Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Abandonment Issues: Northern Nippising House
As the rain teemed down in the early morning, we listened. Listened not just to the heavy raindrops colliding with our tent, but to the bear cub passing through our campsite and into the forest behind us. Moments later, we were up and about, foraging for breakfast and showering, much like the bear. Anticipating a rainy morning, we had planned a road trip in hopes of finding some abandoned locations to explore. We left Killarney Provincial Park behind us and set our sights on the first of 6 locations provided by a fellow explorer from Sudbury. Every time we approached the location where GPS co-ordinates promised an abandoned house, the sky stopped crying, as if the gods were giving us permission and vowing to keep us dry. But alas, it was not to be. Time after time, with the rainfall ceasing for those brief moments, we pulled up on empty fields where abandoned houses once stood, or tightly sealed structures. As we munched on fresh cherries and raspberries, 4 out of the 6 locations proved fruitless. East of Sudbury though, a small win amongst epic fails. The ceramic shack was exactly as advertised, jam packed with ceramics and moulds and paints, surrounded by a decaying frame, complete with collapsing floors and ceilings. That post is for another day, but it wet our whistle, and motivated us to continue venturing on to that 6th and final location.
As it had done for us all day, the rain suddenly stopped falling as we parked at the end of the long driveway leading up to the Northern Nippising House. A fifty-something year old man was parked a few dozen feet ahead of us, leaning on the roof of his blue Volvo, with his camera pointed at the house out in the field. We paid him no mind and began walking up the driveway like we owned the place. Halfway up, we heard him pull away.
A closer inspection revealed the shell of what was once a home, but is now merely skeletal remains. Not much is left of the Northern Nippising House, which is 60 kilometers east of Sudbury, in Warren, Ontario. There are very few remnants of human life, and nothing to indicate who may have once inhabited the house or when it was abandoned like an orphan child. But a quick internet search revealed that the property, like much of the land in Warren, is owned by the Spraull family, who were integral in first settling the town.
We passed the camera to and fro, as is protocol, and documented the emptiness inside. The soggy floorboards on the second story sagged under our feet, as we took cautious steps, with our best efforts to stick to the support beams. Next, we did what we always tend to do, we agreed that it was time to conclude our visit, and celebrated another mission accomplished with a hug and kiss, before exiting.
Life goes on
Tear down the walls
When god closes a window he rips a door off the hinges and throws the doorknob to the floor
Once upon a time
Its looking up
Up up and away
From whence it came
Stick with it
Off the pipe
Down to earth
As we descended and headed back to the door frame leading outside, the sky broke the days tradition and opened up, crying like a grieving mother.
Soaking wet, we began our long drive back to Killarney, where we dined on fresh whitefish under a blue sky with a bright sun and intermittent cloud cover, before returning to the campground and jumping off the 30 foot cliff into George Lake, and spending the rest of the day swimming, canoing and chilling around the campfire.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES