Turtle Tunnel
I found this one with Dani while on a scouting "expedition" around Dallas a couple months before we actually explored it.  The name derives from the fact that, when we first visited this site, there was a multitude of life swimming in the water near the entrance, including an unbelievable number of turtles, fish, and who knows what else!  The water was practically frothing with activity, but that was greatly diminished on this visit, although it was not exactly absent. 

The tunnel's "entrance" mentioned above is actually a bit too hard to get into due to steep concrete sides.  Thankfully, not much farther along, there is a manhole with a ladder.

To check the depth of the water, I dropped a rock in from above, only to find that it went pretty deep!  Next, I tried a foot and found that the water was relatively shallow but that there was soft muck that continued for quite a ways down.  Finally, Dani handed me a stick and I probed the depth: a foot and a half! This was well past what our boots could handle!

Since I could see light from the opposite end of the tunnel, I knew roughly where it ended, so we we headed upstream for a look.

This is a shot looking into it from the far end.  Obviously, this was a pretty inviting system, so I couldn't resist going a little ways into it... at least until the depth became prohibitive.

Here's a shot of Dani just inside, in the only part of the tunnel that curved.  From here to the other end it was completely straight and remained this width.

There was not a lot of life visible at this end other than a few animal tracks, but when I surveyed the depth earlier, aquatic animals stirred up by my presence were darting through the water near the light at the other end.

There were several of these manholes along the length (which we already knew from walking the length of the tunnel above-ground on the way to the far end).

This was the only pipe to cut across this tunnel.  Also, there was only a single, tiny inlet of drainage to enter from the walls.

This was a surprising find: plants!  While we periodically find seedlings spouting in the dark, we have never before run across a huge mat of grass.  This mass was connected together and was apparently alive, although the greener areas are not visible as such in this image.

Toward the last stretch of our journey (perhaps halfway though the tunnel), the mud grew deep enough to completely bog us down.  Dani was on the verge of having to go it in her socks since the mud was stealing her boots from her feet!

We trudged through the last few feet to the nearby ladder and up to a manhole.  Fortuantely, I was able to pop off the top and give us an early exit and a complete detour from the mud rather than having to double back.

Finally, here's a view of  the other end.  I'm standing on top of the tunnel in this shot.  The other end where we actually entered is a little short of a third of a mile behind me.

Just to the right of the center of the frame is a manhole cover, although not one we entered. 

The tunnel resumes by going beneath I-35, but we couldn't check this out due to the aforementioned depth of muck in this section.

Coincidentally, the unintended homeless shelter is just to the left of here on the other side of the interstate.

Alexplored 10/17/04.
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