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Photographer Notes:

Just off Highway 50 as you begin to enter the Tahoe Basin from Sacramento is Ice House Road, and it happens to be one of the most underrated gems to explore in the region.

A few months ago, a group of friends and I decided to go on a Hike & Shoot there. We didn’t have any solid plans, just vehicles, cameras, snacks, and time.

After driving along for about 20 minutes, we took a dirt trail to the East and came to a clearing. As we crossed over a bridge we could see the remnants of an old dwelling place peeking through the treetops. We decided this would be a perfect spot to explore; we pulled over, got out, and made our way across a creek to take a closer look.

The first thing we found was an old barn that had an extremely eerie vibe. The tired, warped shingles desperately clinging to the sides told me this place had been in disrepair for a long time. Out of curiosity I went inside and imagined who had been in here before, and what this place was used for. I spotted a cabin about 50 yards away but decided to climb up a ridge to expand my exploration before checking it out. I’m glad I did.

Once over the ridge crest, a dilapidated corral was a situation in a good-sized clearing among the woods. The remains of a cattle shoot and pen stood there lonely and unattended. I could envision the herds of cattle which once trampled these grounds and the ranch hands who busily tended to them. An economy once existed here, but no more.

Coming back down the ridge I took a closer look at the lone cabin. Like everything else, it was abandoned, cold, and sad. Peering inside there was evidence of makeshift repairs and hasty patchwork plastered in every direction. Broken windows, rotting floorboards, and a rotten mattress were all that remained of someone’s home.

It’s easily understood why someone would settle here in the first place: the area is beautiful with a rushing creek of fresh water just to the north. But what happened here and why it no longer exists as someone’s dwelling place will always remain a mystery.

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