Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Phalen Drain -Part 2

After weeks of bitching and moaning and shit getting in the way, we finally made it deep into the bowels of the East Side via Phalen Drain. Phalen had so much interesting stuff to offer, from ever-changing architecture to beautiful underground vistas and even some interesting stonework. Its really really long though, so we expect to be exploring the remainder of Phalen later.

We woke up early after a debaucherous weekend (Halloween!), early being 10 AM on a Sunday morning. I met Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Jacques over in Como and we trucked off to the East Side to begin our subterranean adventure. Lacking a third flashlight, we ended up using the light off my bike in conjunction with 2 maglites and brought a shitload of extra batteries.

Those that had brought footwear suited up, and those who didn’t promised to not bitch and moan. Our previous scouting mission showed us that we needed to go downstream to get to the drain itself, so we followed the flow of the water into a huge drain and sloshed through some goop before we could get into the MASSIVE part of the drain.

We followed the downstream path of the water and ended up in a large underground room, which was lit by the outfall. This room had some huge pillars on one side and connected up with the other half of the drain.
Outside the outfall we could see the bright, November sunlight reflecting off the Mississippi. Here is a shot of Jacques and Franklin as Jacques check his new waders. “How the hell do these things work?” he wonders to himself.

The water was absolutely filled with tiny fish that you could feel bump up against your feet in the boots. As we sloshed through the second tunnel, back from where we came from and away from the outfall, we stirred up colonies of fish that would jump desperately out of our way.

As we wandered back up to the Trout Brook intersection up this second tunnel that runs alongside the tunnel we had traversed previously, the air started to get much much cloudier, until picture taking with a flash was no longer possible.

We shortly arrived at some crazy hinged valves that had generated some huge mineral deposits. However, the mineral buildup made these valves into crazy stone monsters! The premier exploring group in the area called them “gargoyles”, and I’d have to agree: though they look like fucking monsters at the same time. Check these things out!

Looks sort of like a dragon too, spewing crazy orange minerals rather than flame.

These dragons guarded the entrance to a side passage that was clouded by steam at the entrance. This tunnel was much smaller than the original Phalen drain and was coated in orange minerals. Mini fountains sprayed up from an unknown source and looked cool.

We continued down this new orange tunnel until we reached a very interesting and sort of unsettling (at least for me) object. The tunnel become much larger and featured some sort of corroded set of doors. Where these doors lead to is very unclear, but it WAS clear that we did not want to be there when they opened. Here is Jacques checking out these mighty floodgates

Another photo of the first layer of floodgates being examined.

An interesting side passage led away from this room. Jacques clearly has balls as he marches down the passage. He reported a ladder that led upwards to a set of horizontal doors that must open up onto a sidewalk somewhere, and that light was coming through.

We marched back towards the main tunnel, passing the guardian dragons and the floor fountains, back through the huge drain and back to the intersection of loud-ass tunnel and big-ass tunnel.

We explored a LOT this day and I really don’t feel like including it all in one post. So far in this post, we have documented what we saw from the entrance to the outfall and back to the entrance. Much more of Phalen will be posted later!

To put it into perspective, here is a crude map depicting this part of phalen drain:
More later! Stay tuned