Archives for: April 2005

04/25/05

Permalink 11:56:03 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 605 words   English (US)

8th street tunnel

This weekend, Hiccup and I drove up to Kansas City to visit her sister and do a little exploring.

We got up to Kansas City a little after nine in the morning. Since we weren't sure Hiccup's sister would be ready for us, we drove around the Independence area to scope out some abandoned storage caves. It took us a little while to find them, because I only had vague directions, but we found them after a bit of searching. We didn't have enough time to explore them, so we took some quick pictures of the entrances. Then we went on over to Hiccup's sister's house and spent most of the day hanging out with them.

Around five o'clock, we started heading over to Union Station to meet up with youthsonic, LostLenore, and S1L3N7B0B, who were going to give us a tour of an abandoned subway tunnel called the 8th Street Tunnel. Once everyone had showed up, we all pulled our cars around to the same lot. Then we all piled into youthsonic's vehicle and started heading over to the tunnel.

I can't go into too many details about where the entrance was located, but I can say this: If you didn't already know it was there, you'd never find it in a million years. It is absolutely the most well-concealed location I've ever seen. And that's saying something, considering it's right in downtown Kansas City. All the credit goes to Slim Jim, a fellow explorer who somehow managed to find this thing.

Once we were inside, the tunnel was just as cool as I had imagined. It still had working lights, which we turned on, and it stretched away almost as far as you could see. The ceiling was made out of brick and arched from the ceiling to the ground. There were two tunnels, with one running on top of the other one, and we were in the upper tunnel. It was also the older tunnel, having been constructed in 1881.

We walked down the length of the tunnel, and the ground sloped up toward the roof as we went. When we reached the end, we were forced to hunch over as the ceiling was now just a few feet above the ground. At the end of the upper tunnel, there was a massive chamber where the two tunnels came together. There was a ladder there for climbing down into the lower tunnel, and Hiccup, youthsonic and I climbed right down.

The lower tunnel, although it was the newer one, looked much worse than the one above it. There were huge mineral formations hanging from the ceiling, which looked like six-foot soda straws. The floor was also pure mud, and it was littered with old beams and other debris. We walked the length of it as well, where it eventually ended in a a big pile of dirt.

We started heading back after that, although I stopped several times to get some long exposure shots of the lighted tunnel. Once we got back to the entrance, we found that we couldn't get it sealed up like it had been when we found it. LostLenore, youthsonic, and S1L3N7B0B had to leave, so we were forced to leave the entrance wide open for the moment, since it looked like it would take some work to get it sealed up again. So, Hiccup and I went back with them, then drove our vehicle back to the tunnel and sealed up the entrance.

All in all, the 8th Street Tunnel is definitely one of the coolest places I've ever been.

04/08/05

Permalink 11:15:41 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 948 words   English (US)

carthage underground pt. 2

Last Sunday night, we went back to the abandoned mine in Carthage and did a little underground boating.

Sertile, Dru, Hiccup, and I arrived in Carthage shortly after dark. I'd bought a four-man inflatable boat from Wal-mart the day befoar, which we proceeded to inflate beside my car. I'd thought about bringing my canoe instead of buying the inflatable, but I'd decided against it. It would've been a lot of trouble to secure it to my car and drive all the way to Carthage like that. When the inflatable was all blown up, I balanced it on my head and we started heading into the woods.

Inside, we stopped to rest for a minute while I lit my kerosene lantern. I'd brought it this time so that I could actually take some decent long exposure shots of the mine's interior. While we were messing with that, I used my ten million CP spotlight to light up the mine for Hiccup. It was her first visit to a place like this, so it was pretty cool to see her amazed reaction. With the lantern lit, I took a couple quick pictures to show everyone what I could do with a constant light source. It was also nice to have the constant glow lighting our way, and I was kicking myself for not bringing it last time.

We made our way through the mine after that, finding the road down into the lower level. The water level seemed to be down a few feet from the last time, and we stopped at the edge to unload the gear we weren't planning on taking out on the water. Then, we all began piling into the inflatable and quickly realized that our four-man boat didn't hold four people very well.

Dru and I both took an oar and started paddling, while Sertile took lantern duty at the front of the boat, and we began slowly moving away from the shoar. I think we all felt an uneasy moment where we realized we were heading out onto what amounted to a frigid underground lake. It was a little nerve-wracking, but extremely exhilerating. We drifted through the water at a leisurely place, just enjoying the sight of the unnaturally green water all around us. We also kept cracking pirate jokes, and Dru was nice enough to sing a few bars of Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum on video for me.

We went and made a large loop back around to the second entrance to the lower level. We pulled into the shoar there to switch positions, and so that I could go back to my backpack and get my camcorder. I ran up the slope to the upper level, then back around to our gear, and quickly realized that I had accidentally left the camcorder in the car. Since I wasn't going all the way back to the car, I returned to the boat without it.

This time, Hiccup took lantern duty at the front of the boat, Dru held the spotlight and my camera, and Sertile and I took up the oars. We spent the next couple hours paddling aimlessly around the lower level, exploring every part of it. At some point, I took up both oars, since it seemed to be moar efficient. It was a little slower going, but it was easier to control which direction the boat was going.

Every now and then we'd come to a spot that was too shallow to pass and we'd start dragging bottom, but we always managed to find an alternate route around them. We'd also come across areas where the water was well over ten feet deep. It was a little scary to know that if we tipped the boat over there, we'd have a nightmare of a time swimming and wading in the icy water back to one of the entrances.

After a while, although we were having a blast, the cramped conditions of the boat started taking their toll on all of us. Plus, my arms were getting really tired from all the paddling. So, we started heading back, slowing down just long enough to take pictures of anything that caught our eye. Even making a pretty much direct line back to where we put in, it still took foarver to get back.

Back at the shoar, we piled out and got our gear together. I started deflating the boat, while Dru and Sertile wondered around to examine some discarded signs that were laying in the dirt. There were several strange ones, the funniest being one that Dru found with the word "BABIES" on it. Once the boat was finished, we went up to the upper level where everyone milled around while I took a few long exposure shots.

As we were finally leaving, we decided to try leaving a different way and got a nasty surprise. We headed out through another entrance that we'd found on our first visit, made our way through the woods for a few hundred feet, and came right out on the road. If we'd known how to get to that entrance on the way in, we could've saved ourselves about five minutes of marching through the woods in the dark.

We were all exhausted by the time we made it back to the car, but it was well worth it. I mean, there really wasn't much to see in the flooded section other than water and rock columns, but there was something amazing about floating through a cave on a bright green body of water. Even without the change in scenery, it was one of the most amazing explorations I've ever done.

Underground Ozarks Blog

Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.

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