PBW: Montauk Heroes

Being a misfit superhero, one must deal with many pitfalls, such as being upstaged by one's sidekick. If you're a regular reader of B13's Fotographica, today's Photo Blog Wednesday might feel like a bit of a rerun. Since he was the one who told me of the existence of Camp Hero in Montauk, an abandoned army facility near the lighthouse at Long Island's Easternmost point, I can't really fault him for putting his pictures up first. He also drove and got us there in record time, even driving 90 MPH with his hands off the wheel as he took off his jacket at one point and we swerved a little. It would be the first of many risks on a long adventure.

One of the first sights I noticed was an enormous radar tower in the distance. I zoomed in for a shot, confident we'd make our way toward it eventually, without any concept of how long that might actually take.

Was B13 taking a dangerous risk, or merely “bluffing”?

Erosion created interesting textures in the bluffs overlooking the beach far below, and in the distance the lighthouse beckoned.

I thought it interesting that these birds were swimming in formation, and noted three distinct species grouped together.

The perspective doesn't do justice to how far down the beach was. As it is, we both probably ventured closer to the edge than was wise.

Though I could zoom in and get some great images of the lighthouse from the bluffs, I definitely wanted to get a closer look. The radar tower would wait as we proceeded East.

Various bunkers and concrete structures were sealed up and overgrown. It was an interesting environment to explore, and after jumping down from a small hill to get a closer look at one of these structures, my heart froze when B13 suddenly warned: “Wild dogs!”

Thankfully, the rustling and movement in the underbrush was a trio of young deer. They blended in well, and though I didn't exercise a ”one shot, one photo” rule, I only ended up with one photo where you can kind of see a tail. Eventually the wind shifted or we made too much noise, and they fled. I crept around to another trail, listening for them, and spied them already across a road and vanishing into deeper growth. I found myself striving to be a tracker, to be everything a hunter is, short of being a killer, because even in that moment it was the one aspect of hunting I couldn't comprehend.

With the deer gone, I was back to shooting concrete buried by nature.

And still that lighthouse beckoned.

We tried a side trail that ultimately went nowhere, and had to double back and traverse the official trail which was more pond than path.

We found ourselves on my favorite kind of path. As a kid exploring nature preserves in my area, I loved when forests formed tunnels. I also noticed markings on a branch and knew a deer had rubbed his antlers. That false sense of being a hunter rose up once more.

At times, the growth was so thick that I lost my sense of direction and even the lighthouse seemed farther away.

Yet the trail only went in one direction, and emerged down on the rocky beach at the base of the lighthouse.

A flattened toe wall around the base of the lighthouse warded off erosion and provided a way past the crashing waves below.

Even without that sign, a fence kept us off the slope leading to the lighthouse.

Though, as B13 noted in his entry, we found a Stargate Chevron, we lacked six others to dial a proper address and activate a portal across the galaxy. If we had, I imagine that mysterious, massive square block nearby would have lit up.

Even as the clouds gathered, the sun provided interesting backlighting for the pillar before me.

A round rock nestled in a rounded hole in one of the boulders made me surmise that the waves and time had used the smaller rock to wear away at the larger one. Either that, or some kid threw it in there.

A bittersweet message written on one of the boulders down the beach moved me.

Something about one particular naturally occurring rock formation really spoke to me.

B13 held up the spine of a small fisherman that had asked him too many questions about the “family”. I hoped he was joking, and moved on.

We walked and walked and walked, and though I was sure the coast would bring us back around the other side of the lighthouse, we got further and further away from it. Beyond a swamp lay private residential areas, so we found a road that led back up to the main entrance to the lighthouse.

On an overlook, I inspected a map and got a better sense of where we where, where the lighthouse was, and just what the various land masses far across the water were.

After finally seeing the lighthouse from the front, and walking for well over an hour, it was past time to get back to that military facility.

All the brochures warned about unexploded ordinance along the Battery 113 trail. Not at all discouraged by the hammering sounds we'd later realize were gunshots, we set off on another hike, exercising the same level of caution we had up on the bluffs.

What could be behind this door? Would Lou Diamond Phillips and a contingent of soldiers be guarding Victor Drazen? Would we find John Locke? The rusted-away portion at the base of the door was irresistible.

Sticking my hand in and using my flash, I got to see pipes and rubble. Yay!

The winding trail framed by trees was endless, and I lost count of how many times we crossed the same stream on a wooden bridge I hoped was not the same as the one before. After three hours, I was starting to feel tired and hungry. Gunshots and a darkening sky discouraged me from resting.

The battery of guns once mounted on this wall used ammunition larger than a man. The parking lot and road beyond it meant we probably could have driven to this area. What are the odds?

We might have disobeyed the signs to get a closer look at the radar tower, but there was a man(soldier?) in fatigues back in the parking lot, and I could sense we were being observed. That last shot was taken on the trail back to the original bluffs, when clouds parted to make way for a blue sky, and trees parted to give me a clear shot.

Red clay deposits mixed in to the stream that followed alongside our path.

How much fun would it be to play golf on these bluffs? It would be like extreme golfing. “The crowd goes silent as McGavin lines up his shot and....oh no! The undermined cliff just gave way. Looks like he'll lose a few strokes, and quite a bit of blood too. That's a shame.”

It was so tempting to climb down to the beach, even though I could see pockets of empty space between the eroded areas. Fortunately, up the road there was a path down to that section of the beach.

Seeing the bluffs from this angle made me realize how risky it was to get close to the edge, when there was nothing underneath to support us. I climbed up on a boulder to film the crashing waves....

...and when B13 tried to get some tabloid photos to expose my secret identity, I called upon my mutant solar abilities to foil his get-rich-quick scheme.

And so the world was safe again...but...for how long?



Blogger Lyndon said...

At night, under the right weather conditions, you could probably make a great indie horror film in that area.

I think we could call it the "Lighthouse" Kids looking to escape the stormy weather head to the old haunted lighthouse. Will the mystery lighthouse keeper get them, or will one of them have to revealing his amazing solar powers.

Starring MCF and introducing in his first role B13. Now all we to do is cast a female companion for the final role and we're set.

11/22/2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger b13 said...

It's been a long time since my first role.

11/22/2006 9:37 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

I've wanted to go to Montauk ever since I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie that resonated with me in that deepest and rarest of ways. I've never had a chance in the two times I've been to Lawn Guyland, so thanks for the pics n' such.

11/23/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Kev said...

Those are great photos.

I don't think I'd have been able to resist trying to pry open that rusted door and see if there was anything cool to explore.

11/23/2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger b13 said...

Trust me Kev, if I had a lock-pick or bolt cutters we would have been in like Flynn ;)

11/23/2006 11:57 PM  

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