It has been two weeks since we have hit the Ohio River. Two weeks since the crystal clear waters of The Allegheny were our home. Two weeks since shopping carts, endless power plants, and something that resembles a dump came into our lives. I feel ashamed that I don’t pick up every article of trash I see along the banks but I do not have the means to do so. I pick up what I can and put it a shopping bag but that doesn’t skim the surface of what needs to be done here, for that matter on most water ways.
My aggravation with littering really started on my first trip to N.Y.C when I was maybe nineteen years old. I’m sorry for anyone that lives there that reads this but it discuses me. The few people that I know that live there don’t do it but I witnessed numerous people throwing news papers, cups, or anything that would fit in their greedy little hands. Its a magical city but it really opened my eyes to the true problem we all are.
It truly saddens me to see the things that our on the banks of this beautiful river. All of the power plants and manufacturing facilities don’t help the matter. Almost every single one of them have run offs that run into the river and turn the water such a murky brown that it resembles a sewer. Most of the power plants in this region are coal plants and it is very apparent they have deep roots here that will not being away any time soon. I listen to the local radio stations while I kayak and hear numerous commercials or talk subjects on the introduction of oil fracking here in West Virginia.
I wish I could say I am not apart of the problem but the sad truth is we all are. I truly wish I wasn’t, but I am still a consumer and still do harm. I may not dump a truck bed full of junk into a river but I am as much to blame as those jackasses. Okay maybe not as much to blame but you get the point. I want to tell you that I plan on devoting my life to cleaning places like this up or raising awareness on the state of our rivers and wilderness. I may not be able to devote my life but I have already held myself accountable and plan to do as much as I can when I return home and have the means to do so. A canoe that I can throw junk in and my old beat up pick up truck will go a long way.
As hurt full as it is to see all of the harm done, this area still has a lot beauty to offer. The mountains have turned into gentle rolling hills. The fallen leaves have aided to very comfy sleeping pads on numerous occasions. The random shrieks of eagles or hawks still fill the air daily. The fish jumping is not as frequent but still offer good enjoyment when they get serious air next to the kayaks.
As we push further and further south its getting more and more exciting to cross The Mason Dixon Line. To hit my home state of Tennessee will be a very special moment. As southern men it will also be a special moment to order a sweet tea and not what they call tea here. For now we are going to keep grinding the days away and take each day for what it is and follow flock after flock of Canadian geese south for the winter.
Your favorite migrating kayaker,
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