It was well into the evening when Dogboy and I arrived. I had previously made a couple scouting trips to the location, but had been unable to pop the manhole by myself due to the city's unfortunate habit of bolting manhole covers. Armed with crowbars, we were prepared, and soon managed to descend into the trunk line.
Standing at the bottom, our eyes adjusted to darkness as we inhaled the wet drain smell, which was warm in contrast to the freezing air aboveground. My previous scouting trips had acted as teasers, and I was pretty excited to finally be exploring the pipe.
The first surprise came right at the bottom of the manhole shaft. There were coils of thick electrical cable, of the type used to light mine tunnels, sitting in the bottom of the pipe. Since the drain had been constructed by tunneling method, we theorized that the workers had just been lazy and left their lighting system behind.
The pipe was about 2m in diameter, round with a small flat ceiling, and was similar to other drains we'd seen. Heading upstream, we were surprised by the amount of mineral formations we saw. Most of the ceiling and wall joints had some kind of colourful crust on them, with much drain bacon and drain straws (straws are little formations that hang from the ceiling like pieces of string). Many of the straws were quite large, and most dripped water constantly.
This section was pretty featureless aside from the minerals, and we eventually turned back after the pipe dead-ended at a concrete wall. We walked back, passing the entry manhole and continuing downstream.
The new direction soon yielded an impressive find. We reached a cool junction where our pipe (2100) joined an elliptical pipe and together they continued in a round 3.6m dia pipe. In the junction, we were amazed to find writing on the walls from someone named "Shorty" and some others who had apparently been involved in the construction of the structure in 1984; thus we dubbed it Guestbook Junction.
We dropped down to the floor of the junction, and decided to explore the bigger 3600 pipe. It appeared that this one had also been constructed by tunneling, apparent from the sections that formed the pipe. We'd just barely started walking when we reached another junction; where a pipe emptied in up on the wall via an interesting looking vaulted slide chamber which proved inaccessible.
We kept walking, prepared for more drain goodness. A cold breeze could now be felt, and we reached (yet another!) junction where a frozen waterfall was formed inside a small drop shaft. The water had frozen into large icicle clumps, and coated the walls in very cool formations. A manhole shaft was connected to this, and looking up, we discovered we were about 30m underground.
As we continued even further down the pipe, a roar that had once been faint became louder and louder. The air grew cold, and eventually a strong breeze was blowing past us. We observed frozen water stalactites that hung from the ceiling, and some ice formations along the walls. The roar of water falling thundered closer, and then we came to The End of the World. The 3600 pipe sloped away steeply, and in the light of our flashlights we could see that the slope terminated in a large abyss. A rusty safety chain hung from only one wall, and we dared not venture down the slope lest we be swept away down the dropshaft. We'd been to the bottom of this waterfall in Thunder Road, and knew that there was a pool over 2m deep at the bottom of the dropshaft. The air inside the pipe was cold enough to freeze any water that was splashed against the concrete, forming a thin, slippery coating of ice.
After staring down the chute in wonder for a minute or so, we decided we'd had enough and made our way back to the entrance manhole and out into the night. Altogether, we walked through the underground for about 4 1/2 hours! This drain is named "To The End of the World" in the spirit of times past when it was thought that if one sailed far enough, they would fall of the edge(end) of the world; true, in the case of this drain!