16 June 2014
Here’s a look at a few places in the Vancouver, BC, area that captured my interest over the summer and winter of 2013. These places have, for one reason or another, dominated my thoughts for months and I wanted an outlet. In a burst of creative activity, I decided to make a zine. I was exploring and thinking a lot about industry and the 'working life', which made these sites resonate a bit more than usual. Also, I'd just received copies of the "DC in Ruins" zine, which were an interesting read. Outfall zine looks at two industrial sites, Fraser Shipyards and Norampac Burnaby, inside as well as quick visit into a church tower. I also included the write-up about the Spiral Drain, because I wanted a physical copy (this zine was intended for print). So, out of my head and onto the internet; download Outfall Zine (PDF, 6.4Mb, B&W)
23 Feb 2014
Behind the Museum of Anthropology at UBC there is a nondescript, round tower. Roughly four feet high, it is faced with grey landscaping blocks, and sits in a low grassy area. As you approach, the sound of rushing water can be heard. Climb onto the flat concrete top of the little tower. There is a large grate in the center, and humid wind rushes up through the metal bars. Peer into the black hole and you'll see jets of water whirling down the shaft walls into darkness. Here's a trip and some history of the infamous Spiral Drain
7 Feb 2014
Two years without updates, I almost forgot I had a website. My waders lie in a box outside, there might be moss growing on them. The truth, naturally, involves way more lifestyle changes and rainy nights spent reading on the couch. Although I've distanced myself from the internet somewhat, there are still experiences I want to share through this website, if I can remember how it's put together. Dealing with the website, uploading new content, has been the real brick wall, because at this point it has become more of a placeholder or history book. But there's always history underfoot, pipes to wade through, hidden spaces coming to light. A couple hours of breathing in sewer mist is still a nice change from the ordinary.
10 May 10
Call it a hunch, call it knowledge gained from prior painful experience, but I wasn't expecting much from this drain. Given the local terrain I was pretty sure the pipe didn't get any bigger from the outfall onward, but I'd known about this outfall for years, and curiosity got the better of me. Boots on, headlamp on, down the ditch and into darkness I go. The spiders in every corner I expected, the utility pipes crossing through as well. The backbreaking effort was a reminder of expeditions past (some of which ended wonderfully). I'd only gone a few hundred meters, but was already dreading the slog back. The low ceiling stretching into infinity is the memory I'll keep of this pipe. This one deserves its Garden City Hunchback moniker.
28 Jul 09
Damn this heat wave, makes me want to go spend time where it's dark and cool. But, since it was too hot to leave the house yesterday afternoon, I finally took the time to write up the little visit to the Kilmer Cutoff from (shame!) last year. A nice place to visit but it would be deadly if there was a lot of water flowing, hence its other name of 'Drop-off'.
17 Jul 09
The other day as I was searching through photos from years past, I realized I hadn't updated this website in some time. A very long time, in fact. Despite this 'ol site being neglected for an age, occasionally I still roam with camera or flashlight in hand. When I'm at home, writing is something that never seems to get done- days fly past, and documentation seems a chore. The majority of my urban tourism of late has been filled with brief, shallow experiences that never seem to warrant later effort at a keyboard. But there are worthwhile stories yet untold and a few neat photos; some are long overdue. That being said, here's a photo from a warm summer afternoon two (ahem) years ago, almost to the day.
04 Apr 08
It has been a long winter here in Vancouver. A season very unfriendly to drainers, full of endlessly rainy days and nights, with dampness that chills to the bone. I think the city just had its first week of spring, so here's to dry nights and exploring more drains. A shot of texture from a small bricky pipe to break the monotony.
23 Nov 07
At long last: Blackman's Brook. "...decided upon the design of semi-elliptical and parabolic reinforced concrete arch culverts. The largest section (the outfall) being 8'6" x 8'6". This section... extends from the junction of the 72" main... to the outlet in the Fraser River, a distance of 200 feet." More to come on this later, when I find time and mood to write it.
13 Oct 07
Getting out of town to go underground. There's gold in them thar hills, and now we spend long days finding and exploring the gold miners' tunnels. Even after several visits, we still find new passages carved through solid rock. Vast networks of winding drifts and crosscuts, dangerous open ore passes, rotten ladders, and the sound of running water everywhere. Not to mention the gigantic ore stopes, which can almost make you believe that half of the mountain must surely be hollow.
27 Aug 07
Persistence pays off, and I finally got to explore most of the Terminal Submersible drain; click for pics and the whole story. Smells like fishy poop, but at least one section of it was pretty.
29 Jul 07
Something old, something new, something gross, and is that a chunk of poo that just floated by? A visit to a smelly pipe in Van I think I'll refer to as the Assiar Sewer. We rinsed our boots off in harbour waters only a few hundred meters away from where the outfall spews.
04 Jul 07
I love biking, and I love drains. It's honestly quite surprising that it has taken me this long to combine the two. Perhaps it's the influence of Vancouver, where biking can be a way of life; or maybe it was just the right combination of attitude and opportunity. Either way, it was a lot of fun and I finally got to visit a large drain that I've wanted to explore since last year. New mission up- the Lawson Singletrack
26 Jun 07
Hey Vancouver, my new home. I like a challenge, but come on- open up a little! Let's have a bit of that sewer brick; I'm starving here. In a densely populated and paved-over rainforest such as this, there must surely be lots of goodies underground. I just hope I won't have to fight too many turds to get to them.
14 May 07
On the move, searching for the big fish in the pool of minnows. Unfortunately, the fishing around here has been lacking so far. Lots of creek, lots of streams, lots of ravines filled with malevolent blackberry bushes, but not lots of nice drains. Culverts abound, but even then nothing big. Topography and development patterns are to blame for the lack of drains in an area with so much rain. This isn't Edmonton, but could it be home someday? This photo was taken in the biggest culvert I could find, after a week of searching.