Vague directions to a location in the forest.
A turn off onto a long dirt road.
An abandoned cabin on a lake.
No power or telephones.
Alone in the woods.
An eerie rain/fog/mist that descends and obscures vision.
A decrepit house/hotel with an equally creepy outbuilding.
These characteristics make a perfect setup for a horror movie and also described where we slept last night.
We followed some vague directions down a long dirt road past a decrepit hotel with an outbuilding to an abandoned cabin on a lake where all the power lines had been cut.
Just like the opening scenes of a slasher movie, we were filled with anticipation and excitement of arriving at our destination, in this case not only Ushuaia, but also the cabin. What had been described to us as incredible, beautiful, amazing did not disappoint. The cabin was amazing.
Last night dark clouds rolled in as we settled into the cabin we selected. Shortly afterwards, the wind and rain started, churning up the lake to the point it had small whitecaps.
We were happy to have four walls and a roof that protected us from the elements. We watched the storm while eating our dinner, safe behind the large glass picture windows.
The fog descended later, limiting visibility.
And then (sorry to disappoint you dear reader), we had a great night’s sleep.
The next morning I told Sarah, “You wait here, I’m going by myself to explore that old decrepit hotel up the road.”
To which she replied, “That’s great, I’m going to take a long, hot, steamy shower and soap myself up, especially my boobs, over and over again, all alone in the cabin. Don’t forget to take a light,” eerily foreshadowing the titillating scenes from slasher flicks.
“I’ve got it covered,” holding up the matchbook with a single match remaining, displaying my naive dumbass white-guy character retort before becoming a gruesome casualty.
My memory gets worse with more hair that I lose, so the last couple parts of the conversation may not be quite accurate. In fact, I’m sure they’re not since the cabin had no running water and I had two matches.
I set off for the hotel and walked the perimeter, looking for an entrance. The doors were locked, blocked or boarded up, as were the easily accessible windows. However, I did find a small basement entrance, tucked away under the front entrance stairs, open. It was small and seemed to swallow up any light that approached it.
I entered the pitch black basement, guided only by my old dim headlamp. I ducked under pipes, moving away from the entrance to the blackness beyond. I was in the boiler room. The cast iron monstrosity was cold and silent. I banged on the pressure vessel to see if it contained any water. If I learned anything from horror movies, nothing wakes a shambling horror of the dark like making a lot of noise.
I rounded a corner, leaving the entrance behind, still in all consuming darkness, and slowly made my way down the hall. A little off in the distance, I spotted something lying on the floor outside of a doorway. It was a shirt.
Entering the room, I found more clothes strewn about the floor. I was in the laundry room. I found an old industrial washer. One shelf contained empty bottles of bleach and liquid laundry detergent. There was some powdered laundry detergent in a bag, which I stuffed in an empty pillow sack that I retrieved from the pile of laundry on the floor. The soap would be perfect for cleaning our clothes.
Again, based on my horror movie knowledge, I was assured that some unspeakable evil would follow me because I took something sacred from their abode. I figured it would be a ghost because the detergent had “blanqueador adicional” (extra whitening). Who else, besides a ghost, needs their sheets extra white?
Back out in the hallway, my dim headlamp picked out a industrial top loading freezer at the end of the hall. I had to open it. Who knew what Leatherface had stored inside?
I can tell you. Nothing, other than a whole lot of foul smells. I doubled over, gagging a little, and I noticed a stream of something dark red and partially dried coming from the doorway of the last remaining room to the right in the cave-dark hall. This is the point in the movie when someone from the theater audience yells, “Don’t go in there you fool!
The metal clad door, to what I could only imagine was a kill room (again from horror movies) screamed loudly on its hinges as I pulled it open.
Disappointedly, I found myself in a walk in cooler.
The stainless steel industrial shelves were empty, except for the ones behind the door. Six packs of food-service mustard and ketchup, still in the outer plastic wrapping, were on the shelf. One of the ketchup bottles had been punctured and had leaked onto the floor and out the door.
Unfortunately, the condiments had expired about ten years earlier, dashing my hopes of a condiment and cracker snack back at the cabin. The ten (or twentyish) second rule for eating food off the ground applies on a bicycle tour, but I doubted I could stretch that rule logarithmically with positive results.
I retraced my steps to the boiler room and saw a faint light coming from a narrow stairwell leading up.
This is what I found. The horrors that follow rival “The Shining.” Be warned, you can never un-see the following images.