While camping in the Finger Lakes National Forest in New York, I woke up around 5:30 a.m. to a ruckus approximately 200 yards away. As the clamor grew louder, I recognized it as chants, and my heart started racing.
I was all alone in my tent, and I prepared for some unknown event to bear down on my campsite. I had no cell service, so I hunkered down. The noise grew even louder and closer, and soon I saw a dozen tiny lights bobbing up and down, dispersed partially by the thick foliage between my campsite and where they were.
I slipped out of my sleeping bag, put on my boots, and walked out of the campsite in nothing more than my boxers in 40-degree weather. It was misting, and I was cold, so I hurried to a discreet location to watch the impending movement.
The lights were running along a forest service road and coming ever closer. The ruckus that was unidentifiable earlier was recognized as chants. As the group migrated towards me, standing in boots and dressed in underwear, I saw the group in a bright light.
More like, their light spotted me. All dozen of them.
It was a local National Guard unit out for a morning run.
I waved. Soaked and cold, I returned to my tent to grab a few more hours of sleep, relieved that I had survived the night.
For much of October, I spent life on the road exploring New York state. Camping in the back of the Subaru or a tent, I took in autumn splendor for all that it’s worth and came out with a renewed sense of being, some fantastic friends and connections, and a lot of delicious apple cider. Along the way, I came across some lovely abandoned residences – including this red-sided beauty in the Town of Hector. According to local residents, the house has been abandoned for over ten years. A curious inspection of the exterior reveals extensive termite damage that has compromised some of the structural components of the house. As a result, the western facade has bowed outward considerably. Inside, much remains in place, including furnishings, paintings, and kitchen appliances.
Nearby, along Middle Road, is an abandoned fruit-packing house, which was distributed via the Syracuse, Geneva & Corning Railway in Burdett. A neighboring residence, of similar design, was part of the packing house at one point.
The splendor of fall weather leads one to drive the back roads a bit more. Through Connecticut Hills and several nearby state forests, I came across endless vistas, tree-lined dirt roads, and brilliant color.
Occasionally, I would come across an abandoned building. Out in these parts, derelict buildings were hard to come by. Many were restored, in tidy condition, and actively used. This beauty, near Dryden, has been disused for some time.
Stay tuned for some other New York abandonments coming up in a later update!