North from Pittsburgh, through cold and coal.

Day 2–Monongahela River, Mile 2.5 to 0.  Ohio River, Mile 0 to 46.

Said goodbye to Ned, the lovely Miss Amy, and our fiend Geena about 930 this morning.  The sun was shining over the city skyline trying hard to warm the frozen ground.  It tried for a long time.  Not until after 2 pm–and nearly 20 miles into a gusty north wind did the ice on my life jacket finally melt.  The cold weather motivated me to paddle hard all day, through the industrial belt north of Pittsburgh.

Like the Mon this part of the Ohio is dominated by steep forested hills, operational and abandoned industry, and ever present barge traffic. After hours paddling into the wind the river turned sharply west and I left Pennsylvania behind—not until southern Louisiana will I again be flowing between the banks of one state. Pennsylvania said goodbye with an enormous coal fired powerplant and an aging fly ash pond. Ohio and West Virginia greeted me with smokestacks and rocky hills.

Just before dark I pulled into a small RV park—still closed for the winter—and was offered a free place to set up camp for the night. While I write barges thunder by, heading upstream.


About banksofthebasin

Brett grew up in South Jersey, moved to the coast of Maine to study human ecology, and then spent a year traveling on rivers around the world—from the frozen arctic to the mangroves of south Asia. Before setting out on Banks of the Basin he baked bread in Pittsburgh and kayaked the beautiful rivers of central Appalachia.
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