The Austin Arch Tunnel
On a trip down to Austin to visit friends, I wanted to get in at least one tunnel in the area, so I called up RevSM from SUV and he gave me great directions/descriptions to several (Thanks, Rev!).  I managed to scout out a couple, but only had time to do this one while I was in town.

I had been in the entrance to this tunnel earlier in the day just to scout it out and saw a couple wet footprints leading into the tunnel just inside the entrance.  They had since dried, but they were really fresh when I first got there.

Any second now I expected a vagrant to jump out from around the corner and drag Dani off into the darkness.

There was quite a bit of graffiti in this tunnel even a long way back, although most of it wasn't as elaborate as these pieces.  None of it was terribly clever which is presumably why they chose to hide it underground.

This broken pipe was interesting.  Whenever I see something like this, I wonder about the interruption of service event that occurred when it broke and how they managed to trace it back far enough to shut the valve.

Kids, don't fill your canteens here.

I'm not sure why this stuff is blue, but apparently this is a leakage of a sewer pipe into this section.  We never found the source though, and it was localized to just this area.

The self-portraits of the "artists" were cute.

I wanted to explore, but Dani just had to log some shadow puppet hours so her license wouldn't expire.

This was a weird spot that shows there's just no rhyme or reason to tunnels sometimes.  This section of the tunnel suddenly got really high, then went right back to being relatively short (well, ~9' high) again a couple hundred feet or so later.

This was kind of scary.  Water was pouring though the wall here between the bricks.  Additionally, it was obvious that the area just above had been patched sometime in the past.  While it was unlikely that there would be a cave-in while we were there, you have to wonder how often the city checks in on this impending disaster.

We spotted a set of little pink eyes up ahead in the distance.  It turned out to be a pair of raccoons that always stayed a good stretch away from us.  Eventually they found a small side tunnel and hid in there until we passed.

At this point it looked like the tunnel split three ways, but the two on the left rejoined a short ways ahead.  I checked out the round tunnel on the left, but it just seemed to go on forever.

Here's one place where the two tunnels were connected.  Good thing someone wrote "duck" or I wouldn't have had a clue what to do when I got here.

A little further ahead the tunnel merged, but the ceiling got too low to continue comfortably.  However, there was a curbside drain that allowed easy access for me to get a photo and a GPS reading.  Apparently we had traveled just under a mile (as the crow flies), although it was a bit more than that since the tunnel was somewhat curvy.

On the way back we apparently pestered the raccoons once again.  There was another set of fresh tracks heading back in the opposite direction as before.  Poor guys.

Yes, Dani did to this tunnel in shoes... which meant I gave her piggy-back rides at a couple points where the water was more than half an inch deep.  No, that wasn't the only time she tried to choke me this weekend.

Alexplored 7/15/06.
Back to the Index