A common misconception
about Urban Exploration is that it is a glamourous activity. This is
not so. It's an illusion given life by the fact that most organized
urban explorers will only post their very best locations and adventures
on the internet. The successes. What most people don't realize (especially
those first beginning in UE) is that explorers regularly come home from
their excursions empty handed. The combined man-hours UEM has spent
trying locked doors and walking fruitlessly around fenced buildings
UEM Steps Out :
UEM began the day at Snowdon metro, where, before heading off to our next target, we partook of a few off-limits concrete corridors.
The end of the corridor was barricaded by a pair of doors which a helpful sign informed us were alarmed. We had plans that day, and they didn't included being chased off the premises by Metro security, so after a short walk down a more or less non-descript concrete hallway, we turned around and went back. (See the pics) Our first strike-out of the day.
We weren't fazed though, as we had bigger and better plans that day. Bigger being the operative word. Our goal sounded impressive, a rumoured cave behind the famous St. Joseph Oratory. The approach to the oratory was enthusiastic. We were excited about this cave, which our optimistic natures had convinced us really did exist, and that it wasn't just a rumour.
It was a rumour. Either that or just well hidden. Strike-out number two. But we weren't ready to throw in the towel yet. If not the outside, surely the inside of the oratory would prove to be full of secret passages, forgotten tombs, and other such delights.
No. The oratory, though a famous place of worship, also plays host to hundreds of tourists a day. As such, probably to keep these hapless people from losing themselves, most of the interesting doors are locked. The oratory was warm, quiet, and certainly interesting to wander around for awhile while we warmed up, but ultimately, it didn't scratch our itch to explore.
After a brief tour through Brother Andre's crypt (pictured right... hundreds of candles!) we exited back into the cold and driving snow to take another look for the cave.
By this point, our enthusiasm was lagging a bit, so we perked up quite a bit when we found a weird little manhole at the base of a tree in the nearby woods.
The area was secluded enough for us to yank the manhole off the drain it covered and a promising yawning hole opened up before us. Peering down it, it looked like we might actually have found a walkable pipe, so we elected Wotan to go down and check it out.
Bravely, Wotan climbed down the dodgy rusty latter and returned to the surface to disclose that there was nothing down there but bits of wood, dirt, and a large spider. Strike-out number three.
After such a parade of letdowns, we were all about ready to go home, so we headed off in that general direction, detouring along the way to trot through a square-ish deserted area formed by the backs of a few apartment buildings that Tux had played in as a boy. It was there that we decided, as a last-ditch effort, to locate the underground swimming pool and shopping plaza beneath the Rockland Apartments.
Getting in was simple. We used the old "wait by the door" trick, and gained access in only a minute or two. We were soon wandering the depths of the Rockland basements. We saw the pool, the laundry room (locked) and the garage (also locked, needing a passkey) and, bored with the basement, decided to ride the elevator 20 floors up to see if we could roof the place, which we promptly did:
Overall, the Rockland was probably
the most successful individual location
of the day (we saw some interesting utility stairs after all) but it
certainly wasn't anything we hadn't seen before.
After walking around on the windy cold roof for a bit, UEM decided to call it a day, and head on over to Brulerie St. Denis for a little bit of lunch...
So there you have it. A full day of exploration, some ups, but mostly downs, and not a single website section to show for it. This is the core, the meat and potatoes of urban exploration, and hopefully this page has gone a long way to illustrate that.
Tux, Mokonax, and Wotan.