FW Shopping Center, Part III
Continuing where we left off....

Finally, a room!  This is me climbing up the wall (not figuratively this time) on hand rungs. 

The room was roughly 15 x 10 ft. with the tunnel continuing at the same diameter into the opposing wall.

As you can see, the top few rungs were broken off, making it all but impossible for anyone with poor upper body strength (i.e., Dani) to climb out.

Add these pictures up.  What is this 15, 20 ft.?

The drain cover was off making this potentially the most hilarious/tragic opportunity for someone to fall through in all of Fort Worth.

I couldn't get high enough to see out (or if I had, it would have been a one-way trip) leaving this as a puzzle for another time.

Update: Based on the compass readings Dani and I took, we tracked this down to a spot on the opposite side of the mall from where we started.  The parking lot sounds mentioned earlier were likely from the mall lot.

Update #2:  Dani and a friend of hers saw on the news on 9/23/04 that a guy who had shoplifted something from the Albertson's grocery store up the street from here was chased to this spot and actually jumped down this hole!  I ran a search for this story in the FW Star Telegram and found the report:
Escape plan goes right down drain

By Alex Branch

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

FORT WORTH - Some people just have to show off.

Escaping a police foot chase wasn't good enough for a shoplifting suspect who evaded officers Thursday by dropping into a manhole.

He returned to the scene -- even talked to a TV cameraman -- as authorities searched for him in a nearby storm-water culvert.

The man was arrested after Lt. Dean Sullivan, the acting police spokesman, spotted the man and his wife getting on a city bus.

"Apparently, he had told a cameraman that he knew the guy and that 'They'll never catch him, he's the Gingerbread Man,' " Sullivan said. "I guess he was bragging."

The chase started at the Albertsons supermarket at Green Oaks Boulevard and Interstate 30 across from Ridgmar mall.

About 5 p.m., customers noticed a man behaving suspiciously and notified an off-duty police officer who was working security.

The officer watched the man walk past the check-out counters with four packs of baby back ribs, Sullivan said.

The officer chased the man out onto Green Oaks until the man dumped the ribs and jumped into a manhole.

"He just put his arms at his side and dropped like a missile," officer R.M. Salazar said.

It was about a 25-foot drop, fire Lt. Kent Worley said. Police said the drain had multiple exits.

The Fire Department's technical rescue team erected a tripod and, using straps and ropes, were lowered into the drain to look for the man.

They searched 400 feet but only found the suspect's glasses, Worley said.

Meanwhile, the man, who must have come up through another manhole, watched the search, Sullivan said.

He then boarded a bus on Green Oaks with his wife, whom officers had noticed earlier and questioned.

The man, whose name was not released, was being questioned late Thursday, Sullivan said.

Why wouldn't he have just kept running? "Some people just can't leave well enough alone," Sullivan said.

Published on September 24, 2004, Page 1A, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)

Returning to the story...

After the room, Dani and I were too tired to press on.  We headed back to get on with our last-minute xmas shopping.  These last few pics are from the return trip.

Approx. distance: 0.369 miles (1950 feet).  Note that the tunnel gradually curved, so this is a the hypotenuse (or "as the crow flies") between start and finish coordinates.

In spite of the scale of this tunnel, the lack of easy access, and the dearth of what I would have called a recognizable ecosystem, raccoons and/or other scroungers apparently find enough substenance to make it worth the commute!

Here's the calorie-burning workout you just do not want to try twice!

Why Dani has her jeans outside her boots is beyond me.

A final view of the entrance. 

Noteworthy in this picture is the size of the hill (another parking lot, actually) in the background.  How and when they laid a  tunnel this deep beneath the surface is a mystery.

You can also check out a view from the eye in the sky here.

Alexplored 12/24/03.

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