The Hermit's Tunnel
Dani and I had checked out this tunnel once before, only to find that a homeless person either lived there or was stashing his stuff inside.  Since we didn't know and it was the two of us without a can of mace, we aborted the trip and put it on the "to do" list for later.  Well, after Mike, Brei, Josh, and I had braved the wilds of the warehouse downtown earlier this day and didn't get killed, we figured we would give this place another shot.

Since we returned at night, I couldn't get a good shot of the stretch of the entrance.  This is a picture when I visited it with Dani (who didn't make the return trip since she was on call).

There are actually nine tunnels across.  Keep that in mind because I'm going to reference them by number later on.  Oh, and there will be a pop quiz.

We started off with the left-most tunnel (aka #1).

The last time we were here, the ledge I'm sitting on had a grocery bag on it containing a pack of hot dogs and bologna.  In other words, cheap meat.

Since there wasn't anything here this time, we figured the previous occupant was gone....

[Insert foreshadowing music]

...but we were very, very wrong.

The tunnels themselves weren't all that interesting.  They were pretty large (10'x10'), but there were only a few side tunnels, and the one I actually tried didn't seem to lead anywhere interesting.

However, this was a pretty cool spot with really great artwork.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of good pics of it because I was worried about running out the last of the batteries I had brought with me.

Eventually the tunnel opened out and restarted before opening into a canal again a short way further.

Once we got to the end, we returned via tunnel #8, which was on the opposite side.  Yes, #8, which means #9 went a different way and not parallel to the others.

Coming back via #8, we were almost to where we had started from when we found another "window" over to tunnel #9.

Over this ledge was draped a bunch of blankets, all of which were partially in the water.  Also, there was another bag of groceries on the right and, partially covered by the blankets was a large round candle.

Just beyond the window in the opposite tunnel (i.e., #9) was this bag of bread rolls, which were almost certainly from the Golden Corral (a buffet restaurant) just outside the canal.  I couldn't tell if they were wet or not since they were in the bag.

On a couple of dry patches of ground a little past the window was still more stuff, including an opened package containing a whole roasted chicken and several bottles of beer.

There were additional bags of groceries like the one in this shot.  However, I make it a rule not to disturb anyone's belongings, so I couldn't say what was in any of them.

Just a few feet further were three men's magazines: a couple issues of Maxim and an issue of Stuff.  Hey, there's Brook Burke!

Note that these were all wet, just like the blankets and so much else.  I have no explanation for why this guy would do this, especially considering no storm had passed through.

We had seen some wet footprints on the dry patches of concrete, so we knew that the owner must have been nearby.

Just a little further ahead were footprints in the wet mud (note the horizontal patterns to the left).

Just outside the tunnel, up the paved side of the canal were additional footprints as well as a blanket (possibly left there to dry), a pair of tennis shoes, and some other belongings such as clothing and the like.

Since we had apparently frightened off the resident already (I can only imagine his horror at four people tromping through his tunnel on a Saturday night), so we figured we would just go ahead and do tunnel #9.

This one grew smaller just a short way past the "window" (now it was 6'x6', as you can see).  Unfortunately, it just continued for a long way and only grew smaller.

Like it or not, we were going to have to go back the way we came.

On the return trip, we again passed the window... only something was different this time.

Notice the cup?  That wasn't there before.  I double checked this against the other photos we had taken earlier (most of which aren't posted), and confirmed that this was the case.

Apparently, our mystery man had thought we had left this time around (or maybe wasn't there earlier?) and had returned while we were in the smaller tunnel.

We never actually saw this guy, so who knows what the story is.  Maybe some sort of obsession with Phantom of the Opera?  Whatever the case, he stayed clear while we got out of his tunnel and made our way home.
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.

Update: A couple years after we originally explored this tunnel, I was in the area exploring with Phil, so we decided to check it out.  There was no sign of the hermit though nor even any of his belongings.  Over the previous year, there had been far more rain than usual, so I'm sure that must have repeatedly driven him away to the point he sought a more permanent place.
I did get a couple better shots of the artwork in the tunnel, however.

This is my favorite part because you usually don't see detailing on spray paint art quite like this.  I'm not sure it was all accomplished with a can.  Neat outlines as well.


Alexplored 3/5/05; revisited 12/10/07.  Some pics in the first section by Dokk.
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