The Fire Remains

I’ve spent far too long wondering if Gary was meant to be my finale as an explorer after all. It was by far my most successful trip, at a time when everything was slowly starting to fall apart for me, one success nearly swept away by a rising tide of failure. I’d been talking about quitting exploring for months, but I knew it was a lie, and most of the people who actually knew me knew it was a lie, and I didn’t care — it made good marketing. I planned a big meet for the end of it all, to try to check off the last thing on my bucket list, to go to one of the events that I’d been specifically disinvited from over the years, even if I had to organize it all myself. But of course, when the time came, no one actually wanted to go, it was all just designed to keep me waiting and get me excited for nothing.

Then on April 1 things got much worse again: National Block Bill Day was no joke, there was an actual campaign with hundreds of people participating, with the specific purpose of spending a day bashing me and finally blocking me, so I’d no longer have any communication with these people. I did the deed myself on March 31 instead, blocking a few hundred explorers, against my beliefs, just so that they couldn’t have the satisfaction of being the one who hits the block button (and so on April 2 I could unblock them and add them back, if I felt so inclined).

I didn’t explore at all in April or May. I didn’t really want to either; I was still scarred by the Providence experience to the point that I didn’t want to travel anywhere to meet up with people (not that anyone was really there to meet up with, seeing as most anyone who was anyone blocked me…) and certainly didn’t feel like extending any sort of hospitality to them to come here and see our whole lot of local nothing. I didn’t miss exploring too much either that spring, I spent my weekends hiking with Christian, or camping at the Orchard with my friends, or doing really just about anything else, there wasn’t time for sitting around bored.

One invitation, if you could call it that, came up at the end of May, to go to Chestfest, one of the most renowned UE meets in North America. At first I couldn’t contain myself at the thought that this might happen (and I only got the chance because I’d already threatened to raft down the river next to the meet and drop anchor just over the property line, and someone thought that might be dangerous). But the invite came with a price: I would have to find my own transportation there (next to impossible), sign a painfully restrictive piece of legalese, and worst of all, I could only stay for part of the second day, and be there while everyone why belonged there was out exploring, so that I’d miss out on the day of exploring while I was at the camp, and miss out on the fun night in camp since I’d be home by the time the party really got started.

Then by June everything else started to slow down, and I’m spending more of my time watching soccer than anything, as the summer goes by, and I realize that I probably won’t get that far at all with any of what I planned or dreamed. Everything I plan goes nowhere, as one should probably expect around me, and all that ever happens is fail. So, when I get the chance one morning to go to the Rochester incinerator, despite it being far less interesting than most, and a place I’d been many times years ago, of course I took the opportunity.

The last few years weren’t exactly kind to this place since I was here last…

At least the giant claws are still here, even though half the place has been demolished and more has just fallen in on its own.

Hmmm… NOPE?

I climbed this entire mountain of trash thinking there might be something on the other side.

I was wrong, there was just a kind of mediocre view.

The basement ovens were surrounded with asbestos bricks. Smash these against the wall and they release unholy amounts of white dust.

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