Archives for: November 2005

11/17/05

Permalink 09:30:43 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 101 words   English (US)

doling cave

A few weekends back, a bunch of us from Underground Ozarks took the tour they were offering of Doling Cave in Doling Park in Springfield.

Honestly, the cave was fairly generic as caves go, with few formations and just one long stretch of tunnel, but we pretty much knew that before we went in. It was the fact that the cave was normally locked up that had us dying to see the inside. And because we were actually doing something legal for a change, we were able to meet a lot of users from the site that we'd never met before.

11/10/05

Permalink 12:15:31 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1064 words   English (US)

carthage underground with reporter

A few weeks back, we returned to the Carthage Underground with Max McCoy, a reporter for the Joplin Globe, to do a story about us and the Underground.

We started out the night, as always, by meeting up at our usual spot. Most of our group sort of trickled in, but everyone showed up just in time. For this one, we had Underdog, Willard, Sertile, David Keetz, Anne, Dave, Hiccup and myself. Half of us loaded up into my vehicle (which had a canoe strapped to the roof) and half loaded up into Anne's.

An hour later we pulled into the Carthage Wal-mart. We were meeting our friend Dru there as well as Max McCoy, and neither was there yet. Max was the first to arrive, and he had a paranormal investigator with him that he was doing a story on. She'd been interested in coming, Max had asked me if it was all right, and I told him to go ahead and bring her.

We told Max we were running in to take a leak, and several of us went inside. We did our business, and then I started looking around to see if we could buy an extra set of plastic paddles for one of our rafts. It appeared that inflatables rafts and accessories were a seasonal item, though, because we couldn't find them anywhere. We did, however, find Dru wandering around inside, and everyone was finally present.

Back outside, Max was already interviewing the people who had stayed. We milled around for a bit while he asked us questions and signed a couple books for Anne. It was pretty cool to actually get interviewed for something like that.

With that finished, we drove down to where the Underground was located, dumped off the canoe and boats, our gear, and most of our group, then we went and parked somewhere else. It was just a short walk back to the entrance, so everyone didn't have to wait long for us to return. Once there, several of us picked up the canoe and started leading the way, and it seemed a lot heavier carrying it that far.

Just outside the entrance, we stopped to take a break. We wandered inside the upper level and showed everyone around a little bit. There was a road inside that sloped down into the lower level, but there was lots of debris in front of it. We decided it would probably be better to take the canoe in through a second entrance that was directly next to the other one, because it went straight into the second level.

We picked up our junk one more time, went through the second entrance, and followed the road that sloped down into the lower level. The entire level was flooded, and we stopped at the shore of what was basically an underground lake. For many, this was their first time there, and everyone was pretty stoked.

A few of the guys started airing up Sertile's inflatable boat, while I started hooking up the trolling motor to the canoe. Unfortunately, once it was hooked up, it refused to work. I thought maybe the battery was dead or no good, but I found out later the trolling motor had just had some sort of mechanical problem. Which sucked, because hauling it and the extremely heavy battery for it down there had been a real pain in the ass. There was nothing I could do about it down there, though, so I aired up my raft and we were ready to rock.

Six of us loaded up into my canoe, another three loaded up into my inflatable boat, and another two loaded up into Sertile's boat which was tied to the rear of my raft. We put Anne at the head of the canoe with the propane lantern, and I took up the rear with oar duty. We finally shoved off and got to exploring.

We paddled straight into the darkness, with no general direction in mind. We joked around about the supposed reptiles that lived in the cavern and did our usual pirate schtick. It was pretty similar to the last trip we had made there, although it was ten times easier with everyone having room to sit comfortably in the boats. We just made a big lazy loop around the western side of the level until we were back around by the entrance again.

After that, we headed off in a different direction, where we stopped to let Max take some pictures. We just sort of bobbed in the water for a while, turning around and around a few times. When he was done, I realized I didn't really have any idea which way we'd come from anymore. It wasn't a big deal, since the place had four walls and all you had to do was follow them until you found your way out. It had also happened every single time we'd been there. Still, though, it was a little embarassing to do that in front of the reporter.

In all, it took us about an hour to find our way back to the entrance. It wouldn't have mattered, but Max had told us that he and the paranormal investigator had to go to a seance later on that night. No, I'm not making that up. We made it back to the shore with almost no time to spare. Max thanked us and told us he'd had a blast, then they made a quick exit.

It took us a little while to deflate the rafts and load everything up. Plus, none of us were really in the mood to carry all that crap back out of the Underground. Eventually, though, we did, although we stopped outside the entrance while a few of the group went into the upper level to check it out.

On the way back to the car, we just loaded everything into the canoe and had everyone help carry it. It was slow-going and very tiring. We had to stop a couple times just to rest, but finally made it back to the car. There, everyone sat around for a bit while I went through the big ordeal of strapping the canoe back onto my vehicle.

With that done, we all loaded up and started heading back to Springfield, wondering what the newspaper article would say about us.

11/04/05

Permalink 11:15:02 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 960 words   English (US)

msu tunnel mischief

A while back, we went to a place that I've spent a ridiculous amount of time in over the years: the tunnels of Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University).

David Keetz, Anne, and myself met up at our usual spot that afternoon. We waited around for a bit and made a few phone calls to see if anyone else was coming, but everyone else was tied up. It was going to be just the three of us.

From there, we drove over to MSU and parked in a lot where we didn't believe we would be ticketed. We headed into campus on foot and began systematically checking every way into the tunnels that I could remember. Once upon a time, I'd known every nook and cranny of those tunnels and could get in a million different ways. However, it had been around a year since the last time I was there, and the university had done lots of construction and renovation since then.

We wandered from place to place around campus, checking each way I knew into the tunnels, and every time we came up empty. It didn't matter how reliable the entrance had once been. They were all sealed up. And, in all reality, it was probably due to the amount of time some of us used to spend exploring those tunnels.

When a couple hours had passed without luck, we called Hiccup and told her to meet us at campus since she was just getting off work. While we were waiting, I tried a desperate way into the tunnels that required me twisting my body through an opening that wasn't really big enough for my body. I wrenched my shoulder pretty good in the process, but I got through. Unfortunately, it only got me into the basement of one of the buildings on campus, and there was no way into the tunnels from that particular point. I was forced to head back up out of the building.

When Hiccup got there, we decided to try a way into the tunnels that I'd thought of earlier, but had been too afraid to try in broad daylight. It was not only extremely obvious to anyone passing by, but it was also going to require some really time-consuming (but harmless) tinkering to work. Since it was dark and we were desperate, we decided to try it.

It took probably half an hour, which was much longer than I expected. In fact, we were almost ready to give up and go home when I finally got in. Hiccup, Keetz, and Anne were off where I couldn't see them, so I made the long dash down the tunnels to one of the buildings so that I could let them inside. They hadn't known I had gotten in, so they were a little surprised to see me come out a different way.

They followed me back down into the tunnels, and we proceeded to spend the next hour or so just exploring. My memory was pretty rusty when it came to the tunnels, but I knew where we were most of the time. And it was almost impossible to get lost down there anyway. But there was all kinds of new construction and pipes down there that were completely throwing me off.

I took them to several of the buildings' basements and showed them where the tunnels came up. We didn't really go up into any of them, but it was fun to do a little spying from the basements to see where we were or if anyone was around. All in all, I probably showed them about half of the existing tunnels under the campus before we were ready to head out.

On the way out, I had everyone stop. There was something I always loved to do when I was down in the tunnels, although it probably had a lot to do with why the tunnels were so hard to get into. We found a large vent, one of several, that went up to the surface for ventilation. There, you could see out of a grate onto the sidewalk and watch students coming and going. I had everyone climb up inside the vent chamber, so our faces were about ankle-high on the people passing by, and we waited.

When someone finally came passing by, I screamed at the top of my lungs at them, "ARGH! I'M GONNA EAT YOU!" Every single time they would jump out of their skin, almost tripping over themselves to get away from the screaming tunnel mutants or whatever they thought we were. Then they'd almost always start laughing and wander off.

It was even better when a group of six girls came walking by, and I simply roared wordlessly at them. The lead girl stopped, stared at the grate for half a second, then proceeded to scream bloody murder and scramble backwards. When she started doing that, the other five immediately starting screaming as well (although none of them seemed to know what they were screaming about) and they all nearly knocked each other over trying to get back from the grate. When they realized there was nothing to be afraid of, they started laughing embarassedly. To top it off, two guys we'd scared earlier were standing off nearby laughing hysterically at what we'd just done. They yelled that we deserved a medal for that one.

We scared a few more people as quickly as we could, then we figured we'd better get the hell out of there before someone called security. We scooted on down the tunnel to the closest building, went up inside, and exited out onto the sidewalk. Then, we walked back to our cars and headed on home for the night.

Underground Ozarks Blog

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

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