Urban Explorin’

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath your city?

Have you ever set out to see?

Our adventure began much like many horror movies. A group of ten people hiking into the bowels of a city with headlamps to light our way and enough curiosity to kill several cats. (It’s a saying. We didn’t kill any cats. That’s an entirely different underground world.)

Now before I agreed to this, I had one concern. Rats. I’m not a fan. They live in my ceiling, and well, the optimist in me is ok with that to a point because at least they aren’t running around my floor and leaving hairballs on my pillows.

Our fearless leaders had been in the tunnels three times. I was promised no rats. Water bugs yes, but no rodents. I can do water bugs.

I’m not sure how far in we were when we spotted the first rat. Nobody could believe it. They’d never seen them before. I think we were already at a point where we couldn’t see daylight behind us so you can imagine the nosedive my confidence level took. But it wasn’t a huge rat, and it was a good distance ahead of me, so I pretended that sometimes rats are loners.

I think we eventually saw two more, but again in my second-long glances, they didn’t appear to be terrifying and we were in their space, so the fact they never came within 12 feet of me (and always ran away from us) kept my nerves at bay. It also helped there were never like a whole bunch of them crawling all over each other. That would have not been good.

Meanwhile, it was a good thing I was cool with water bugs.

Most of the time the tunnels were a decent size. We never had to duck. There was a part where it was more perfectly round and you kinda had to straddle to avoid walking through the water, but overall super easy.

We discussed movies like Goonies and The Lost Boys. We talked about it being a potentially very bad place to endure The Big One. I shared sketchy details of the underground cinema I had heard about in Paris. (I never went, but I have been to the catacombs, where I learned about the extent of the underground network that exists under The City of Light.)

Now that I think about it, I also took the underground tour in Seattle. So it only makes sense I would be interested in seeing the underbelly of LA.

Isn’t this amazing? It looks like some fancy European fountain or something. You can also see stalactites forming throughout the tunnel.

It wasn’t all good tho. We did see evidence of less than bueno things going into the water which eventually makes its way to the LA river and the ocean.

Our group barely cleared what appeared – and smelled – like a laundromat drain pipe in the tunnel’s ceiling before it released a flood of runoff into the tunnel.

Also worth mentioning: at a certain point in our walk, the graffiti stopped, which told us we were going farther than others had gone. After a few miles, we made our marks and turned around.

On our way out we all turned our lights out and stood in the complete darkness. Eerie and awesome.

Also on our way out, the boys found this:

You can imagine their excitement as they yelled,”We found a gun!” You can also imagine me yelling back: “It’s totally a murder weapon! Probably some cold case! Don’t get your fingerprints on it!” (In my defense, I was unaware it was so corroded.) I said/screeched/yelled the phrase “murder weapon” no less than 10 times. But for serious. There’s only one reason someone puts a gun in a sewer.

This is the part where I became very glad we didn’t see/find a dead body.

Whoa. I just happened to check to see if there were caves under St. Louis that I didn’t know about, and sure enough…there are!! And they housed theaters and ballrooms and pools and taverns!! The breweries used them too.

How awesome would THAT expedition be?? (You KNOW there is a way in somehow.)

Will someone walk ahead of me in case of rats? I’m not sure how we’d avoid any possible ghosts or curses, so if you have experience with things like that, even better.

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