I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem. I feel a strange connection to ghost towns. Abandoned mines, crumbling cabins, and the wild slowly eating a town back into the forest. I’d been to some other ghost towns, mainly in Nevada (gold rushes and similar phenomena tend to leave a trail of abandoned towns in its wake). It turns out Idaho had its own gold rush, silver rush, and gem rush.

Kevin and I headed three hours North of Boise, Idaho to check out two such towns. One Atlanta, Idaho, once home to 17,000 people as a tent city… now home to about 40 residents.

Forest fires have slowed down tourism to Atlanta, ID forcing a lot of local businesses to close. With projects like The Atlanta School and a hot springs nearby, the residents are hoping to draw more people out along the forest service roads.

But of course, “not too many people.”

I was very intrigued by Atlanta, Idaho. I loved the dirt, washboard roads maintained by the Forest Service. From the burned forests, bright wildflowers grew thick on the ground. The rivers following the roads were clear, cold, and without any trace of trash. Everyone in Atlanta was welcoming, encouraging us to explore the town on foot and leave my little car parked. With no cell phone service or internet, it was a place to truly unplug. I’m sure I will be back soon.

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