Earlier this Fall, I took a side trip on my way home from a family history gathering trip to Westmoreland and Fayette Counties in Pennsylvania. After a day of taking photos of tombstones at Mount Pleasant cemetery (see last entry), I camped that night at Ohiopyle State Park along the Youghiogheny River. The next morning, I took a bicycle ride on a portion of the Rail-Trail that follows the river from the state park all the way to McKeesport near Pittsburgh. The trail is part of the Great Allegheny Passage which stretches several hundred miles from Pittsburgh, PA, to Georgetown, Washington, DC. I met one bicyclist who was traveling the whole trail, end to end, and when he reached DC in few days, he was planning to box up his bike and take the Amtrack back to Pittsburgh. I thought that one day I would like to bicycle the same route and dedicate the ride to my mother's Gailliot Family Line who, in 1880, emigrated from Germany to Braddock, PA, to work in the steel mills, and then, in 1920, migrated to a farm in Alexandria, VA. No, they did not bike it.
At one point on my bike ride, I passed a cut in a steep cliff along the trail. There was an historic marker at the bottom of the cliff which gave a brief description of the coal mining era in the region. The text began by pointing to a vein of coal on the cliff high above me (directly above the dashed line, colored red, in image above). Also shown, was an enlarged copy of a vintage postcard depicting coal miners standing around a mine shaft in Connellsville, PA. Rail cars loaded with coal were being pulled by mules from the mine shaft.