Under NE Mall
Dani and I spotted this tunnel while we were at the mall looking for Halloween costumes a couple weeks earlier.  We didn't have our gear at the time, so this had to be put aside until we got around to it this weekend.  Honestly, I didn't think this was going to be a very long tunnel.  I mean, like most tunnels beneath parking lots, I figured this one would just open right up on the other side.  Lucky us... it was much more than that!

Here's the entrance, with four tunnels running straight back.  We entered at the one just behind Dani.

There are several other smaller tunnels on either side. 

As you can barely see to the left, a small round one empties into the canal, as does another one in what looks like the fifth tunnel.

Also, there is another, larger culvert entering this area from the right....

...which didn't turn out to be much after all.  This was a little room where things split into this short rectangular one or continued ahead in a smaller, round one.

As you can see here, the tunnel was comfortable enough to walk in, and remained nearly this height throughout.  Of course, I wish we had brought our bikes.

Note that the tunnel meandered all over the place like this rather than making a straight run between points A and B.

If you knew how mean Dani can be, you would find this picture as appropriate as I do!

There was actually a lot of graffiti in patches throughout this system.  Normally you only find a few tags at the openings, but I was surprised to find how far back the artists had ventured.

This was an odd find: mineral formations!  These were reminiscent of the ones we found in the first part of the Rat Race.  There were also some stalactites above here, but we didn't find anything else like this elsewhere in this system.

Finally we came to a room where two of the tunnels joined before splitting up again.  We entered from the right, closest to the wall. 

There were seven tunnels right here.  Two to the right, two in front of me, and three to the left.  On the way back, we found a similar area to this where the other two tunnels ran parallel to here.

I went up one of the smaller tunnels and got a GPS reading from right next to the interstate.  We were about 0.38 of a mile from where we started at this point.

A little further upstream we reached this place on the edge of a parking lot. 

You can't see it very clearly, but there are a couple shopping carts from Garden Ridge right here in the grass.

And here are a couple more carts.  I think we saw maybe five of these throughout the system. 

Actually, we interpreted this as a reassuring sign that we wouldn't reach a dead end or ever-narrowing culverts.  I mean, the carts had to have gotten downstream somehow.

Note that this section (and a few others) was really muddy and littered with a lot of debris (concrete, rocks, bricks, etc.), so it wasn't the easiest place to tackle on bikes.

Finally, we exited on the opposite side of the parking lot from where we started.  Dani is taking this picture from where we exited, and I'm standing next to the tunnel we returned through.

Total distance = 0.75 miles.  Of course, like I said, the tunnel was anything but a straight line, so the actual walk was maybe a little over a mile.

On the way back we ran across my favorite unexplained phenomenon: the walled-up dead end. 

Oddly enough, there was another tunnel almost parallel to this one just a couple feet over which was not obstructed.  Go figure. 

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 11/7/04.
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