HALFWAY CAMP CALIFORNIA
we're halfway there… living on a prayer
Unoccupied Historic Location
Circa Late 1800’s
Halfway Camp was a halfway point that catered to travelers. These locations were popular along the trails, a place where one could get a hot meal and water for their horse. Some of these trail houses supplied a warm bed, alcohol or even prostitutes.
Halfway Camps existence has its own mysteries; as one looks at the sites location on a map, they may wonder, halfway between where? To understand the location a little better you really need to look at a map published during the period of time in which the site existed. Although I had wondered, I did not really set out to answer this question until after I visited the site. Then I spent hours looking at files from my gps, and comparing maps from my map software and a map that I had found on the University of Nevada data base that was dated 1909. An important fact that I had realized then, was that most of the roads and routes that are present today did not exist back then.
There are two possibilities that I have come up with; the first being that
Halfway Camp is located 12.5 miles from Bridgeport, California and Fletcher Station Nevada. Based on maps dating back to the late 1800’s, there was a trail along Rough Creek between Sweetwater Road just North of Fletcher Station that cut in to the mountains to Halfway Camp then out on to the road we now know as Aurora Canyon Road. Between these two locations, this may have been a preferred route for those traveling on foot or horse. The only other routes from this direction were past the Elbow several miles to the north or through Bodie several miles south.
Possibility two, also supported by the existence of trails in that era, is that Halfway camp catered to those traveling between Bodie California and Masonic California during its earlier days before roads were built to haul in the much needed lumber through Bodie. In those days (late 1800’s) Masonic had not yet boomed, yet the gulch was popular among prospectors, many of which resided in Bodie at the time. The Geiger Grade out of Bode had not yet been constructed, and traffic in and out of Bodie was mostly from the south. All traffic from the north was through the Bodie Canyon Road near Aurora via the Elbow or Hawthorne. In this case Halfway Camp lays 8.5 miles between Masonic and Bodie.
Through more recent years, the main ranch house has served those working the Nine Mile Ranch as overnight accommodations for employees pushing cattle. The surviving ranch house has seen recent improvement over the most recent years and has become a community cabin of sorts. Those who have used it have signed in on a bulletin board in the kitchen. There are remnants of a second building, a natural spring and a live stock corral. The original trail passes the front side of the property. When I rode upon the site the first thing I had thought of was “Little House on the Prairie”. It is unknown how many buildings were originally on the property and overgrowth may hide the correct answer.
Remaining residence has seen some recent repairs
Falling Building at Halfway Camp
Interior of residence