The Unsettlement Tunnel
I have had a long and frustrating history with this tunnel.  Dani and I originally tried to explore it about 18 months ago before we even started taking pictures for this site.  Then we ran across homeless people (who thankfully didn't notice us), and we doubled back.  Next, Ben and I tried it, but the water was too deep in one spot to go any further since he had a tear in one of my old boots he was borrowing.  Finally, this time, Brei and I checked it out while she was in Fort Worth on business.

Here's the exit where water empties into the Trinity River.

The nice thing about Texas is that in the middle of March, you can almost step right on a water moccasin.  There was one just a few feet from where Brei is standing in this picture (between her and me; on the rocks at the edge of the water, though I can't see it from here). 

She didn't notice it (nor it she, apparently), but it saw me and went into the water just as I got there... and then came head-first back up on the rocks for a moment before darting away again!

We hit the same deep patch that caused Ben and I to turn back last time, so we did so again on this trip and came here, to the opposite end of the tunnel.

The tunnels briefly open out into a valley before resuming on the other side. 

This is about as far as Dani and I made it the first time I was here because...

...once the tunnel opens out, there is a whole community of homeless people living here.  There are several tents and lots of furniture.

When Dani and I came, we heard people talking, so we approached this exit quietly and peered around the corner.  There were at least three homeless people sitting around drinking and laughing (which is why we heard them and not the reverse).

This time, however...

Brei was spotted by a homeless lady when she started to cross over to the tunnel on the opposite side of the valley.  We had seen her, but we thought we could make it without being accosted.  At first the lady must have thought we were trying to sneak into the camp and steal her stuff, but then she saw that we were a couple goofballs in rubber boots, so she just said hello and looked confused.

We went on into the tunnel without any of us saying much, but about a minute later, she leaned in and yelled down the tunnel, "Ya'll be careful.  Watch out for broken glass!"  We said we would and thanks.  Of course, the broken glass came from the fact that this was the garbage disposal for the camp (and was likely the basis for its convenient location as well).

So we learned another lesson: You want to reduce pollution, then you've got to address the homeless situation.  Are ya readin' me here?

This was just a really neat downpour where it looked like this was a huge calcium deposit like that seen in many of the tunnels in Dallas, but I couldn't be certain.

Here's something I hadn't seen before (there's something every time!).

This is metal barricade to deflect high water from impacting this "trap door."

The idea behind the trap doors is to keep the water from going back up the drain.  Note that this is the first of these I have ever encountered in a tunnel (although larger versions can be found all along the Trinity River).

And here's the return trip.  Once again we ran across the homeless lady in the valley.  It seemed no one else was interested in our presence (I heard her tell someone, "There they are again."), but she came over and asked how it was going.  We told her we were okay (actually, Brei did all the talking; she should have her own show).

The lady said she had been depressed and added, "Some days are diamonds, some days are gold."  That didn't seem to back up the assertion of depression, but, um, okay.

I really would have liked to have taken more pictures of the homeless camp (or "unsettlement" as Brei coined it after our scare), but I didn't want to be rude and whip out the camera like their home was a tourist attraction.  However, at a later date I will put up some pictures of the area that I took on another occasion.  Stay tuned.
Alexplored 3/29/05. 

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