The first road trip of the year was a smashing success. It also was roughly 3,000 km of driving but so worth it! We woke ridiculously early on the second day & made the 3+ hour drive to what was sure to be a amazing explore. I had some good friends provide me with some basic details but essentially we were going in blind as many months had passed since my friends had gone. Whatever, we were out there so may as well give it a go. Parking a good distance away we began the hike through the woods where the snow was so deep in some areas it was up to our waist! Then there was a creek we had to cross, then up a steep hill & across an open field. It was exhausting but we finally reached our destination! I noticed right away fresh footprints in the snow & a well worn path leading to the building. We assumed other explorers & went in & began our initial walk through.
We entered through the gymnasium & the above photo was the first thing we saw when we entered. This was going to be an amazing explore! I decided to tell my friends about the fresh footprints & path in the snow the reply I received made the rest of the explore VERY tense. I knew the property owner lived on site but what didn't know until that moment he actually patrols the buildings! Uggh...then as more details emerge things became very real as the owner not only patrols but he also comes inside the buildings & has threatened others with a shotgun he carries! After a few more of these horror stories we decided to take a cautious approach with this one. As there were multiple floors we'd take turns, one shoots while the other keeps a lookout.
We made our way to the upper floor to start out our explore. This was entirely used for sleeping quarters & had multiple rooms filled with small single beds. The decay was pretty amazing & so much left behind! As it was the beginning of January & super cold, the windows were almost completely frosted over making it difficult to see if the owner was coming. I would have to stand on a window ledge & peer out a small space where there wasn't frost.
The second floor was a teaching floor with multiple classrooms & some were really cool with themed setups such as the one above. Don't let the colourful beds & interesting rooms fool you. This place has a very dark past with government payouts to former inmates for the mental, physical, sexual & emotional abuse they suffered. Without giving too much information away this facility is one of many that were part of a scheme to use children as cheap labour. Misdiagnosis was an easy way to fill these facilities. A child essentially woud be thrown in here for having no real disability other than being born to a single mother! These were essentially work farms. It's really quite shameful. After this facility was shut down it was purchased by an outdoors group which is quite evident by some of the class rooms.
The ground floor was mainly administrative with numerous rooms set up as office & other storage areas. Through one set of doors was a very large chapel & although this was mostly empty, it still was quite stunning & still had the organ! Further off the chapel lead to a theatre & the gymnasium however there was still the basement to explore!
I really didn't know what to expect when I went into the basement of this place & what I saw absolutely amazed me. This place just kept getting more interesting which each newly explored area! I was really on egde though as now I was out of ear shot from my exploring partner & in the basement there was likely no cell signal & already it was spotty at best. I did a quick run around so I could pass along what should be shot & what avoided to ensure we were quick. I then stood guard, eyes glued to the pathway in which the angry owner could make his approach. When it was my turn I shot all the same areas but then noticed a small corridor that I had previously missed on my initial scout. Well, what I found down there was even more incredible! A fully in tact doctors office!!!
"How could this place keep getting better?" Was all I could think of. I took my pics & filmed, then ran back up to share my discovery! Back down she goes to the well hidden room! Finally we had finished the main building & chapel & now just had the theatre & gymnasium left. Well, things just kept getting better as difficult as it may seem, it was true!
The theatre was at the back of the gymnasium & seated 56. It was used for viewing films & aside from some decay, it wasn't all that interesting. That said the gymnasium was incredible! With a suspended track encompassing three quarters of the gymnasium! The main level was lined on either side with lockers & at the centre back was a stage!
The floor here was deadly icy & extreme caution was necessary! Keep in mind, the entire time we were taking turns keeping watch while the other explored so it took twice as long increasing the possibility of getting caught. We were so close to being finished so we pressed on. After we both shot the gymnasium, I headed down to the basement below as I was told, not only is it disgusting but also so amazing! I was worried that the air quality would be bad & we both had neglected to bring our respirators but I was determined to see the treasures hidden below. As I walked down the icy stairs & turn on my flashlight I get a glimpse of what is in store.
Once again I am speechless. It was like a fun zone down here! Foosball, air hockey, bowling, pool, skis, snowshoes & on & on. I did my video, ran up & said "you need to go down there now!". While I anxiously waited for my turn for pictures I nervously kept watching hoping & even a little praying we wouldn't be interrupted so I could properly document the entire facility. My time came & I was loving every minute I was down there.
I finally emerged with a smile ear to ear feeling very accomplished! We both packed up our gear & made the painfully long walk through the deep snow. Tired, cold & wet we were once again at the creek which to give reference was almost knee high. I was wearing rubber boots & the water was close to the top. I took our gear across the creek then came back & piggybacked my girlfriend across since the snow drifts we had previously used had washed away with the slight current. After a long trek through the forest we finally arrived at our car. For the next hour we were smiling & babbling about the absolutely incredible explore we had successfully completed!
Now, here's the full gallery! Don't forget to check out the video as not all areas I took photos of!