The Allegheny River ran through my childhood world.
What I didn’t know, as I splashed about in it, camped beside it, and kayaked on it, was that the Allegheny starts as a small spring in a farmer’s field in northern Pennsylvania – a trickle that widens until people are baptized in it, fishermen pull muskie from it, and kayaks skim it while loaded barges inch along.
In Pittsburgh, the Allegheny joins the Monongahela River to form the Ohio, surging southeast to merge with the Mississippi River and empty into the Gulf of Mexico. The mighty Mississippi grows to some 11 miles wide while hosting at least 260 species of fish, and its watershed covers over a million square miles, reaching people from the Appalachians in the east to the Rockies in the west, and even a bit of Canada.
I wonder… Does that northern spring have any idea what is happening downstream?
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Suzana Marinkovic