Archives for: 2006

12/26/06

Permalink 02:04:31 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 962 words   English (US)

tunnel four-wheeling

A couple months back, Piplnr brought his four-wheeler to town and treated some of us to a high-speed ride through the Acid Tunnel and the Jordan Creek Tunnel.

Low-res video (259 KB)
High-res video (2.34 MB)

David Keetz, Hiccup, and myself met Piplnr and his wife, No Name, at our usual spot that evening. Piplnr had his four-wheeler strapped down in the bed, and the three of us decided to just ride with them. So, we piled into the back seat of Piplnr's vehicle and we were off to the Acid Tunnel.

When we were near the tunnel, we pulled off somewhere and let Piplnr unload the four-wheeler. He went ahead and started toward the tunnel on it, while No Name drove us down to a parking lot not far from the entrance. From there, we headed down to meet him and did our best to avoid being seen.

At the entrance, Piplnr had somehow already gotten the four-wheeler down into the drainage canal leading up to it. While we watched, he went ahead and did a test run down the tunnel. We watched him fly down to the first bend in the tunnel and then disappear around it, but we could still hear him (as well as anyone else within a few city blocks). It was ridiculously loud, and it's amazing that we didn't get caught just over that. On the way back, we could see the spooky light of Piplnr's headlights before he ever got to stretch of tunnel connected to the entrance.

When Piplnr returned, Keetz was the first to go, while I filmed. When they returned, Hiccup got on and took her ride, and watching her nervous reaction was hilarious. When they returned, it my turn, and I got on with the camcorder in hand to film the whole thing.

Piplnr took me on quite the wild ride. He said later that he got it all the way up to fifty-five MPH, and that seemed about right. He'd fly down the tunnel, slow as we came to a bend in the tunnel, and then gun it again. It was a blast.

When we were done there, we went back to No Name and drove over to where Piplnr was waiting to load the four-wheeler back up. It was actually a pretty slick operation, which is rare with the things we end up doing. With the four-wheeler loaded up, we started on over to the Jordan Creek Tunnel.

We stopped at a place where we'd be fairly out of sight and unloaded the four-wheeler, then No Name and the rest of us drove over to a good parking lot and started walking back. We ended up beating Piplnr to the entrance, too, but that was because he'd apparently had a hard time finding a good place to get the four-wheeler down into the canal that led up to the tunnel. He'd found a place, but he ended up going through a few feet of water in the process.

Piplnr went ahead and did a test run again and came back soaked. The Jordan Creek Tunnel was always pretty wet, and this time was no exception. I decided to take the first ride so that I could take more pictures and video of the other guys this time. So, I jumped on back and got the camcorder ready.

Although it wasn't as fast of a ride due to all the debris in the tunnel, the ride was longer and more exciting. We'd roar through foot-deep pools of water and soak ourselves. When we stopped at the end of the tunnel to turn around, I had to wipe the camera dry just to keep shooting. And on the way back, we had a few bats flying ahead of us, keeping pace. Since they were moving the same speed as us, they seemed to be floating in space. When we got back, Gimpface, She-Gimp, and Grey were also waiting at the entrance for a ride.

Hiccup went next, followed by David Keetz. Keetz and Piplnr got partway down the tunnel when we heard the four-wheeler stall out. We heard them try to start it a few times unsuccessfully, so we started walking down the tunnel to see what had happened. It turned out just to be water in the carburetor, and Piplnr was able to get it going again pretty quick.

Everyone else stayed there from that point on, but I decided to run down the tunnel to where the two smaller tunnels became one so I could take some pictures. I photographed Piplnr and his rider every time he made a pass, with them splashing huge streams of water as they went by. I was soaked, but the pictures I took were amazing. I got pictures of Gimpface, Grey, and She-Gimp riding. And when Shadowbearer showed up toward the end of things, I was able to get some good pictures of him riding as well.

After that, we headed out and Piplnr loaded up the four-wheeler once again. We had talked about climbing the MFA mill later that night, but I didn't figure everyone would want to now that we were all soaked. However, I was wrong, and everyone was still into it. So, we headed over and made our way inside.

We climbed the ladder up slowly, stopping every few floors to rest. When we reached the silos, Gimpface and She-Gimp decided to stay at that point (probably to have dirty mill sex), while the rest of us continued up to the highest point. Up there, we rested for a while and I got some awesome long exposure shots of everyone sitting on the edge of the building overlooking the city.

After that, we climbed down and headed home for the night.

10/18/06

Permalink 12:10:59 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 384 words   English (US)

return to falstaff brewery

While on our St. Louis vacation, Hiccup and I went with Memory_machine and Chris to check out Falstaff Brewery one more time.

Hiccup, Memory_machine, and I met up with Chris near the brewery. Last time, I had been the only one with waders, and no one else had gotten to explore the flooded brewery cave below the brewery. This time, I had my waders as well as several pair of cheap vinyl waders I'd bought for everyone else to use. I got three pairs of them out and passed them out and we were on our way.

Once inside the brewery, we were surprised to run into three guys wandering around looking at stuff. We talked to them a bit and it turned out they had seen the place on the site and wanted to check it out. They decided to come watch us go down into the water. I told them if I'd known they were going to be there, I would've brought three more pairs of waders from my vehicle for them.

Down in the cave, we all strapped into our waders and lowered ourselves down a rickety old ladder. I discovered right away that the water was much higher than the last time I was in there. In fact, it was so high that I wasn't going to be able to walk to every part of the cave where the water was deepest. And since the cheap waders everyone else were wearing were even shorter, they were even worse off. Still, everyone got down in anyway and we started checking it out.

We walked the length of the two main chambers, this time with my propane lantern to light the way. I also had my tripod and took several amazing long exposure shots of the interior. Last time, it had been winter and the warmth of the cave had caused a fog that made pictures almost impossible. This time, it was much more accomadating.

We made a big loop through the two chambers then started heading back. I stayed behind for a few minutes to take some more pictures, then I followed along. Everyone was pretty wet from the higher-than-normal water level, but it was still fun.

With that, we stripped out of our waders and made our retreat.

10/17/06

Permalink 08:38:44 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 940 words   English (US)

carondelet coke

While on our St. Louis vacation, we went with memory_machine to the legendary Carondelet Coke.

We went straight from Armour Meat and parked on a little side street near Carondelet. We headed in and started walking around a large open area surrounded by buildings. It sort of looked like a courtyard, although it had never actually been one. We picked one of the closest buildings and started checking it out.

The inside of the building was littered with bricks, broken plaster, and sheetrock. It looked to be some kind of employee area, since there were lockers in the corner. A homeless person or persons had apparently been living there, since there were piles of food and garbage in one corner next to a makeshift living area.

Our suspicions were confirmed when we attempted to go up to a second story. As we opened the door at the top of the stairs, a voice yelled out sleepily, "Who's there?" We yelled back an apology and went back the way we'd come. Squatting or not, we weren't going into anyone's bedroom while they were there.

At the next building we checked out, we ran across something pretty cool. Memory_machine had told us that thieves liked to bring stolen cars down here and set them on fire to eliminate the evidence. Well, sure enough, a burnt out Dodge pickup was sitting right there. In fact, it had been burned so recently that the tires were still smoking.

When I moved around to take some better pictuers of the truck, I had my second accident of the day (the first being the incident at Armour). I didn't see a nice big nail sticking out of the ashes, and I stepped right onto it and drove it nice and deep into my foot. It hurt like hell, but after taking my shoe off, I could see that I was fine. It hadn't even really bled.

At the next structure we checked out, we found yet another burnt out vehicle. This one was older and rusty and only the back half was left. And as we left that building, we found yet another vehicle, this one also rusty. It appeared this really was the hotspot for ditching stolen vehicles.

After that, we passed along a large pit full of disgusting water and debris on our way into the next building. I offered money if someone was willing to dive into it, but everyone politely declined. The building, however, was the most interesting so far. It was full of huge pipes (many with their valves gone), tanks, and catwalks around the ceiling. There was also electrical equipment and some kind of kiln or furnace. We also found our first evidence of someone playing a massive game of paintball there.

We took the opportunity to head up to one of the higher catwalks and walk around near the ceiling. The floor was mostly stable, but we could tell what parts weren't pretty easily. It gave us a good view of the surrounding property, which was fairly large, and we were able to spy on some construction workers there that were up to something.

Up next, we headed over to a large brick building that seemed to be some sort of furnace. If I remember right, only the bottom floor was easily accessible, and it was full of pipes jutting out through concrete supports. We found paintballs strewn all over the place, so I took the opportunity to photograph Hiccup squishing a few of them. We also managed to get up to the roof, which was covered with vegetation and an old sets of rail tracks. Nearby there was a nifty looking smokestack, but there didn't seem to be any way inside it. Besides that, I'd had my fill of smokestacks.

We passed by a big concrete area next that was sunk about three or four feet into the ground. It was mostly empty, but it had some round concrete pillars in places which people had decorated or thrown barrels over. It sort of resembled a weird swimming pool.

On our way across the railroad tracks, where we barely beat a train to get to the other part of Carondelet, we spotted another burnt out car. We reached a flat concrete area, and there were two more vehicles there. One of them was a fairly new truck that someone had gotten turned upside down. It was really strange.

Finally, we headed to the coolest part of Carondelet, something I'd been dying to see. It was a huge metal structure at the edge of the river for loading barges. We followed one of the conveyor belts on the structure down underground to a flooded little chamber with a sealed tunnel at the rear. It would've been cool to check out the tunnel, but it probably would've been a scary wet mess.

We headed out onto the actual structure after that, where huge metal pillars in the water held everything up. There was even an old rusty barge parked at the base. We spent a little while climbing around on everything and ended up on a nice long section that stuck way out over the river. It was probably thirty or so feet up from the water, and I was tempted to shed my clothes and have Hiccup take some video of me bailing into the river from it. Common sense won out, though, because there was no telling what might be under the water ready to impale me.

With that, we got a phone call from Chris and left Carondelet to go meet him for some further exploring.

10/05/06

Permalink 12:36:33 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1652 words   English (US)

almost died at armour meat

While on our St. Louis vacation, we returned to the Armour meat packing plant to climb the smokestack, which ended up being a HUGE mistake.

Disclaimer: Do not climb the smokestack after me, or YOU WILL DIE! Seriously!

We met up with memory_machine in the city that morning, then headed across the river into East St. Louis. He led us around to where Armour Meat was, since I didn't know the way there myself, then we parked and started loading up our gear. We had more gear than normal, because we were planning on doing some fancy rappelling stuff off of the smokestack.

We went inside and made our way through the building. We went up a few flights up stairs and came out onto the roof. From there, we went over to the base of one of the smokestacks, which extended about eighty feet or so up from the roof.

Believe it or not, I actually had a pretty good plan for climbing the smokestack safely. It involved a sturdy rappelling rope, a good harness, and a few carabiners. Unfortunately, I made a few errors in my plans. For one, my carabiners were too small to go easily over the ladder rungs embedded in the smokestack. For another, I had underestimated just how hard it would be to futz with the carabiners while perched precariously on a ladder. So, it looked like my plan for doing it safely wasn't going to work.

And right here was where I made a really stupid decision. I let the fact that I've wanted to climb a smokestack for years and that I'd been semi-obsessed with coming back and climbing this one seriously cloud my judgement. So, since the rungs felt pretty sturdy, I decided to just give it a go and climb up, then have memory_machine follow once I was at the top. Then we'd attach the rope to whatever we could up there and rappell back down.

At least, that was the plan.

I started climbing up the ladder, and everything went splendid. The rungs were strong and secure, and it seemed like it was going to be okay. It was a little scary the higher I got, but that was to be expected. Climbing great heights like that was always a little unnerving.

Around the last ten rungs, things went VERY wrong. For whatever reason, those last ten rungs, and only those last ten rungs, were extremely rusted and worn. Unfortunately, since I was focused on just climbing and not falling, I hadn't noticed just how badly--until the rung I was currently standing on STARTED TO BREAK!

People have asked me afterwards why I went up at that point instead of down. Honestly, there wasn't time to think about it. It was basically a moment of mind-numbing sheer terror. I just went for what instintively seemed safest, and that was to try and go up to the next rung and grab the top of the smokestack, which was just a couple feet out of my reach. Trying to go down, while I was already standing on a rung that was cracking like glass underneath me, just hadn't been what my panic-stricken body told me to do.

As I hurried up the last few rungs, all of which were cracking and bending underneath me, I ended up with another problem. One of the rungs at the top was missing, which forced me to put both feet on one rung to reach the top. That was something I'd been avoiding, and I'd actually made sure the whole way to be in constant contact with at least three rungs. When I put my full weight on the rung, it cracked and bent quickly, but I was able to step up and grab for the top.

When I grabbed ahold of the top of the smokestack, I ended up with another terrifying surprise. The bricks CAME OFF IN MY HANDS! I jerked away the top few bricks as quick as I could until I reached ones that held, and then jerked myself up onto the top of the smokestack. I'd been expecting the top of the smokestack to be fairly thick, but it was actually only like two bricks wide, so I ended up having to straddle it.

It sounds longer in my description, but only a few seconds passed from the time the rungs started breaking to when I pulled myself up onto the the top. And let me just say, because it's absolutely the truth, that I have NEVER been that scared in my life, not even close. When those rungs started breaking underneath me, I experienced a panic that I have never felt in my life.

However, sitting at the top was almost worse. After almost dying, I was now trapped eighty feet up with two rows of bricks underneath my crotch to keep me from going down. And if I fell, I'd go straight through a skylight below, then three stories down into a room full of rusty machinery. To make matters worse, there was nothing up there to attach the rope to, so there was no chance of rappelling down. I ended up just taking the rope out of my backpack and throwing it down so I wouldn't have to carry it again.

I yelled right away to memory_machine to not climb up, then I sat there for about ten minutes freaking out. I had no idea what I was going to do. I would've done anything, ANYTHING, to keep from having to go back down that ladder. If I'd thought there was some way the fire department could've come out and gotten to me, I would've just sat my ass there all day until they came and rescued me. I was honestly that scared, and I'm not someone who scares easily. However, the smokestack came out of the roof of a pretty wide industrial building. Short of them getting a rescue helicopter, there was no way to get me down. Personally, the idea of sitting up there for hours waiting on a helicopter was almost as sickening as the idea of climbing down.

Finally, I decided I didn't have much choice. I'd just have to go back down and be really quick and careful about it. I started clearing away all the loose bricks around the top, chucking them down inside the smokestack. I wanted to make sure I had a secure edge to hold onto this time.

When I built up my nerve, I swung my legs over in front of the ladder and lowered myself down the front of it. Only when I had to, I grabbed onto the rungs over the ladder, being careful to grab them near the base of them where they connected to the smokestack to put the least amount of pressure on them possible. I started making my way down the ladder as quick as I could, and the rungs again cracked and bent underneath me, just a hair away from breaking altogether.

As I went down this time, I was able to see that those last ten rungs, for whatever reason, had rusted where they connected to the smokestack until they were just rusty knotty pieces of metal not even as thick as a pencil. If I'd seen it going up before I climbed up on those rungs, I would've stopped and gone the other way. As it was, once I finally got back down past those rungs, I had left some of them bent down at forty-five degree angles. It was a miracle they hadn't given way underneath me.

The rest of the ladder went as smoothly as before, although my legs were shaking violently once I got past the bad part. When I finally reached the ground, I was pale and felt like I was going to throw up. I'm no chicken, but that was way too close of a brush with death for me. I just collapsed on the ground and lay there for about five minutes.

We might've stayed there at the base of the smokestack for five more minutes or an hour. As screwed up as I was, I have no idea how much time passed. But I know it took me a while just to get where I felt like my legs weren't going to fall out from underneath me. My little near-death experience had left me pretty shaken up, and I'm usually pretty unflappable. I was determined to keep exploring the rest of the day anyway, but I really just wanted to go back to our room and lie down.

When I finally felt somewhat like myself again, we started getting our stuff together. Before we actually left the roof, though, we saw someone walking down inside the building through the skylight. It was a man that memory_machine recognized as the caretaker, and he had a woman with him that he also knew. She was a professor that had been working on a large canvas painting of the inside of the plant.

We went down below and admired the professor's painting for a while. It was of the large room below the smokestack with huge machinery it, and it definitely captured the coolness of the decaying plant. As we were heading out, she was just coming into the room, and we chatted with her a bit. She said that even though we loved her painting, most people weren't into it. We told her that if she ever had an exhibition of abandoned places in art, we knew plenty of people that would come see it. We talked with her a little bit after that, and Memory_machine and her made some plans to meet up another time, then we said our goodbyes.

With that, we headed back to our cars and started on toward our next destination for the day.

09/27/06

Permalink 10:12:18 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1460 words   English (US)

cotton belt freight depot

While we were on our St. Louis vacation, Hiccup and I met up with Chris and explored a couple random buildings and the Cotton Belt Freight Depot.

After visiting the Arch earlier in the day, Hiccup and I met up with Chris that afternoon down by the riverfront. We decided to start by checking out a nearby building that the St. Louis guys had found that seemed to have a flooded underground chamber underneath it.

We headed down to the building and, when no one was looking, slipped in through some open windows. It looked to be some kind of old industrial building from the inside, and someone seemed to be renovating it. We creeped around a little bit and came to a wet area surrounding a grate in the floor. A ladder led down through an opening in the grate and we could see water below.

I went down the ladder until I was standing just above the water. Sure enough, there was a fairly large underground chamber. It wasn't a basement, because the walls were natural rock and the chamber looked to be manmade and mined out. The water, however, looked about five or six feet deep, so there was no point in breaking out the waders we'd brought with us. I could also see that the chamber continued on farther ahead and went around a corner, and I could hear water dripping heavily somewhere ahead. Unfortunately, it would've taken a small raft to explore the chamber.

Back up, we continued exploring the building and found another hole in the floor that apparently also led to the underground flooded area. It seemed to be the place where I'd heard the water dripping earlier. There just wasn't any easy way to get down there and check it out. If I'd known, I might have brought my inflatable boat with me.

After that, Chris led us to some sections in the back of the basement where cinderblock walls had been put in place over what looked to be tunnel entrances. One of the walls had a gap between the top and the ceiling, so I jumped up and hauled myself through the opening.

The other side had a large chamber, which was full almost to the ceiling with mounds of dirt. I decided to check it out anyway, and it was good that I did. Off to the side, through a hole in the wall with jagged pipes sticking out, I could see some kind of tunnel. I slipped down inside and found myself in an old steam tunnel. It stretched away as far as my light would shine so I started heading down it.

Every so often I would get a glimpse of the building through small holes in the tunnel. It appeared to run the entire the length of the building. At the end, it simply came out on a catwalk at the other end of the basement. The area hadn't looked like anything of interest when we'd entered the building, and we'd never have known it was there otherwise.

I ran back down to join Hiccup and Chris, but I found only Hiccup when I got there. Chris had bailed over the wall after me and had gone down the tunnel as well. So, Hiccup and I headed back down to the other side of the basement to meet him where he would come out, and we got there about the same time as he did.

Since we'd seen about all there was to see without a small boat, we climbed out of the building and started talking about where to go next. While we were talking, Chris mentioned about a building next door that was supposed to have some kind of sub-basement in it. Since there was an obvious opening into the building near its foundation, I decided just to crawl in and have a look.

Inside the opening near the foundation, I found myself in yet another steam tunnel running the length of this building, this time perched over a six foot drop. I had to shimmy down a large pipe so that I could drop down into the tunnel. At the bottom of the tunnel, a rusted air vent gave way enough for me to slip inside, although it was a dirty experience.

I found myself in a pretty typical basement, although it was full of old junk. It appeared that someone had been storing a lot of stuff down here and hadn't touched it for quite some time. There were clothes, furntiure, and pretty much anything else you'd expect to find at a garage sale.

I wandered around the basement a bit, looking for any indication that there might be a sub-basement. I ended up finding a door that was labeled sub-basement, but it only led into a different area of the the basement. It didn't appear that there was an actual level lower than that basement.

I went upstairs, thinking maybe I could walk out of the building through one of the doors. However, it didn't take me long to discover that all the doors were locked from the outside or simply didn't open at all. I found the door Hiccup and Chris were standing outside and yelled to tell them what I was doing. In the end, though, I just went back to the basement and crawled back out of the air vent.

Next, we started to head over to the Cotton Belt Freight Depot, but we had a strange experience. Sometime before, Chris had met a couple guys taking pictures there who were familiar with Underground Ozarks and knew about me. Well, when we walked up to the building, those guys were there again. We introduced ourselves, and they were very excited to meet me. It was cool. I felt sort of famous.

We headed inside the building after that and started checking it out. The bottom floor was filled with all kinds of random junk, again just stuff you'd expect to see at a garage sale. We also found something we hadn't expected to find--stairs. On memory_machine's visit to the depot, they'd only found an elevator. However, we found a door that was nearly rusted shut that hid the stairway. It was fine with me, because I hadn't really wanted to mess with hauling my chain ladder up the elevator shaft and lowering it down for the others.

We went floor to floor after that, walking the length of them. For the most part, the floors were completely empty. There was some random graffiti and markings on the wall for the freight, but that was about it. Sometimes, to get from one section of floor to the other, we would have to force open another rusty door, although we weren't damaging them.

At the top floor, in the middle of the building, we found a square hatch in the ceiling that went to the roof. There was no ladder, but someone had propped a rectangular piece of scrap against the wall. I climbed up it and bailed up through the opening onto the roof. I ran from one end of the roof to the other, trying hard not to be seen, and then found a small building at one end of the roof with a ladder going down below. I climbed down and yelled for Hiccup and Chris to come down where I was and climb the ladder to the roof.

We spent a while up there checking out a handful of small buildings on the roof. They were mostly empty, with some junk, although one contained tanks for what was probably once a sprinkler system. We also saw the two guys from before wandering around down below taking pictures and waved to them. They had us pose for a few shots on the edge of the roof.

After that, we went down a few floors to a rusty door that we'd been unable to open. We worked on it for a while with a piece of metal and a shovel, and we finally wedged it open. Inside, unlike the other sections of the building, we found all kinds of junk. Judging by the looks of it, a bum had apparently been using this part as their apartment. From there, we were able to go down a floor to another section we hadn't been able to access, and it was the same way. It looked like someone had been stockpiling clothes and toiletries.

With that, we'd seen about all there was to see of the building. We headed out the way we'd come, stopping to take a few pictures of the exterior of the building, then we headed back to our cars and called it a night.

09/26/06

Permalink 08:07:06 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1027 words   English (US)

river roads mall

A few months back, Hiccup and I took a short vacation in the St. Louis area and did a little exploring while we were there. We started out with the abandoned River Roads Mall.

It was early in the night when we got there. We had hoped to have some of our St. Louis friends with us since we'd never been there before, but they hadn't been able to joins us that night. It wasn't a big deal, but I tended to be a little more paranoid about sneaking into new places in large, unfamiliar cities.

One side of the building was torn open by heavy equipment where they were in the process of demolishing it, so we made our way in through there. The two story area we came into had once been a JC Penney, but you wouldn't have known it from looking. Everything had been gutted out, leaving bare concrete colummns and floors. Two lone escalators were the only remaining thing that indicated what the place had been.

We went up to the second floor of the area and had a look around. Either up there or below (I can't remember), we found a stairwell that led us into the basement. From there, we wandered around a bit until we came to another set of escalators going up. They were so covered in debris that I had Hiccup go around to another stairwell while I went up the cluttered escalator.

Up above, we came into an unrecognizable store. There was really nothing left to tell what it might have been, although a department store was a safe bet. But, from there, we were able to head out into the main thoroughfare of the mall.

The place was gutted as well. All the tile had already been pulled up from the floor, and we could see shops all along the way had plastic covering their entrances. The signs posted on some of the plastic said they were doing asbestos removal.

We started at one end of the mall and began making our way to the other end, checking every shop as we went. Usually, the shop still had its sign outside to tell us what it had been, but sometimes they didn't and sometimes we just weren't familiar with the name. Most of the time, though, we could guess from what was left inside the shop, but a few of them, particularly the ones that were in the process of asbestos removal, were so gutted that there was no way to tell what they'd been.

Pretty quickly, we came up on something I'd been looking forward to seeing: the River Roads Bowl. 42 lanes of abandoned bowling alley, just waiting to be checked out. Memory_machine had told us about it on their last trip to the place. We headed down the stairs to check it out.

The bowling alley was in surprisingly good shape, compared to the rest of the mall. There were pins scattered at the ends of the lanes, although they were mostly cracked or broken, as well as the occasional bowling ball. The only thing really missing was the seats in front of the lanes and the pin-setting machines. We spent a while down there checking it out and rolling balls down the lanes, but eventually we went back the way we came.

From there, we continued down the thoroughfare, checking out shops. We found everything from a shoe store, to a jewelry store, to an electronics store, and, of course, several clothing stores. In the middle of the thoroughfare, there was also a large clock, as well as raised concrete area that had once had plants growing in it.

Eventually, we reached the other end of the mall and began checking out the last store. It was large compared to the others with two stories, and it was either a department store or a clothing store. The first floor wasn't in too bad of shape, but the second floor looked considerably worse when we got there. Pieces of the ceiling were dangling from above and there was lots of debris on the floor.

Up there was also where we ran into a big problem. While we were there, I found a window at the back and began looking out of it. I noticed someone walking along the outside of the mall. I was immediately worried, but I thought maybe it was just a rent-a-cop walking patrol or something. As the person got closer, I could tell from the baggy clothes that the person, a guy, was definitely no cop. To make matters worse, I noticed that each time the figure would pass one of the doors to the mall he would walk over to it and attempt to open it.

That was our cue to leave. I had no intention of running into some random homeless person or looter in a dark abandoned mall. It probably wouldn't have amounted to anything, but in the dark they wouldn't be able to tell us from cops or anyone else and I wasn't itching to find out how they'd react.

We had a bit of confusion as we tried to leave, though. Neither of us could remember exactly where we'd come into the main part of the mall. We weren't really even sure which end of the mall we'd come in from, and we were reluctant to look down at the end of the mall where the strange person had been trying for unlocked doors.

Although I don't remember how we ended up finding it, we eventually found our way back into the demolished JC Penney. I took a few quick flash pictures of the area, which I'd been relucant to do as we were going in, and then we rushed out of the area.

Thankfully, no one had fooled with our vehicle. But, as we were leaving, we watched a cop drive over to where we'd had it hidden in the bushes. If we'd waited just a few minutes longer we would've been busted for sure. We were just thankful and made a hasty retreat back to the resort we were staying at.

08/14/06

Permalink 10:26:48 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1184 words   English (US)

nixa sinkhole

Hiccup and I drove out to see the new sinkhole in Nixa, Missouri today, and I managed to score the ONLY footage of a house falling into it--which I promptly sold to KY3.

You can see the video here:

Low-res video (277 KB)
High-res video (1.24 MB)

First thing this morning, I logged on to the site and saw a post from Brouser. Apparently, a new sinkhole had opened up inside the Nixa city limits, right underneath a guy's house. It had swallowed his car and left half of his house dangling over thin air. This, I decided, I had to see.

When we got there, they had a huge area around the sinkhole cordoned off with police tape. I had had the idea that we might be able to get close to it with the sinkhole only being a day old, but we were sadly mistaken. We could see police guarding the sinkhole from at least two sides. We followed the crowd around to where a couple dozen people or so were standing next to the police tape.

It was hard to see much of the actual sinkhole, because they had us back so far from it, but it was still impressive. The sinkhole was about half the size of a basketball court and had erupted under the side of the house at the end of the driveway. The owner's car was actually at the bottom, although it was impossible to see it. There was nothing supporting the half of the house over the sinkhole, and it looked ready to fall in at any moment. I joked that it would be awesome if we were lucky enough to be there when the house actually fell in.

Hiccup and I took a few pictures and video, but it was hard to get good shots for the orange barricade and being so far back. Some EMS guys and policemen were walking around inside the tape, and I asked one if I could come across and take a couple pictures. He said no, so I asked if he could take a couple for me. Again, he said no. I guess I couldn't blame him. He's probably going to have people asking that all the time.

We walked around to the other side of the sinkhole to see if we could get a better view. Unfortunately, the police tape was even farther back from the sinkhole there and it was harder to see. I thought about asking the two cops there the same question I'd asked the other officials, but I decided not to bother.

We went back around and stood with the other people again. Michelle Sherwood from KY3 was there and was chatting with a few of the people. We were debating on leaving, but they were getting ready to put a firetruck ladder over the sinkhole to take some measurements and we decided to stay for that. Just in case the house did decide to fall in, I got the camcorder ready and in my hands.

All at once, the house started cracking and creaking, and I turned on the camera as fast as I could. Right before our stunned eyes, half of the house broke away and fell into the sinkhole, stopping just short of sliding all the way to the bottom. I was completely shocked. I couldn't believe I'd actually just seen that, much less gotten it on video. And I was the only one there who had.

After a bit, the KY3 cameraman came and sat up right beside us while they started moving the firetruck into position next to the sinkhole. After a bit of talking between ourselves, Hiccup asked the cameraman if KY3 ever bought footage. He said no, but they did in the past. Hiccup told him she was asking because we had gotten that house falling into the sinkhole on tape. That seemed to make him think harder on it, and he asked to see the video. He got pretty excited once he saw it and said that he would call the office and see if they were interested.

When he got off the phone, he told me they were willing to buy it for their standard rate of thirty dollars. It wasn't a ton of money, but honestly, if they had said no to buying it, I would've offered it to them for free just to see it on the news. Michelle Sherwood came over and talked to us a bit, and we showed her the video as well.

They both started making phone calls to find out the best way to transfer our Digital8 video to KY3. After a bit, they decided it would be easiest, if we didn't mind, to go over to the studio and do it there. That was fine with me. As an explorer, I was always curious to see the inside of the place anyway. So, we started heading over that way.

At the studio, we were met by a guy that took us back to a video editing room with a TON of expensive-looking equipment. He had me hook the video camera up to a cable he had and play the video for him a few times. While we were doing that, a lady came in and talked to Hiccup about cutting us a check. Once the guy was satisfied he'd gotten the video, he led us back down toward the lobby to wait for our check.

Halfway there, Jerry Jacob stepped out of a doorway with a camcorder of his own and started chatting with us. We told him about the sinkhole and he told us he was also having some video dubbed off. He told us it was video him being struck by lightning. At first we thought he was joking, but if he was, he never let up on it. Then he showed us the video, and it actually was of lightning striking right in front of the camera. It was pretty cool. He said it jolted him and made his hair stand on end, and he made electrocuting gestures for emphasis. I still don't know whether he was kidding about that or not.

Before we went to the lobby, I asked if I could take his picture. He looked surprised that we wanted it. Hiccup, who doesn't watch television and had no idea who he was, said, "Well, yeah, you're famous, aren't you?" And with a straight face he looked at her and said, "No, no, I'm not famous." It was definitely amusing. But he smiled huge and moved over next to Hiccup, and I got a pretty awesome picture of the two of them.

After that, we went to the lobby and waited. At first, the lady came back with a check for the wrong person, but after a few more minutes she came back with the right one. It was neat to get a freelance check from KY3. I decided right away I'd probably just keep it as a souvenir instead of cashing it.

And that was the end of an extremely eventful day.

06/24/06

Permalink 01:26:36 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1445 words   English (US)

dodd city schoolhouse and cotter train tunnel

A few months back, Hiccup and I went down to Arkansas to check out the Dodd City Schoolhouse and then on to Cotter to check out a local train tunnel.

Hiccup and I started out the day by getting up early and heading south toward Arkansas. I'd only been to the Dodd City Schoolhouse once before, when Slim Jim and myself had stumbled upon it by accident a few years back, so I didn't really remember where it was. Hiccup and I had even tried and failed to find it in the dark shortly before this trip. However, since it was daylight and Dodd City was about the size of a postage stamp, I didn't figure we'd have any problem finding it this time.

Once we started driving down a few of the back roads, I remembered more or less how Slim Jim and I had found it. We came upon the schoolhouse almost immediately, but the people living in the house directly beside it were outside mowing the lawn so we just did a quick driveby. Hiccup and I talked about whether we should just go into the schoolhouse anyway, or whether we should ask those people if they minded us going in there first. If they said they did mind, though, we pretty much wouldn't be able to do it.

We went back, pulled into their driveway, and started chatting with them. Thankfully, the natives were friendly. It turned out they didn't know who owned the place either, but they were just as interested in it as us. The guy that lived there said he didn't mind if we checked it out, and he and his brother (I think) went and inspected it with us.

The Dodd City schoolhouse was as amazing as I remembered it. The building was two stories tall and in incredible shape for a building that was over a hundred years old. Unfortunately, there did appear to be more graffiti than the last time I was there.

We went inside and checked out the bottom level first. It was just a large empty room with a dirt floor. There were scattered boards here and there and wooden beams holding up the ceiling. There wasn't too much to see, so we went up the wooden stairs to the upper floor.

The upstairs turned out to be more interesting. It was another large, empty room, but this one had apparently been some sort of recreational area. There had once been basketball goals at each end of the room, and you could still faintly make out the court lines on the wooden floor. What was also suprising was how sturdy the floor felt despite the age of the building. And other than a few boards missing from the ceiling, the whole room was in great shape.

Next, I decided I had to do something that I hadn't done the last time I was there. I wanted to climb up into the empty belltower at the top of the building. So, I headed to the front of the building, went up a broken ladder, and started pulling myself up through the rafters.

From up there, you really couldn't see that much. We were basically down in a little valley surrounded by trees, but I took a few pictures anyway. Then, I went back down, handed the camera to Hiccup, and climbed back up again so she could get some pictures of me sitting in the belltower.

When that was done, I came back down and we wandered around the outside of the schoolhouse with the two guys we'd met. We found two separate outhouses (boys and girls?) and checked out a long rock wall that ran alongside the nearby creek. The wall led right up to a small bridge that crossed the creek directly in front of the schoolhouse.

With that, there was nothing left to see. We thanked the neighbors for letting us check the place out, told them about our website, and gave them a sticker. Then we got back into the car and started heading south toward Cotter.

Once we got there, we had to drive around a little while looking for the campground my parents and brother were camping at, but we finally found it down by the river. We hung out for a while down there, checking out my parents' camper. There was a huge railroad bridge spanning the water there that had an old section in the middle that used to rotate to allow tall boats to go through. The bridge was begging to be explored, but there was absolutely no way to walk across it without being seen by everyone in the area.

We got some stuff together after that and started walking up the hill toward the railroad tunnel. I'd brought my ten million CP spotlight, but it hadn't charged fully in the car on the way there, so we were stuck with flashlights. It wasn't an extremely long tunnel, but it would've been nice to have it anyway.

When we got to the tunnel, I could see that the outside of the tunnel had been reinforced with spray concrete. Beyond that, the inside was shored up with plain concrete walls and wooden beams before giving way to natural rock walls. It did appear, though, that the ceiling had been sprayed with concrete in places as well.

Most of the walk down the darkened tunnel was pretty uneventful. It was just a typical railroad tunnel, with rocks and debris laying across the tracks in places. However, as Hiccup and I were walking along behind everyone else, a rock about the size of VCR suddenly slammed to the ground in front of us. It had just suddenly broken away from the two story ceiling, as many other rocks along the tracks evidently had. I was really happy we hadn't been walking a little faster.

A little farther down the tunnel, we came across something else interesting. Laying in between the railroad tracks was the body of an opossum with its head cleanly cut off by a train. We found its head about ten feet down and on the other side of the rail where it had been decapitated. A little past that, we also found a dead raccoon that had met its fate in the tunnel, but its head was still firmly attached to its body.

We reached the other side of the tunnel pretty quickly. Unlike the other side, this one wasn't reinforced with concrete and was just bare rock. We walked on past it a ways until we came to a small bridge spanning a dry creek. There, we spent a little time dropping rocks off the bridge and trying to nail pieces of junk down below while my stepfather wandered a little farther up the tracks.

When my stepfather returned, we went back the way we came. This time we just made a quick walk back through the tunnel without stopping to look at things. We also managed to avoid having any falling boulders nearly crush our skulls.

We visited with my parents for a little while back at the campsite, then Hiccup and I decided to drive over to Cotter Springs Park before we headed home. My parents had told me about an awesome rope swing they'd had set up over there, and they weren't kidding. Just beside the park, there was a large pool of water where several springs gurgled up out of the ground. There, they'd embedded a massive steel girder into the ground and attached a rope swing to it. I swang out on the rope a few times, but it was spring when this happened and way too cold to swim. Not to mention that it was freezing cold spring water I'd be landing in. Hiccup did wade out into it a little bit, though.

When we were getting ready to leave, a bunch of teenagers showed up and started heading over to the rope. We went over and watched them for a bit, thinking they might be good for a few pictures. A few of them swang out a few times, but none of them jumped in either. However, we did get to see one young guy swing out and then completely bust his tailbone on the boulders when he swung back in. It still hurts thinking about how he slammed into them. Judging by the funny way he went walking off, though, it hurt him a lot more.

When we were all done exploring and taking pictures for the day, we loaded back up into the car and started making the long drive back to Springfield.

05/01/06

Permalink 10:35:44 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1761 words   English (US)

kc urbex campout

Several weekends back, we headed up to Kansas City to participate in a campout in a mine that the KC Urbex crew was putting on.

Hiccup and I started off the day by heading to Wal-mart and buying a bunch of camping food like soda, hot dogs, and smores ingredients. When we had our goodies, we headed back to her place and loaded all that and a bunch of gear into the car. Then, we headed out of town to pick up Sertile, the only other Springfield area explorer that was going with us, and headed toward Kansas City.

Once we were there, we had some minor trouble locating the meetup spot. I couldn't find the right road and we ended up driving to the Kansas border and turning around to call them. They gave me a better idea of where it was located, and we started back on track, although I ended up missing the turn once more before we found a way there.

Eventually, though, we pulled into the parking lot of our meetup spot. The long list of people that were already there: S1L3N7B0B, LostLenore, Slim Jim, Peterbillionaire, WhisperingLament, Gothstone and his wife, youthsonic and his wife, and KansasCity. They were waiting on a few more people to show up, but they never did. So, we loaded up and started heading over to our parking spot near the mine.

Once there, we started loading up all our tons of gear into two different vehicles. Then, people started getting shuttled to the mine and dropped off near the entrance. When our turn came around we loaded up into one of the vehicles and got dropped off with everyone else, and when everyone was there, we started tromping up the hill toward the entrance.

Getting up the hill with our gear turned out to be a major pain, and getting the stuff down through the opening in the mine was a little awkward. But that was nothing compared to what a painful walk it was back through the mine into the room we were camping in. I thought my arms were going to fall off carrying the cooler.

Halfway into the mine, we saw a bunch of people with flashlights in the distance. Some of the guys veered off to see who it was. It ended up being the guys they had been waiting for earlier, 816customshop and his friends. They had been there for a while, apparently.

The mine was your typical modern underground quarry, with the pillars holding the ceiling laid out in a grid fashion. The only thing that distinguished it from the other mines I'd been in was that the ceiling was quite a bit lower. It was still tall enough to drive heavy equipment around in, but it was definitely lower than others I'd seen.

The section of the mine we were camping in was pretty much the only part of the mine that had significant graffiti. People had painted strange stuff in Greek on the walls as well as other random things. Someone had also already made a firepit and put in a toilet around the corner for everyone to use. It was pretty cozy.

The guys set about starting the fire right off the bat, and everyone started setting up their little sections. I laid out a tarp that I'd brought for the three of us and put our junk out. Then I lit the propane lantern I'd brought, which illuminated the entire campsite. Some people set up their chairs, and everyone else dragged some rocks around the firepit.

When the fire was lit, I realized I'd left our cooking forks back in the car. Since it was almost as far to exit the mine and cut some real sticks as it was to the car, we decided just to walk back to where the cars were parked and get them. So, we did that, which did take a little while, but the fire was going great by the time we got back. And I then proceeded to cook and eat five delicious hot dogs.

While I was eating, Slim Jim and a few of the other guys were taping off two huge sections of the mine for boundries. We were going to play a game of Capture the Fish, which was Jim's modified version of Capture the Flag. Basically, we were going to be sneaking and running around in a darkened mine full of boulders trying to steal each other's flags and not get tagged in the process. I was sure people were going to get hurt (and I was right), but I wanted to play anyway.

At some point, while I was watching Sertile get pretty tipsy, we had some glowsticks out which were going to be used for our game. Sertile started talking about how he had once cut open a glowstick in a theater and rubbed it on his face. I decided I had to try it, so I went and got one of my glowsticks, snapped it, and then cut it open and poured it in an empty bottle. That looked pretty cool, so I started rubbing it on my hands and arms. It made me glow like a mutant.

Then, with a little egging from the others, I poured a bunch in my hands and slapped it on my face. And that was a really, really bad idea. It was pretty awesome for about five seconds, with my face glowing like a ghost, and then it started to burn like I'd poured acid on myself.

I told everyone that wanted pictures to hurry up and take them, then a couple people started wiping at my face with diaper wipes because I was obviously in pain. That seemed to make it hurt worse, so I had Hiccup get the hand soap we'd brought and a bottle of water. I scrubbed at my face a few times and wasted about three bottles of water, but I finally got enough off that it stopped burning.

At that point, Sertile was just about running out of alcohol. Since Hiccup and I were enjoying seeing him get drunk and wanted to see it get worse, we offered to go with WhisperingLament to his truck and get a case of beer he had to keep Sertile going. So, we went and did that, which killed enough time that Capture the Fish was ready to go when we returned.

We split up into two teams of four people, since that was all the people that wanted to play at that point. Somehow, I ended up on the team with the two drunkest people, but I didn't really mind. We took our sides and started playing.

Right off the bat, I killed my light and snuck around until I saw the glowstick attached to the enemy fish. I grabbed it as WhisperingLament, who was on the opposite team, turned on his light and started chasing me. He ran right into an uneven place in the mine and went down like a ton of bricks, while I kept going and crossed the line. I won the first game, and we had our first injury of the evening, although he was just cut and bruised.

The next game, we switched sides. I knew the guys would be guarding their inflatable fish better this time. So, I just ran in there with my light off. Youthsonic and Slim Jim spotted me and turned on their lights, but I managed to grab the fish and take off for our side of the boundary. I saw flashlights up there and thought they were from my team, but they weren't and KansasCity tagged me five feet from the line. I pretty much collapsed on the ground at that point, realizing I really needed to start running or something, because my endurance was sucking.

We played until about two in the morning, until Slim Jim's team won a game. There were many injuries, mostly bruises and cuts from people tripping over things in the dark. I was so exhausted by that point that I was ready to collapse. When we walked back to camp, Hiccup and several others had already gone to bed. A few of us sat around the campfire for about another hour or so, then we all agreed it was bedtime.

When I laid down with Hiccup, I realized I made a huge mistake. I had stupidly thought that my sleeping bag would be big enough for Hiccup and myself to sleep in. I thought it would be cozy even. I was very, very wrong. It wouldn't even zip shut around us. We tried to make the best of it, but it ended up being a miserable sleepless night. A few people had extra sleeping bags, but by the time I was ready to break down and ask for one, everyone had been asleep long enough that I didn't want to wake them up. All told, I think I ended up getting about an hour of sleep.

We stayed in the bag a little longer than everyone else in the morning, even though we weren't sleeping. But at some point, we got up and I cooked myself four breakfast hot dogs. Everyone sat around and chatted for a few hours and got the fire going when 816customshop and his friends returned with more firewood.

Sometime that morning, Gothstone got out the video camera and positioned us all so he could shoot a commercial for a contest he was entering. He put on a strange druid-type robe, did a little fake prayer on camera, and had us chant "rock on" at the end as if we were saying amen. We looked like a bunch of cultists down in a cave somewhere around a fire. It was for a radio station, and it looked like it would be pretty good.

Not long after that, we decided we were ready to head out. Everyone was pretty much loading up to leave anyway. So, we gathered up our stuff, said our goodbyes, and started making the long walk back to the entrance. We had a little trouble finding it and ended up leaving out of a different entrance. Outside the mine, we dropped the stuff near the road and left Sertile to watch it, while Hiccup and I went back to get the car.

Once we were loaded up, we headed into town to get a bite to eat and then we started making the drive back to Springfield.

04/16/06

Permalink 01:01:38 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 696 words   English (US)

monte ne with the family

Several weekends back, we returned, yet again, to Monte Ne and brought my family along.

Hiccup and I headed down from Springfield that day to my mother's house, where she and my stepfather, brother, and uncle loaded up and followed us down to Monte Ne. My mom had seen Monte Ne on KY3 and decided she wanted to see it. She even claimed that she'd be willing to climb up the tower, but I knew beforehand that she was full of it.

When we arrived at Monte Ne, the first thing I noticed was that there were WAY more people than the other times we had visited. There were cars everywhere down by the amphitheater. It shouldn't have been surprising since it wasn't long after the Monte Ne story had aired, but it was.

We walked down to the amphitheater and checked it out. The water level had dropped about another two feet since the last time Hiccup and I had been there, so there was lots more exposed. I was pretty sure I could see one of the underground chambers in the amphitheater just under the surface.

After that, we drove over to the tower, which was also crawling with people. We walked down along the servants' quarters beneath Oklahoma Row and checked them out first, then headed up to the tower. As I expected, no one except my brother was willing to climb it. Since he's about as good of a climber as I am, we both just skipped hauling out my ladder and climbed right on up to the roof. While we were doing that, everyone else walked through the trees and down the shore to check out the rest of the old foundations.

Like other times, people saw us climbing the tower and decided they wanted to try it, too. Some of them gave up, but some of them made it to the second or third floors. No one besides my brother and I were dumb enough to climb to the roof, though.

Back on the ground, when my family got back, they decided they were ready to head out. I asked Hiccup if she minded if we stayed and I let some of those people attempting to climb the tower use my cable ladder to get the roof. She didn't mind, so I got the ladder out of the trunk while my family started driving home. I put the ladder in a backpack so I could get it up to the roof easier and started going.

Right away, I noticed something. Climbing the tower might've been easy normally, but it wasn't so easy carrying a heavy, stuffed backpack while doing it. Despite that, I got up to roof and hooked it up, and a couple people who had wanted to were able to get to the roof and join me.

While we were up there, someone on the third floor wanted to use it to bring their kids up from the second floor, so I lowered it down. Which meant I had to climb back down and bring it up again, so the people on the roof could get back down. Doing that last pullup to get up on the roof, while wearing the backpack, was even harder the second time around.

Eventually, when everyone who had wanted to see it had come up, we all headed back down. Some people used my ladder, while some simply climbed back down. But everyone got down there one way or another.

Down on the ground, I chatted for a bit with one of the guys who I'd helped up and made some caving plans. We exchanged contact information and I told him about the website. After he left, a couple who had overheard me talking about the site approached me wanting to know if my site had information about Monte Ne. I told them it had some, but it had some links to sites with more information than mine. They seemed pretty interested, so I gave them a sticker.

When we were done chatting with all our new friends, Hiccup and I headed back to the car and started driving back to Springfield.

04/03/06

Permalink 12:32:45 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1335 words   English (US)

more mines at rush, arkansas

Several weekends back, we returned to Rush, Arkansas to check out some more mines that the Arkansas guys had found.

Hiccup and I got up early that morning and headed down into Arkansas, where we once again met the Arkansas guys at a supermarket in Yellville. This time, though, it was just Firediver and Korb there to explore with us. We went ahead and followed them down to Rush, where we parked at the campground.

The first thing we did when we got there was to strap on our chest-high waders. The mine was across the river, and it was going to be the easiest way to get over there. And since it was fairly cold out that day, there was no way we were wading across it without them.

Once across, we ditched our waders and put our shoes back on, then started heading up the hill. We passed some concrete structures on the way, as well as a large pile of spoils, before coming up to the entrance of a fairly gigantic mine.

We climbed over the boulders and rubble in and around the entrance and went inside. The mine was large inside and fairly uneven, with the floor sloping up and down periodically. There was lots of rotting wood scattered about, as well as support beams still standing in places. There was also an old ore cart, some pieces of cart track, and flat places of piled rock made into small "roads" that had apparently been for ore track.

Although it would've been hard to get lost in there despite its size, someone had arranged pieces of wood into arrows throughout the mine. Most of the tunnels were big enough to drive an SUV through, and they snaked around randomly and branched off constantly. It wasn't that confusing to navigate them, but it did take a while to poke around in every little side tunnel to see where they led, which was always to an eventual dead end.

Before long, we made it to the other side of the mine, where another set of entrances led outside. In this area, the ceiling was extremely high, with huge dug out places in the ground. I joked that this would've been an awesome place for a rope swing, and it really would've been.

We went out and started walking along the river, heading toward another mine that the guys had seen but hadn't been able to check out last time. While we were walking, I kept running up the hill or down it to check out what might be caves or mines. It wasn't long before I had left everyone behind, although I didn't realize how far behind, and I felt bad when I realized I'd let Hiccup fall back to the rear.

I found the mine the guys had seen and stopped there to wait. It was just a pit that went straight down about thirty or forty feet. It was hard to see if it went anywhere else at the bottom, because it was sloped around the edges of the pit and that made it impossible to lean over and look down.

Korb and Hiccup caught up with me at the mine while Firediver waited up the hill for us. Korb had a rope, and I was extremely tempted to try and go down into the pit with it. If the rope had been long enough, I was sure I could've made it, but we weren't positive it was long enough. In the end, we just went on walking.

We followed the river for quite a while, but the ground leveled out and didn't seem to have any mines. We did, however, find a collapsed barn that we checked out. And when we decided to turn around and go back the way we'd come, we found another smaller pit mine that I was able to crawl down inside. There were two small chambers at the bottom that you could crawl into, but they didn't really go anywhere.

When we were done there, we walked back down to our waders, waded across the river to our cars, and drove down to where the trails were to check out some of the mines in that area. There was one particular mine I wanted to check out, although I wasn't sure we'd find a way in. However, while we were looking around, one of the guys managed to find a way in to a mine directly above it, and we went inside. We hoped that it would connect to the one I was wanting to get into.

This mine seemed to be a linear one, with one tunnel stretching back. But, just inside the entrance, it connected to another mine that was set lower in the hillside. So you ended up standing on a ledge about fifteen feet high looking down into the other mine, which was filled with a few feet of water. I had also wanted to get into that mine, and now that I had a way, I was determined to do it, but we needed to check out the one we were in first.

We headed inside, passing an old rock wall, and started checking out the mine. As we'd thought, it was one long stretch of tunnel, although there were two levels to the tunnel, with one set higher and off to the side. There was still ore cart track running the length of the lower level, as well as metal pipe.

At the end of the tunnel, we found a big area with a wooden platform where they'd apparently filled up the ore carts with rock. There was even an extremely large ore cart still half buried in the rubble. There was a small side tunnel there as well, but it didn't really go anywhere.

After that, we went back to the entrance area and I made a half-assed attempt to climb down into the second mine. However, it just wasn't do-able without a rope or ladder, so I decided I wanted to go back to my car and get my rope, my waders, and possibly my cable ladder as well. Korb and Firediver weren't too into it so they decided to head in for the day when we reached our vehicles, but I couldn't leave without seeing what was down there.

With the rope and waders in hand, Hiccup and I headed back to the mine. I tied the rope off to something secure and started going down. Because the ledge I was climbing against sloped inward in places, I kept having to walk from side to side against the wall to places where it didn't do that. Eventually, though, I reached the bottom and had Hiccup throw my waders down to me.

Inside the second mine, there was a large pool of water where the mine had flooded, with what appeared to be two partially submerged tunnels. I strapped myself into my waders and headed into the water. One of the tunnels turned out to not even be a tunnel, just a hollowed out area. The second one was definitely a tunnel, and I had to wade up to the very edge of my waders to check it out. Unfortunately, I could see that it was collapsed back inside, so it was a bust as well. I was still glad I had satisfied my curiosity, though.

I took a few pictures of the second mine while I was down there, then had Hiccup pull up my backpack and the box my waders were in. Then I started climbing back up the rope, which turned out to be slightly harder than going down had been. I had to have Hiccup move the rope from side to side for me so that I could climb around the concave areas in the ledge again, but I made it back up just fine.

With that, Hiccup and I headed back to the car with our gear and started back toward Springfield.

03/30/06

Permalink 04:45:12 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1981 words   English (US)

kansas city and b & h underground

Many weeks back, Hiccup and I travelled to Kansas City to do a little big city exploring and see B & H Underground with Hiccup's brother-in-law CasperMilkToast.

Hiccup and I got up early that morning, loaded up a ton of gear for all the stuff we'd be doing, then grabbed a quick bite to eat. With that done, we drove the few hours up to the Kansas City area and Barracuda and Casper's house. They were up by the time we got there, and we let Casper grab a quick breakfast before we headed out.

The first place we hit was what we believed to be an old jail not far from Casper and Barracuda's place. Hiccup and I had driven past it with Barracuda once before, but Casper had actually checked it out previously. We parked off the road and walked on into the area. A neighbor outside burning trash called out to ask what we were doing, and we told him we were just taking some pictures and he didn't seem to care.

The building was old, and the roof had either rotted away or collapsed. It really did look like an old jail, though. The area was covered in trash and old junk. We poked around it a bit, but it was just a single building. As we were getting ready to head back to the car, the neighbor came over and talked to us a bit. He said he had just been paranoid because people were always coming out there and dumping trash. But he also said that he'd heard the building was an old jail as well.

From there we headed over to the Richards Gebaur Airport to check out some stuff in that area. There, first, we checked out some empty hangars. I poked around the back of them, but none of them had a way in. I could see pretty much everything there was to see through the windows, though. It was just a gigantic empty space.

Next, we drove over to another area where some steam pipes were running above ground. Casper had noticed what looked like tunnels down the hill. We walked down and checked it out, even popping a manhole, but there were no tunnels to be found. All we found was one large chamber that the pipes went into.

Our next destination was a large underground mine inside the city limits. Hiccup and I had been near the entrances before, but we hadn't had time to go inside. Supposedly, there was a spiral staircase inside the mine that came out in a cemetery above it. It sounded ridiculous, but I had heard the story from so many people that I had started to wonder if it was true. Either way, I was determined to give it a thorough look.

We parked up above the mine, then walked down through the woods to the entrance. We went on inside and started checking it out. It was your standard modern mine, big enough to drive dump trucks through, laid out in a grid pattern. Pretty much like the others I've blogged about here.

We came across a couple entrances as we were walking, but they were partially blocked with rubble. There was also a huge caved in area opposite of them. We basically just picked one of the walls of the mine and started following it. I figured if we just followed the interior wall of the mine all the way back around to our original entrance and kept an eye out, we'd see the spiral staircase if it was there.

We walked for what seemed like forever. The wall we were following was an irregular shape, so it wasn't a simple loop we were walking. We didn't see any spiral staircases, but we did come across something surprising. In a depressed area filled with water, there was a light on next to some pump equipment. All this time, I had thought the mine was completely abandoned, but it apparently wasn't.

In another area of the mine, we found a huge, long sheet of plastic hung upright from ceiling. It looked designed to keep dust from floating from one side to the other, and it stretched on and on for hundreds of feet. People who had been in the mine before us had cut strange shapes in the plastic in places. It was kind of bizarre.

In yet another part of the mine, we found yet more equipment with electricity still hooked up. Then we started coming across some excavating machinery and even someone's truck. The place was not only not abandoned, but they were apparently still doing some kind of work inside of it.

Eventually, we made it back to the entrances where we entered. It had taken forever, but we were there. And we had never seen the legendary spiral staircase. I was pretty disappointed and once again skeptical. We headed back up the hill to the car, tired, but still wanting to explore.

I wish I could tell you all what we did next. However, although what we did was our usual harmless trespassing, I am almost 100% sure I would go to jail if I talked about it publicly. All I can say is that we snuck into an off-limits section of a VERY public place to try and locate a legendary tunnel system. And we did, indeed, find it, although we weren't able to get inside thanks to a locked door.

After that, we went back to Casper's and rested for a bit. We ate a dinner of homemade calzone that Barracuda had prepared. Then we got our stuff together to go and check out our main reason for coming to Kansas City: B & H Underground.

If I had to make a top ten list of places I've explored, B & H Underground would be on it and fairly high up. It was a huge underground space that had been mined out of the limestone. But unlike the other mines we'd been to, this one had been finished up to contain offices, warehouse space, and other businesses. At some point, it was abandoned and had flooded with water that ranged from ankle-deep to almost up to my head, with office and business stuff floating in it everywhere. I'd only explored it once before with Slim Jim, but I'd been in love with it ever since.

We parked above the underground and down the street, then walked down through a brushy field to the entrance. When we were close to it, but still out of sight, we all suited up into the chest-high waders we'd brought with us. Some people liked to explore the place with a boat, but I preferred waders because I knew there were some places inside you couldn't see without them.

We tromped down inside the entrance, wading in up to our knees, and I found that the metal ceiling immediately inside had either collapsed or been purposely brought down to try and block the way. We simply climbed around it on nearby ledge and then hopped back down into the water.

There was an actual paved road that led into the underground, which was what we were following. Granted, it was under a couple feet of water now, but it was still there and it led all over the area. I knew from before that there were even traffic and parking signs in various places. The road forked as soon as we walked in, but we went up a nearby staircase instead that led into a finished office area. We needed a place away from the entrance to light the propane lantern, something I usually brought for these underground mines.

When that was done, we walked back down into the water and started following one of the forks in the road. We passed lots of finished office areas, which we stopped to check out, as well as inspecting some of the stranger junk we found floating around. We also came to an area with lots of wire cages that we'd called the zombie cage on our first trip. And when we came across a partially submerged, two-seat piece of furniture, I had Casper and Hiccup pose for a picture that I intend to have as a poster on my wall someday.

Eventually, we came to a dry area, where someone had left a flat-bottom boat docked. The boat had been down here the last time I had been there, but it hadn't seemed like anyone had used it back then. I knew some of the people in the area had been using it, though, but it supposedly leaked. And up behind the dry area where the boat was parked was another smaller entrance, just big enough for a person to come in through. I wasn't actually sure where that entrance was in relation to the surface.

At some point, we moved to a large open area of the mine that didn't have any office or warehouse space on it. Farther back in it, behind some walls, there was also another huge area that was completely unfinished, like they had just stopped mining abruptly. Around this area, I also found a strange graffiti that I'd seen the last time I was here. It was of a large white rabbit holding a dripping bloody knife. And before anybody gets the wrong idea, I don't spraypaint sites and it was there when I first explored the place years ago. It was still kind of cool to find it, though.

We made our way around to an area of the underground that had collapsed in a couple places. Here, there were also huge piles of trash and junk, like someone had been using it as a garbage dump for a while. Past that, we came up on an open area with a chain link gate for vehicles to pass through. I remembered that this part had the deepest water of anywhere else on our last trip.

As we waded out into it, we found that the water was MUCH deeper than the last time I'd been there. I'm over six feet tall, and the water was brushing the top of my waders. There were even a couple warehouse spaces right there that we couldn't explore, because the water would've been above them. I also got a good amount of water into my waders at this point when I was futzing around with the camera and tripod taking a long exposure shot. That pretty much convinced me it was almost time to go, although we were ready anyway since we'd followed the road back around to where we'd started.

There was one more cool thing I wanted to show Casper and Hiccup as we were leaving, and it was right near the entrance we'd used. There was a really nifty office, complete with drywall and tile ceiling, that was flooded with waist deep water. It was just the strangest thing to be walking around an office with water and junk floating everywhere.

Somewhere around this point, Casper asked Hiccup, "You're not afraid of snakes, are you?" I just assumed he was talking about the pieces of hose that we kept finding floating in the water, but I was wrong. Coiled up on a loading door was a small, green snake. I couldn't believe it. The water down here was filthy and polluted and smelled of sulfur, so I don't know how the thing was living down here. I found out later that it wasn't poisonous, but we didn't know that at the time and pretty much left it alone.

With that, we were done for the night. We headed back to the entrance, killed the lantern, and made the long walk back to the car. Then we headed back to Casper and Barracuda's to crash for the night.

02/22/06

Permalink 04:02:24 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1294 words   English (US)

rush, arkansas and the ku klux klan

A while back, a bunch of us made a return visit to the abandoned mining town of Rush, Arkansas, and we even stopped to visit the Ku Klux Klan on the way.

Early that morning, Hiccup and I went and picked up Willard and DeeDee. Then, we headed over to grab Underdog, who was only wearing a blanket when we got there. When he was dressed, we started making the long drive down toward Rush.

When we got into Arkansas, I realized we were making better time than I had anticipated. So, once we got to Harrison, I decided to take a different way to Yellville. That way was going to take us straight through Zinc, Arkansas--home of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

As we made our way into Zinc, which is a tiny, almost-abandoned town that lies down a few winding dirt roads, everyone got to experience a bit of culture shock, since I was the only who had been there before. I grew up in a small town, but Zinc was like another world compared to it, like the land that time forgot. It was pretty much the embodiment of every bad Arkansas stereotype you've ever heard. There were dilapidated trailers and houses everywhere, some abandoned or half-burnt, as well as old vehicles all over the place. There were farm animals running loose, junk and trash littering all the yards, and no lawns to be seen. It was kind of sad, really.

I turned around at the edge of town and went back down a different road. We reached a sign that said Soliders of the Cross, and I announced to everyone that this was the property of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Underdog sarcastically suggested we drive on in, but I had already made up my mind that we were going to and cheerfully started driving in just to freak everyone out. I was a little worried, since it was a Sunday, that there might be people there, but thankfully there were no cars in sight as we pulled up the drive.

Supposedly, this was the biggest remaining KKK group in the United States, but you sure as hell wouldn't know it from the outside of the place. There were just a few small buildings sitting on an acre or so of land, but only one of them looking recently built. If you didn't know it was the KKK, you'd drive right by it and just think it was a country church. All it took was one look at this place to realize that the KKK didn't exactly have the membership it once did.

And just in case anyone gets the wrong idea... I'm no fan of the KKK by any stretch of the imagination. However, I am curious by nature, and it was interesting to show my friends the place, since most people will only hear rumors about it. So, don't take the fact that we took a joyride through there as some sort of approval of them, because it's not.

When we reached Yellville, we stopped at a local grocery store. We were meeting Firediver, Korb, and Brandofluck there, and they were already waiting for us. Everyone introduced themselves, since this was the first time our two groups had met each other in real life, and then we got on our way.

When we reached Rush, we drove past the remaining old buildings and parked down near the end of the drive that went through the area. We all got out and waited around for the Arkansas guys' fourth friend to show up, but he was there in minutes. With that, we loaded up our gear, and started walking down along the water. When we came to a low place, we crossed the water, then started making our way up a steep bluff. It was slow going, but it really was the quickest route to our destination.

At the top, a large mine entrance nearly two stories tall awaited us. We tossed some of our gear on the ground and headed inside. Just inside the entrance, there was an old camper sitting completely out of place. It wasn't that old, but it was in pretty rough shape and had obviously been there a while.

We went farther into the mine, past an old gate, and it was quickly apparent that this mine was much bigger than the other ones I'd visited at Rush. It just kept stretching back and back, in a long straight line. Occasionally, we'd see debris like old support beams or ore cart track, but it just kept on going.

Way back in, we came up on a pool of water that went about fifteen or twenty yards. Some of the group had worn waders or boots in expectation of it, but most of us hadn't bothered. It was only about a foot deep in places, but I still didn't feel like getting my feet wet for the rest of the day. So, I started climbing the wall along the pool of water while everyone else started sludging through it, although the Arkansas guys' friend started climbing along behind me. I wasn't sure we were going to make it all the way across without falling in, but we did. We got to the other side about the same time as the others.

On the other side of the water, there was an ancient Studebaker pickup truck. It was rusted beyond belief and had obviously been there for decades, but it was mostly intact. It looked like someone had liberated some of the parts over the years, though.

We went farther inside, and there was still quite a bit of mine left to see. There were several chambers, with rotten wooden support beams still standing in places. There were also pieces of ore cart track lying around half-buried in the rubble. In one part, we found a drill bit still embedded in the wall, as well as a large metal loop that we took turns hanging from.

When we were done there, we headed out of the mine and started making our way around the side of the bluff. We found several smaller mines along the way. Most of them were fairly small and boring, but we did find one that was particularly interesting. There was just a big hole, about the size of a living room, that went down into the ground. At the bottom, there was a large mine, with an entrance farther down the bluff. We all went around and explored it, and I took pictures of everyone looking down the hole from inside.

After that, we made our way back across the creek, where we met a large group of people who were also heading up to the mine. We chatted with them for a minute before moving back down the path. At a certain point, our two groups separated, since I wanted to show Hiccup and the others some of the gated mines on the trail before we left. I'd later kick myself for that, since the Arkansas guys found an even more impressive mine after we separated.

We headed down the trail, past some old steam equipment that had been there forever, to one particular large mine that I wanted to show them. There were huge crystals lining the ceiling of the mine, as well as the walls outside of it. It was strange. It also probably a good thing it was gated since people would've chipped the crystals out of the walls.

Once we were done there, we headed back to the car and drove on into Harrison to get a bite to eat. Then, with our bellies full, we went on back to Springfield.

02/10/06

Permalink 11:45:32 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 50 words   English (US)

second rooftop new year's eve

I know this entry is two months late, but what can I say? I've been a busy rodent. For New Year's, some of us from Underground Ozarks spent the evening the same way Hiccup and I did last year: We watched fireworks from the roof of an eleven story mill.

Permalink 11:00:28 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 847 words   English (US)

caving and abandoned lodge pt. 2

Several weekends back, a bunch of us went caving and then returned to the abandoned lodge we'd explored earlier.

Early in the evening, RaccoonCC, mjames, colt45, Underdog, piplnr65656, Hiccup and myself all met up at a local Wal-mart to go caving. Underdog, Hiccup and I piled into piplnr's truck, while Raccoon and her gang followed along in their vehicle, and we started the long drive to the cave we were checking out.

We parked down the road from the cave, unloaded all our crap, and began walking back the way we'd come. When we were above the cave on the road, we crossed into the woods and started making our way down the steep hill. It wasn't graceful getting down the slope, and we all pretty much just slid down on our asses.

At the entrance, we dropped some of our gear and proceeded into the cave. Immediately, it was clear that this cave was different from most of the caves in our area. The walls were made out of some sort of crumbly sandstone, and the cave twisted and turned in serpentine fashion. There were also places where the tunnels came together and separated randomly. The cave honestly looked like it belonged in the Grand Canyon rather than in Missouri.

We followed the first long stretch of tunnel we came to, and it just kept going and going. It was insane. The tunnel finally ended in a small hole sloping upward into a large chamber full of formations. Everyone climbed up inside and spread out, but I just barely went through so that I could get some awesome pictures of them from below.

Next, we headed to a section of the cave where a deep pit went about a story down and appeared to lead back into another level. We'd even brought my cable ladder down with us just in case. However, someone had put some long pipes in a couple places down in the pit, and I was able to climb down inside without using the ladder. Unfortunately, the pit didn't go anywhere, although it appeared someone had been digging down in it.

After that, I climbed back out, and piplnr and I wandered across the pit to another section of tunnel. That stretch went on for a ways and it had lots of formations, but it ended after a bit so we turned around. When we returned, we poked around the rest of the cave for a little while. We explored every little side tunnel and checked out some of the strange formations. It really was a unique cave.

When we were done, we climbed back up the hill and started walking back to our vehicles. On the way, we were stopped by a cop who had been called by a neighbor who had seen us heading down the hill. Fortunately, the cop was a nice guy who wasn't interested in busting a bunch of cavers, so he let us go almost immediately. Besides that, although we walked through private property to get there, I'm not sure we were actually trespassing at the cave. It might have been Corps. of Engineers property depending on how close it was to the water.

From there, we decided to head over and check out the abandoned lodge again, since it was nearby. We drove on over to it, then everyone piled into piplnr's truck, since it was the only vehicle capable of driving through the rough construction site.

We got out at the lodge and started checking it out again. Piplnr and I had been there a few days earlier, but it was still cool to check it out again. When we had wandered through most of the inside, we went outside and started checking out the wooden bridge in front of it.

About that time, I noticed a hole about the size of basketball in the bridge and got my usual mischievous urges. I let everyone move on ahead of me, then I killed my light and crawled under the bridge below the hole. I waited patiently until I heard everyone coming back across the bridge.

When someone finally came within reach of the hole, I shot my hand out of it and growled at the top of my lungs. There was a brief pause where I thought my joke was going to fall flat and not scare anyone, but then Raccoon suddenly SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER. She screamed so loud that I actually felt kind of guilty. It was still hilarious, though.

Next, piplnr drove us over to the cabin on the property, which was more of an adventure in his truck than it had been on the ATV. We spent a little time checking that out, but it was pretty much the same as our last visit. So from there we drove around the woods a little bit, just enjoying how piplnr's truck could climb right over anything.

When we were done horsing around in the truck, we went back to the other vehicle, said our goodbyes, and we all started heading back to Springfield.

02/09/06

Permalink 10:30:47 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 395 words   English (US)

abandoned lodge

Several weekends back, piplnr65656 and I checked out an abandoned lodge that's probably not long for this world.

Piplnr and I met up at a gas station nearby early in the night. From there, we hopped into his truck and drove over to a parking spot close to the area. Piplnr had his ATV in the back of the truck, and he unloaded it and we hopped on. That's right--I'm not too proud to ride bitch.

We drove on into the area from there, passing an unfinished man-made lake and a wooded bridge. We stopped at the lodge and proceeded to check it out. It was a log building, ridiculously expensive and almost completely finished. Someone had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this building, and it had apparently never been used. It was a shame to think it might be getting torn down.

We spent a little while checking out the inside of the building and the bridge in front of it. There was almost nothing inside, although the building had apparently been wired up at one time. There was a dance area and bar up on the top floor, as well as a large outdoor deck on the bottom floor. It would've made a great headquarters for the Underground Ozarks corporate office.

When we were finished there, we hopped back onto the ATV and drove farther into the area. There was lots of construction going on, and there were plenty of areas we couldn't have gotten to in a conventional vehicle. Mostly, there was a whole lot of nothing, although there was construction equipment here and there.

We stopped when we reached what appeared to be the only other building left standing. It was a small little cabin, probably big enough for one person or a couple. It was finished on the inside, although it was in a pretty bad state. We looked at what there was to see on the inside, then went around to the garage and basement area, although there wasn't much there.

After that, we hopped back onto the ATV and drove around for a while longer, trying to see if there was anything else worth checking out. Unfortunately, the most interesting thing we saw after that was a surly skunk wandering through the dark. So, we headed back to piplnr's truck and called it a night.

Permalink 09:17:24 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 593 words   English (US)

cave digging inspection

A few weekends back, I took a bunch of the gang from UO to a cave I knew about to check about digging through a cave-in.

Hiccup and I started out the night by picking up David Keetz, then we headed on over to the library to meet Sertile, RaccoonCC, Mjames, and Colt45. Sertile was already there and got in with us, and the other three showed up pretty soon. We had them follow us in their car, and we started making the long drive to the town the cave was in.

When we got there, we parked up the hill from the cave and made the trek down to the entrance. I lit my propane lantern at that point, which I had brought because the cave is so enormous that flashlights don't really do it justice. We headed on down the long entrance tunnel and I started showing them the highlights of the cave.

First, we checked out the enormous chamber you first walk into that had lots of debris from past cave-ins. Then, I led them down another large tunnel to one of the only formations in the cave, which had a large pool of water underneath it. We hung around there for a bit while everyone checked out a smaller side tunnel full of water, but no one felt like getting that wet.

Then, we went to another area of the cave with a bunch of tight squeezes. You could walk the entire way, but the tunnel would veer randomly up and down and around corners out of nowhere. It eventually led to a high room with a bunch of chimney-type formations. We milled around there for a little bit before everyone found a way to walk around to a high ledge that overlooked that area.

From there, we headed back the way we came, which was harder than it looked since the tunnel twisted and turned so much. We went from there to a large pit I knew about inside the cave, about ten feet deep. I'd climbed down in it before and knew it didn't go anywhere, so I didn't volunteer to do the climbing like I usually do. David Keetz went ahead and went down to check it out, though.

When we were done there, I led everyone to the cave-in that we might be attempting to dig through. The cave-in was approximately two stories high and made of super-compressed dirt. I had wanted everyone to see what they were really getting themselves into, because the idea of digging through it sounded a lot easier than the reality. There was a tunnel already dug partway into the cave-in that everyone climbed in to check out.

Surprisingly, everyone was still on board with digging through it, although they agreed that it would be harder than they'd thought. It was nice, because up until that point everyone I'd ever shown the cave-in had promptly changed their minds about digging through it.

We sat around there for probably an hour just talking by the propane lantern. We kept discussing strategies and things and the possibilty of their being buried treasure or mummies or something behind the cave-in. No one really thought there would seirously be anything like that, but I was pretty sure there was at least more tunnel behind the cave-in.

When the lantern finally ran out of propane and died, we decided it was time to call it a night. We loaded up our crap, headed back to the car, and made the long drive back to Springfield.

02/08/06

Permalink 10:30:21 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 374 words   English (US)

abandoned underground storage

Several weekends back, Shadowbearer, Gimpface, and I checked out yet another abandoned mine found by Gimpface.

The three of us met up at another gas station not far from the mine, then we drove on down to it. We parked outside and walked down to where the entrances were. It was funny, because I'd driven past this particular place a million times and had seen it, but I just hadn't thought there was anything there. It looked like just another quarry.

We came up on three entrances, each about fifteen feet tall, going back into the bluff. All three of them were barricaded with concrete blocks to about shoulder height. We picked one of the entrances, climbed over the blocks, and headed into the mine.

The mine was, as usual, like most of the modern underground mines in the area. However, this one was so small that there were actually no pillars. It was just one long tunnel that stretched around in a long loop from one entrance to the other entrance, with chambers dug off to the sides. Like we suspected of the last one, this one definitely had to have been intended for underground storage.

We followed the tunnel along to the other entrance, but there was water partially blocking the way. Shadowbearer and Gimpface chose to walk along the edge of the water to the entrance. Because I was carrying so much gear, I went back to the original entrance.

Outside, we walked down to the third entrance, which appparently went to its own individual mine, as opposed to the first two. We were surprised to see an old trailer sitting inside, so we climbed up over the barrier to check it out. It was in pretty rough shape, but it did contain some rotting plastic bags of something I can't remember. Either way, this area was pretty much like the other one, just smaller.

After that, we went out and walked around the bluff to make sure we hadn't missed any additional entrances, but there weren't any. Then, we followed a nearby gravel road down the hill to make sure there was nothing down there, but there wasn't.

With that done, we headed back to our cars and went home.

Underground Ozarks Blog

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

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