This weekend Shay and I finally had time to go adventure again and it felt like the old days when we found this incredible abandoned find. The Chatsworth Nike Missile Base has been on my bucket list for a few months now and on Sunday for our regular little hike we decided to drive just fifteen miles west and found one of my new favorite abandoned places in California. Unlike Scary Dairy or Murphy's Ranch, this place hasn't been talked about too much online and it seemed like it wouldn't be easy to find. With no real directions and the gloomy May morning weather as our guide, Shay and I followed the long drive up Browns Canyon Road and went all the way up past the horse stables to the little unmarked parking lot. From the bottom, it doesn't look like the right path at all but we decided if worst comes to worst we were at least getting some cardio in. Once you hit the top of the trail, there's an old iron fence with an entrance carved out and inside were some of the most amazing abandoned finds.
A little history : LA-88 was one of the few Nike missile bases that were located around LA made to protect from Soviet attack from 1957-1974. The missile sites were all deactivated by the 1970s and one former site had been preserved in the hills above Encino. This one located in Chatsworth later was transformed into a SWAT training center and then in 2008 a wildfire burned down most of the place leaving it hollowed out and vacant since early 2009. This place is awesome, like brilliantly utterly awesome. I mean usually when we're looking for an abandoned place we find maybe one building and it's small ruins scattered about. This base has tons of vacant old buildings, ruined underground cellars and ABANDONED ROTTING BUSSES. Can you tell I was a little incredibly jazzed to find the buses? They were so freakin cool, graffitied and hollowed out with a few broken seats and a steering wheel left behind.
I was totally in weird photography heaven.
The graffiti was scattered and there were bullet holes on some of the walls, bees nested in the crevices and wild flowers grew in between old cars. The location was surreal and the gloomy overcast morning was perfectly warm and haunting. There were ladders leading down to underground cellars of bitch black darkness and creepy little riddles and rhymes were left near and far. It was super cool and it felt so nice to find something unique and odd that I was able to photograph. I'm a little cooky and different, you know? So pretty flowers and nice pastries aren't really my thing all that much. I find abandoned places to be beautiful and raw, they're left decaying and live on after everything else is gone. This place will probably become one of my favorite getaways and it'll be fun to revisit the same ruins and see how different they'll become.
The rest of the weekend was all fun times, on Saturday we tried to drive to the Santa Barbara Zoo and made it there in too much driving time. We even made it inside but there were people scattered everywhere and it wasn't fun seeing sights that had to be shared. We left and drove back listening to sounds and following the signs. We drove to EmmaWood Beach, a beautiful little coastal side and then after missing all the right exits we settled for a random walk along a hollowed out storm drain somewhere in Ventura. We wanted to do cardio to pass the time so we walked for hours talking and living an easy life. We don't often do what we set out to on weekends but somehow every long drive or lost walk becomes my favorite.
I felt like myself this weekend and it was easy to breathe. We discovered new and old spots and we adventured, just him and I. It felt beautiful to get lost again, lost without time and for those moments were we were sitting looking out at all the sky, it felt like time wasn't real and we were able to fly.