Monday, January 10, 2011

The Urban Spelunker

The eastern frontier of my neighborhood, Morehead Hill, is defined by Third Fork Creek. Running south of Morehead Avenue, it's a little stream alongside the American Tobacco Trail, subject to occasional neighborhood clean-up efforts. Running north, it goes underground, and yesterday I chose to go with it. Below are a few pictures from my journey.

Looking south along Third Fork Creek, at the entrance to the underworld.

The entrance

While not a natural cave, the Third Fork Cavern has natural stalactites.

Here I am, headed upstream. The pipes behind me appear to be part of an old sewer line that is no longer in use. A storm drain is not a sewer, and never the twain should meet.

Some places weren't so wet or cramped as in the previous photo. This line doesn't carry the main flow of the creek, but carries water to it as it drains down from the American Tobacco Campus.

Even deep in these passages, you'll find evidence of ongoing human activity.

This shrine was one of the more interesting examples of that. One of my companions lit these candles, but they were already here when we arrived.

And then there was this.

But mostly, my trip up Third Fork Creek was about cool old passageways such as this, somewhere below American Tobacco. Clearly, this is one of Durham's older storm drains. It's architecture such as this that makes this underworld well worth a visit - at your own risk, of course.

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