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30 April 2006 @ 01:24 am
Abandoned turnpike  
Let me attempt to recap our trip to the abandoned stretch of the Pennsylvania turnpike near Breezewood. It's owned by a conservancy and people are allowed to walk or bike it as they wish.

5 miles of hiking. In brand new jungle boots. No blisters. Tired feet, though. I was glad I brought said boots because we wound up climbing up the side of a very steep hill and schlepping through mud.

The Sideling Hill Tunnel is 1.3 miles. We walked through it twice (rather disappointed that we could always see the light from both ends - I had read that it was supposed to be as pitch black as a cave in the middle - it was basically a long dark walk with lots of unoriginal and boring graffiti to keep us company, not the creepy journey through an inkwell that I had imagined) and explored the ventilation rooms at each end. There's a service crawl space that runs the full length of the tunnel. We didn't walk it for obvious reasons of ZOMG DANGER, but we did poke our heads in. While upstairs in that service area, I did my best siren impersonation (a vocal exercise) and surprised John, who thought it sounded realistic but had no idea what it was from.

The ventilation rooms look like Silent Hill plus a crapload of boring graffiti. You'd think that the sixth person to spray paint "420" and/or a crudely drawn pot leaf would have realized that their mark on the remnants of civilization had been done before, but eh. We got tons of good pictures. But I'm all worn out, so I'll deal with them later.
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Current Music: Various stuff stuck in my head
Victoria Maevesyncopated_time on April 30th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
I've always wanted to explore that stretch but never did get the opportunity.

Last I'd heard the tunnels were off limits? But the web pages with any sort of useful info on them are also pretty out of date.

I'd love to see pictures when you get the chance.
The Heavy Metal Matador: South Park - Happyrydain on April 30th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
This is the official website of the turnpike trail. The road (including the parts that go through the tunnels) is considered to be closed, but they say that people may use it at their own risk, and they make it easy to access. When we were looking for a way on (keeping an eye out for a nonexistent overpass from directions we didn't realize were outdated), we saw a Pike 2 Bike sign that directed us to a barricaded parking area on the abandoned highway.

I really don't know what the status of the maintenance areas is. I know that the conservancy advertises tours of areas not open to the public, and those tours include one of the Sideling Hill ventilation rooms, but there aren't any sort of KEEP OUT signs posted around those rooms, nor are there any real barricades. There are welded shut doors at the top, but the glass is completely gone, and we climbed through without too much trouble.

There are NO TRESPASSING signs over the entrances of the tunnel, but those seem to be from before the conservancy's purchase of the road. I came across some outdated message board archive which said that going through the tunnels was technically trespassing, but none of the locals cared.