So after the trip through the Range, the next day we explored our backyard (well...our backyard that's 30 miles away) by visiting a feature Matt had grown up wondering about but never visited, the tunnel beneath Ely's Peak.
It's an old DWP line that is kind of a trail and kind of not; one end of it is easily accessible, the other kind of peters off into an almost-abandoned bluestone quarry. Matt mapped it out on google and we set off with a picnic lunch and curiosity about the tunnel.
First, the intrepid explorers had to get the lay of the land. John was kind of in a mood on this trip; Maia was ready to march. Both, however, wanted to stop and get a drink approximately 23 seconds after started out.
We crossed an old railroad bridge (not the Ass Bridge, which is on the other side of the tunnel). It was a little higher than the bridge from the day before, but a little wider and sturdier. Nevertheless, it took some coaxing to get everyone across, and it was high enough that I did not feel comfortable taking a picture on it.
There is a ton of trillium on Ely's Peak. You can compare this trillium, which is my favorite, to the trillim from last year's post. It was just beautiful when we were there.
After we crossed the bridge there was some question as to whether whether we were on the right trail or not, so Matt humped it cross-country for a bit while we stayed on the abandoned rail bed and waited. I nursed a banged-up knee I had already (this was like 10 minutes into the walk) while the kids, eager to do some hiking, climbed a nearby rock.Maia scraped her leg coming down.
The trail wound through the forest and the day got hot. I taught Maia how to make a halter-top by shoving the front tail of your shirt up and over and through the neck of your shirt, and she was wildly impressed. (I mention this to explain her shirt in the next picture.) The trail went on just long enough that we were worrying if we were in the right place, but not worrying enough that it wasn't fun anymore. And just before it got to that point, we came around a curve and saw this:
I felt a little like Tom Sawyer when I saw the warning:
The thing was really, really tall.
It was also very dark.
There was water dripping and lots of fallen rock. We had forgotten flashlights, so in the very middle of the tunnel, we couldn't see the sides or the top or even the ends very well. You could kind of feel how big it was, but it was big enough that you realized you didn't know if anything was hiding against the walls, waiting to reach out at you.
After we emerged, we walked on for awhile more, then found a nice outcropping to have lunch on. We had crackers, sausage, cheese, apples, and water. The bugs weren't out and there were only a couple other people on the trail; it felt like we owned the place.
Back along the trail and back through the tunnel. Matt had been hoping that it would be possible to climb Ely's Peak and get a good view; while the trail is pleasant to walk along, there isn't much of a view of anything because of all the trees. So on what was our entrance-side to the tunnel, we tried to climb up the peak.
But it was a little too much with kids, so we stopped and got one last picture. You can see Maia's scratched leg from the beginning of the walk (if you click on and enlarge the picture, which you can do with all of these).
Then we hiked back down and walked back to the cars. Another good day.