ABNDN Mountain Adventure: Day Two

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond

After a night of unintentional and slightly claustrophobic cuddling, the hippy vagrants emerge from their nylon fortress. After a scrumptious breakfast at the local cafe, we're back to no good. Our first location was a competitor hotel to the one we visited the night prior. Entry wasn't going to be easy. Locals doing yard work surrounded us, and they were keeping a close eye on the spot. In previous visits, the back door was wide open, and the inside was basically immaculate besides a collection of vintage refrigerators in the lobby. We decided to accept the circumstances, and retreat.

Beside the sulfur spring is a strand of bathhouses long forgotten. Some dilapidated, and others that only show slight decay. The best way in requires the frame of a chair, and a conveniently open window. The building smells like rotten eggs, and mold, and the floor has fallen into the flowing river below. As quickly as we came in, we changed out of our dirty pants and into velvety threads. Part of our mission to preserve the experience through photography included modeling our new ABNDN looks inside. Jessie quickly chameleons from rags to riches, and Mary and I set up the equipment. Sunlight was bathing a pale green room through a window frame, and the paint crackles were just right.

Jessie Bath House Peely Paint

Jessie posed in the Rust & Sky slim dress; I wore the Backless Hourglass Dress. We do our job quickly and crawl back out to enter another bathhouse that's badly damaged. Mary directed us beneath a decay born skylight, as sun peeked through holes in the roof. Jessie and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder, alerting Mary when the sun was beaming down. Group shot number one acquired, and we're ready for more!

Photo By Mary Lee Desmond

Photo By Mary Lee Desmond

The last bathhouse was probably the most beautiful, and well preserved. High ceilings, and uncovered windows allow the bright blue walls and ghost white curtains to glow. A small wooden shelf sat on a wall in the main bathing room. Inside were three tiny fuzzy faces. A trio of baby birds glared out at us with confused eyes. Mother and father bird were overhead shouting, and causing the babies to flee the nest. None of them could fly, and so they were bopping around on the floor flapping their little wings adamantly. I believe we walked in on a domestic lesson of sorts, and were witness to a beginner’s flight class. 

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond

This seemed like an appropriate hallway to shoot another photograph; Blueberry colored dreams, wildlife and ghostly curtains.  Jessie and I both wore different color velvet crop tops, and flowing Urban Ballerina Skirts. We walked slowly towards the camera, dancing with the fabric to show off the prints and imitate the haunting curtains at the end of the hall.  The final product resembled a scene from the 90s movie The Craft. In another room sat a lonely vintage bench. Jessie spruced the scene up, as I dusted years off of the seat. Old record players, and obscure vinyl was placed by her feet, and a vintage baby blue vacuum occupied my hands for the next shot. Posed like we're well dressed, bored, and lazy housewives, this picture really says it all. After a quick security scare, we wiggled out of the building through the back basement door.

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond.  Tension in the air by Ian Edward.

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond.  Tension in the air by Ian Edward.

It's always intriguing how danger persuades some people. A hotel, which has been dubbed the "Fun House", folds in on itself on the top of a hill, as the ground devours the base of the building. A frozen whirlpool of hutches with china, and wooden chains are dragged into a pit in the center of the lobby. The main entrance is a double staircase, which has warped diagonally, in between column beams that are buckling under the weight of the crumbling building.  One of our crew had reason to believe we were being watched by a neighbor, and warned us that the nosey viewer had been taking down our license plate numbers. Three of our group ran off into the brush, and left Mary, Jessie and myself to continue our shoot. At first we focused on the beautiful decay on the outside of the hotel. Millions of tiny rainbow sea glass pebbles once encased the entire exterior. The years chipped away at this elaborate ornamentation, and scattered it around the mossy yard. Mary seized the good light, and flowery weeds, and took photos of me in the blue velvet slim dress for our "Nice Stems" look. We waited out the threat of locals with the urge to police the area. Jessie stood guard outside, while Mary and I snuck in for the wonkiest of landscapes. A beautiful piano by a porch door window made for some beautiful shots, and of course I posed in front of the insane staircase. Last year I climbed it all the way to the top floor, dodging holes in the steps, and squeaking floorboards.  It's probably the scariest place I've ever entered, despite its tempting invitation. This old girl is ready to rest.

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond

Photo by Mary Lee Desmond

We were still apart from our group, and nobody had any cellphone service. The three of us decided to revisit the hotel we were unable to enter from earlier in the day. After a gentle climb up the fire escape, we were in. Previous visits were comfortable, almost home like. A blue vinyl couch and upright piano sat in the lobby, and many of our group shots were taken there. A bedroom with two teddy bears and fake flowers greeted you from the old entryway. Similar to its competitor, vintage furniture gathered dust in frozen moments. Well, that was before.  Before the scrappers ripped all of the vintage refrigerators, metal shelves, chandeliers, and the piano harp out of the original access way. Now tables and chairs block the back door, and most of the rooms are total ruins. The piano is nothing but a pile of keys, and the life has been choked out of this cozy relic. It was a total disappointment, and sent us running out with disgruntled faces. That, and the wild raccoon that was chasing us from within the walls made this place less than enticing to stay. Exploring was over for the day. We made another bonfire, and cooked our respective meals, and drank more moonshine under the night sky.

Photo by Justin Earsing - The previous year's adventure.

Photo by Justin Earsing - The previous year's adventure.