Vancouver Victoria 06


-- read about --

In one particular misadventure, Nancy Drew and I had been waiting all day for a clear window to open a manhole in a park. Deciding the time was right, I popped the lid, and Nancy Drew went down the ladder first. A short way down, she reported the ladder ran out, and there was a drop into the pipe below. She wasn't willing to drop in, and climbed back out. I had to see for myself, so I descended the ladder which did in fact stop as soon as it entered the large drain below. Lowering myself carefully into the dark pipe, I couldn't see much of anything. Hanging by both hands from the last rung, I could just make out that the water at the bottom wasn't very deep. For some reason, I made the decision to let go, and dropped further than I had expected, landing on both feet that the bottom. The pipe was about 2.5m square, and the water was in fact only about six inches deep. But, as I looked back up at the ladder, fear suddenly gripped me- the rungs were far out of reach. I did my best to jump up and grab the bottom rung, but it was inches too far away. I felt sick, and started saying "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit" as I realized that I was trapped.

I called up to Nancy Drew, still on the surface by an open manhole in a busy area, to make her aware of my predicament. She began to search her backpack for some rope of any kind, and I fought to stay calm. In the dim light of my headlamp, I examined the pipe I was in. I could see a large opening that lead to another identical square pipe, and I went around to have a look inside. Immediatly, I spotted another ladder on the wall; this one also stopped near the roof of the pipe, but looked slightly closer. Putting all the spring I could muster into my legs, I leaped up and managed to grab the bottom rung with one hand. Less than twenty seconds later I was up the ladder, brushing aside spider webs as I pushed the manhole up. Nancy Drew, on the ground above me, heard the manhole lid grind up and helped push it off, freeing me from the darkness. After I'd replaced both manhole covers, I sat on the grass, panting from the effort, never having been quite as happy to see the sun. Later on, defeated but determined, I started making plans to go back next time I was in Vancouver...

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