Tuesday, November 6, 2007

East Kittsondale Helix

Woot! We went on an impromptu exploration mission today. Myself and a friend named Holler were going to set out and explore the 28th street drain in Minneapolis ourselves, but at the last minute Jaques called us and joined up! He met us and we rolled by means of his car to the outfall in Minneapolis.

We got to the drain, only to find the water level so high that entry was impossible except by a canoe or raft of some sort.... which we did not have. Sadly we had to turn back and clamber up the sandy cliffs back to his car. PWNMOUNTAIN!

Plan B: East Kittsondale Drain

We drove down to where we knew the outfall was (thanks city of Saint Paul!) and did a fair amount of stumbling down steep hills and searching around in the dark before we came across a small drain entrance: We climbed in and explored what turned out to be an abandoned sewer almost exactly like the Drake St. Drain from a few nights ago, complete with the side tunnels that led to nowhere and the brick/sandstone architecture. Cool, but dead end.

We climbed back out and quickly found the truly massive outfall for the East Kittsondale staring us right in the face: this thing was huge! And very intimidating! We were above it on some cliffs, and needed to get down to it which looked difficult. Some kind explorers had left a useful rope on the east side of the outfall and we used it and the footholds in the sandstone to caaaareefuly lower ourselves into the outfall. One misstep and it meant a tumble into the freezing cold Mississippi for us!

At last, the outfall! The pillars were really cool, and the floor was really slippery. We grabbed onto a kind vine to prevent a dip in the river. Here Holler poses victoriously in the outfall among the cool pillars:


We hope that we arent going to get as wet as the West Helix forced us to get, but it seems as though the water level is much lower than it was when we went to the Triple Helix System. The water also had a weird orange tint to it, which was pretty and sort of weird. Here we prepare to venture into the vast drain that awaits us.

This drain system has a ton of really interesting little groundwater springs that have broken in through the walls. These springs leave intricate and beautiful little designs with all sorts of colors on the walls and floor, from orange spiderwebed designs to floes of bone-white calcium. Also, interesting architecture was noted: here Jaques poses with a bricked off old brickwork doorway.
Cool. We marched on down the tunnel, knowing we had a long march ahead of us. I paused to take a long exposure shot of the drain as Holler and Jaques walked down it (I reccomend going to http://www.flickr.com/photos/goxkok/ for a MUCH better size): note the different lights. One is a Xenon bulb and the other is an LED Maglite. Which one could be which? Hmmm...
We took a side passage and walked up a short set of steep stairs that led to a bricked off passage, almost certainly a seperation between the two sewer systems. Here is a shot of Jaques and Holler looking up at me from the base of the stairs. They look so happy!

Woah! What happened?! The helix appeared out of nowhere! We expected a much longer walk before we got to the spiral staricase, but here it is! This thing is huge, even larger than the massive spiral stairs in its West sister. It lacked that side trough though, so water was pouring down the whole staircase which made the climbing very wet.

This is another long exposure of Jaques and Holler climbing up the staircase. The blob of light in the corner is Jaques leaping over me to get to the stairs after he tied his show, its not the sun. Not the crazy orange color of the stairway to the right.

Climbing the helix, an almost endless ever turning ascent into the unknown. Jaques looks like an old fat woman in this photo if you ask me...

Here we are, at the top of the long climb up the spiral stairs with that crazy eroding set of stairs that look realy cool but are really slippery. We have no idea what lies ahead of us as we scamper along the tunnel. Unlike the other helix which gives way to a bunch of smaller drains up in the shallow levels, this drain was just as big as it was a hundred feet below.


Here is the first picture of GoxKok, taken as he tests a manhole in a room for liftability. It fails the lifting test and he descends. Damn! Check that ass out!

5H|200Mz!

Here are the buddies! We are in a small room underground that is a welcome change to the tunnels weve been walking through for a while. Friends always, even underground, Jaques and GoxKok pose for a snapshot. FRIENDS 4EVAR!

The intrepid exporers continue on, even though the tunnel has turned into an RCP. The sides have disappeared and the floor of the drain is now just water. The intrepid explorers are not daunted however, and they trudge forward in their non-booted feet. They proceed to get really wet, much to their dissatisfaction, but the smiles on their cute little faces remain!

We trudged on and on and on through the boring RCP getting wetter and wetter. Dams of trash would block up water and create huge deep sections that came up past our shins and really made us sad. But what is this up ahead? Woah! A fucked up stairway underground! Its painted like a tiger even! Where should we go? Probably up!


Here is another one of those failed long exposure shots, this one of Jaques and Holler ascending the tiger stairway. I kind of like how it turned out. Again, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/goxkok/ for a MUCh better looking size, you can see way more.

The RCP continued on seeminly forever and turned into a bunch of smaller tunnels: some assrape tunnels, some really smelly tunnels, some tunnels that deadended and others that were too skinny for us to slip into. We hoped and hoped for a manhole to be safe, but all manholes had cars rumbling over them at high speeds (we figured that we were running directly a busy road of some sort) SADNESS!

We ended up having to turn back and head to the helix and downward. It really sucks having to backtrack, but the dread drain fever had us in its grips and totally screwed us over. We faced a long ass walk to the outfall, including a long trudge through cold leg deep water. Sweet!

We made it back to the outfall in good time, thoroughly soaked and disheveled. We clambered back up the sandstone cliffs (found a cavey thing) and back to Jaques' car. Time to take off our soaking shoes and to get some FUCKING JIMMY JOHNS!!!!! (Holler = vegetarian so no McDon)

We really really loved this mission, even though we got soaked and cold and had to walk the whole way back. The helix was amazing and so was the tiger-like stairs near the end of the tunnel along with all of the cool architecture and changing drain shape.

-GoXkok OUT!!

68 comments:

Lucas said...

when did you guys do this because I was just in the kittsondale last night and the helix, well the stairs you have in your picture and now walled over.

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