Drain was UEMs first draining experience in the fall of 2002,
and it was a sweet one.
In the past, Tux had often passed by a very tempting drain-looking pipe
while on public transportation in the West Island, and after reading a few
too many UEC drain articles, we too decided to try our luck at the age-old
sport of draining.
Unfortunately, the pipe Tux had sighted was a
no-go. From our entrance, the downstream part seemed too dangerous and
deep to walk considering we didnt even have rubber boots!
and the upper part was a bit too small for our highly-refined
drainers palates. So we shuffled away, disheartened and beaten
At which point Tuxs memory awakened and he recalled a second drain
not too far away. After five minutes of walking on train tracks, UEM
found the fabled drain and its great arched stone entrance, and although the
water in the upstream part was once again too deep for us to wade in,
the downstream pipe immediately appeared enjoyable. And so we headed into
Lower Raccoon Drain.
and Wotan returned in spring of 2003, this time equipped with rubber
boots and the Tiny Sun. The upstream section of Racoon did not seem
as daunting and arduous as it had six months before. Upper Racoon was
also a nice location on its own, but what really blew us away was the
discovery of Double-Tunnel at the end. It was totally unexpected and
one of the most satisfying surprises weve had so far.
Tux and I came
to a strange junction consisting of three small (3-feet wide or so)
pipes that led to a dark place full of rushing water. I slipped my backpack
off, squeezed myself into the middle pipe with my flashlight, and pulled
Expecting a gigantic catch-basin into which Id
fall and drown, or perhaps an alligator mating pond. Instead, I set
rubber-clad foot inside a perpendicular section of tunnel with ten inches
of fast-flowing water. I called Tux and, after he had squeezed past
the narrow junction too, we stood in awe and listened to the sounds
of cars driving over a manhole above.
We had no idea what Double-Tunnel was supposed to be. We walked for
upstream, turned back, returned to the junction, and then walked for
ten minutes downstream too. We found nothing, except the occasional
rectangular opening in the middle wall that separates the two halves
of Double-Tunnel. At this moment I think we both could have believed
in the existence of an endless draining system underneath the whole
island of Montreal
And yeah, we did, a little.
For this super-hardcore exploration, though, wed need a full roster,
and so all three UEM members returned a week later. After reaching the
Raccoon-DT junction, we elected to walk upstream. This led us, after
thirty-five minutes of sloshing around
in sometimes ankle-, sometimes almost knee-high water, to a junction
with two exits. We made camp right outside the better-looking one, feasting
on energy bars and drinking Gatorade inside a fenced-off field with
barbed wire. Curious suburban dwellers, not ten meters away, seemed
to be wondering how wed gotten in. After a while we returned to
the task at hand, hiked back all the way to the junction with Upper
Raccoon Drain, and explored the downstream part, which was unfortunately
rather featureless. The only exit on this side turned out to be a large
hinged grate that we pushed open. We ended up on a sunny beach, surrounded
once again by the hubbub of suburban life
And yet, yearning to
return to the damp darkness from which we had just emerged, like newborns.
Overall, drains are among some of the most pleasurable experiences of
urban exploration, if youre well prepared and ready to actually
experience something. Most of the time, drains are not about sightseeing:
theyre about the darkness, the claustrophobia, the alien environment,
the echoey sound of dripping water, and the satisfaction of traveling
inside a secret underground network most people dont even know