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Snowy, Lonely Bodie Yearning for Spring

April 06, 1985

The snow is getting patchy on the hillsides, but it is still two feet deep in the eastern Sierra ghost town of Bodie, where more than 10,000 people lived during its heyday in the late 1800s.

The current wintertime population of six is ready to welcome spring.

Although the 19th-Century gold mining camp, 20 miles north of Mono Lake, produced millions of dollars worth of gold bullion, it is known now for its severe winters.

One day in December, the mercury dropped to 22 degrees below zero.

Bodie became a state historical park in 1962 and is visited by as many as 150,000 people during the summer.

But the town is white and quiet in the winter, when

it can be reached only by Snow Cat or snowmobile. January brought a total of 100 tourists.

The only contact with the outside world for the wintertime staff of two rangers and a maintenance man, two wives and a child is an FM radio station in Mammoth Lakes, 50 miles away. There is no television. Going to the store is an all-day adventure.

"I'm OK, as long as I keep busy," said Katie Guiney, the wife of Supervising Park Ranger Russ Guiney. She bakes, sews and exercises. She is six months pregnant with their second child.

The Guineys and their 2-year-old son, Brian, moved to Bodie from Santa Cruz last September.

"We felt isolated at first," she said. "But now I feel safer here than in the city."

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