When I first visited Dworshak two things immediately came to my mind. First, I’d hate to be the guy who has to clean all those ponds! Second, the infrastructure of this place is absolutely mind boggling. In regard to my first thought, it turns out that I have the great pleasure of helping clean all those ponds *sigh*. On the second, it turns out that the infrastructure is in fact mind boggling.
There are tunnels and chambers everywhere housing wiring and water lines which riddle this place like the old windows screen saver, the one where the pipes fill the entire screen. Some carry reservoir water, some river water, some domestic water, some heated water, some fire suppression. And that’s the easy to follow lines (on second thought, no they aren’t, they are ridiculously hard to follow). The out-going water lines go so many different directions to so many different destinations it could take my whole career to get a grasp on it all.
Mixed into this mishmash of pipes are the towers, an elaborate network designed to add oxygen to the system and remove undesirable gas through filtered cascades and vacuum pumps!
In the spirit of Halloween, I ponder for you. We’ve all heard the stories of workers buried in the works when the dams were constructed. Could there be spirits in these towers, where the sound of water trickling can make the eeriest of noises; or in the tunnels surrounded by tons of concrete, deep underground? Do fish have ghosts? Rumors tell of an ill-fated Norse venture up the Clearwater. Some say their spirits walk here, lurking in the towers, poised to exact some deranged revenge on the unsuspecting. Of course we can’t forget the hounds of the Clearwater, or the Ahsahka boogeyman *evil cackle*.
OK, I admit it. I made the ghost stuff up. But it doesn’t make tunnels deep in the ground, covered by spider webs and enhanced by dripping water and flickering light bulbs any less creepy. And, at night, alone, near the towers and their strange water noises, one could actually believe they were haunted, even though they are not. And with that last thought I say…Happy Halloween!
Text and Photos by Jeremy Sommer