Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Erie Canal.... no mules

We spent the night tied to the wharf above Lock 8 on the Erie Canal. It is a lovely park, and the old canal path is now a popular jogging & biking trail. But let's back up so you can see a little of what it's like to travel this way

Mapquest link to our location

The first two photos show what it looks like to enter a 35' lift lock from the downstream side. This lock is one of five in the Waterford Flight which lifts westbound (and lowers eastbound) boats past the Cohoes Falls and the smaller falls & rapids where the Mohawk River empties into the Hudson. You can see the sill of the upstream lock gate, and then we took a pic looking back as another boat entered the lock by the towering downstream gate.

It's springtime in upstate New York! Well, OK maybe early summer... we spotted these geese with their goslings swimming around on the Mohawk River.

This photo shows the dam & lock entrance at Lock 7 which is just north west of Schenectady. The dam looks pretty high but it's only about 15'... the Erie Canal has been rebuilt several times and these locks & dams are about 90 years old, each set (of locks and dams) replaced about ten of the old locks on the original canal.

This view of the downstream lock gate shows the turbulence of water being let out of the lock itself as the water level is lowered to allow a boat to go downstream.

The next photo shows the view over the river from the lock after being lifted to the upstream level.

In this area, the Mohawk River has many islands. Five are named for the area's Indian tribes: Isle of the Cayugas, Isle of the Mohawks, Isle of the Senecas, Isle of the Onandagas, and Isle of the Oneidas. I looked for one named Isle of the Tuscarora, which is a tribe that moved from our home area of North Carolina in the early 1700s and joined the Iroquois Confederation.

A scene from the Mohawk River

Now here we are at the park at Lock 8. Two other boats on the Great Loop cruise also tied up for the night here and it was great to meet them. We had been talking on the VHF radio as we navigated the river & locks earlier in the day so we it was nice to meet them in person.

Hank loved it here; we took him for several long walks.

There is a section of the original Erie Canal still recognizable here. When you realize that this ditch was dug by hand for over 300 miles, it is quite impressive. I (Doug) will post more later on the canal history and the importance of canals in general. Kathie took several photos of one of the old locks; you can see that they are quite small compared to modern locks. These stone-walled locks are not original but a later upgrade. The original locks & bulkheads were wood.

Hope you all are doing well! We are having a great time and would definitely like to return & spend more time cruising in this area!

Doug & Kathie


Peggy & Hans Bjarno said...

Don't you agree that New York State is GORGEOUS!!!???
I've been all over the US and I've seen lots of lovely sights, but New York has such an amazing variety of geography and interesting offerings. . . I am reminded of ancient history, when I was 18 and traveled to California and back with my sister, camping our way west and then back east. When we entered NY we thought. . . AH-H-H-h-h. . . this is stunning!

Winnie W. said...

Hi Peggy: Yes the Erie Canal and NY state are stunning. We are already planning another trip back to this area, another year when we are not trying to get around the Loop.
We are about to head north on the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario; next time, when we reach the junction in Three Rivers, we'll continue west on the Erie Canal to the Finger Lakes and Lake Erie, where we will dip our toes in long enough to say we've been there!
Great to hear from you, Kathie