Sweet Science

This was one of those rare times that everything just happened to work out. It was unlikely enough that we managed to save the North Country trip at all, even if it's a few weeks early and none of the people I invited actually showed up, Hayden pulled it off and got not only the biggest meet in a few years, but a way to get there too, and off we were! After a few stops on the way to pick up food, beer and gas masks (mostly intended for the paper mills later on in the trip), we found…

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Bombed Out Mill

After the unexpected success at Lyons Falls, yet again we found ourselves at Deferiet and running out of daylight. If anything, Deferiet is an even bigger paper mill, although a huge part of the center is missing thanks to a rare opportunity for Fort Drum to do some live fire testing of a bunker buster in 2009 or so, leaving behind a crater of burned brick and twisted steel. The mill buildings aren't as interesting either, having been cleared out of most anything that could be moved when International Paper left. I have a feeling this waterfall used to be…

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Just Milling Around

This was something of a first for me - traveling somewhere far away to a place that not only have I been, but I wasn't with anyone guiding me to it. As fragile as things have been for me over the years finding people who will explore with me, it was probably a huge mistake, but one that paid off in the end. After a bit of wandering to check out an abandoned, delicious apple orchard (can all this fruit be free?) and another mill which seemed to have been demolished decades ago, we eventually made it to Lyons Falls,…

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Paper Trail

From the turn of the last century, the economy of New York's North Country has been based on three industries: mining, tourism, and paper. The trees of the vast Adirondack forests, and power from the fast-flowing rivers, were perfect for giant paper mills to develop, to the point that most paper in the United States in 1900 was made in New York and Maine. Rising demand and falling supplies of trees led to Canada taking over this position by the 1970s, then a precipitous drop in demand during the Information Age and into the present day led to the closure…

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Disappointment Island

After Benson Mines, this one was something of an impromptu explore halfway through a trip. We missed the exit onto 3A and took an unplanned detour into Carthage, when what to our wondering eyes should appear but a disembodied smokestack looking for its factory We chased it through the village, and finally figured out it was on an island, which would take some searching for. The island itself ended up being completely overgrown in eight-foot tall grass, and filled with a minefield of old foundations. Adding to our woes it just happened to also be 94 degrees with the sun…

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