October 2016 was an odd month for me. I got married on the 14th, and was promptly wisked away on a Washington road trip of abandonded cities and their ruins.
As my husband and I had noticed, most of the cities we mapped out to explore were all in now restricted areas, except one.
Lester was the last stop before trains huffed off through Stampede Pass, a once-important little town. I was honestly excited to feel the energy from decades passed. I can honestly say the best time to visit is in summer, or early fall. Mostly because we went in late fall, and got poured on, which was very dangerous going through all the old logging roads that had at least a hundred pot holes.
After parking, we grabbed our backpacks and set off on a hiking journey to remember. There is about a two mile walk to the town starting with a bridge that closes off any and all car traffic. The road had fallen off into the river that runs alongside the old Nothern Pacific Railroad tracks (as seen in the photo).
After coming across three different abandonded cars, we finally hit vast fields of what looked to be like grain or dead grass. Then came the tracks, which we followed the rest of the two miles down to what was left of the poor little place.
Walking up to the first house, I felt sorrow, like something bad had happened there, a very long time ago. But I also felt extreme curiosity and excitement to see the insides of the once lively station.
Entering the doorway, there was graffiti everywhere. In the small living room was a twin size bed, overturned and dirty, next to a couch that had been torn up and an old small chair that sat facing the window.
Down a short hallway lay the kitchen, which still had a fridge and oven. Dishes were strewn all over the small little room and a kitchen table sat in the middle with two chairs overturned and on the ground next to it.
Going through the next little hallway lay the bathroom with a broken sink and disconnected toilet that was missing half of its bowl, which led into the back yard and another bigger house filled with more mysteries to unfold.
I can say that after the first house, I felt a little sick, not just because it had been defaced, but because of the feeling. I wasn't sure if I was ready for the next plunge into the house, but I felt soft droplets of water starting to hit my arms and head, so into the next house we went.
All of the furniture, although less than the last house, was also strewn across the rooms, but this house had an accessible upstairs (kind of). The stairs were extremely narrow and high, and were rotting from the years of water damage and use.
Carefully we made our way up and peeked our heads into a room with holes in the floor. My guess is from other people who though it would hold their weight, as I am a bigger girl, and did not trust the wood in these house one bit.
It was dark, and cold, and completely empty: no furniture, or clothes, except one small bed. Sitting in the corner near the window, overlooking the back of the first house and the railroad tracks, it felt eerie, and off somehow more than the rest of the house.
So before further ado, we went promptly back down the steps and into what looked like a bedroom in the far back of the house. It was extremely odd, because the layout of the room was the spitting image of my husbands and I's room back home. That alone made me want to leave. But I pushed through and continued to explore what we had left.
Off to the right of the houses lay what looked like an old barn or auto shop. The roof had caved in, so there was not much room for us to explore, at least inside. There was a lot of wood everywhere but nothing else. We couldn't believe that that was all there was. So we decided to walk behind the houses a little less tjan a qaurter of a mile, and, we were right.
If you have played any of the Fallout games (by Bethesda) then you'll understand me when I say I felt like I was literally living in the game. We found old cars, and two washing machines from like the 60s. Everything was old, yet perserved somehow in this constant state of stagnant memories.
And then came the rain. It started pouring like cats and dogs, just downfall after downfall that got us soaked within seconds. We ran back to the railroad tracks and made the decision it was time to go. So off we went, quick walking down the tracks, following them for guidance because of the pitch darkness.
As we came upon the field we passed through, I heard someone yell "WAIT!" and I pulled on my husband's arm to stop him. We stood there, for what seemed like five minutes, waiting, just like the voice asked, and nothing happened.
I thought I saw someone, but figured it was just my eyes because it was still pouring, and getting cold faster than we were walking. We started walking again, cold and confused by everything we witnessed.
Finally after an extemely long walk, we came upon the metal bridge, which we realized was slippery and cold from the weather. So we took our time, and walked slowly across it and over the fence which — I'm not gonna lie — I slipped on.
On our way out in our car, it somehow got darker. We turned on our brights, but could barely see anything. Slowly driving up the winding long road filled with potholes, we made it back to the highway in what looked like took an hour and a half.
I don't know what happened to that little town, or if it's even standing, but I do know something important happened, possibly something that only the dead know about, buried in history, never to be known or told until the end.
Lester was one of the most spiritual trips I've ever taken. And no amount of words can describe how it felt to be there.