by Mark Miles
In July, I took my first trip to Eno River State Park. I arrived at the Pleasant Green entrance, got out of my car, and was momentarily disoriented by the lack of any navigable path. I wandered somewhat aimlessly, approached a pond with cattails, veered near the edge of a bluff, and found a secluded waterfall that was unfortunately too dark to photograph with any success.
On my way back to my car, I stumbled upon one of the weirdest things I’ve seen on any of my forays into the woods. The first thing that I noticed about it was a pair of holes in the side of an adjoining hill. They were perfectly symmetrical and were clearly not the work of nature. I suspected something to do with water-drainage but was surprised by what I found.
I came closer to the site and noticed what appeared to be some kind of enclosure. There were stones which had been piled at one end, and at the other was a concrete barricade which provided the structural integrity and primary action of the drainage mechanism. Seeing the two sections–which otherwise appeared to belong to two separate sites–grafted into one was pretty weird. But it got weirder.
There were two tunnels at the near end of the site which looked as if they belonged in a sewer. They were roughly two feet in diameter and were large enough for a small child to pass through, though I didn’t press my luck by trying to fit through them myself.
The weirdest part of all was this mechanism. I’m not sure what it is or what it did when the site was operational, but I’m guessing from the striations that it was some sort of giant screw that raised and lowered a movable barrier within the site and regulated the flow of water. I showed the pictures to a friend, however, and she said what I thought as soon as I laid eyes on it. “It looks like a torture chamber.”