Location: North Hudson, Essex county
Been There: 1, 2, 4, 5
Built/Abandoned: 1956-1995
Difficulty: 1/5: Walk-in easy
Synopsis: An abandoned old-west style theme park, built during the Western movie/TV fad of the 50s and closing in 1995 due to changing tastes and a loss of interest in Westerns for 90s kids. Parts of it were sold off at auction in 2004 or so when it was clear the park would never reopen, otherwise it has been left to nature and snowy Adirondack winters to demolish it.


Location: Newcomb, Hamilton county
Been There:1, 2, 5, 9A
Built/Abandoned: 1899-1920s
Difficulty: 0/5: literally open, on the side of the road
Synopsis: A small village intended for miners working in the MacIntyre Company. Its claim to fame, or at least defense from obscurity, is that it was where Theodore Roosevelt found out he was President, after the assassination of McKinley at the Buffalo World’s Fair. Aside from historical context, Tahawus is really not interesting at all, being a few small houses in worse than average, and steadily deteriorating, condition. It can however be an interesting stop on the way, if the actual destination is the trailhead 1/10 of a mile down the road from it.


Location: Piercefield, St Lawrence county
Been There: 1, 7
Built/Abandoned: 1959-1994
Difficulty: 2/5: an annoying 15-minute walk from the nearest road, overgrown in the summer and fall
Synopsis: The remains of an abandoned boy scout camp. Not incredibly interesting, as most of the structures were intentionally temporary, and removed when the camp closed in 1994. The one positive of it is that it makes a decent night explore if we have a lot of time at the nearby campsite and people want to wander around.


Location: Henderson, Jefferson county
Been There: 1
Built/Abandoned: 1812/1918
Difficulty: 2/5: in a goddamn swamp
Synopsis: Never again. Have you ever hiked through a swamp on a rainy November night looking for a concrete block in the ground? I wouldn’t suggest it.


Location: Newton Falls, St Lawrence county
Been There: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Built/Abandoned: 1920s-1975
Difficulty: 1/5: parking and open gate at the corner of routes 3 and 60 (Lower Benson: 2/5, navigation skill and or luck required to find it)
Synopsis: An abandoned strip mining compound; the mine pit itself is now Lake Benson, just north of the buildings. Upper Benson, the easier to reach section, consists of 11 large, mostly blue, buildings, nearly empty but beautifully decayed, much more so by nature than people. It has generally been the most interesting location on the trip when we have been. Lower Benson has a few partially demolished, and one massive, mostly intact building, but is overall not as interesting and not usually worth the walk to get to.


Location: Newton Falls, St Lawrence county
Been There: 2 (failed), 6 (failed), 9B (failed)
Built/Abandoned: 1900s-2013?
Difficulty: 3/5: electricity and occasional trucks left there create the illusion of activity
Synopsis: Yet another paper mill, probably the most recent and intact, if we ever had the luck and balls to get in.


Location: Tupper Lake, Franklin county
Been There: 3, 4
Built/Abandoned: 1890s-200x
Difficulty: 3/5: building is clearly open, but also directly on the main road between lower and upper town in Tupper Lake. There is an active scrap yard with a guard dog behind, but not at, OWD.
Synopsis: The Oval Wood Dish Company, OWD, made just that for almost 100 years. I’m not sure what the interest in oval wood dishes was, but there was apparently quite a bit of demand. The factory later got bought out by Jardin, and briefly became the world leader in poker chip production before moving overseas.


Location: Deferiet, Jefferson county
Been There: 6, 8, 9A, 9B
Built/Abandoned: 1920s-2008
Difficulty: 1½/5: site is extremely open, some buildings require a bit of a climb through somewhat precarious rubble
Synopsis: A paper mill and a few buildings in its surrounding village (post office, bank, firehouse) that closed in the Second Great Depression — while relatively untouched by explorers and scrappers, there was a bit of a demolition effort, hastened by a US Army bunker buster bomb test in 2011. About 60-70% of the complex is intact, enough for most of a day exploring.


Location: Carthage, Lewis county
Been There: 6
Built/Abandoned: 1880s-1929
Difficulty: 2½/5: pain in the ass, probably literally so, to get to; extremely overgrown, swampy, mosquito ridden
Synopsis: A shell of a paper mill abandoned for the better part of a century, burned and mostly collapsed. Do not recommend in any way.


Location: Lyons Falls, Lewis county
Been There: 8, 9B
Built/Abandoned: 1910s-early 2000s
Difficulty: 1/5: wide open spaces, villagers don’t care about explorers in the mill
Synopsis: Major paper mill site for International Paper, closed during a consolidation in the early 2000s, and currently (slowly) in demolition. More intact than Deferiet, but also not quite as massive. There is an abundance of toxic waste here, which stinks powerfully without a gas mask!


Location: Fulton, Oswego county
Been There: 9A, 9B
Built/Abandoned: 1910s-2008
Difficulty: 1/5: wide open spaces, zero security, no current owner
Synopsis: Enormous abandoned chocolate factory, conveniently located a few blocks from route 3 on the way to/from the north country. Definitely worth a visit. We are probably the only explorers to have been here, photos are near impossible to find on the internet.


Location: Utica, Oneida county
Been There: 9B
Built/Abandoned: 1920s-late 2000s
Difficulty: 1½/5: entrance faces route 5, is (only) mildly sketchy
Synopsis: Sprawling factory building of some type, seems to have ended its life with diverse usages such as chiropractice, restaurants, an outlet mall, and offices for an Internet marketing firm. Extreme mold/mildew in some areas of the complex.


Location: Watertown, Jefferson county
Been There: 9B (failed)
Built/Abandoned: 1950s-2013
Difficulty: 3/5: Fence and potential security, active demolition site
Synopsis: Watertown’s main downtown hospital, closed and relocated in 2013, demolition in progress 2014-15.


Location: Watervliet, Rensselaer county
Been There: (4 times, never on North Country meets)
Built/Abandoned: 1910s-2000
Difficulty: 1/5: wide open building entrances, open gate from 1st street
Synopsis: Giant steel mill site, most of the machinery is gone but the sheer size of the location warrants a visit. Especially interesting at night as a UE-ish chill spot.


Location: Sharon Springs, Schoharie county
Been There: never
Built/Abandoned: 1910s-1980s
Difficulty: 2½/5: Occasional patrols but no arrests, just ejection from the property
Synopsis: A hotel built to take advantage of the sulphur springs, whose foul-tasting water was once thought to provide health benefits. Best known for its horrendous wallpaper.


Location: Gabriels (Harrietstown), Franklin county
Been There: never
Built/Abandoned: closed 2009
Difficulty: unknown
Synopsis: Former low-security New York state prison, built by CCC crews in the First Great Depression, closed during consolidation in the Second Great Depression. There is a new owner, and potential for reuse, but nothing has been done yet on site.



Location: Piercefield, St Lawrence county
Been There: 2, 3, 4
Length/Height: 1.1 mile each way/2440 feet
Difficulty: 2/5: short but somewhat steep climb, fire tower at top
Synopsis: A short mountain climb with a tower and amazing views of the night sky


Location: Piercefield, St Lawrence county (2 miles from campsite)
Been There: 1, 3, 5
Length: 5.2 miles, no significant peaks
Difficulty: 1½/5: a flat, scenic hike around an Adirondack lake, through an out of season and a recently abandoned camp and lots of woods


Location: Piercefield, St Lawrence county (literally at campsite)
Been There: 4, 9B
Length/Height: 2.6 miles, flat
Difficulty: 1½/5: flat but occasionally overgrown
Synopsis: Like 1 but shorter: hike around a lake, onto one of the world’s largest bogs, and through the remains of an abandoned camp


Location: North Elba, Essex county
Been There: 1, 3
Length/Height: 5.8 miles total, 4059 feet
Difficulty: 3/5: the easiest of the high peaks doesn’t make it a walk in the park
Synopsis: Probably the best introduction to high peaks hiking, despite being on the tourist trail, the peaks justify the traffic.


Location: Wilmington, Essex county
Been There: (2 times)
Built/Abandoned: 8 miles total, 4865 feet
Difficulty: 3½/5: well traveled high peaks trail
Synopsis: New York’s third highest mountain, set apart from the rest of the peaks, with encompassing views of the Adirondacks and even Vermont on a clear day


Location: Newcomb, Hamilton county
Been There: 9A (failed)
Length/Height: 26.2 miles total, 4340 feet
Difficulty: 5½/5: You will hate yourself for even attempting this beast.
Synopsis: Nope.

1: 2008 fall
2: 2009
3: 2010 summer
4: 2010 fall
5: 2011
6: 2012 summer
(7: 2013 spring, canceled)
8: 2013 fall
9A/9B: 2014
10: 2015 spring

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