Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fading Enchantment and Cracked Enamel

On Saturday I met Emily and two of her friends, Jon & Matt, to go exploring. We started off with The Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City which I'd been to once before under the cover of darkness and had therefore come away with only a few images and an impression that it was bigger than it actually was. The park was on the edge of a shopping mall so we had to be rather brazen and simply push through a hole in a fence to dash for the cover of the trees. 
The castle above was badly eroded and we didn't trust the flooring to climb aloft.
There were only a few buildings still standing and the area was much smaller in the cold stark daylight. 
The lake area was fenced off but the boys clambered over to investigate while us girls busied ourselves with taking photos. They came back with reports of a metal slide running down a man made island which was also dangerously disintegrating and obviously out of bounds.
We found some old neon signs in a wooden hut but most of the park had tumbled to the ground and been swallowed up by the creeping floor vines, or simply crumbled to dust. We became increasingly aware of how easily we could be spotted and so decided to leave before we were asked to. 
We then headed to Baltimore and an enamel plant which we'd recently heard about. It was a large plant and after driving around the perimeter we decided to enter a building next door which we presumed to be a kids' school but then discovered was the trade school for the plant with workshop rooms inside. Matt entered and then swiftly left once he saw the amount of asbestos on the floor but us hardened urbexers allowed our curiosity to overcome our skepticism. 
The plant which used to make porcelain enamel shut down in December 2007 and employed as many as 227 people at one time. It has been ravaged by scrappers and nearly all the windows have creepers climbing through that cling to the walls and floors reminiscent of a John Wyndham story.
We split up once inside and I quickly found the kiln room with pots and colored powders scattered around. As I stood in the hallway, I heard the front door slam shut and poked my head around the corner to see a stranger looking down the hallway in the opposite direction. I quickly pulled back and froze, not being able to move as the debris on the floor would give away my location. I heard him check a couple of rooms and then leave.
A little later I saw Matt who had been standing outside and had observed the man while he himself stood on the sidewalk and had 'blended in' as he put it. From his account it was apparent the man was security so we all climbed back into the car and drove off, reluctantly leaving some wonderful photos untaken.
 It was extremely fortunate that my tummy hadn't rumbled while standing like a statue in that hallway as I was famished and we all agreed it was time for a late lunch.
We each devoured a plate of mussels in a local bar and washed it down with beer. Happy again and fortified, we headed for our next location which was a scrapyard on the edge of the city. 
This great old 70's Corvette had been dropped off by police and reported on a window sticker as being 'abandoned' so the title alone warranted a photo.
There was some huge machinery around and we walked about happy to relax and not be concerned about security guards. My friend Penelope had given me a couple of Cigarellos and so Jon and I puffed contentedly as we strolled about. But the beer was marring the experience and I spotted a porta john by some huts. Emily was incredulous that I even considered using it but it proved to be the cleanest I'd ever used. I emerged stating that 'The Experience of the Day' was sitting in a porta potty in a scrapyard smoking a cigar. Now not many girls have done that!
We carried on walking about loving the giant equipment and coming across things that the workers had salvaged. 
The last time we had visited this area there had been an abandoned church close by. This had now been razed to the ground but the driver of this vehicle had rescued a crucifix from the church to hopefully help protect him for danger.
A little while later two workers approached us and we told them we were leaving. They had been good enough to watch us the whole time but allow us to take our photos, but with some much large machinery and equipment around, we assumed they were concerned about safety issues. We left happy with our photos and content that we'd enjoyed a full day of urbexing.
I drove home to be greeted by a wonderful aroma of a casserole cooked in the slow cooker. Rob came up in the evening and we totally relaxed for the rest of the weekend, just sleeping, eating and watching movies. Our only strenuous activity was moving my boats from outside Barb's house to a dry corner in the warehouse at work.
And then it was back home to collapse again on the sofa with Kota in front of the TV. We had it made!

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