Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Post Industrial Wilderness

This trip is long overdue.  I've been occupied with journeys to places that still possess some wildness, even though in some cases they were the unseen underbellies of cities.  Rivers, by nature of a certain amount of untameableness, can maintain a buffer between the built world... sometimes they just erase the built world.
coal fired power plant
The harbor reminds me of the Duwamish in Seattle, keeping in mind that Bridgeport was already a busy seaport and factory town when Seattle was just a log cabin.  The hundred years doesn't seem to make that much difference.  Although, this harbor is on the backside of being important, bypassed by bigger and better ports.  It is moving towards being a geographic relic, I suppose.

Osprey nest on coal conveyor
I set out in calm air with a threat of afternoon thunderstorms.  As long as the air is calm, I find my canoe cutting through a thin oily sheen a bit too often.  There's 200 years of who knows what to seep out of the banks and bottom and run off of the land.

Somehow, it still holds on as a wild place.  It's not the few osprey and egrets or the night heron near the old brick arch culvert, nor is it the vegetation, which is pretty much non-existent, replaced by broken cement rip-rap, walls and pilings.  It's more that it remains inaccessible from land.  Industrial lots wall off the water from people much more effectively than a forest.  The few people that I do see greet me and are curious to find out what I am doing..."no, I don't fish...I'm just looking around" (not that I would eat anything that came from this water, ever).

Black crowned night heron
As I head back out of one of the arms, the ferry that crosses Long Island Sound comes in.  A tug brings two barges up near Pleasure Beach (a long defunct amusement park that is currently cut off from land access) and moors them.

 I pass the old rotting swing bridge that connected Pleasure Beach to the city and take out.  It was a good trip.

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