Monday, February 6, 2012

The Narrows' Storm Drain

   I pushed open the doors and walked out of the building. Footprints in the beach led to me, clambering into an outfall. This drain pipe was ridiculously small; I couldn't even squat like I could in my first one. Flashlight getting soggy, I crawled through the sand and water. I crawled and crawled until my muscles were sore and I needed a break. Eventually I gave up trying to stay dry and plopped my pants and coat down into a soggy mess. I shone my light hoping that I would find something noteworthy, but there was nothing to be found here. There was no way I could keep plunging my arm into sandy water, keep having water pour into my shoes and chill my socks, keep leapfrogging through the 2' high drain. Screw this. I headed back. There are other drains. Like my first one.
I found this drain back in the summer of '11 and have explored it several times each time going further than the last. The best two adjectives I could use to describe the experience are boring and scary.

The sounds from the passing cars bumping through the tunnel, the dripping water, my boots sinking into the freezing wet mud, the stale air and the pitch blackness made it a scary experience.

However, the storm drains had a predictable pattern. Walk this many yards, then come across a rust-colored ladder and maybe some bacteria. Yipee. I saw almost no variety in my hour and a half explo of this place; in fact, the most exciting part was when the route curved. 

My perception from this tidally affected location is that going deep into storm drains is not worth your trouble. Few people go there, so there's nothing to see, and you always have to keep the tide in the back of your mind to make sure you don't drown from a drain flood. The mud is sticky, the water jumps into your boots and freezes your feet, and the darkness is intimidating. None of this is meant to detract you from drains, but be aware that some are more interesting than others, and get to know the risks and experiences involved before going.

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