Urban Underground – Tunnel Exploration in Austin, Texas

My brother and I threw ourselves into the dark tunnels of Hollywood Park a week ago – tunnels we used to explore with the neighborhood kids years ago. We were primarily directly under 281, one of the major highways in San Antonio. We specifically wanted to see one of the passageways we never got to see as kids – usually some kind of animal stopped us from further exploration.

Our adventure showed this to be true again. We dove deep into the uncharted tunnel passing over one hundred yards of cockroach infested concrete that was only 6 feet high. We heard it. The sounds that stopped us so long ago – bats fluttering around one of the segments of the sewer. We hugged the corner that curved left towards these creatures and discussed pros and cons of continuing past the flying rats.

During our discussion, a handful of these creatures began to dart left and right around our heads but quickly disappeared in a small ceiling hole a few feet in front of us. We don’t know if they followed us, we were already trudging back the way we came – our socks wet from the filthy pools of water that decorated the tunnel. We went down another familiar corridor that took us to the sunlight. We found where the unknown tunnel was to come out if we had continued and we could hear the bats taunting us from their nest.

A couple days later, my brother and I explored the tunnels under downtown Austin – this entrance was featured in our independent Tom Sawyer adaptation, Los Mentirosos (a feature film). We have always been curious about what these characters saw as they disappeared into the tunnels’ gates. Passageway after passageway, the tunnels often changed shape and the ground held 6 inches of water at times.

I made this lil video out of the footage.

The majority of the first half was filmed under Hollywood Park in San Antonio, Texas. The latter half took place under Austin – we entered the tunnels at 4th and Rio Grande.

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Urban Underground – Tunnel Exploration in Austin, Texas