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Bloomington Geocachers Extreme Cache Hides

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A good discussion outgrew the confines of the Bloomington Geocachers email list, so we're moving the discussion here and opening it up to the rest of the Groundspeak community.


Eric, aka PoppaHoppy




(posted to the Bloomington Geocachers Group email list three days ago)




After creating the Bucket o' Fun cache, I've been thinking about

hiding a cache that would be even more intense and fun - a cache

hidden in the Jordan River tunnel that runs for over a half-mile under

downtown Bloomington. Of course, the LittleHoppies won't be able to

come along and it would be unwise for me to go it alone to explore and

make the hide. I know we have some extreme cachers out there who for

whom this might be appealing (you know who you are!) Anyone interested

in joining me on this?


I think we'd need an exploratory trip to scope out the tunnel - who

knows what's down there - will we need ropes? A boat? An ogre-

slaying knife? After checking it out we can discuss the container,

the hide, or any multiple stages we think we might need to come up

with. After those decisions are made, a return trip will be needed to

place clues and make the hide. Obviously, we should attempt this soon

since the weather (and water) is getting cooler. Who's in?



aka PoppaHoppy of team HoppyFamily




Ray Todd Stevens to me

show details Sep 20 (3 days ago)

On 20 Sep 2009 at 5:41, HoppyFamily wrote:


I am not sure this is a good idea. For one thing I believe that this is actually illegal. But

more important we do have someone killed by going in that tunnel and getting into the drain

system in Bloomington every few years. It would be bad to add geocaching as another

reason that this happens.




the mouse to me

show details Sep 20 (3 days ago)


I'm in. I have thought about a whole series in the drainage system. (ok, I've got one planned 0.1 miles upstream of my cache, and I've been meaning to check out what they did on the other side of bryan park. ...and I kinda keep track of which construction projects use really big pipe... ...I'm just to lazy to get out there and place them...


I believe the whole thing downtown is still walkable, I have not been in the downtown stuff for quite a while. Large sections of old brick tunnel were replaced with preformed concrete sections, (when was that,? 10-15 years ago?) I believe I overheard that while the lot next to chipotle is empty they will work on the tunnel under there...


The thing does move a lot of water at times and there have been close calls fairly recently. I don't remember any deaths, but it is easy to imagine. I don't know how the gc community feels about these kinds of risks, but I'm all for helping explore! ...it'll make me feel like a little kid. *Smile*Justin Marshall Thompson to me

show details Sep 20 (3 days ago)

Hey there,


My name is Justin (jmthomps) and I grew up in Bloomington. I'm a college student attending the University of Vermont, but I still call Bloomington home. I'm coming back home for Lotus Fest next weekend and would LOVE to go and scope out the tunnels with you.


A few questions first though. Have you ever been into/through the tunnels? Have you done so since the reconstruction a year or so ago? And lastly, as cool an idea as this is, from what i've heard this is extremely dangerous and lives have been lost in the tunnel. I'm interested in the idea, but a bit skeptical about pulling it off, or making it legal.


Nonetheless, i'm on board. Would you like to go next weekend?




Maria Solomou (Geomafiosa) to Bloomington

show details Sep 20 (3 days ago)


Geomafiosa is definitely up for it. Yes, we need some extreme

geocaching experiences and I would love to set up a couple (or

more :anicute:)


I have done some extreme geocaching (GCWA47, GC175HV, GC1KQC2, etc...)

and I have plenty of ideas! I am setting up a couple of multicaches

already, but I am still working on them.


Let me know and we can start working on them.




Shannon Hess to me

show details Sep 20 (3 days ago)

My husband Kirk and I are interested. We didn't know there was a tunnel!




HoppyFamily to Bloomington

show details Sep 20 (3 days ago)


Death is obviously not cool. But a 5/5 cache properly advertised as

hazardous shouldn't give us any pause. I think we can make it quite

clear on the cache page what the risks are.


I have an email out to the Mad Reviewer asking if he would approve a

tunnel cache in general and specifically if it would be okay to paint

logos or icons of some sort inside the tunnel (like the infamous Tube

Torcher cache). I'll let you know his reply when I get it.


But Mouse makes a good point. Construction on one section of the

tunnel (422 Kirkwood) begins Monday, and will go on for about 45

days. I for one don't want to be down there when they are literally

collapsing the roof in. Maybe a mini-excursion near the entrances,

but I won't be willing to get within several blocks of that

construction area. Perhaps a warm Novemebr day when construction is

complete - otherwise Springtime? :blink:




I'd be more than willing to lend a hand with these.


Keep me posted!




the mouse to me

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)


Well, I probably just demonstrated that I'm more stupid than I look. *Smile* I just spent a couple hours wandering around, a good chunk of it under ground. ...I get a bit obsessive sometimes, and I just could not stop thinking about the tunnels. So after the radar showed absolutely nothing scary coming our way I grabbed a few extra flashlights and a headlamp and ditched anything not water safe.


I started east of the ISU. The water really was not very deep or moving very fast, but before I made it to dunn meadow I had water over the top of my boots. There are 2 tunnels under the ISU, a short canyon in view of a staff parking area connects them. There are some deepish spots and the floor is uneven. Some adventurous students probably wander through, but I doubt anyone frequents it. Together the 3 parts are a bit of a walk, and it might be a good introduction, to get peoples' feet wet.


I had planned to keep going downstream, but when I got to the meadow I noticed a branch feeding in from underneath 7th and woodlawn. I'd never gone that way, and I was out to explore...


The tunnel turned out to be pretty torturous. It seems to have been extended and patched extensively, so it changes regularly. The height was always enough to allow walking, but only in very rare cases enough for me to stand up. In quite a few sections the water has worn a channel into the floor, in places close to knee deep. There are a handful of pipes run right through the tunnel forcing an under/over choice. In one section the form for the ceiling was made from sheet metal which has rusted and started to fall. The concrete is still sound, but you have to dodge through the metal hanging down. The air seems stagnant, and it just seems to go on and on...


I made it to the end of the main tunnel. I'm pretty sure I was on 10th street near Fee, but it seemed much further underground... ...and then I had to turn around and go back...


I followed the biggest side tunnel and found an 8' square room with a bolted down grate in the roof. I think it is at 39.17105, -86.52037


In general this is a pretty cool tunnel, it's kind of creepy, it's a bit small, but I'd say it fairly safe, and I bet it gets almost no foot traffic of any kind. It feels pretty strange that you can just walk into it, no grate, no signs, not even a fence... I imagine it would trigger claustrophobia in noticeable fraction of people.


After I made my way out of that one I was pretty beat. but I did go downstream a bit more. Getting to the tunnel under Indiana is a bit tricky. Probably the easiest way would be wading from where the banks are low. I would guess most people are going to get water over the top of their boots in the pool just before the tunnel. Going under Indiana it's a pretty cool old arched tunnel. Quickly you get to the new stuff, all flat edges, although there is a weird step in the north wall. I could walk upright most of the way to Dunn, there is a dip in the ceiling in the middle of that run that made me stoop a bit. Basically an easy walk in wet shoes. There is a sharp left at Dunn, and the height goes down to the 3 foot range. At that point I turned around and went home. *Smile*


There are still some exploitable feature even in the newest sections, so if paint is not allowed I think it will be possible to attach a label or container. The turn at Dunn even has a little protected nook, I bet a 5 gallon bucket tied to a concrete block would stay put...


...I should sleep well tonight. Have fun planning!

- Show quoted text -


Geomafiosa is definitely up for it. Yes, we need some extreme

geocaching experiences and I would love to set up a couple (or

more :anicute:)


I have done some extreme geocaching (GCWA47, GC175HV,

GC1KQC2, etc...)

and I have plenty of ideas! I am setting up a couple of


already, but I am still working on them.


Let me know and we can start working on them.







Stuart Baggerly to me, Bloomington

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

I've been thinking about this some more over lunch.


You've usually got at least a foot or two of concrete over your head. I

know my newer GPSr will go through pick up through the steel roof here

at work (usually), but I don't know about underground.


Technically, there's no signs that say "keep out" or anything like that.

I'm not sure what the legal status of that area is. I've been in there,

just not all the way through.


In any event, I'd be up for the scouting mission. One of those folding

camp chairs in the bag that slings around your shoulder would be a good

idea. I remember (its been years) that you can't really stand up (so

DJHobby is gonna LOVE this one!) and there's not really anywhere to sit.

So having a way to give your back a break would be a relief. I do

remember a rat issue. Not like an Edgar Allen Poe deal or anything, but

I did see a couple.


There are a few places where there are surface access ladders. You can

kind of stand there, and maybe run up the ladder to get a reading.


If we did a scout and took the chairs I would be cool to have a little

mid-trip picnic in there. It's a fresh water creek going through so

there's no sanitation going through there. (Whew!)


I'll be interested to see what our reviewer says.






Eric Bolstridge to bloomingtongeo.

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

I've been in touch with the Mad Reviewer - he's okay with caches in tunnels of any type (re: Bucket o' Fun). I emailed again asking about the Jordan River tunnel under Kirkwood and his only caution was no painting, no defacing of anything or destroying of the tunnel structure. Zip-ties, wire, or bolts, etc. to secure containers or coordinates on tags are okay.


With the rain this week, I'm staying out of tunnels for a while. I'm glad to have kick started this conversation, though. I'd like to see some good "urban spelunking" adventure caches out there. I expect to see one hide from each of you soon :huh:






Jessica Falkenthal to sbaggerly, me, maiaki4u, CAbrams

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

I'm very curious as to the legal ramifications of having a sewer cache. For the hiders and the finders. I don't want anyone to get arrested while they're caching, when they assume that the geocache wouldn't have been hidden without permission.


Do we need to get permission for this cache to prevent legal problems for all involved? If so, who? I've read several articles online related to hiders being arrested or fined for certain types of hides. http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/01/19...rorizes-police/ has someone getting charged for something that seems very similar to littering.


Who technically owns a sewer system? And is it different if the tunnels go under IU? I was a little curious when hunting another Bloomington cache this weekend, if I had been doing this alone during the schoolday or at night, if someone might call the IU PD.






Stuart Baggerly to Jessica, me, maiaki4u, CAbrams

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

Hey All:


Here's a copy of an e-mail I was getting ready to send the mad reviewer when I got the message that he said tunnels were okay. I think, under riparian water rights law, there can be no restriction on access to a flowing body of water. As I note in this message, I'd be happy to ask someone at city legal what they think. My concern would be that they might want to blow off hundreds of years of law that says you can walk down a creek due to concerns with liability.


As noted, it only floods a couple times a year. But those two times are DOOZIES!


Anyway, my message to Mad is as follows:



Hey there:


Monstercatambush here.


As noted before, I know you're not supposed to be chatty with the players, so no response is required. Just some thoughts.


I got a message from some of the Bloomington cachers discussing doing some kind of multi-cache that involves the Jordan "River" tunnel under town. I don't know if you're familiar with this thing, but having lived in town since around 1979 I know a little about it, and thought I'd share some of that information.


The tunnel has been there, holding up fine, since some time in the 40's. It was purposely built very strong since roads and buildings are built on top of it. It is typically around eight to ten feet across, and a little less than six feet tall. It is built to allow heavy rains to drain off, so there are no obstructions or cave ins. Short of like going down a shotgun barrel.


It does bend around a little bit. When they made it they kind of followed the natural creek, but kind of limited the number of turns.


Parts have been replaced over the years with modern, rectangular cross section concrete. The original parts are sort of like Roman via-duct construction with pretty massive blocks of stone that's almost an arch nearer the roof.


No sewage goes in, so there's not really a bacteriological concern. I did see a few rats last time I was in there. That's been years ago.


There are no signs or markers indicating NO TRESPASSING. I'd be happy to check with the city and see what their take on it is. Under Indiana riparian law principles there's not supposed to be any limitation on access to a flowing water course. My thought is that there's no absolute restriction on going in there, but they'd probably rather you didn't.


There are any number of access points across town where man holes can get you down there. These things usually weight a ton, though, and shouldn't be considered as "safety hatches" by any means.


I bring this last issue up due to the one negative I could see here. 99 days out of 100 the Jordan "River" is at best ankle deep. On those other couple days, though, look out! About twice a year we have a flash flood and it goes through there like a freight train. I can't remember anyone getting killed, but one guy did take an unexpected trip through there a couple years ago and came out one soggy puppy on the other end, having had about four inches of breathing room up top.


He was kind of a dope, though, and was playing around the obvious whirlpool like feature where the water from the flooded meadow was sucking in there.


Anyway, we'll talk amongst ourselves on this end and see what's what. I know some folks in city legal so I can feel them out on this issue.


As always, the decision of the reviewer is final


And as always, thanks for being a reviewer.






Stuart Baggerly to me, bloomingtongeo.

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

Uh oh... just saw that last part of the message...


"I expect to see one hide from each of you soon"


I may have one or two out there already, but I'll get on it! (Okay, just kidding! Sorry I missed the event. We're going for the bucket this week!)






Eric Bolstridge to Jessica, sbaggerly, maiaki4u, CAbrams

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

My thoughts:


For Hiders: I suppose it's like anything - sure it's best to ask permission first. But I think we know what the answer would be if we called up the department of public works and asked about crawling through sewers. The same goes for most 'urban' hides - I doubt Wal-Mart would approve of people lifting light-pole skirts and I doubt the fire department wants people messing with hydrants. To me, urban Geocaching must be "don't ask, don't tell" otherwise we simply wouldn't be able to have the hides we have.


For Finders: Each cacher needs to asses the risk (legal and otherwise) involved in making a find - if you're not prepared to talk your way out of a situation, don't seek a cache that might alert security guards or cops (like we had to do one time when we got busted by mall cops hiding a cache! So embarrassing trying to explain Geocaching to Paul Blart!)






Crystal Abrams to me, Jessica, sbaggerly, maiaki4u

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

I like the idea of the “sewer” cache, however with the rains and such that have been happening the past few days, is there any other ideas out there that would work for a 5/5 cache, or even a 5/? Cache?



Stuart Baggerly to Crystal, me, Jessica, maiaki4u

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)

Eric has a couple good points. Given the culture of litigation I doubt that the city would give us the stamp of approval for the tunnel. I think its notable that they have never (I've been here since '79) had any kind of "no trespss", "keep out", or "no access" signs of any kind around this thing. I'd think if they could legally restrict access they could.

For the Hiders:

The law around riparian rights (rights to access to free running bodies of water) has developed since the country started. It originally dealt with attempts by some huge land owners to say that settlers couldn't take rafts and canoes up or down certain creeks or rivers since the landowner owned both sides. By application of the United States Constitution Commerce Clause it came to pass that, if the water is moving, you can move along in it. They've also covered that, sometimes when creeks are low, people had to walk, towing their boats. As long as you're in a public place when you step in , and when you step out, you're good to go. This is why you can wade to fly fish up and down Clear Creek, but have to step in at one of only a few public access sights.

As I recall, the place where you'd come out, a little South of Seminary Square, is a little chunk owned by the city, (fair game!) but we could scout that. At the very least, the walls of the chanel there are city property, and you can climb up them onto South Walnut (also city, and fair game.)

And, technically, this is NOT a sewer. It is a creek that pre-dated Bloomington. (i.e. a riparian free body of running water) When the Dunn family still owned most of the land campus is now on there were cows in Dunn meadow (hence the family name) and they used this for a water source. (Hostorical note: If you go all the way East on Atwater, staying with it when it turns two way, you run smack into the old Dunn family farm house on the edge of the St. Charles property. That was ONE BIG FARM!)

For the Finders:

Whether or not you read it when you sign up, there is a waiver of liability you agree to that is pretty much bullet proof. Groundspeak is covered, as are the reviewers and hiders of caches. By logging on and downloading you essentially say "I know what I'm getting into and I take full responsibility for my own actions".


Sooooo... dear friends... where does that leave us?


I'd say if this is going to happen the city can't be in the loop. They'd have to say "no". Not just "no", but "HELL NO!!!" Not that I think they have the right, but they're a beurocracy and they're going to want to cover their a**(ets). I know I'd said we could check with City Legal, but thinking it through a little more they could have only one answer IF THEY KNOW ABOUT IT.


Like I said, in thirty years the city hasn't put up anything to say you can't go in there. That speaks volumes to me.





Davis Jr, Donald F to bloomingtongeo.

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)


Hey all, I don't want to be an old stick in the mud but here is another

thing you ALL had better be aware of and take very seriously!!!! You

ALL will be entering a "confined space". I'll let you all look up the

definition of that. The dangerous part of all of this is something

none of you will be able to see until it is way too late. Without

accurate and calibrated equipment sewer gasses are a real KILLER here!

ONE breath of it and you are dead. It has no smell or taste. It may

also be here one minute and not the next due to small air movements.

I am forced to go thru this training here at work,yearly that is

how I know. Our classes were taught by Bloomington Fire Department.

So what happens, as you all go in one by one to see what just happened

to "joe" who just fell down, it's your turn for one breath and so on

until there is no one left. Or everyone dies trying to make the rescue.

This has happened many times.

P L E A S E.........find out about this for your selves about

these gases BEFORE you venture in and how to protect your selves!!!!

Crystal Abrams (briar finder), I think has a friend in a fire

department? They will be the ones who come to retrieve the bodies....

The flooding is only 1 of your concerns. A tragedy could really give

our caching a big black eye.


GEOCACHER: Dobroplayer....




Will Petrovic to Bloomington

show details Sep 21 (2 days ago)


I'd love to help, this sounds really cool!






Stuart Baggerly to dfdavis, bloomingtongeo.

show details Sep 21 (1 day ago)


DobroPlayer raises a good poitn


Always good to favor the side of caution. But I think this gas issue

would be more of a concern in, say, a septic tank, a storage tank, or a

closed narrow pit. (where the heavier gases collect) Since this is not a

sewer, but a fresh water stream, there is strict IDEM monitoring of

anything that goes into the Jordan. And since, though possibly

claustrophobic, it is open at both ends and vented along the way, I

think we'd probably be all right on the gas issue. I'd also note that

the gradiant only drops a few feet (if that) along the entire length

we're talking about. The "confined space" concern arises when you have

a vessel or geographic feature that precludes gas dispersing. Any

heavier than air gases (such as methane or propane) that might have

leaked in the Jordan tunnel would disperse across the ground and

eventually out the ends. Any lighter than air, but inert (i.e. you

suffocate) gases would similarly disperse unless they were entering in

such a vast quantity that storm drain lids would be blowing off all over

town. I also have to think that if there was even a vague suspicion

that anything toxic was under bloomington there'd be headlines out the

ying yang. I remember when they re-modeled the old Standard station

(now a BP at 3rd and Indiana) back in the early 80s and a lady that

lived in a house where the law school parking lot now is complained of a

"faint gassy smell" in her basement there was all hell to pay. Tuned

out to be a very minor leak, but it was fixed quickly, and I haven't

heard another complaint of a gas pocket or buildup since that one.


Not that I'm dismissing DobroPlayer's concerns. Exchanging concerns

makes for sound decision making. If this actually WERE a sewer, with

the attendant sewage that would produce methane, I wouldn't be worried

about gases because there's no way in heck I'd be wading in poop to get

a geocache. I don't care HOW cool a FTF prize there is! Again, this is

more like going into Patton cave, or walking the old rail road tunnel

out long Lake Lemon.


By all means, though, if someone (as suggested) knows a fireman or

someone that can weigh in I'd listen. I'm sure what we'll hear is (a)

there's no poison gas in the Jordan Tunnel, and (:) keep out of there,

(since that's what people always say about things like this).






Stuart Baggerly to dfdavis, bloomingtongeo.

show details Sep 21 (1 day ago)


DobroPlayer raises a good point:

- Show quoted text -

out along Lake Lemon.


By all means, though, if someone (as suggested) knows a fireman or

someone that can weigh in I'd listen. I'm sure what we'll hear is (a)

there's probably no poison gas in the Jordan Tunnel, and (:) keep out of

there, since that's what people always say about things like this.







the mouse to bloomington

show details Sep 21 (1 day ago)


Yes, this is a dangerous activity. The risks should probably be

considered before jumping in. Like all such things some people will

think the risks are justified, while others do not.


Confined spaces have a wide array of dangers, OSHA is concerned about

the ones that affect workers. I view the dangers in a storm sewer to be

very similar to the dangers in natural caves. This area has a _lot_ of

experienced cavers. I have yet to see any gas monitoring equipment being

carried through a natural cave.


Specifically, we are not on top of an active volcanic site, and the

conditions are not swamp like, so the biggest poison dangers should not

be a problem. Asphyxiation is a problem in a tank where (generally

heavier than air) gases can collect, but the storm sewers we are talking

about have an air space along the entire run and surface grates fairly

frequently. The air will seem stale sometimes, but usually not as often

as in a small natural cave passage. Convection and diffusion will move

the air, but it tends to get humid...


While underground I fear a freak thunderstorm more than anything else,

but there are lots of ways to get into trouble. In the end I am probably

more likely to be sued for giving candid advice than to get into serious

trouble in a tunnel.


So, I'm one of those people who think wandering around in tunnels is an

adventure, and worth the risk. It's better than wandering around my

basement, checking for gas leaks, anyway...





djhobby to Bloomington

show details Sep 21 (1 day ago)




I'm not sure if I want in on the hide or not. Simply because I want

to find it, and get the smiley for a great cache. But because of the

ultimate coolness factor, count me in.


As far as the danger aspect of the cache, the danger should be

assessed properly and the finder should be made well aware of the



There are plenty of caches that the finder assumes some risks, just

hiking around here you could get snake bit. With a little searching,

you will find caches at the bottom of the ocean, in the Himalayas, and

even in a abandon factory at Chernobyl. There are hundreds of caches

in Iraq in a war zone. There are some earth caches in Louisville/New

Albany area on the Ohio that require the finder to call a number

before searching to make sure flood gates will not be opened during

your visit. We just have to make the finders aware of the dangers.

- Show quoted text -


Reply to all


Invite djhobby to chat






James McDermott/ pondscum72 to Bloomington

show details 11:25 PM (21 hours ago)


Hey All!!!

O.k. my understanding is that this tunnel is 4-5 foot round, concrete

and has water running through it regularly? As a firefighter/emt I

would say that its not advisable to attempt to place this cache here.

As a caver... I would say ROCK ON!!! So somewhere in the middle I

would say...If it is placed within a short distance from either end it

would be a little safer. This way if water starts to rise quickly you

have a decent chance to get out. Now the real downer... We all know

that caching and pretty much anything else has inherent risks but if

someone happens to get injured, the cache owner opens themselves to

liability. I know most of us would NOT sue, but there are those that

are looking to make a quick buck. Also it may not be a sewer, but

there are definitely nasty bacteria present. Any geese in the

area..nasty critters carry E. coli. just a few things to think

about. I would be willing to make the trip with you given enough

notice. I work 24 on, 48 off. I have rope, a couple of harnesses and

some hardware that could be of use. Please let me know and I will

make arrangements to come along.... Pondscum72(James)



Stuart Baggerly to CAbrams, djhobby, Bloomington

show details 10:22 AM (10 hours ago)


Hey all:


I think I might be the only one getting in on this discussion that has

actually been in the tunnel. Dobroplayer has legitimate concerns in

general, I just don't think they apply to this location. The interior

of the tunnel is more like one of those tunnels you drive through on the

highway in West Virginia than a cave or pit. There is virtually no

debris in there. I think the biggest problem would be finding any place

to hide anything.


Not every cache is for everybody. We're all slightly off kilter or we

wouldn't be playing this game. When we're exchanging our thoughts on

this tunnel thing, or in any discussion, there are going to be

differences of opinion. If I disagree with someone that doesn't mean I

do not respect their opinion or that I am ignoring same. I think that

holds true for almost everyone involved in this discussion.


Two caches come to mind that make this tunnel idea look like a cake

walk. Ponce de Geone and I recently did the "July 1, 2001" cache, and

Geomafiosa (Geomafioso?... Can't get that right) recently did "Tube

Torcher II". Take a minute and look up those two.


The "July 1" is a 5/5, just because the numbers don't go any higher. We

were warned there is a REAL chance to get hurt, and to be careful. Even

to call a let people know where you left your car in case you don't show

up for work on Monday. I ended up in the ER with an ankle sprain and

managed to rip a good gash in my arm (treated in the field) but I loved

every minute of it.


I checked out the pictures posted for "Tube Torcher II" and I really

wish I'd have gone along on that. Wisefrog had invited me to go on that

road trip. That one's underground in muck and crud and running through

storm drains. Cachers are warned to check the weather. Those tunnels

look fierce! When you read the description the hider puts about two

dozen stars on it, again, since 5/5 is as high as they go.


On this local tunnel idea: Some of us adore the idea, and some abhor

the idea. We can agree we disagree, but lets keep cool about it.


Just because it's a game doesn't mean it isn't serious. Like DJHobby

notes, people climb mountains, people deep sea dive, people jump out of

planes. Those are games, too. I took a horrible beating on the Ocoee

river a few years ago in a kayak (Ponce de Geone and some other boaters

caught my boat and gear below the rapids, I've still got scars from

that.) I'd still go again.


Anyway, here's the two caches I referred to above.


That July 1 cache is REALLY dangerous... You'd have to be nuts... (but

it is only a couple hours away!)


GCWA47 Tube Torcher II

GC1DPDA July 1, 2001


the mouse to Bloomington

show details 10:27 AM (10 hours ago)


Actually, the Jordan River tunnel, along with others that run very far

under town is way cooler (and a bit more dangerous) than a round tunnel.

They never get to work on the whole thing at once, so it changes profile

and composition regularly.


It starts with a cool old stone arch with a kind of rough floor under

Indiana. Then the "new" section under the alley is huge, roughly

rectangular, ~15' wide and the ceiling ranges a bit. I can walk upright

in some places, I have to duck in the middle. At the turn to go down

Dunn it gets quite a bit shorter, but stays wide.


I remember the older sections being fairly rough stone with a more

square aspect in the 4' to 6' range, but it has been quite a while...


Any time water is flowing through dunn meadow it is going down this

tunnel, so most of the time there is some flow. I think I remember all

the creeks drying up during some really hot dry summers when I was a kid...




Ray Todd Stevens to CAbrams, djhobby, Bloomington, sbaggerly

show details 12:23 PM (8 hours ago)


I think the real point here would be to make sure that people know what the danger is. Just

a 5/5 is as is pointed out is not good enough. Say this is dangerous, and that during any rain

storm it is likely to almost instantly fill with water. I have seen several caches which

indicated that if you were caught doing inapproriate things to "grab" the cache your visit would

be deleted. I think a statement that any find which indicates the person went during a

thunder storm or thunderstorm watch for the Bloomington area will be deleted would be very

smart. Then all that is needed is a way to put the cache in place nicely.

- Show quoted text -

Justin Marshall Thompson to bloomingtongeo.

show details 3:49 PM (4 hours ago)


I have also seen caches with ALRs (Additional Logging Requirements).

However I think, more so than threaten the risk of your log being

deleted, we should emphasize the risk of severe injury or your life

being lost. I'm all for this idea, and I can't wait to get in there,

but losing credit for your find is one thing. Losing your life is

another. If we saw any logs of people who went to find the cache

during a thunderstorm they would have to be crazy, or Aquaman.


Looking forward to seeing where this goes. I'm going to be back in

Bloomington this weekend. Does anyone (preferrably someone who has

gone through before) want to go check it out. Not necessarily all the

way through (because of the construction coming up), but just an

excursion. If not, maybe another tunnel/cave? Thanks everyone!


-Justin (jmthomps)


Maria Solomou to jmthomps, bloomingtongeo.

show details 4:33 PM (4 hours ago)

Hi all,


OK it took me a while to catch up with all this email exchange. So, here is my potentially useful take/story/considerations/thoughts...


1. When I was doing the Tube Torcher II in NC, I was aware of the potential danger of the experience, something that should be emphasized in the cache description. Also, the cache owners had my contact info (cell phone) and we were in constant communication, something that as owners we should be willing to do as well. Note that the whole geohunt took a whole weekend of intense crawling and crouching through ALL the sewers of the city...hehe perhaps we don't want it to be THAT intense, since we don't have as big and... hospitable tubes :anicute: Also, when we were in a huge sewer, rain drops started falling outside (we were half way in a 2mile central tube) and the flush was absolutely intense. I am not sure if we want to make our cachers feel the "Indiana Jones" feeling that we had! In fact, with smaller sewers, the danger is probably higher, because of the ease of moving around.


2. I agree with the bacteria issue, and the whole health thing. ... in fact, here is some info that we found out, after we returned home:

"The first flush from urban runoff can be extremely dirty. Storm water may become contaminated while running down the road or other impervious surface, or from lawn chemical run-off, before entering the sewer. Water running off these impervious surface...s tends to pick up gasoline, motor oil, heavy metals, trash and other pollutants from roadways and parking lots, as well as fertilizers and pesticides from lawns. Roads and parking lots are major sources of nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are created as combustion byproducts of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Roof runoff contributes high levels of synthetic organic compounds and zinc (from galvanized gutters). Fertilizer use on residental lawns, parks and golf courses is a significant source of nitrates and phosphorus."


3. If we want to provide our fellow geocachers an extreme experience, we want to make it meaningful. So embarking geocachers on a dangerous journey must be something that is really worth the whole effort. The TT2 guys spent many months creating that cache; It took them 1,5 year to do Tube torcher 1 and then it was destroyed from construction works... it then took them an additional of 6 months to fix the whole thing and come up with TT2. So one thing that we want to consider is the maintenance of such a cache, on top of other thngs (we don't want to create a "perfect" experience and then see it being destroyed by the bouldozers!


4. I am trying to get the map of the tubes of the city from the GIS Coordinatod of Utilities, in order to create a similar multicache (only in milder versio) as a trubite to our extreme experience. I am half way through the design, which involves more than sewers and tubes (I only have a couple of small tubes that are safe, as well as a couple of sewers). But I need more info about where some user friendly places could be around town for such a thing. We can use the tubes map to see what secure places there are for the cache. Let me know and I am willing to meet to start.


Looks like extreme geocaching is taking over Bloomington fir good! I'm so excited about it. I'll get back to you with anything else pops in my mind, even randomly :anicute:


Cache on!



-----Original Message-----



Stuart Baggerly to me, Jessica, maiaki4u, CAbrams

show details 5:46 PM (2 hours ago)

Hey all:


Whew... sorry for all the drama today. That kind of got out of hand. I think most of us are open to this concept. It was probably a good idea to pare down the mailing list to some of the more open minded folks.


Honestly, there's no way for gas to pool in an area with this many openings. I hate that Dobroplayer got mad. I hope he comes back.


That all being said. Check out this map.






Hey gang,


Now that you've assembled a list of interested parties to partake in building out this adventure, can we take this conversation off the e-mail list? I assembled everyone who expressed positive interest in going forward with helping explore this in the TO line of this e-mail. That was a massive amount of e-mails in the past 48 hours and I think that many Bloomington Geocachers are a bit overwhelmed by it.


Also if we could refrain from referencing the Bloomington Geocachers group in the setting up of this cache, it would be much appreciated. I'd prefer that our Bloomington Geocachers group not be endorsing potentially dangerous caches. I'm not saying I wouldn't try this cache myself, but I'd rather keep the group name free from any potential connections. At some point, having an organization like the Bloomington Geocachers can assist in mediating discussion between geocachers and the local government/law enforcement (Other geocaching organizations have been created for this specific purpose before) and I think our group might need to be an impartial, "not-connected" organization to be treated seriously.


Thanks guys!



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Ah man, you left out the best part. Galac-a-Bric's comment about evil clowns is classic.


Anyway... It sounds like a few of us want to scout out the area. Mouse! has already done so recently, maybe he can recommend the best place to enter, and what conditions we are going to encounter, and what gear is needed. Should we wait until the current construction project is over? Or is it not relevant to where we want to hide a cache/s.


I think everyone wants to err on the side of caution here, and we all appreciate everyone's concern. No one should get hurt while playing our game. That being said, not all caches are recommended for all of us, thus the terrain/difficulty rating. If a few of us find that with adequate precautions, the correct equipment, and we give the finder all of the proper warnings, this cache should be feasible. Also provided that Groundspeak and the City of Bloomington hurdles are properly negotiated.


One thing to consider here that has been nagging at me, because I've come against this hurdle ABOVE ground in this area, is the .10 of a mile guideline for cache saturation. While we might find a great spot below ground, there might be a cache too close above ground.


All that being said, I'm ready to explore the area for a hide.

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Did everyone get the map I posted as a PDF? That came from the city's utilities department and covers every aspect of the down town tunnel in great detail.


Sounds like Mouse! has already done some good scouting. Also sounds like Geomafiosa has gotten started working on some plans for this multi. Since there's several tunnels around town (who knew?) maybe we could have cachers visiting any number of them (and going a ways in there, by golly) to get clues before they're taken to the monster tunnel under town that starts in the meadow.


I definitely want to be in on this!


I've got a few good PVC tube containers already made up that I'd be willing to contribute.


Is this cool or what?!


I am soooooo jealous of Mouse! for him already scoping things out. I've been in the tunnel before, but that was ages ago when it was mostly made of stone.


I think we need to convene somewhere and have some kind of round-table discussion. (On the other hand, that's sort of what we're doing here!)

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I inquired about the cache saturation issue when hiding our Bucket o' Fun. The response I got back from The Mad Reviewer was that only the posted coordinates and the final cache need to be .1 miles away from other caches. Coordinates or clues are okay within the limitation, especially considering that they are at a different "elevation."

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I inquired about the cache saturation issue when hiding our Bucket o' Fun. The response I got back from The Mad Reviewer was that only the posted coordinates and the final cache need to be .1 miles away from other caches. Coordinates or clues are okay within the limitation, especially considering that they are at a different "elevation."


Yeah, I didn't think we would be able to get special dispensation. TMR sticks to the .1 guideline quite firmly. Which is fine, those guidelines are in place for a reason.


I did some very rough calculations on this, using MCA's pdf of the tunnel. I put marks where there are caches, and drew a 528' circle around those caches. This leaves very little room for a physical cache anywhere along the whole route. From behind the Von Lee to 3rd street is the longest stretch that doesn't fall with 528' of another cache. There is a very short window of opportunity behind the fire station section, and a short section under Washington Street, just south of The Rise/Middleway House. That's it, probably only 300' of the whole .75 mile long tunnel is available for a physical cache. But as PoppaHoppy did with the awesome Bucket o' Fun cache, a clue/stage for a multi-cache could be hidden anywhere.

Edited by djhobby

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Anyone know what the weather is supposed to be like this weekend? I'd be interested in doing a walk through (with the map) and checking out some of those side tunnels. Not if its going to stay rainy, though! :shocked:


As far as waiting until the construction is done:


Don't see any good reason. Even when they're working on it they have to let the creek flow. Most you'd have to deal with would be that you'd come to a stretch where the roof was missing. And you could always come in from the other end!

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It seems that there are gonna be scattered t-storms tomorrow (temp about 75). And Saturday it says there are going to be morning showers... But Sunday it is going to be mostly sunny.


I am up for a scout adventure :shocked: Let me know if you decide to go.

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Lets keep our fingers crossed for Sunday. I go by the place where the creek comes out down on the southside pretty regularly. I think the key factors to going in would be how heavy the water is coming out, since there's a LOT of different drains that feed into the creek underground, and how sure we are there's NO chance of it raining. If those factors line up we'll just have to be ninja :shocked: sneaky and go take a look.

I saw where Mouse! checked out the tunnel at the other end of the meadow. That got me thinking that maybe this cache could require the finder to go to a few of these urban tunnels. Just a thought. Maybe just the ones on campus.

Hey, speaking of that, I'd heard that SAS Goodies cache has gone missing. That's cute little tunnel near that one. Guess I could just check the listing... (Duh!)

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I knew SAS Goodies was missing/disabled for maintenance. I saw it back again, but not sure if it is gone now! If the owner doesn't plan to put it back, I guess we could use that too. :shocked:

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I would be very curious to see the amount of water coming out of the south side now. We've had a constant drizzle for 3 days now.

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I checked on SAS. Its back.


Regarding the big tunnel. I think we're in business.


I just came by the Rally's burger joint on the south side where the tunnel ends. That was around noon. Took a look into the mouth of the beast. Water is about two inches deep in the middle, and leaves sidewalk portions dry along each side. Water is VERY low. Water quality must be good. Saw several schools of minnows playing in the little riffles in the water. Wide enough for a wide car to drive down it.


Impression of standing room: Maria can practice her vertical jump. For me it will be close. DJ is probably going to have a crick in his neck.


If its this low at the exit it must be nearly dry in places up stream. Man, its sunny out. And no rain predicted for tomorrow.


Usually on something like this I'd say we park a car at the Krogers to use to get back to the entry point, but its really not that far back walking above ground. We can play that by ear.


I'll be on and off the computer today, but I can be reached (txt is best) at 320-1392.


Anyone want to check it out? :)

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Ah, finally, the light of day again!


Just back from a major scouting mission along with DJHobby. I hadn't been in the tunnel in a LONG time, and it has really changed.


Near as we can tell we've got Maria, Mouse!, Poppa Hoppy, DJ, and me interested in working on this. Here's the locations and some thoughts so far.


We had some ideas while doing this, and want to bounce them off Maria, since she'd already been doing some planning. So anyway


Tunnel from the meadow heading under town. This one is pretty decent for a while. We walked it to the point where it has no roof (open to the sky). The ceiling is much lower than I remember. It seemed unrealistic to cover the entire town crunched over like that. The first hundred yards or so were pretty reasonable, though. You could stand most of the time. We found a couple good spots for caches or clues to other locations. We also found a strange little aluminum tag, sort of looked like a travel bug, hanging from a chain along the way. It had GPS numbers written on it and appeared to have been there a while. More on that later.


We retreated from that one and drove to the end, on the south side near the Rally's burger joint. This entrance is HUGE. More than two cars wide. Getting down into the stream was a bit tricky, but do-able. This one you easily walk standing up. There are dry areas either side of the stream. We used the map and followed the channel a ways to the split. The tunnel to the right eventually hooks to the meadow area. We followed that to a cool little waterfall where there's a couple hiding spots.

We went back and followed the other branch north under walnut quite a ways. We have an idea for a gadget finders would have to make to get the clue at this stage. Then back into the sunlight.


Next we went to see what those numbers from earlier in the first tunnel lead to. Its a spot in the parking lot by the football stadium. We could see a grate, and running water down in the bottom. We scouted around a bit and found where the creek flows out. There's a tunnel there. We could follow it to the point where we were under where the numbers took us. This was a little chamber with a sort of waterfall down the side from another drain. We're kind of liking this spot for the final destination.


Getting back to town we decided to take a look at the tunnel on the east end of Dunn meadow. Mouse! said he'd looked into this one. We had already gotten into dry shoes so we didn't go in this one. It looks good, though. Mouse said it went quite a ways. This one would be good for planting another clue to the final destination and finding the next clue.


Then we were walking around on campus checking on some caches and came across another tunnel. This one comes out from under the music school practice building. This one doesn't go too far before it gets kind of cramped. The first ten feet or so are pretty roomy. We were thinking maybe a small match type container with a powerful magnet to cling to the ceiling. Again, this one would only have a clue to the next destination.


Having a beer at Nicks after the fact we were thinking up some other stuff which we could probably share in e-mails. One thing we thought we'd be sure to do is post a link on the cache page that takes the reader to weather.com or one of those so they'd be sure to check if it looks like rain.


All in all a great adventure. We also re-found monolith merger (still there) and DJ finally got Informatics.


Anyway, this is going to be a great multi cache. We're looking forward to getting it up and running.



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Sounds like a grand adventure indeed! Can't wait to see what caches come out of this discussion. Very interesting about the geo-tag you found. Perhaps an independent working on a cache hide? Certainly not us.


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DJHobby got in touch with our reviewer and (s)he is saying they have no idea what its for, as no cache has been in the local tunnels before.


The numbers took us right to that grate and subsequently into the tunnels on the North side of town.


There are some e-mails going around for those that are interested. I think we're getting to the point where if we keep putting everything here it won't be any mystery or fun as to what we end up doing.


Not that we're cutting off the discussion, by any means! :lol::):anibad::lol::D

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After a couple forays into the tunnels and a few discussions, the cache under Bloomington is definitely happening. If you are wanting in on the planning and hiding of this cache, let myself, Mouse! Geomafiosa, Mickey4Jes, or MonsterCatAmbush know and we will include you in the email loop, or as I like to call it The Clown Council. To keep from ruining the find for everyone, we are not going to discuss details of the cache in these public forums.



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After a couple forays into the tunnels and a few discussions, the cache under Bloomington is definitely happening. If you are wanting in on the planning and hiding of this cache, let myself, Mouse! Geomafiosa, Mickey4Jes, or MonsterCatAmbush know and we will include you in the email loop, or as I like to call it The Clown Council. To keep from ruining the find for everyone, we are not going to discuss details of the cache in these public forums.




so.. did this ever happen? its been over a year since last post.

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