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Abandoned Legend: Lyndonville Radar Base


Sometimes there are places on this planet which become legendary. In the world of urbex, or urban exploration, these legends are locations that take on a mystical aspect, seeming otherworldly, nearly unattainable to reach in person. They tend to be hard to access, highly photographable, and more intricate, well-preserved or aesthetically significant than other abandoned locations. One such place for Full Dark is the abandoned Lyndonville Radar Base. Situated atop East Mountain in the remote Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, the mysterious and intriguing former Air Force Base is revered as a pinnacle of exploration by many urbexers.

Full Dark's urbex duo, myself and Ryan (explore in pairs when you can, you'll be safer), and our close friends Jen and Marcel of J&M Explorations decided to take on this location, and to do so in epic proportions. The four of us have taken on some very sketchy, very simple, and very intriguing abandoned locations in the past, but this one bought us to new heights (quite literally. We were able to get high here at a vantage point none of us had seen in the state of Vermont and within the context of abandoned exploration. ["Getting high" in urbex lingo means accessing the highest point of the location. Be it a rooftop, an upper floor, or a climbable portion of a structure, the top-most point of any location is the place to "get high".] The radar base is famous in the urbex community, mostly due to the astounding structures on the site and its extremely remote location.

Our small group had prepared the entry and exit with diligence, studying methods of access from other explorers, and keeping everything under wraps until we headed up the mountain. Our arrival was met with a massive roadblock, but not one that couldn't be traversed with our adventure beater, an '06 SUV that we utilize for off-roading and accessing the sketchier places to explore. Scratches don't matter, the access does! Being able to literally drive up East Mountain, and use the original AFB road, one lane and tightly hugged by short pines, was a relief to our plan. We were going to camp on top of one of the radar towers, and we were going to do so in style. We'd brought enough equipment with us that we knew we'd need the SUV to make that part of the plan happen.

It all seemed to go too well when we arrived at the top of the base and encountered a family, hiking with backpacks around the grounds. As an older gentleman, and obvious patriarch of the crew approached us, we were met with excitement, and legal permission to camp and explore the site. The rarity of that is unbelievable, especially on a lonely mountaintop. He turned out to be the landowner who's property we'd bypassed to get to the lower buildings (Administration Section) of the base. He informed us of how creepy the site can be at night (excellent) and how if we wanted to be abducted, this was the place! Weather and access were both in our favor, and now we'd secured a sense of safety in one of the most isolated bandos we'd ever gone to document. ["Bando", is just a simplified lingo nickname for abandoned place.] The place was ready for us, and we were ready to take on any climb, crawl, traverse, sidestep and squeeze it required to see every inch of it we could.

We scouted the most easily accessible campsite, and approached the top of one of the towers to find part of the roof access was either located precariously on the outside of the building, or had become a small pool of water between the floor and the ladder. Neither of those areas daunted us and we set up camp after throwing some fallen building material down to make bridge over the pool of rainwater. Nothing was deterring our ascent to the wide, solid cement roof to spend the night. With camp set up and the daylight heading into late afternoon, we donned our camera equipment and headed off to explore the base in full. Steel struts and sheets of twisted metal mingle with each other between the overgrown asphalt roadways. Where it was once a clearcut property, the shorter buildings lay almost hidden behind the dense pine forest. Jen even commented at one point how much like a funhouse the forest felt, as though trapped in a never ending sea of the same, pines of oddly exact trunk width filling one's vision, tricking the depth perception. It was a surreal experience.

More occurred that night we spent on top of the radar tower though, things we'll all hold forever in our minds and hearts that remain vivid and emotional. Within 24 hours, we'd experienced more from the sky, the towers, and our two friends than we'd even thought was possible. We asked for a mega-exploration, and a spooky place to watch the skies from, and we received all in full. For the rest of our adventure, and to find out more about the history of the abandoned Lyndonville Radar Base, watch the video on our Youtube channel: A Night Atop the Abandoned Radar Base.

Thanks for reading,

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