Many years ago, I night hiked into the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant (INAAP) in southern Indiana — the most substantial industrial abandonment in the United States. Sprawling over 19,000 acres, INAAP was overwhelming. An entire day could be spent just covering one power plant, for instance. But two power plants? Dozens upon dozens of pristine buildings that were unused after the Vietnam War? Katy bar the door, you know it’s going to be a long day ahead.
Accompanying me were two other seasoned explorers. Our goal? To camp atop Power Plant 401-1 and take in the sunrise.
Parking at a nearby forest reserve, we opted to hike into INAAP via long-mothballed railroad tracks and roads to avoid being covered in ticks and chiggers as much as possible. We were ever mindful of armed guards who did routine patrols in their trucks.
Using only the moon as our light, we completed a good three miles in the dark before coming up to the disused power plant. At seven stories high, the coal burner was immensely sized and a surprisingly robust climb up a maze of grated stairs and walkways. Cupping our flashlights with our hands to avoid stray light from escaping the building and arousing the suspicion of any passing guard, we carefully made our way up.
At the roof, we set up camp, which consisted only of our sleeping bags and mats, and tried to catch up on a few hours of sleep. The trek was worth it.
For miles around, there was nobody but silent buildings, and the occasional passing patrol truck. The world was seemingly ours for that fleeting moment as we watched the sun rise above the horizon, glistening the brick and asbestos-covered buildings with a warm glow.