Yes, a return to Roper Branch. I'd taken some (probably terrible) flash photos of this particular section almost two years? before; only to lose my film in an unrelated, unfortunate act of appeasement. I've dubbed this place 'Roper Splits', and I like it because of the the huge cool junction and the worrysome omnipresent (but often changing) petrochemical odours.
One of the things I remember most from this trip is the initial entrance. It's been a while since I went draining, and after descending underground, I couldn't believe how dark it was. After the bright sunlight above, the drain seemed absolutely pitch black. My headlamp seemed incredibly dim, and I found out the batteries were essentially dead in my small flashlight. I decided to wait, and allow my eyes to adjust. So I closed my eyes, and stood still in the dark, just listening to the water drip and the echos running up and down the pipe. A minute later, I opened my eyes, and judging that my headlamp was now giving off a reasonable amount of light, I proceeded down the pipe at a hesitant pace. The water was black at my feet, as was everything in the tunnel more than five feet in front of me. Advancing into a pitch dark unknown is fun in a nerve-wracking sort of way; I found I was listening just as much as I was seeing, in an attempt to anticipate what lay ahead. The curved floor under the shallow stream of water was coated with slick muck, and my boots slipped with every other step. Eventually, my eyes did adjust to the pipe- and the headlamp that minutes before had seemed so meagre and ineffectual was once again the blue-tinted trustworthy light that guided my steps.
There's a cool big junction at the downstream end, which is impassible without some kind of raft. A rusty metal railing, partially ripped from its anchoring bolts, juts across the pipe over a small slide; acting as a warning to advance no further.
A section inside is true tunnel, as opposed to the massive RCP sections that comprise the majority of the drain. Not an interesting pipe, just normal concrete- but it was dug by actually tunneling. The most notable feature are some large drain straws (stalactites) that hang in orderly lines from joints in the ceiling. On the wall next to a couple of the larger drain straw formations, persons unknown had written their names; which i've already managed to forget. The graffitti struck me as being quite odd, because it would actually take a considerable amount of effort to find and enter this particular drain system, without proper information. Also, the small tags are isolated to a certain section- perhaps from workers?
Back to the real reason I was re-visiting this drain: photography. I'd gotten just a taste of light painting in drains before my camera died, and I'd been dying to go attempt some more. Thus, through much experimentation, I learned a few more things on this trip. Enjoy.