Welcome to The Abandoned Orchard Tree Inn
Location: Palm Springs, CA
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This one was an early start. I met up with my exploring partner, Vikers, and we headed out to Palm Springs to see Doug Atkins' The Mirage art installation and hit an abandoned hotel. Unfortunately Atkin's installation was closed and they are tearing it down soon, and we weren't allowed to go see it, but here's the best I could do:
This entire city block is abandoned and it's surrounded by amazing homes and shopping centers. It was built in the 1930's as a ten building apartment complex. The original owner sold it in 1941 to Beverly Hills contractor, Harry Irvin, who changed its name to the Apache Lodge. The name was changed again in 1948 to the Bel-Ardo Villas, and finally, to its last name, the Orchid Tree Inn, in 1952.
Getting Past Security
The crazy part of this exploration was that the property was practically open from every part of the street. While awesome as it is, that takes away from my ability to explore unnoticed. The unfortunate part of this bando was that the city had pretty much welded any possible entry shut, other than the burnt roof of the church. I certainly am not quite brave enough to play with death like that, yet.
*bando (n,): slang term for an abandoned location; an urban exploration trip
Let the Exploration Begin
Even if an abandoned location isn't easy to get in to, it doesn't mean that I leave. That's ridiculous. I took my time to research and find these places and I'm going to shoot them, period. So, I decided to go with a very retro look for these, to match with the 70's style postcards from the Orchard Tree Inn, which you can see here.
The pools, while barren of swimmers, feature some pretty fitting Graffiti. "SUNK" is my favorite.
It's strange how time just seems to stop when you're exploring. I think the mix of adrenaline, excitement, and nervousness makes you focus and not waste any time, and when you're done and exit the bando the world rushes back in around you.
The video for this exploration captures the location better than the photos do, obviously. It's always so fascinating to discover these desolate places that have just been left to be taken back by nature.
The riskiest part of any urbex trip is escaping without getting caught, so we try to be as quiet, quick, and nonchalant as possible. I took one last stroll around the place, snagged a clip of me climbing up onto a roof, and met Vikers by the entrance we came through. We hopped over a small gate and we were back in "the real world." PRO URBEX TIP: Remember where you came in, because more times than not, it's your only way out.
For my first Palm Springs trip, I quite enjoyed myself. I just wish it wasn't so damn hot out there..
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