note: the photo desciptions should read well as a report too!!
The Hog river once winded through Hartford before being buried by the Army corps of engineers due to major floods in the city back in the 1940's. I have wanted to explore the undergound river since moving to the city as a freshman in highschool in 1989. Huck Finn Adventures offered guided trips until last summer but I never went on one.
Since two local papers did stories the same week about the river I decided I had waited long enough and made a few calls. A week later after a day of rain the trip was on!
The put in was quick as the access to the river was over a fence and we didn't want to draw too much attention to ourselves. My friend Crash rode his bike over to meet us, helped unload and then put his bike in the van and drove to the take out; leaving the van for us. Big up to Crash for helping out!
Within a few minutes of paddling the river lots of great grafitti welcomed us to the underground. We entered the massive giant concrete conduits! We took the right tunnel as I was told there was a car in there! There was! Lots of rocks and small pebble bars made for a scratchy bottom and occaisonal grounding if we didn't pay close attention. It didn't smell too bad either at any point.
About 10 minutes in we entered the junction room where the north branch joins the south branch on which we were paddling. Looks kinda like a train station in there. The super bright rechargable light came in handy as an aid to our headlamps as the whole trip is in complete darkness. We also took a careful look at "the Pit." A 150 foot deep tunnel was dug into bedrock and allegedly goes out to the connecticut river as an emergency overflow tube. Not a good place to slip and fall!
Afterwards we continued paddling seeing side tunnels begging for exploration. We soon hit a 10 or 15 minute streach of water that flowed faster, and i zoomed by Meir and Julie as the tandem they shared started bottoming out. Lots of rocks and randomn debris down there. We saw a single rat and no fish!
It was impossible to talk if far apart due to the echoes, but that made for some fun as we screamed and hooo-deee-hooo'd in the darkness. Almost too soon we saw light as the neared the end. Not counting our stops and explorations the trip underground was about 45 minutes. I wish we had brought an old map to try and figure out what was above us as we winded left and right through the conduit.
We entered the Connecticut River at Sunset! A great way to end a great little paddle I have dreamed of for 16 years!!!