We left Aurora around mid-afternoon and planned to drive to Masonic and camp there, exploring it the next morning.  The route first entailed retracing our route back to Bodie, and then climbing west up onto the high plateau via the signed dirt road roughly opposite the Bodie parking lot.  This route reaches elevations around 9,000' , and provides plenty of scenic and wildlife views.  Finally, you will drop down the canyon to Masonic.  We camped in a little clearing up the canyon from the ghost town itself.  Several head of cattle wandered over to watch us put up the tent and fix dinner before moving on.  A beautifully clear, dark night provided a spectacular view of the Milky Way.
Masonic proved to be very interesting.  Several shafts and adits dot the canyon sides, as well as some rather more substantial mill ruins.  There are several old log cabins that are still clinging to the vertical, as well as some that have given up the fight.  There is a plaque beside the road which gives a mini-history of Masonic.  We enjoyed a full morning of exploring the entire vicinity.  Don't overlook the hillsides above the canyon or the flats adjacent to the ruins of the mill.  If you look high up across the canyon from the mill ruins you will see the remnants of a substantial tramway which, judging from the amount of rusting cable, used to connect to the mill.  We also found quite a few obsidian chips, indicating that this was a popular area with the native Americans even before the miners arrived.  Two huge red tailed hawks entertained us with their aerobatics while we tried to get some pictures of them.  You can check out those pictures, as well as all the rest, if you click on the thumbnails below!
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