Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth has been an elusive site that ol' Biff and I have been seeking for the past month without any noteworthy success. We spoke with fellow explorers regarding a possible entrance into the subterranean maze under the busy downtown streets of the state capital, only to obtain vague descriptions of the surrounding area and little useful information. After our previous disaster through the 27 inch drain of hell, Biff and I thought it would be wise to take skateboards into the same drain in hopes the going would be easier on ourselves. At the time, we didn't realize that we were yet again in the wrong drain, and although we made it farther this time, we once again bailed out of the claustrophobic drain of doom dirty and frustrated .

They say third time's the charm. Well, this sure as shit applied to our tireless obsession with gaining access to the Labyrinth. The very next night Biff and I went to one of our favorite areas along the river in south Mpls and promptly started a fire and discussed our options.

Biff and I were aware of a drain about 15 yards downriver and figured the ice had frozen enough to walk on and take a quick look-see. The ice was thin near the outfall of the drain, but Biff and I miraculously made it thanks to our knee-high boots and a thoughtful explorer/graph-artist who left a knotted rope near the entrance. The drain ran for 50 yards or so and unfortunately abruptly ended with a giant down-spout. Although we were discouraged, the frozen drain was beautiful and rarely visited.

Safe and sound back in the Jeep, we discussed our next destination. It was still early, and having not had our supper, we drove to a local establishment to warm ourselves and have a bite to eat.

So, we laughed and ate and had a beer and decided that we should head back to St. Paul and try our luck one last time. This was it. This was the night Biff Horseman and I were finally going to infiltrate the Lab if it killed us. Although we were without our drain-boards, we both had the determination to reach our goal no matter what obstacles we had to face.

We finally found it. We had both been dreaming of this moment for nearly a full month. Biff and I had done tons of research, spent hours doing recon, and had subjected ourselves to crawling through a random drain twice in hopes of seeing this vast interconnected multi-level system with our own eyes.

Biff and I soon discovered that one can easily become lost in the lab and decided that keeping track of our progress with chalk was the simplest solution at the time. Tunnels split left and right for literally miles without an end in sight. The water would rise near our knees and then drop to ankle level in a different part of the same tunnel. Water would pour down vertical drop shafts and seep from cracks behind sealed side passageways. It seamed that at every turn Biff or I would say "Holy shit!" or something similar at each new discovery.

Sealed off-shoots and abandoned sewers littered the main tunnel for miles and miles. Biff and I were glad we had the foresight to bring a piece of chalk with us to mark our progress and lessen the chance of becoming lost in the underground world.

Biff and I climbed through holes in walls, scaled over cement barriers, and poked our head into every possible spot we could during our journey deeper into the labyrinth. We encountered abandoned sewers and drains, admired the changing architecture and did our best to keep our heads on strait.  

After climbing through a hole in a small crawl-tunnel, Biff and I finally reached the active utility tunnels that we have heard so much about. This was truly an area that was very easy to become lost and disoriented. The utility tunnels are composed of gas and water lines, telephone and fiber optic cables, and other lines that help the city function. We walked slowly and kept our eyes pealed for motion-sensors, cameras or things that would otherwise indicate surveillance.


After hours of exploring, we decided that it was time to head back to the surface and celebrate our victory. We were overjoyed with our time underground. We saw things that very few people have the privilege of seeing. Biff and I are cautious underground and want to continue exploring as long as we can. We will be back to the Lab someday soon. For the time being, we'll let the heat die down and explore elsewhere.