Polaroid – Trip 1 & 2
POLAROID!! Polaroid, Polaroid, Polaroid!
Someone once asked me, accusingly, if I was an explorer or a re-explorer. In other words, did I explore places that other people hadn’t been to (since they were abandoned), or did I just get a bunch of information off the internet and visit places that were well known. Polaroid was one of the places that made me an explorer and not just a re-explorer.
Polaroid was the subject of a brief, fervent, and perhaps obsessive exploring binge during the winter of 2008/2009. Many of my friends joked that I was addicted to the acrid chemical fumes of this iconic film production plant. In truth, though, there were many factors which combined to create a place that I just could not get enough of. I had always been aware of this place, as I passed it nearly every day on my way to high school, and the idea that it was now abandoned was almost too much to bear. My excitement when I first heard about it being empty was overwhelming. The inside of many of the buildings was also incredibly unique…unlike anything I had explored before and will probably ever explore again. There were COUNTLESS interesting and surprising new areas to discover.
Another undeniable factor in my love of this place was adrenaline. While it outwardly seemed to be fairly quiet at the campus, it was also a complete unknown to me. I had no way of knowing what the security situation was, if there even was one. My first trip to campus was with a friend, but many of my trips were made alone. When you combine solo exploring with the fact that almost every trip I took here happened to coincide with a major blizzard, you have a recipe for excitement. The blizzards and long trek through the woods to reach the buildings gave the place an incredibly eerie, isolated feeling. I could not help but think of the movie Alien as countless terrifying noises echoed through the black halls of this place. Water was slowly seeping into the buildings and produced insane banging noises as it hit the sheet metal of various equipment at the factory. I can remember on two separate trips being absolutely positive I heard voices as I huddled alone in the dark, but there was never anyone there. Never, that is, except for the one time when they were actively demoing buildings on campus and I decided that was not going to stop me from going.
Like I said…I was a bit obsessed.
The day we attacked this first building was like so many of the other days I went here in that there was a blizzard going on. At least 8 inches of new snow was on the ground with more coming down by the minute. We were exhausted just getting to the building, much less actually getting inside and exploring it. I really have to thank my friend Jackson for coming with me on this trip despite it being a somewhat daunting task with limited rewards. It set the stage for one of the best exploring runs I have ever had in my life.
My second trip to Polaroid was a solo trip. It was a bit warmer, so it was raining and all the snow on the buildings was melting and dripping everywhere. The sounds in the building were disconcerting to say the least. Seeing all the areas where chemicals were stored, even when the tanks had already been removed as part of the remediation process, was what really solidified my interest in this place.