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Road Trip. Manzanar.
Manzanar

We head south on 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra, applauding the wall of mountains upthrusting stark to our right, bare peaks with rivulets of snow and glacier that drop abruptly to a desert of muted greens and reds and browns. To our left, low brown mountains and flats stretch on for States.

"Who would choose to live here?"

We discuss. To be away from people? To hammer yourself against the dry? Because of this stark beauty? Not crossing our minds: because you were forced here. Then on our right, the small wooden sign.

Manzanar.

A shudder.

YES we need to get to Death Valley before the heat of the day YES we are running late. But Manzanar.

I had forgotten.

We pull in onto the gravel, slowly drive the several mile circumference. They've taken it all down, a few small signs mark where the living blocks stood, the administrative buildings. The hospital, the garden, the dojo.

"Why have they taken it down?" Annie asks.

"Maybe for shame," I say.

We get out at the cemetery, a white marker shooting upward, a few graves marked with stones. It's hot already, the sun reflecting off the gravel. Two orange-black beetles chase each other. Pennies and faded paper cranes on the graves.

At Auschwitz, I couldn't feel the presence of ghosts.

But here.

 

Here are some pictures I took.

And as a reminder, a little background.

Comments
4 Comment count
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Wow. That's something

What a place to see.  That is some drive you are taking.

Pretty amazing to stop and consider and think about such a spot in our hisotry and on our ground.

J

Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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Whew...

Thank you for taking the time to post up the photo gallery. The 395 is beautiful, and stark. I drove north out of death valley at the beginning of this summer as dark grey clouds were pouring over the mountains, and it was clear and sunny in the east - truly dramatic.

I missed Manzanar, which I now regret even more - I need to go back. How was Death Valley?

-Max Sindell, Red Room

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beautiful desolation

Those photos are beautiful and disturbing and sad. thanks for making the side trip. I've been to Tule Lake but never Manzanar.

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Manzanar is barely marked.

It's actually right on the road, just barely marked, and the turnoff comes with no warning. We saw it and I moved quickly -- if I'd been looking the other way I would have missed it completely....