The final lock at Smithland Dam lets me in in the later hours of the day. I feel conflicted as I finish this last portion of the Ohio River. The beauty and grandeur of the scenic river remain intertwined with the sheer reality of man’s impact and impact. The changes I’ve witnessed and smelled along the way have informed my opinions and deeper understanding of the fabric of this corner of America.

Paddling between the many islands of the Smithland Pool, I witnessed this raccoon crossing 1/4 Mi of open water to make the island.

Heading through the final lock.

This was the first time I had ever seen a tug pushing another tug upstream on the Ohio. What a bow wake that was.

This is t he end of my Ohio River trip here at the mouth of the Cumberland River. The current here is surprisingly swift as the muddy and darker waters of the Cumberland mix in the liminal zone with the hydroelectric power plants tailwater of the Ohio. Heading upstream will be a whole new ballgame but I’m in pretty good shape now.


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