I Spent My Life Savings On An Abandoned Ghost Town

Episode 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XmjdDw8xK8

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My name is Brent and with my friend Jon, I purchased the former mining town of “Cerro Gordo” this past July 13th (Friday the 13th). Since the Coronavirus outbreak, I’ve moved from Austin, Texas up to the town and I’m living alone in this abandoned ghost town trying to make it into a place for more people to enjoy.

Sometimes it’s beautiful and amazing, sometimes it’s terrifying and the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I grew up in the flatlands of Florida, so this is all new territory for me.

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.

You can follow along with us on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/brentwunderwood/

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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.

Four hours into the hike and I’m completely lost my cell phone died. Sucker goes down I’ll have no idea where to go, but I honestly don’t know what to do. Morning, I’m just waked up here at Cerro, Gordo, it’s about 6:00 a.m. and we are in a former mining town located about three hours outside of La, and this is a town that about a year and a half ago, my friend John beer – and I sink essentially our life savings into, as well as a lot of the savings of friends, clients and others.

The coronavirus had about three or four weeks ago I was living in Austin Texas, packed up a truck drove about 24 hours straight to get here. I’m dampening in the Vegas around sunset, which would be cool supposedly all the casinos and hotels are closed, so it should be a weird kind of like just dopey look into Vegas from there. I think I may across Death Valley in the middle of the night, which should be some crazy stars and a pretty fun final stretch, just getting a death valley crossing over to Cerro Gordo.

All right, you wanna see actually how dark it is out here. Watch this hahaha, that’s so freaky! You cannot see anything. There’s no light pollution out here hook gotta layout for that race of beans. So my first night comes up here. I’m used to coming up here during the summer. So there’s no problem getting up our seven-mile road. It’s a sketchy road. It’s a road that has switchbacks it’s single lane, gravel you’re twisting and turning going from 2,000 feet above sea level to 8500 feet above sea level.

So you go almost a mile in elevation during that seven-mile road and the first night I was coming in it was snowing. I didn’t know at the bottom because typically it doesn’t snow at the bottom, but because we’re on the mountain so snow accumulated up there. So maybe 3/4 of the road up, I started seeing some pretty heavy. What I think is rain and the closer I get to town the more. I realize that’s snow, not only a little bit of snow but a lot of snow. I was deciding to enter Cerro Gordo at 1:00 a.m.

And a blizzard, which was the perfect time to you, know, start this adventure just to explain out various this. Is that way, that’s a cliff that goes down thousands and thousands of feet, and so I remember the first day were coming up it just every turn. Looking at the rock formation to something Wow Wow and here’s waiting for waiting for and then finally, you take the final turn into Cerro Gordo and the town kind of presents itself in front of you. I can see maybe 2 3 feet in front of me with the snow I stay here.

The snow will snow me in where I can’t move my truck tomorrow morning. It’s really in a bad bad position, Cerro Gordo. These are the shoes I have. My other shoes are down to my truck. That’s snowed in well there. She is towns up there and I made it to about there with the truck I’ve learned that, just because it’s mid-may does not mean that there’s no snow at Cerro Gordo, no getting out now and snowed in for maybe four or five days. Looking for like another. Four or five days we have food that fur. You know, I don’t know another couple days, big storm coming being here for the last three weeks. This is the house that I live in. I wanted to get kind of show it uncleaned up.

Bello Shaw’s house: that’s more demure itself. This is my desk. Just all sorts of great things happening there really excited about how that’s looking. That’s where I get all my work done right there and their collection of books pretty nice. This is a drone that I have yet to figure out how to use by various ideas. I’d love to add that to the repertoire, I suppose some bb’s some bullets, some protection.

You know what I mean and up here found this earlier today. This is kind of cool, it is a Sunday school thing, with an inscription from 1842, which is just wild. This is the house. This is where I am currently residing. That’s my it’s my heater right there. That’s some Sox trying to dry out from all the snow. Some boots extensive VHS collection, we’re not streaming anything up here, alright, welcome to crib. This is a little project.

I’ve been working on for the last few weeks, we’re over on the backside of Cerro Gordo right now, we’re in new town. The main town is just over. There over that Ridge and back here, the property extends almost beyond where the Sun is heading right now and if you look further than that, that’s Death Valley and a lot of the workers used to live over here, a lot of the miners and they built houses In the hillsides, and some of them even lived in caves, or they put doors on, which is pretty crazy, a lot of project that was kind of manageable, something’s, small enough that I could learn things gonna build my confidence in doing these projects without risking any The main buildings over the town, so this is the first one I started attacking I’ve put in this deck, don’t know anything about building a deck, but uh I’m pretty proud of it.

You know didn’t even watch a youtube video, it’s a cabin that eventually, I hope to make a little writers retreat or artists retreat. So people come read, be peaceful as far as the first project. It’s a good one, I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I can’t wait to show you guys the progress over the coming weeks. We have the bunkhouse and I’ll be honest with you. I don’t really love the bunkhouse, it’s not about the structure, it’s very functional, it’s not about the shape or the design.

I have my one and only ghost story from in here and ever since I really dislike going in here, particularly alone, particularly at night. So whenever you have a ghost town, one of the first questions people ask is: have you seen any ghosts and, admittedly, prior to buying Cerro Gordo? I was a firm non-believer in ghosts. It just wasn’t my thing and then one night I publicly said on TV. You know, listen, I don’t think go sort of thing and literally that night some friends of mine were staying up with the Belle Shaw house. So I walked down here to the bunkhouse and I looked in that first window right there and the curtain all been closed and, after open-closed, a little face looked out and the light was on in the kitchen. That’s the kitchen area right there and so no big deal.

The contractors had been up here at Cerro, Gordo staying in the house, so I turned around and I wouldn’t stay in a different house and the morning I went down to Robert our caretaker and I said Robert. How long are the contractors staying in the bunkhouse and he kind of turned and looked at me? He said the contractors left two weeks ago, and so that was a bit spooky, but you know what not gonna freak out yet I came back down here. I went into the door, I locked it. I turned off the light and I locked it with that padlock that you can see right there. So after the after row is locked, I went back. I stayed in the Belle Shaw house that night up there and when I came back later to go, watch a hike up on the top of the mountain. The light was back on in the kitchen, even though the door was locked so ghosts. I don’t know if you want to support cerro gordo subscribe to the channel.

Follow us on instagram. Send us some fan. Mail by email need a six-pack of beer at the bottom of the hill. Do whatever you like so being out here alone, does have some challenges and some potential dangers to it too. You know the first time I was here. I decided I was gonna go on a walk and I wanted to go on a really long walk.

So I brought this camera started on my way and headed over the backside of the mountain. When I got there, I saw a snow storm happening in Death Valley and I thought it’d be cool to take some videos so cuz, I waste that’s the snow at some Bobcat tracks. This is no storm. Scenery is beautiful, though I went right when I usually go left and I started walking right into the storm and the storm got to the point where it was basically a whiteout. You know I couldn’t see five feet in front of me and the Sun was going down.

Snow is getting worse and at one point I had no idea where I was four hours into the hike and I’m completely lost. My cell phone died and I was using some towers as a point of reference, but it wasn’t the right tower and now it’s snowing really heavily and I can’t see anything anywhere. I’m only concerned because the Sun Goes Down I’ll have no idea to go, but I honestly don’t know what to do. Eventually I found a small concrete structure. It was basically the size of maybe an outhouse but made out of concrete. So I clearly stuck into their get away from the snow that was falling really heavily and waited out a little bit found a shelter for the day. This is a really good scent, given what this is up to huh.

Luckily, in about 30 minutes, the snow stopped and I was able to find a road that brought me back into Cerro Gordo after dark. Unfortunately, the camera died, so I couldn’t capture too much of it, but it was a very real experience. You know it’s something that had a couple things gone, the wrong way could have ended, ended pretty bad. Here we are for the big snow last night, it’s still out, looking beautiful, so it was my birthday or the other day got a nice help.

This cake, good found myself Hennessy in the cabinet never had Hennessy in my life seems like a great day for it and it’s just another conclusion of a day here at Cerro. Gordo scenery never fails to this point, never disappoints so, let’s just ride this one out. Look at that, it’s everyday folks, that’s every day here at fat Hill! Alright, that’s it! That’s uh! It’s about all the talking to myself into a camera with nobody around.

I can do so until next time signing out here in Cerro Gordo, so a pretty far back or maybe half-mile back in his mind and there’s just so many different layers of this place and levels it’s this is. This is by far the craziest mine ever been to it’s it’s it’s one that I don’t think a lot of people come to just because it’s so far in Cerro Gordo. To be honest, it’s pretty scary kind of I got here, but show you around a little more and we’re gon na take off try to find the next one.

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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