Let me preface this writeup by saying that I am still relatively new to draining. I have explored around four drains now, five if you count a brief foray into the CSOs of midtown Atlanta(the most promising location, but obviously the most foul. Will hopefully return there sometime with more PPE, as the site was pretty fascinating.) My explores have not been terribly long, as I get accustomed to the various sounds and critters draining has to offer, but this is my most exciting find in the Springs so far.
I usually document my draining in my journal, but this new drain I've found is big enough that I felt more excited about sharing it to the public. Without further ado, let me talk about it!
I've been scouting out this drain for a while. If I recall correctly, I found the location via lots of digging on Google Maps, my second-favorite tool after bike paths.
The POE on this spot was the trickiest I've dealt with so far. A canal, surrounded on either side by fences(some sections topped with razor wire) runs right through the middle of a bunch of businesses. In the heart of this block is the entry point, an(I'm guessing) 8 foot RCB outfall. I decided my best route was to park in a nearby neighborhood and enter where the canal passed beneath the street. From there I would make the hike up the canal to the RCB, avoiding the need to fence-hop.
The canal was steeper than it had appeared on my scouting, but with some careful footholds I was able to get into it with no problem. Nerves high, I began my trek. One of the first things I took note of was the slippery moss. It would be good to wear something other than tennis shoes next time. Though there was a good amount of vegetation on either side of the canal, some of the buildings had floodlights cast in my direction, which kept my nerves up. I did my best to stay out of these. Being seen after midnight creeping around a business district in a canal doesn't look good to the authorities, I'm sure. The hike up the canal was longer than I had anticipated, or it just felt that way due to the nerves. At one point, I had to slog through knee-deep water, which wouldn't have bothered me too bad if it didn't make so much noise! I feared the deep water would continue into the drain, but as I approached the entrance, the water got shallower to the point where some spots on the concrete were dry. After what felt like 20 minutes of canal hiking, I finally slipped away into the blissful darkness of the drain.
After a few minutes of walking in the RCB, it opened up into a chamber which branched off into a few directions. Though the night was dry, some water was still flowing in from side pipes, presumably due to rainfall earlier that week. For scale, the bottommost part of the right RCP was about waist height on me. This section, in my opinion, is simply gorgeous! I'm hoping for even more interesting intersections later in the drain.
The right side split off immediately into two tunnels, an RCB and an RCP. Below is what it looked like from the main tunnel, since you can't see it in the first photo.
Though I wanted to explore the big RCP on the left first, I did hop up here and take a photo from the inside looking out into the main tunnel, because I thought it was cool. Below photo was taken from inside the RCB in the previous photo.
After hopping back down, I started my walk into the left branch, the big RCP. Lots of graffiti in this part, but none that looked new. The graffiti is one of the most compelling aspects of drains to me. I wish everyone would write the date they were there, I love to imagine when and why people were hanging out in these places before me.
The tunnel took a turn towards the right after a while of walking, and it was here that I started to hear some sounds. I brushed them off as dripping water initially, but the further I went, the more they sounded like footsteps, and I was starting to get creeped out. The noises sounded bigger and heavier than water, and were spaced far enough apart to give me pause, despite there being no observable lights or voices ahead. There was also some construction going on not too far up the street, and I began to get nervous about encountering someone else– either a worker, or a curious citizen enticed by the easy access while construction was taking place. That being said, it was around 2 AM at this point, so my sleep-deprived paranoia was no help. Overly cautious person that I am, for better or for worse, I decided to turn back. I'm thinking that if I return and hear the same sounds, it'll be safe to assume that it's just water being amplified by the pipe, and that I was just being a coward. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what I find deeper in this section of the drain.
I opted to at least explore one of the smaller branches before I left the drain for the night. I returned to first branch I encountered and hopped back up into the right side. Not wanting to walk hunched over, I opted for the right branch(the right branch of the right branch, that is. The right-right branch?)
This one went on for quite a while, with no particularly notable features. Finally, I reached an end. In front of me was only a wall and a small pipe, and above me was a manhole, which must have been quite old, and appeared to be sealed shut. The graft from manhole to pipe was rather crude, and as you can see in the picture, there was a lip around the edge. I was temped to pull myself up and sit for a little while, and would have done so if it weren't for the spiders.
There was no thud-thud of tires going over the manhole lid, but there was
a loud humming that seemed to go on for about a minute and then trail off. If anyone has any clue what that might have been, please drop a comment! the dead end the manhole, perfect place to sit and take a breather
On my way back, I noticed a narrow(probably 2 foot) side pipe with the word "OUT" and an arrow pointing into it. Graffiti isn't exactly a reliable source of information, but I thought I might as well give it a shot. The upwards slant of the tunnel meant it would be easy to slide back if there wasn't space to turn around at the end.
Way too many spiderwebs in that little pipe, crawling up it got me absolutely covered! However, the writing was correct. The pipe opened up into a small chamber with a gutter box, a manhole lid, and more spiderwebs than I've ever seen. Looking out the gutter box it appeared I was under a large parking lot. Later on the surface, I tried to figure out where the lot was, but I haven't been able to find it so far. I did scrape off the webs under the manhole and give it a little push, it was definitely mobile enough to be a decent exit in case I ever need it. Thanks, previous explorer!
After shimmying back down the skinny tunnel, I did a quick spider check and found a long-legged, transparent spider on my pack. Probably not venomous, but enough to give me the willies for sure. I shook out all my clothes before continuing on.
At this point, I was pretty tired, so I decided to resist the temptation of the unexplored branch and head home for the night. I think I prefer draining in the daytime, but the exit looked pretty beautiful in the night as I was emerging.
As I left the canal, I opted to exit through the parking lot of one of the unfenced businesses, rather than walking all the way back to my original point of entry into the canal. I'll probably look into entering this way in the future, as the walk up the canal was definitely not a fun part of the adventure.
More to come soon, hopefully! If you have any advice on improving my writeups, please feel free to drop it below. I love reading about other's adventures and want mine to be as enjoyable as possible for you all.