Beaver Tunnel, the Return
On our previous visit to this system of tunnels, we had to eventually double back in part due to lack of back-up supplies (i.e., batteries) and mainly out of sheer exhaustion.  This time, we planned to plow straight through the areas we had already covered until we reached where we had left off in this system.  However, there were a few noteworthy features we were compelled to check out along the way.



The first interesting thing we ran across was in not too far into the tunnel.  They're paving roads in front of the as-yet-unopened Pier 1 Imports headquarters, so this manhole cover is being redone. 

What we're looking at right here is the wooden frame preceding the concrete version.

It was quite a surprise to get to this point and see sunlight.


Here's a view from above.  We revisited the spot later in the evening to get the GPS coordinates.

There's Dani way, way down the ladder.  The manhole is about three feet above where I'm standing.

We saw two fairly large crawfish down here as well, but the digital equivalent of the shutter speed was set wrong, so the pics were too blurry to post.


I'm not certain, but I think this part is new.  This looks like it was formerly a small side tunnel, but it is now covered over by what looks like new brick and mortar.

This is be probable since this spot is under part of the Pier 1 building (or at least that property).  I didn't pay much attention to the area above- ground before construction began on the building, so I don't know what, if anything, was altered by way of drainage.


This is just another shot of my favorite room.  With the flash on, it's hard to tell (and the picture is kind of dark besides), but a lot of light comes into this room on a sunny day thanks to the curbside drains in three places along the left side.

Here's Dani dumping out her boots.  This was the worst part of the trip.  The water in this pipe gets really deep in just one spot.  It's only about twenty feet of it, but it might as well be a mile since there's no going around it.

We even tried a parallel tunnel on the way back, but all of them have this low spot where it pools.  Be prepared to get wet until it hasn't rained in a month.


And here's a really neat room.  There's another shot of this on our last trip through here, but I like this one.

The tunnel to the left is one of the three parallel ones we came through (actually, this is the one we took on the return trip).

Behind Dani is where we went next.


This tunnel didn't have much of a flow, but there were a lot of sinkholes.  For example, the pool in the middle here was as much as a foot deep with a straight drop-off.  You definitely want to watch where you step.

Incidentally, somewhere near here I was able to access a small side tunnel out to a roadway and poke my head out and get a GPS reading.


Further along this tunnel started to get to be a back-breaker.

At last!  It's like finding the source of the Mississippi River.  What humble beginnings after all.

This part was just a few feet around a ninety degree turn at the end of the main tunnel (which, as you can see, had a still lower ceiling than even the section before).

Was it worth it?  Of course!  Even though we didn't see anything dramatic in this section, knowing how it ended was worth the trip.  And good exercise besides!


I noticed this on the return trip.  Several of the sections of the culvert have dates on them.  I don't know whether this reflects when the sections were fabricated (i.e., when the concrete was poured) or whether the tunnel was built on these dates, but either way this is a lot newer than I would have suspected.

We were surprised and disappointed to find that there were no turtles on this trip (given than I had seen some on both previous visits), but we did see tracks from some sort of mammal.

I think it's really neat how the tunnel alternates between old brick and mortar construction (right) and this modern concrete (left).

Thanks for the pained look, Dani!  Actually, we had been in the tunnel for nearly three hours by this point, so both of us were just about exhausted.


The next day we went above ground to see where we had been below (based off of GPS readings as we were able to take them).

You see that highrise off in the distance?  Look in the center of the picture, just right of the telephone pole.  That's the Pier 1 building.

This picture is taken looking in the direction of the hypotenuse.  We actually went down two sides of a right triangle from here, perhaps as much as two or three miles total.


Alexplored 7/31/04.

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