I only remember seeing the headwaters of one river before last year. It was the Arkansas River. That’s when I learned that rivers seem to be named for where they end, not where they begin. That’s an interesting notion to me! Somehow I had always thought that the headwaters of a river would be grand and obvious. The Arkansas starts in Colorado and the headwaters are a mere stream, of sorts, going through a meadow. This proved to be the same with the Allegheny.
After completing our flume/luge-like experience, our friend John was kind enough to oblige my desire to see where the river really started. I had googled it and found a sign indicating the headwaters. I wanted to see that sign and so he guided us back up river about 30 minutes to the meadow where the waters trickle together to begin the stream that becomes a river with deep waters and deeper history. The stream was tinier than Cassadaga Creek, that small waterway we had started on years earlier.
I still find it amazing that great things have such humble beginnings and I wonder if we will be able to someday say that we paddled to the other end of that river where it dumps its muddy waters into the Mighty Mississippi.