Hartford’s Underground River Aug 2005

DSC00573We all met immediately after work one summer afternoon at the parking lot for the Hartford Advocate on Wawarme Avenue. Across the street from the Virgin Mary shrine to be exact! Meir Rinde, a Hartford Advocate writer and co-worker, Julie Singleton a co-worker from my p/t job at EMS and myself made up the team.

DSC00574Getting all geared up once everything was down on the urban river bank.

DSC00576And we’re off! Truly urban kayaking. And there’s even flowers!

DSC00577And the South fork of the Park River goes underground! You can actually see the top of this tunnel from i84 East, just before passing over Park Street. We chose the left tunnel. Both run parallel and are identical in construction.

Tales from the Underground after the jump!

DSC00581Lots of great art, old and new. Always fresh.

DSC00582In low water one can easily walk the sides of the tunnels for quite a ways in. I had done this in high school to explore and photograph the graffiti.

DSC00585Yeah, that’s a car. Late 90’s Mazda 626. I paddled this route again a few years later and the car was a mile further downstream and upside down! The power of water. I wouldn’t wanna be in here after a spring thunderstorm!

DSC00587There is all kinds of stuff down there. Lots of grocery carts. Construction debris. Rocks. Never saw a rat though. Or any fish. No lion, tigers or bears. There’s a smell to it, but not overwhelming, just kinda there, ya know?

DSC00588The Junction Room where the North and South branches of the Park River converge somewhere around Laurel St. and Capitol Avenue. You can feel the highway traffic. Absolutely dark when headlamps are off.

DSC00589I guess there was dead shrubbery as well.

DSC00591wooohaaa! There was a surprising amount of dry land to explore. Though seems weird calling this dry land, underground, under a city.

DSC00592Two parallel tunnels leave from the Junction Room heading towards Bushnell Park and eventually the Connecticut River. The left tunnel may have an eight foot wide stream of water pouring in from a side pipe during the summer full of downtown buildings’ AC run-off! It is a lot of water and not to be taken lightly. I have paddled up to it from the Connecticut River and didn’t feel safe passing the torrent of water blocking the entire tunnel.

DSC00597Part of a building? Maybe the garage of that Mazda? Who knows?

DSC00602We exited right at sunset and were treated to lots of colorful clouds and truly great light.

DSC00603That’s the Park River in the background, where we floated back out to daylight and chlorophyll and fresh air especially!

One response to “Hartford’s Underground River Aug 2005

  1. This is absolutely incredible Will! I have to do this!


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