Tuesday, January 27, 2009

forecast: bad roads ahead

Saskatchewan roads are bad. No one who lives here or even visits here can deny that. They are so terrible half the time I would rather drive on gravel then a half paved terrible highway. The government posts signs but that usually doesn't help. In our case when we run into these warning signs we take them as invitations to see what is on the other side.

Here are a few things I have learned:
1. those little red diamond signs on the side of the road marking a bump - 99.9% its a lie
* note: the bumps you have to worry about are the ones that are unmarked
2. if you hit a sign that says dead end - there is always a way around
3. sometimes road warnings are only marked from one direction, if you drive in from the other direction, well your screwed
4. if you hit a sign that says surface failures next 26km, they aren't kidding
5. when your road disappears into a lake, its time to turn around
6. if you have multiple signs in one area all yellow and orange you better be prepared
7. if you run into bridge construction and there was no warning about it, there is always a way around
8. really steep, curvy, winding, gravel downhill road leading down into a valley better have something at the bottom that is worth it
9. if you drive into a field on an abandoned road and run into squatters, turn around

Friday, January 23, 2009

maps & flaws

For all those times when you think the map is inaccurate and it turns out to be the truth. Here are just some quick tips if you see the following on a map:

1. The road goes through a lake. Its not a lie, the road will go through a lake and you may even be lucky enough to encounter a 4 way stop in the middle.

2. If the building you want is shown to be in the middle of a field with no access road. Its not a lie. You may have to drive on some old abandoned road to get there.

3. If you drive onto a road that is no longer on the map, keep driving, because your most likely to meet a grid ahead then turn back and and waste time. In turn, most grids once you reach one will lead to the highway.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

left behind

Cupboards stocked, shelves full, closets filled, coat hangers used, books & texts on the carpet .... where did the people go? We find plenty of these situations. It appears that the people just got up and left, leaving everything behind. Oddly enough everything is still in order almost as if it is ready to be used in a couple minutes. Here are some of my favorites.

Friday, January 16, 2009


And remember, always bring the proper gloves when you take an exploring trip.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The bad addition

I have never seen a building with a worst addition then then church I encountered on one of my road trips. Most additions are meant to blend in with the rest of the building to create most space. This church must have a huge congregation and they needed more space in the front entry way. But instead of investing some money into this project to make it beautiful red brick matching the rest of the building they make it bland, an ugly brown and cover it in siding. The most beautiful part most churches: the front.

Yuck! This disgusted me and was not even worthy of getting its picture taken but it did have beautiful side windows and I took a photo just so I could share with all of you so you can see what I mean. Don't get me wrong I love the church.. just the old part of the church, the addition was horribly done and ruined its whole sense of character and presentation. Need more space or not, this is just cruel to the world.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ghosttownscanda.ca cont'

On another note this site is a good idea. But what most people don't realize is that once a location gets onto the internet it is bound to be destroyed by:
a) antique hunters & people looking to take collectibles for their own collections
b) kids who decide to make it a party spot and destroy things or
c) people who find it funny to burn down old buildings aka arsonists.
There has been a lot of arson attacks on old buildings around the province this year. And this is why you don't see any of my locations posted on the internet. I want to protect these pieces of history, preserve & document what is left. Eventually these locations will all be gone but why not try and save them for as long as we can?

The internet is good, but when something like this site is started there is more bad that comes out of it then good. The few decent people that check out and add to the site are one in a few. As most people just leach off the locations and before you know it, there is nothing left. It is to bad we can not all share our locations publicly without worrying that they may be destroyed. I love to share pictures but you will never see me post any names unless of course it is already gone. I want to preserve the ghost towns and other locations I have worked hard to find and I plan to share them with those I trust.

I am posting this because a town that I use to go frequently has been vandalized and most things taken out of the houses. This use to be a classic ghost town with lots of old houses and lots of antiques. Now the houses are all boarded up because of vandals and kids partying. As well the owner of the land has started knocking some of the houses down because to many people are getting into them and they are dangerous. It is to bad that the owner has to do this at all. For years this town just sat there, visitors came and went no worry at all. Now look what has happened and I am willing to bet because of this site.

What I know is that another location publicly posted on the site is the cause of vandals stealing precious items from an old elevator as well as an old general store. I spoke with the owner of this old town and he told me that since the place was posted on this site the activity has doubled and people come out to party all the time. They have to monitor the vehicles coming and going. People are destroying and taking things from the elevator as well are other things from the land. The worst part are these things are being posted on the internet. For example, an old gas pump was stolen from the site and the owner stated it was a beautiful original pump that really added to the site. Someone came and stole it, a picture of this item was posted on the internet stating it was from there. The owner agrees that the site does more bad then good. He does however get the occasional photographer come out and ask to take photos of the site. They find it on the ghosttownscanada.ca site.

You can never really win with a site like this. But it is sad to see things like this happen to these classic locations.

Friday, January 9, 2009



I ran across this site a little over a year ago. Wow I hit the jackpot when it comes to rural exploration. Who needs to drive around needlessly to find ghost towns when you can have them handed to you on a platter. Names, pictures and sometimes history of the town all on this site. Did I mention sometimes they tell you how many residents are left? I thought this was the greatest site ever. Well was I ever wrong. For starters the only way to urban/rural explore is to go out driving on gravel roads yourself looking for towns, following all kinds of maps and doing some research. I refused to believe this site was that great, how could there be so many ghost towns? So I decided to challenge the site when I go on road trips. I made a map with purple dots on every town listed on the site. If we were in the area we would check it out.

Turns out I was right, things aren't always what they seem. As I suspected people were taking pictures of one or two abandoned buildings on the main stretch of these towns and listing them as ghost towns. Some ghost town, when you have one little abandoned building surrounded my occupied ones. Little by little I went through this list and wrote them off. None of these are ghost towns and a lot of them are very inaccurate.

One town that is almost a ghost town was listed with no residents and a classic ghost town! Funny how every time I go out to this place there is a resident living right across from the couple buildings remaining from the town. Not to mention that everything is decaying or being destroyed by teenagers or even antiquers. Mostly because people have found out about this town on this ever popular site and have turned it into their own party spot, not caring at all about its history.

This site disgusts me. Great idea, bad control. Anyone can post a couple picture of abandoned buildings in town and call it a ghost town. Who is verifying all these towns? Absolutely no one. And not to mention all those people that think because they have found a couple abandoned buildings in a town they can call it a ghost town and then consider themselves an urban/rural explorer? I'm confused shouldn't you find something that is actually worth our while. If we want to drive out to see a ghost town at least make sure its a real one, that means no residents and at very minimum six buildings. Someone should be verifying these towns, there should be standards and guidelines one must follow before posting on there. Admittedly this wouldn't solve everything but it would certainly weed out most of these supposed “ghost towns.”

Just a thought thought.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

winter macro

Here are some pictures that came out of my winter trip, most are macro as it was more sheltered in buildings and easier to take pictures. Most are from an abandoned elevator and abandoned shed. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

exploring in winter

My friend from another part of the province came to visit me on the weekend and we went out exploring. Just happened to be the coldest most snow covered weekend we have had. As well as windchill warnings all over the province and advisories not to travel. You would think this would stop us. Not a chance, we went out anyways, dressed for the weather we took on the elements in search of locations.

So here are some tips for exploring in -35 to -45 weather:

1. Dress in layers
2. Always bring heat packs with you - in my experience the instant packs that heat up in a couple minutes last the longest (usually 10 hours) as opposed to the re-usable variety
3. extra socks, scarfs and mitts are a must
4. winter boots, the higher the better
5. a good toque that covers your ears
6. ski pants - I bought a pair with extra pockets to carry extra batteries & my camera in
7. bring mag lights, because its winter you will run out of daylight fast and if you find something interesting you you will need good light
note: don't touch the mag light if its frozen
8. stay dry at all times, adjust to the temperature, when you get in your vehicle take off layers so you don't sweat
9. if you have glasses take them off or leave them in the vehicle, because when your walking a 1/4 mile in -35 weather to get to your destination, they freeze up fast
note: make sure everything you have is waterproof and windproof! Also if you have a vehicle it is good to leave it running or get remote start

Here are a couple things I have learned from the trip:

1. before opening a door to an abandoned house check for hinges, because standing in snow having a door fall on you, is well ... not very fun
2. if your going to walk 1/4 mile in -35 weather do not, I repeat do not fall down halfway in knee deep snow, because getting up is not an easy task
3. always put instant heat packs in your boots, having freezing toes when you are halfway to your destination is not a good thing and no one likes a complainer
4. if your hair is turning white, your scarf is frozen to your face as well as your glasses and your eyelashes are frozen together, maybe its time to turn back
5. Canon PowerShot A720 IS digital camera can withstand being dropped in snow, can handle being completely frozen, being covered in ice & water (melted snow)
note: men drink to much coffee and take to many bathroom breaks - my advice go to the bathroom before you leave and drink less coffee on the road

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Dolls

It seems everywhere I go there are dolls. Most of what people leave behind in houses is food and furniture, the standard things most people don't feel they need to bring along or leave behind in excuse to get new stuff. Most times though, people leave behind dolls. Yes little girls dolls, whether they be cloth or porcelain, an explorer is bound to find at least one while exploring. Here are my top 5 creepiest dolls, I have found to date. Most are porcelain dolls of course, I never never liked porcelain dolls and seeing them falling apart like this doesn't help at all.

Smashed Head

Headless Doll

Missing Expression

No Limbs

Peeling Face, Staring Eyes

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About Me

My photo
+ most of my time is spent exploring anything abandoned whether it be industrial, a ghost town, type of hospital, an old church or others + the other part of my time is spent getting an education or drawing

About Me

My photo
+ most of my time is spent exploring anything abandoned whether it be industrial, a ghost town, type of hospital, an old church or others + the other part of my time is spent getting an education or drawing