Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Urban Exploring

Have you ever heard of UE, or the fascinating hobby of Urban Exploring? Probably not, most people don't know such a hobby exists. UE is the hobby of exploring and documenting abandoned urban places, which means taking photos and sneaking into places that are long since forgotten.

However, I am a wimp. I don't sneak into 90% of the abandoned buildings I find, only ones that are fairly open, and don't have too much risk. And the word "sneak" is a little misleading too, because in most places I've explored, I've just walked right into an abandoned structure (usually a house or small store located in a ghost town).

Utah is good and bad for such a hobby. We don't have huge abandoned structures that the east coast has, but we do have lots of ghost towns and depressed mining towns with ample homes to explore.

In my last post I said that E and I have done our fair share of exploring Utah ghost towns, and that for some reason those photos and stories didn't make it to my blog. Well I want to rectify that situation!

Last night I spent some time looking through old photos, at the hundreds of photos I've taken of abandoned places. To me, there is a mystery, a sadness, a loneliness, and a beauty to all these places. What when on here? Why did the people leave? Why did they leave such personal objects? etc.

Also there is the thrill of seeing something that has long been forgotten. Most places E explores the outside of, but I explore the inside alone. E doesn't like to break No Trespassing rules (he's good, and I'm bad, heehee!), so often times exploring is also really spooky! I have a handful of great stories I'll share below, now onto the photos! (And one of the unwritten rules of UE is that you don't disturb anything, so none of these photos have been set up, this is how I found things).

I loved the look of this room. Everything in it was pink and white from the light streaming through the window to the old mattresses to the peeling wall.
This is a photo I took of the long forgotten coat hooks in an abandoned school I explored with the owner's permission.
This huge old mill is on a tiny Utah highway, totally abandoned...
...and completely empty.
One of the scariest things I ever found while exploring is a trap door in a kitchen. Once opening it I realized it went down to the cellar. Of course I went down the dark damp steps. The room below what pitch black. I quickly turned on my flash, snapped this photo, and hurried out of there. Later I noticed that it looks like there are still canned peaches on one of the shelves.
In the same house as the cellar I snapped this photo of the bathroom. I always find the bathrooms the most interesting, they are the coldest, and loneliest.
This is a photo I snapped of the social hall in a long abandoned ghost town.
And a home in the same town. Homes always strike me in a different way, walking through the rooms I always imagine of the families that once lived there.
Another home in another Utah ghost town. This one is about to tip over, but is also one that has a lot of personal items left behind. I found a brush and mirror set, a board game, books, and even some letters in this home.
An abandoned boot in the same home as above.
This is one of the most adventurous places I've explored. It is a mill in central Utah that one day was left unlocked. I wanted to explore it top to bottom, but E didn't want anything to do with it (what if we were caught??). After a small disagreement I went alone, I have never felt so brave.
Inside I climbed up and up, exploring every nook and cranny I could find. Finally at the top of these stairs I found a ladder that took me to the top most part of the mill, and of course I climbed it too.
Another abandoned home, this room was a bedroom.
And last but not least, a home that has a very very special meaning to me. Here I found the most wonderful gift of all...
As I mentioned above, I love to take photos of the bathrooms, the loneliness is overwhelming. This is the photo of the bathroom in the home above, but this is not what I found that was so special...
Inside this home I found a cold, scared, hungry kitty. She actually greeted us when we entered the home, she was living under the floor boards! In other homes I've seen stray cats before, so it was not unusual. But what was unusual was that this kitty was not wild, she was hungry for attention and loved being picked up. My mom (who was with me on this UE trip) mentioned that we should see where she lived, and maybe take her home, if she was abandoned. After trying at several surrounding homes and being told they had never seen her before I realized she was abandoned, just like the houses we were exploring. It broke my heart, and we decided to bring her home and see if we could find her a home. Well as you probably know by now, we kept her, and she is our sweet kitty Mabel, one of the best cats we have ever owned. As as you probably also know, she has gained a lot of weight since this photo was taken!

1 comment:

  1. I think old places like that are really interesting. You can take me with you next time. :)


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