Yet Another Missile Silo ;)
So, I meant to hop on over to UER and make a nice detailed post about my most recent adventure. Of course the inevitable happened and I whiled away hours daydreaming about everyone else's fun times!
So this will have to be a little shorter, but still special.
When I first found this site about three years ago I thought it was cool, no doubt, but the thing that blew my mind the most were the Titan I missile silo posts. Something about the 50's-60's cold war creepiness and my own fascination with nuclear technology made my brain light up like that of a lab rat on coke. Well, unlike the rat I had my priorities clearly sorted out and so I never made it to that site.
This is no longer the case! I happened to meet another uer browser
(I actually haven't asked if he is a member at all, but i was told he stayed up all night reading the forums and ditched classes to go exploring. I'll ask him soon.) just by associating with the crazy type of people that like this sort of thing. Recently he told me that he could take me on a really cool exploration, and when he said it was an old missile silo I jumped for joy! Well basically. So here's the story of how I finally got to go on this trip I had wanted for a long time
The group we went with was on the larger side. It was our guide and 4 other first-timers including myself. The general exploration skill level also varied across the group. POE was fairly easy. 'Nuff said. Inside was like a dream come true!
So my friend told us the first chamber was the power room. This was really impressive because we came into it at the second-level and there was a small platform running around the outer ring. Lots of holes in the grates that you could fall through. This picture is from the lower level of that room and it shows a giant set of cushioning springs that presumably were used to protect the equipment in case of a nuclear attack. Sorry about the image quality, I had to compress a lot to meet the 100k size limit, plus this was shot with a potato.
It was hard to leave the first room cause I couldn't imagine anything cooler - until we moved on of course! Up next were some much smaller side-rooms. Honestly it felt like being inside of a can of tuna fish or something! Like the circus inside the tin can in bugs life... Pic related.
In the same area there is a structure of five large-diameter holes in a thin wall that passes through to an area with a small vertical tube. I thought it might be the missile silo (until we found the real deal) and that the five holes were to diffuse exhaust gasses from launch. You can climb up into these holes and 'walk the plank' to a small pit filled with trash and NEWTS (salamanders?)! Woah. I had never seen one in the wild before - I thought they were restricted to rainforests or something.
SO. This is where a big scare happened for us. In the spirit of adventure I had offered to help our least experienced climber get up into these big holes in the wall. Mind you its at leas 10 ft tall, maybe closer to 15 and with a floor filled with rust, junk, and who knows what else it's definitely not a place to fall. My father's words of 'if you can't climb up to a place then you should not go there' echoed in my head as I pulled her up onto the landing. After observing the cave creatures (above) we decided to go back down. This involved lowering one's self off the edge of the wet and muddy metal tube and trying to stand on the protruding lip of the lower tube (equal size, still high off the ground). This move was hard even for the good climbers there. Despite us spotting her she slipped and fell. Ghoulish visions flashed across my mind of her jaw being obliterated by the ledge below, her neck being permanently damaged, and the back of her skull crushed in by the floor. We were very lucky. None of those things happened and she insisted that she wanted to continue exploring. Phew. Its a long way to a hospital from there.
Alrighty enough of that, we were still having fun! I can't quite remember the exact order of everything but here are some more shots:
A cool and very tall staircase. Seems to be a main entrance from some YouTube documentaries. There was a ladder on the inside of the staircase that went clear to the top but we were only brave (foolish) enough to take it up the first flight.
In a room like the one below (but a different one) we observed very beautiful reflections of our headlamps casting ripple patterns on the far wall. Hard to capture with our amateur gear but really stunning.
There is a tiny door that makes you look and feel like a giant!
And there were a lot of spooky shadow figures like this all over the place. Well-lit with the flash he's kinda cute, but in your peripherals with a dying headlamp it more of an eerie presence.
And here are just a few other shots of the cool tunnels and antechambers that you can find in this wild thing. We could only reach 1.5 of the three missile sites because of flooding. These locations aren't going to be accessible forever sadly :/ We were also able to make it to the antenna room which was really cool because of the extremely long tunnel that led up to it. It reminded me of Metro: Last Light.
So all in all this totally lived up to and exceeded my expectations for the silos. A special thanks to my friend for being the guide and knowing enough to say what was what - it greatly improves the experience to know about the history and function.
I also had some important lessons to learn:
- Don't help people access places they can't on their own. Its simply too dangerous and these locations are not well suited to an expedient rescue.
- Large groups are, at least, good for the ability to form smaller teams if things went wrong (for example if anyone needed to go for help they could still have someone watching their back)
- Watch your step! Yeah. Nasty holes everywhere.
- If you use the new image upload tool it will automatically resize your photos. I'm sure all you seasoned veterans know this but it will save me a lot of time in the future.
Ooh I forgot to mention that the actual missile silo was WAY cool. It is huge. It's really wide and tall, to the point that our photos didn't show the other side. There's a lot of junk on the walls and a careful climber with protection might actually make it to several platforms. Its like a super evil jungle gym?
Alright everyone, thanks for reading. I'm really grateful that I got to see this place before it disappears.