I’ve always been a huge fan of abandoned places. When I was a kid and we would go to the beach, I would make every excuse I could come up with so that we had to drive past this old abandoned amusement park near the shore. And when I first got my drivers license, I used to cruise around this stretch of Ambridge that was home to a drained pool and abandoned park. Even thinking about it now gives me the chills!
Lucky for us, there’s a stretch of road near my parents’ house that is now abandoned and closed to car traffic. A stretch of Harmony Road closed due to some cave-ins and rock slides somewhere around or before 2006, before Michael and I started dating (he’d never seen the road until our journey on foot). Before it was blocked off, this was a road we took nearly every single day. But none of us had seen what had become of it in the near decade it’s been shut down. One warm evening this summer, we decided to make the trek down on foot to explore how much nature had taken over since 2006.
Michael, my mum, our little red dog, and I headed down the road, not sure what to expect. The parts of the road that weren’t caving in are still open to cars, but as it’s now a dead end, the traffic is pretty light.
You can see the red blockades prohibiting car traffic. However, there aren’t any ‘No Trespassing’ signs anywhere, and it’s quite accessible by foot, so we were able to go all the way to the bottom of the closed section.
As soon as we crossed the blockades, we could see how nature had begun to take over. Remember that picture from above, showing the width of the road? Here’s how wide it is now with the overgrowth coming in from the hillside.
We also saw a handful of downed trees along the road. With the rock slides weakening the hillside, the trees go down much more easily in storms (which also results in a decent amount of power outages to the neighborhood).
My favorite part of the abandoned road was the bit near the end where the concrete had cracked and the earth was literally growing up out of it. There was an eerie silence, even though we were above a busy road and a restaurant with outdoor seating. With the plants on all sides, it blanketed the road in a weird, creepy calm.
All told, the walk was under a full mile, but it was an awesome journey into a formerly-familiar place that is now being slowly taken over by nature. I will definitely try to do this walk again in a few years to see how much more the plants have grown in and reclaimed this road, and in the meantime, I will keep scouring the background of these pictures for ghosts wandering the abandoned sections of Harmony Road.