The Church
This was the first of another marathon series of explorations prompted by yet another canoe rental.  With one day to use it in, Dani and I hit every tunnel we could think of.  I had previously scouted out this one when I had the inflatable raft from our earlier trip through the Drop-Off tunnel.  I made my way far enough in that I could see that this was a very large structure.  In fact, the name for this one arose when I described it as "a cathedral halfway filled with water."

Here I let Dani struggle with the canoe while I snap a shot of the entrance to the tunnel.

Almost a year before this trip Dani, Ben, and I stopped in front of this outfall on our way down the Trinity River.  However, the water was so high at the time that there was no way to get into the tunnel without swimming.  There was only an few inches of space between the surface of the water and top of the tunnel.

Even with the water level lowered, it was still pretty difficult to make our way in at the entrance.  Fortunately, this was only for about 50 feet or less.

Note that Dani has been in the sun for less than 30 minutes, and her back and shoulders are already burned.

Looking up to the grates high above. 

The wind cuts through here and plays this part like a flute.  We've experienced this on a number of levee towers like this one.

This gives you a sense of the scale of the tunnel at this point...

...and here's a look back to the entrance(s).

Note the fallen tree blocking the second tunnel from the left.  Naturally, that was the one we entered from, which is why we're turning to go down another tunnel in the second picture above. 

Further upstream things grew much larger as the tunnel climbed out of the water. 

In person, you can see down a considerable length of the tunnel, which is how I was able to describe this as "church-like."

The reason so much of this tunnel is visible is because of the light coming in from the other end.  In the early afternoon like this, the bright summer sunlight is enough to see by... once your eyes adjust.

Admittedly, this picture was taken most of the way through the tunnel, so it isn't representative of the entire passage.  In fact, you can see that it grew shallow enough at this point to get out and walk in several places (note the "dry" land to the right).

And here's the end of the tunnel. 

Yes, I know how H.R. Giger this looks.

That's me standing at the end of the tunnel.  Outside of it are metal rungs much like those outside of the Mouth tunnel we explored previously.

And this is a look from the outside.  Dani bent the steel bars at the bottom all by herself.

Looking around the area, you wouldn't think the water would get his high, but take a look at the piece of clothing in the middle of the frame that was caught from the current.

In the other direction, the stream continued through the woods.

Seeing as how we had only traveled about half a mile at this point, we went ahead and continued up the stream in the canoe, even though it was fairly shallow in spots.  The hope was that we would reach the Suicidal Turtle Tunnel, but the GPS revealed that we were heading away from it, so it was obviously part of a different water system.

At one point the stream branched, but I could see through the woods (and with the help of the GPS) that it was where the Duck Tunnel emptied out (i.e., the thing behind Dani).  Hey, neat.  Everything in the universe is connected.

After this, we parked the canoe in the woods and scouted nearby where there was another tunnel we had previously scouted out: The Cage.

Additional details about this trip can be found in a more lengthy write-up posted on my Journal page.  Jump right to the account of this expedition here.

Alexplored 6/25/05.
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