DEER SPRING LODGE - 2012 AND 2016Have you ever wondered how a building goes from being abandoned, to becoming nothing more than a barely protruding cement or rock foundation outline, embedded in the hard dirt? I'd previously never thought about it, I'd simply observed the before and the after. But recently in Chichibu, I had the amazement of being able to witness one way in which the transformation can unfold.
|Arriving at the train station near Deer Spring Lodge.|
Thanks to blogs and websites such as the previously mentioned site and as well as the numerous Japanese blogs documenting both the interior and exterior of the lodge in 2010, we're able to get a clear picture of what the original configurations of rooms and structures were like, have a close look at quite a few of the remaining artifacts at the site, as well as just walk around and experience the sensation of exploring something old and amazing. From every website I'd seen, Deer Spring Lodge was rapidly deteriorating and absolutely a hazard to explorers, but still essentially intact.
When I arrived, I could immediately see that things had rapidly gone downhill.
|Approaching from the main road, original signpost visible, though missing the sign.|
|Viewing the buildings and creek|
|Looking inside the first building, the smallest, closest to the road, now collapsed.|
|Another side of the bathhouse.|
|The building across the creek, still somewhat intact!|
|The main lodge - too dangerous to approach, slanting at a sharp angle.|
|The bathhouse and a nasty message.|
|The front building of the main lodge.|
|Metal pipe reaching out towards me from the bathhouse.|
|A nasty message left by someone on the bathhouse.|
|The inside of a bathhouse, exposed to the outside nature.|
|Building debris falling down the slope, filling the creek.|
|Did someone stack this siding/roofing?|
|The remains of the old sign by the road.|
Sifting through the comments left on some of the Japanese sites, I saw people mentioning that their dad, grandparents, or their parents used to go there for every whatever particular occasion was special to that family. Apparently the lodge closed somewhere around the early to mid 1990s.
VISITING IN 2016When I went back in February of 2016, things had gone from bad to worse. It was intensely cold, snow still clinging to the ground, the sun was fading by the time I had arrived, but there was just enough light left over for me to record what was left of Deer Spring Lodge.
|Driving in Chichibu, destination Deer Spring Lodge|
|An icy bridge on the main road to the lodge. My driver got a bit irate with me for insisting we press on.|
|Walking up from the main road, on the lodge driveway, the buildings now in sight. The original sign was gone.|
|(left) Bathhouse (collapsed), main lodge (fully collapsed), (bottom center) creek with debris falling in, (upper right) structure (fully collapsed)|
|The bathhouse, now FULLY collapsed, a change from when I visited 4 years prior.|
|The main lodge, sliding into the creek, metal bridge sucked down with it.|
|Part of one of the main lodge building is still not in the creek, behind to the now collapsed bathhouse.|
|Old piece of piping. For what? Septic? Water? Heat? Something else?|
|Looking down at the creek, debris and everything just sitting at the bottom.|
|More of the creek.|
|Bathhouse and lodge building now appear to be one, as they've more or less fallen on top of one another.|
|Looking closer at the bathhouse foundation. That part might last a long time.|
|The building on the other side of the creek, now a pancake.|
|Deer Spring Lodge is now literally sitting in the basin of the creek that runs through the grounds.|
|My final goodbye to Deer Spring Lodge. Will anything be left at all if I go back?|