This weekend we played a little game that we have done many times before, but with a twist. We have found a number of parks in the Charleston area through the satellite view on Google Maps – which we otherwise did not find in Google search results. This weekend, we located a strip of open land along a stretch of telephone poles about 2 miles long somewhat near our home. You can do this too for the area around your own home!
From Google Maps, we located a public place to park, a city park, and walked about 30 feet through a patch of woods to reach the open land. Upon inspection, we saw no “No Trespassing” signs, so we continued on along the man-made gravel path. We saw many electrical poles, two electric stations, and a telephone power station.
Of course these stations were off limits, so we took a few pictures and moved along down the path. Half way down the path we ran into something a bit perplexing to us at first. After a little bit of looking around we realized we had walked into an empty mobile home park. It was a large open area with small streets and tiny driveways. It felt like a ghost town.
With nature slowly taking back the area, we took some pretty neat urban decay photos, and found some neat items along the way, such as coins with brilliant patinas and random objects like a house key, a large seashell, lawn pinwheels, a pair of shoes, some really exotic plants former plot renters had planted, and in the middle of the park we found a large lake with egrets and other large birds.
Off to the side of the area we even came across and old slab of concrete that was once a tennis court. It almost felt like we were walking around a cemetery because the area was so flat, empty, and barren. It was an interesting find that we had no clue even existed until we wandered into it!
It’s easy to find open areas and small paths/trails on Google Maps. Though in our experience, you never know what to expect until you actually go there, as the maps are often outdated by at least a couple of years, and they don’t show everything.
Here are some things to remember when wandering off the beaten path:
- Check for “No Trespassing” signs
- Stay away from anything electric such as poles and transformers.
- Stay out of the water; you don’t know what’s in there!
- Depending on the time of year, look for ant hills, stay away from dark wet places that may be home to black widows, and watch out of wild life.
- Bring a cellphone when wandering in urban or woodland areas in case of an emergency.
- Bring a compass when wandering around unfamiliar areas whether you are driving or on foot, just in case you get lost.
- Avoid walking in long grass, snakes live there.
- Sick to wide open areas.
- Don’t wander to far from the car, just in case someone gets tired, to hot, to cold, or gets hurt.
- Always keep a small first aid kit in the car for occasional bumps and scrapes.
- Always bring mosquito repellent/bug spray along, even if you think you won’t need it.
Remember, someone owns every type of property you wander on to, so keep a few things in mind:
- Don’t make a lot of noise or draw attention to yourself.
- Don’t stick around too long, check it out and move on.
- Don’t disturb the property (move things, break things, or take things that could be of value) RESPECT.
- Keep a look out for signs that suggest that you should not be on the property or that the property may not be safe.
- Always wander with plenty of daylight time ahead just in case you get a little lost, or you wander into an area you want to investigate further!