The Mouth, 2nd expedition... and 3rd!
Since we obviously couldn't finish this tunnel on foot on our last visit, Dani, Ben, and I returned with a canoe.  This turned out to be one of the spookiest experiences of our exploring thus far!

Here we are just inside the entrance to the tunnel. 

Since the canoe was only a two-seater, Ben had to bring along a milk crate to sit on.  This also came in handy in toting all our gear. 

Because the tunnel was so large, most of the shots we took didn't come out very well.  However, the water in the tunnel was full of debris, including many sports balls. 

This volleyball was in great condition, so we took it home with us (we also found a great soccer ball later; I guess it helps that the stream leading up to here runs right along the side of a park).

At this point, some considerable distance into the tunnel (who knows how far!) we started hearing sounds like footsteps on dry concrete.  We completely stopped.  No rowing, no talking, nothing.  We just sat and listened.  The noise was regular, but not so regular that I would have thought that it was simply machinery or some natural function.  The steps (?!) stopped and started back up again at several points.  Also, I had thought I heard voices just before we stopped rowing and really noticed the noise.

We were pretty worried.  Ben was in the middle of the boat, and I was steering from the back.  He leaned to me and whispered, "If it's workers who are supposed to be down here, I don't want to run into them.  If it's anyone else who isn't supposed to be down here, I really don't want to run into them."

We waited around for a while more, then said, you know what, this is too scary.  I would liked to have gone on, but I had to admit that it wasn't worth getting killed over.  I rationalized it that we could always return later.  Also, I had the pepper spray in the urbex kit, though, alas, not with us on the boat!  We doubled back and headed out.

Back at the entrance.

I think this might make a good xmas card or something.

If you look in the background, there's a couple of teenagers just to the right of the canoe at the entrance to the tunnel.

They were so intent on their quiet little lover's quarrel that they didn't really pay much attention to us.  I guess people emerge from tunnels in canoes all the time around here!

After this we drove along the Trinity River in Dallas in search of a sign of the outlet where the tunnel might have unloaded.  Eventually, we just gave up on any hope of ever answering that question using this approach, and instead looked for a place to canoe on the Trinity itself.   See more about those adventures here.

The Final Expedition (for now...)

On Sunday Dani and I we were planning to go exploring some of the more rural waterways around Ft. Worth like where Benbrook Lake empties into the woods.  We scouted out the area by car before we got lunch, but before we returned with the canoe, it had started raining.  In the meantime, I had been pestering Dani about what was in the remainder of "The Mouth."  Before too long she was willing to check it out just to get it over with.  And, after all, canoeing in the tunnel would mean being out of the rain.  If nothing else, we would get a little more use out of our boat than we would have otherwise.  However, she only wanted to do the tunnel on the condition that we get a 2,000,000 candlepower spotlight so we could see whatever was ahead with plenty of advance notice.  Well, we hit Walmart for a new spotlight ($18) and headed back to Dallas.

The yellow thing in the picture is one of the regular flashlights that Dani had cleverly tied to the front of the canoe.

Although the dimensions of the tunnel are lost in the darkness, you can at least see a lot of the debris on the surface of the water.

Mostly this was just bottles and lots of styrofoam, but there were also pieces of lumber and tree branches that made navigating somewhat difficult.

At last, the end of the line!

As always, it is somewhat difficult to make out in this image (even with the 2M spotlight on), but ceiling curves downward to create a dead end. 

I figure this is that it is exactly the same configuration as the end of The Drop-Off we spotted on the Trinity on Saturday, only this time the water was much higher relative to the tunnel.  Presumably, beneath all this was a sizable drop-off before continuing on as another, lower section of the tunnel.

I have to admit that the end of the tunnel was a bit disappointing.  I had really hoped to find an exit to the river or at least an exit to somewhere!  Instead, this left some pretty weird questions.  Just what was producing those sounds?  They definitely sounded like they came from ahead of us on that previous visit, yet nowhere along the way was there any place where we saw any side tunnels.

This continues to vex me and creep me out the more I think about it!

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 10/2&3/04.

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