over here. Nobody really can come over here, There’s a gate, and so this is really really private and It’s just a beautiful place to kind of unwind for the evening. So this is one of the old minor shacks. This is where they would live, and I mean you have to figure every night.

This view hasn’t changed, not a lot of new development down there. So these guys would mine all day come back home to a view like this. You can even see some of their old beds the frames heater another bed over there. This wood is beautiful. If you look at it, I mean that coloration, you just can’t fake that you know you can’t get it anywhere else, and so I’m gonna use this wood I’ll be put to good use. Rebuilding the old crepo house, before I feed myself dinner, be the kitties again kitties, hello, hello. How are you guys so normally I’d eat dinner before sunset, but didn’t quite work out that way today, if you thought lunch was depressing, you haven’t seen anything yet we are scraping the bottom of the barrel, we’re down to eggs, Spanish style, rice and organic black beans.

That is the cuisine of the night. A lot of times. People ask me: hey brett, how’s it going up there. It’s Cerro Gordo. I think to ask the answer that I’m just gonna text them a photo of this dinner. Well, dinner is served and you know what we might do with what we have so I’m gonna eat this figure out the plant from there, but we got eggs, Spanish rice, beans and ketchup. The only part about Cerro go that night scares me. People are like. Oh, is it weird being up there by yourself at night? The only part, that’s weird is this: outhouses at night are not fun. So, as you can imagine, no thank you better than that. It’s beautiful, usually, you can find some animals like I’ll use.

My light and I’ll go like this and you see the eyes first, you see the eyes before anything else and usually There’s foxes, small bobcats and one mountain lion I’ll try to find one it’d be cool to find a fox show you guys, but this light’s, pretty Cool look how intense it is! There’s another house, the moon, full moon tonight, damn that is so bright just coming over the peak now. So once that comes in a little bit, it’ll be so bright, that’ll actually illuminate the whole town.

I don’t even need to use my flashlight to get around It’s like a movie theater site when that happens, It’s crazy when there are full moons like that. There’s my cabin there’s, the moon and you can see even with the moon. It’s lighting up enough to where at least you can get the outline of my cabin, which is crazy. I think I’m gonna set up a time lapse, so you can kind of see what’s going on with this, but It’s yeah. Cerro Gordo is a pretty special place, crazy, look, I’m using a uv light and all of the paper from the burnside is glowing. Still. It’s got this blue to it.

This paper’s flown all over the town, I’m using this uv light, because if you see a scorpion with his uv light, the scorpions actually glow in the dark try to find one for you guys, because it is spooky when you find one not a big one. But definitely glows crazy, bigger they are too the creepier. They are and just like that, after a really long day of exploring, I’m headed to bed really appreciate you guys following me along today.

Hopefully it was interesting and one day I can see out of Cerro Gordo, but until then it is time for me to go to bed good night, all right, that’s it and that’s all. Thank you guys so much for checking out this video. Thank you for the support of the town. If you haven’t already subscribe to the channel, I try to put out videos like this once a week if you are subscribed to this channel.

Thank you so much the support means everything leave a comment below of future videos. You want to see, I read almost all the comments so I’ll see them, hopefully I’ll incorporate that into future ones, and if you want to take your support for the town a little bit further, I recently set up a Patreon and every single dine that goes into the Patreon is going back into this town, It’s going into the hotel and other projects around here. So even the five dollars a month is gonna go back fully into this town and renovating it, and so I’m gonna leave a link below there are some cool things on there, like behind the scenes, photos uh, written updates from me and other things. But if you can support in that way, if not, you know just like this video keep watching. I’m gonna keep making these and until next time, signing out here at Cerro Gordo.

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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