We felt we really hadn’t made enough effort to document the eastern portal of Pine Mountain tunnel. My buddy acquired two sets of waders. And we needed them. The distance is short, but the way was uncomfortable in a number of ways. There were some sort of reeds that were dead, but towered well over our heads. See the picture of Lee (my hiking buddy) as scale.
There were also briars, cold water as deep as a couple of feet, with mud a little deeper…oh, and downed trees across the way. Not complaining, you understand, because seeing the portal was informative. James Goforth in “Building the Clinchfield” (ISBN 1-57072-191-9) says that Pine Mountain is located in “a highly disturbed fault area”. When I looked into the portal (on left), I saw what 53 years of neglect has produced: the roof of the tunnel is falling in. With a strong light, Lee was able to see more rockfalls further down.
We also saw where all the water was coming from. The water is blocked from coming into the tunnel by a 4′ or so high cinder block wall just at the portal entrance.
After we sloshed and squished out to the car, we went over to Jenkins to access the western portal, but came to a locked gate. We decided that we’d had enough mud for this day and promised to come back later. However, I did take a shot of the abutment of a railroad bridge that apparently crossed an existing road as the line went on down into Jenkins.