Last Sunday I rode my first “century” (100 miles).
It was an out-and-back ride up the Maipo canyon (there were flatter, less scenic routes I could have taken instead).
I made myself take it easy, knowing that that was the only way I could make it back under my own power. The whole ride took nearly ten hours (including about 40 mins of breaks).
I made it to within about 15 miles of Argentina!
At the farthest point of the ride, I was in a “Volcano danger zone”. This is roughly where I turned around… this is the kind of scenery that makes it worth riding this far:
Now for the “Haunted Tunnel” part you’ve all been waiting for.
On my way up the canyon I came upon this:
See that tunnel going into the mountainside?
I rode my bike up to the mouth and walked in a ways. It disappeared into complete darkness.
My curiosity sparked, but a little disappointed that I didn’t know what was in there or where it went, I rode back down to the pavement and continued up the canyon.
A little further up I found the other side of the tunnel:
On my way back home, I stopped at this end of the tunnel.
Knowing that it couldn’t be much more than a quarter mile long, I wanted to see if I could walk all the way through.
There was a man sitting next to the mouth of the tunnel. He seemed to be working on some metal device.
Normally, I wouldn’t ask permission or approval from a Chilean before doing something dangerous or “unofficial”, because they’re usually risk-averse and prone to blind obedience.
But in this case, I was doubtful enough that I was willing to do what this man recommended.
He told me that it was safe, and to go ahead.
I pulled off my sunglasses and started to put them on my helmet, but he told me to leave them on until I couldn’t see anything, then remove them. It would help my eyes adjust.
I started off riding, but the road was dangerously uneven so I dismounted and walked. It was getting really dark… I took off my sunglasses and got temporary relief. The tunnel got darker and darker until I could barely see anything.
I was about to turn around when I saw the light at the other side. The tunnel has a slight bend in it that keeps you from being able to see one side from the other.
I walked straight towards the light. I was now completely blind to what was around me, because I was facing the primary light source, instead of it being behind me. I almost bumped into one of the tunnel walls at one point.
It was a bit creepy, but I’m glad I did it. I want to go back there and do it again sometime.
I did a bit of research on the tunnel when I got home.
It’s called the Tinoco tunnel.
It was built in 1903 as a railroad tunnel and was used up until the 80’s.
Since then it’s been used by tourists and locals who want to take a shortcut.
It’s a little over 600 meters long.
In the 90’s a teenager committed suicide in the tunnel, and since then there’s been a rumor that his ghost is in the tunnel.
Here’s a picture of the inside: