Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kittsondale v 2.0

We have always wanted to make it to the top of that damn helix that we missed on our first trip ... we had been thwarted by rain for the past two weeks so when it finally got perfect out, we drove on down to the outfall and headed in.

First thing we noticed ... the shit was fucking slippery! The continuous rain must have coated the sides of the drain with the slippery stuff so we kept sliding into the water, yelling "It's a trap!" ala Admiral Ackbar everytime we felt ourselves slipping toward the water. We finally gave up and took our shoes off and pressed forward in our socks (good idea)

We made it to the end of the tunnel and admired the varied artworks on the walls in the area:

Very nice. We proceeded to head up the famous stairway to the surface that has been climbed so many times. Too bad I forgot those candles, that would have been sweet.

I had to ask Jaques to stay very still for this picture. He was starting to get annoyed with mye and my camera at this point. But hey, the 10 second exposure turned out okay I thought:

We ended up making it to the top. We branched off to the left rather than climbing the wall of slippery rock sans rope aid. We came to this network of shallow tunnels leading to God knows where. This is the assrape tunnel, where you were forced to stick up your ass and run forward to make any ground. Goxkok poses with a sad, sad face and the uncomfortable position he must travel in.

We went through the a crawling tunnel in order to continue and found a styrofoam cup stuck in the cieling from when the tunnel was built (weird) and a marble among other oddities. The crawling got a little old after a while though and we were thoroughly soaked and dirty by the end of it.

The crawl tunnel opened up to more assrape-height tunnels which we followed for a while. They opened occasionally for junctions and manholes but all the ones we tried to lift were sealed shut! Fuck! The tunnel then split off and got too small so we had to fucking crawl and awkwardly walk all the way back.

We made it up the slippery-as-hell incline without the damn rope and started off down the shallow tunnels right under the streets. Car roared by overhead and occasioanlly buses would pass by. The floor was a nice change, it was pretty coloful and NOT SLIPPERY limestone slabs which made our lives very nice. The interior designers that did this deserve a thumbs up.

We followed the maze of shallow tunnels for a long time, checking out many many side tunnels and tons of sealed manholes. We came across a janky but serviceable rope ladder going up to another level so we climbed up and found ourselves in round tube of walking height. We found a storm grate leading to the street above, so I stuck my camera out and took a photo to see where the hell we were:

Okay, so we were under University Avenue near the First Tire. We had come a long fucking ways! We continued on, listening to the cars and people walking above us. Another crawl tunnel took us to a manhole that budged! We sat under it, waiting for the trucks and cars to go by then scraped the manhole over and clambered out, almost running into a guy on a bike who seemed a little surprised and muttered "Oh, shit" to himself and biked off. Jaques then climbed out too as a lone beat up pickup drove by, staring at us and doing a U turn (shit shit!) to drive by us again. Here is the intersection we popped out of:

We check the time (1:50!) And decided to head off to MacDonalds to feast on shitty but amazing food as per tradition. We walked all the way back to the river and hopped in Jaques' car and drove off into the midway for food!

As long as the weather holds out, we're hoping to do a bunch of draining soon. Check back for updates

- GoxKok

Monday, October 22, 2007

Recon Update

1. Downtown proves to be a failure again. Everything seems to be locked up and sealed away. We found more of those curious rooms but they led nowhere.

2. We set out to explore a telephone tunnel in the Highland neighborhood, only to find that the manhole only led to little maintenance rooms underground. Shoot!

More research must be done.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Recon Missions

Its been a while since the last update and I thought I'd clue people in to what is going on:

1. Jaques and i headed downtown STP searching for entrances we had heard of. The first was locked from underneath. We drove a bit more and walked a lot, but did not find much except a cool trapdoor that we could not open (we needed some sort of key thing).

2. We returned a few days later. All we found was a little room that seemed to be a weather recording station. Cool, though not what we were hoping for.

3. Much research on campus has led to the discovery of an entry point to the steam tunnels on my schools campus: however its in a populated area so Ill have to wait till 3 in the morning someday. Also, I met with another explorer on campus!

Cheers! More to come soon!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Minnehaha Drains

After sitting in class for a few days during the week, I began to get a feeling of serious drain withdrawal. So I called up Jaques and lo! He too and a drain hankering. Sadly, Franklin Delano Nothing was otherwise busy so we designed to set out alone. I bussed over to his house and from there we suited up to go under the earth.

A bit of research off the city works website reveled the general location of a drain in Minnehaha park that we thought would be suitable. We filled up the tank (ouch!) and drove on over to Mpls. We parked the car and Jacques and Goxkok then proceeded to demonstrate their highly un-ninja like skills. Loudly cursing, snapping twigs, falling and scraping themselves on the the steep slope down to the river, we finally landed at the bottom of the slope. As they got up, dirtied and scratched, they noticed a staircase 10 yards away. Go figure.

By a magnificant stroke of luck, the lost and confused couple wandered a bit, then found a gaping drain outfall with a huge grate covering it. We managed to squeeze through the grate and enter the drain! Success!

We kept our lights off for a bit and almost fell into a large hole in the drain where the water flushed down a ramp for some reason. We then decided to turn on the lights for good and walked maybe 50 feet through a shallow puddle (with a handrail!)

Ahead of us was an amazing subterranean water slide, complete with a stairway for explorers! Water rushed down the ramp and gurgled into the hole behind us and we looked on at this strange sight:
We climbed the stairs and emerged into a HUGE cavern of a drain with ceilings arching high above us (maybe 18 feet?). We had never seen anything like this before: the picture below just doesnt do it justice.

As we walked up the drain, I found a toad on the floor and scooped it up without Jaques seeing. I then called him over and told him to take what was in my hand. He wasnt expecting a toad and flipped out, his yelp bouncing down the drain and echoing over and over. Owned!

Goxkok 1, Jaques 0. Here is GoxKok with the poor toad, which we named RUH the First

At this point, the drain became a lot smaller after a large turnoff (we explore that on the way back) and we start to cry inside as the slippery sides of the drain sloped upwards so they were nearly impossible to walk on. Here Jaques gives the camera a pitiful look.

As we neared the sounds of falling water, the tunnel became hot 'n steamy due to sexual tension between Jaques and GoxKok. This photo below does not quite portray the sexiness that was felt (thought he vandalism kind of took away from the tender moment)

Defeat! The drain ended in a huge catchbasin with water drifting down from who knows where. We spied up the long vertical shaft and spied a continuation of our tunnel much farther up, sort of like the Island Station Drain. We couldnt continue without ropes or ladders and other unwieldly equipment.

On the long hike back, Goxkok pauses to pose. He is riding a big metal support we ecountered, holding something up on the cieling. Please refrain from sexual jokes or commenting on how Gox is "compensating" for something.

Goxkok captured this cool shot on his shitty Canon Powershot with a 10 second -long exposure. He likes it because you can see where Jaques walked along and shone his light on the walls as the shutter was open....

This is the opening to an unknown side drain the we wanted to make known... so we walked down it on our way out.

The cieling got lot smaller and started to shrink down as we got further along. It dissapointingly ended at a catchbasin pouring water from high up. Lame. Here is a shot of Gox that shows the cieling and size of the drain.

Jaques poses elegantly at the edge of the waterslide, pondering what fun it would be to go down it assfirst ...
Here is one last shot of this cool slide as Gox descends it angelically.

We hiked the rest of the way to the entrance through the long puddle and squeezed through the little hole in the grate and stumbled out into the night and Minnehaha park ... with another drain completed!

We found our way back to Jaques' car and prompty did what all St. Paul kids do when they dirve home from Minneapolis in the dark through unknown neighborhoods ...

We got lost.

And drove around and finally got back onto a street we recognized and followed it across the river. Relief!

Until next expedition! -GOXKOK