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Is Curious George naked again? by AgentNox

With Curious George in town from Winnipeg a road trip seemed in order, so we obtained the use of a massive van, and loaded it with Curious George, ReduxZero, Nancy Drew, Skaught, Anymouse, Fyrephreak, myself, and a whole lot of peanut butter & jam sandwiches and cheese. One thing you learn very quickly about Curious George is that the man needs a pretty steady cheese intake.

Pointing our vehicle south at an ungodly hour we drove down to the Crowsnest Pass, stopping for breakfast and the first of Curious George’s injuries (a seatbelt to the crotch followed immediately by a fall onto pavement).

Our first destination was an abandoned power plant that none of the group had yet explored. Mindful of the fact that the last exploration attempt had been abruptly cut short by a man wielding a shotgun we kept our eyes open as we headed towards the building, which was beautifully situated on a lake with the Rocky mountains all around it. We made it in without any redneck encounters, and everyone scrambled for their camera bags immediately. Without a doubt this was one of the prettiest buildings of the season.

As most of us fanned out on the horizontal plane looking for photo opportunities, Curious George grabbed a support beam and began hauling himself upwards into the highest girders. Reminding myself that he was an excellent climber and most likely wouldn’t die (at least not before eating all the cheese that was waiting in the van) I wandered into another room, where ReduxZero was taking photos.

Finding myself in an old bathroom that managed to be both disgustingly filthy and beautiful in its decay I settled in to take some photographs before exploring the rest of the site.

Exiting the washroom I headed downstairs, passing Anymouse on my way. The building was small enough that we could all split up to explore as desired with no chance of anyone being unable to find the others. The basement of the building held a pool of questionable looking water. Concrete walls were half sheared away, and sections of the ceiling were missing, offering sunlight and a clear view of portions of the first floor.

While I was in the basement I heard somebody excitedly yelling for me to come upstairs. I ran upstairs, hoping that nobody had injured themselves.

“Quick, you’re missing the show.”

I looked through a section of missing floor to see Curious George in a different section of the basement than I had just vacated. Something was slightly different than when I’d left him a few minutes before. What was it? Oh yes. The man was completely naked and brandishing his unicorn hobby horse. His camera sat on a tripod in front of him as he hunched down inside an empty refrigerator that lay on its back.

All I could think was “How am I going to work this into my thesis?” [Note: Agent Nox is currently writing an MA thesis on urban exploration.] I took a few photos, enough that I’d have images to work with for my thesis but not enough to start NakedCuriousGeorge.com.

After watching the spectacle for a few minutes we all dispersed again, seven explorers with seven cameras, each looking at the building through different eyes.

After Curious George almost took a tiny, abandoned bicycle through a hole in the floor to fall 30’ into the basement and we all decided we had enough photos it was time to load up the van and head to our second destination.

After parking the van as inconspicuously as possible we walked quickly towards an abandoned coal tipple. It didn’t take long for the group of us to pass through the fence and enter the building by two separate entrance points.

Even in full daylight the tipple is nearly pitch black, so we all turned on our flashlights and moved slowly while our eyes adjusted to the darkness. Cameras weren’t pulled out quite as quickly as at the power plant. The tipple is permeated by the sort of darkness that doesn’t lend itself to even long exposure photography. It’s difficult to set up and frame your shots, and getting a single image right can take several tries and adjustments.

Instead we wandered with our eyes on the mostly intact equipment and machinery, moving upwards towards the roof of the building. On the top floor a door opened to the roof, where a windchill of approximately -20 C was waiting. Most of us had already been through the building, and roofed it in nicer weather, so opted out of the ordeal. Curious George, however, promptly removed his clothes and ran outside to see how much torture he could handle.

While Curious George continued his endurance challenge most of us headed down the tube that surrounded a conveyor belt, leading down to a building that contained several shakers. The basement, which was flooded last time I was there, was now filled with icy water. The surface of the ice seemed willing to support my body weight at first, but it quickly made some menacing noises and started to crack, so I backtracked up the stairs.

Curious George rejoined us, and climbed up through a shaker to the next level, where he climbed his way onto the catwalks. As I poked through an old box containing a dust mask and some hilarious instructions I heard a loud crash above me, followed by a string of swearing by Curious George. Asked if he was okay he declared he was fine, he’d just hit himself in the head with a sinister chunk of iron.

(More to come, including the third destination, Kenyan Stack and Balls)