Exploring the Devil's Tower
Up in the woods that carpet the base of Mount Baker (Washington State) sits a man made series of lakes, dammed up some time ago. Just off the shore of one of these lakes, Lake Shannon, lies the ruins of the Washington Portland Cement Company factory. A derelict building that is now home to an extensive and ever changing landscape of local 'artists'. I had heard about this place a little bit ago, and figured it would be a perfectly awesome site to do some urban style dual line kite flying.... that is... if I could get there safely. It is located on private property, but word has it that the 'owners' look the other way, and the expanded parking area at the base of the road would suggest that they don't mind. However, they perhaps do mind the increasing levels of trash, discarded needles, and various other uses folks have decided to use the place for. Such as wannabe domestic terrorists making a paramilitary style training video in the compound earlier this year: LINK TO ARTICLE on SKAGIT BREAKING
The 'Tower', is not really a tower, nor is it related to the Devil in any way. Other than some crude graffiti here and there. It sits on the edge of an old quarry above the dam that now creates Lake Shannon. When the lake levels are low enough (during the seasonal draw down) you can still see some of the old tramway lying on the lake floor. When I first heard about this place, I was led to believe it was like a warehouse, with several large rooms; instead what I found was a crumbling six story structure of rotted walls, smashed ceilings, and floors with giant gapping holes in them. In fact, when I first arrived and was looking at some of the graffiti on the metal barrier walls that had been erected, I quickly discovered that what I was standing on was not a concrete pad on the ground, it was in fact a roof over what I can only assume was the boiler room. The roof was crumbling at the edges and it was an easy 20-30 foot drop.
Climbing around inside the building itself, I knew there was no way I would be able to safely fly a sport kite. Mother Nature was reclaiming every inch of the building, and the grounds around it, instead I opted to pull out my iFlite and capture a few moments of flying.
While I had fun exploring, I felt a sense of relief when I left. Not being a believer in ghosts, or evil spirits, it is hard to put my finger on what felt 'off' about the place. Could it be the countless discarded needles, used condoms, exploded paint cans? Or could it be the odd sounds of rain dripping through the building and making weird sounds, mixed with the odd sound of the marker buoys in the nearby lake wafting up on cold winter winds? Or what about the sound of the trees with their raspy tapping, and the absence of birds or other wildlife. Whatever it was, it was a distinctive 'heebie-jeebies' vibe.
Check out the video from my time exploring there