Two days ago we tied up over night at the Waterford Pier right where the Erie Canal begins. In this picture you can see the boats tied up, and the first lock door just to the left of the line of boats. That's the first of 5 locks in a row known as the Waterford Flight. Each one lifts the boat about 34' and collectively they are the highest lift over the shortest distance in the world.
|Waterford Pier and Flight|
In the same picture all the way to the left you can see one channel of the Mohawk River where it empties into the Hudson. Back when all the canal traffic was pulled by mule the entire canal was a dedicated ditch with tow path. But as mechanized propulsion evolved, it became possible to push/pull barges in the river and the "canal" started moving over to use the Mohawk River. Now pretty much the whole stretch we are traveling is the Mohawk, with remnants of the old canal visible here and there.
When I awoke in the morning at Waterford, this family of geese were hanging out near by. Fortunately they were not THAT close, and all their mess was in front of the boat ahead of us.
|Family of Canada Geese|
The next series of pictures show us working our way through the Waterford Flight. In one picture, you can see the next lock gate up ahead in the distance. The lock operators are all very friendly and helpful, and will let the next lock know you are coming so they can be ready for you.
|Waterford Flight, E2|
|Waterford Flight, Approaching E4|
|Waterford Flight, E4 looking ahead to E5|
Many of you know that I went to Union College in Schenectady, NY, but you might not know that it's also where the idea of this trip was born. Being the heavy machinery junkie that I am, I used to go hang out at Lock #7 to watch the barges and boats lock through, and that's when I first realized that not only was the Mohawk navigable, but that it ultimately tied the Great Lakes, NYC, the St Lawrence, and Champlain all together. I brought our Boston Whaler to Schenectady and did a little cruising up and down the river and through a couple of locks, and thought how cool it would be to do a northeast circumnavigation. 30 years later, here we are approaching Lock #7, finally doing the Downeast Loop. Thankfully, the part of the original plan to do the trip in the 17' Whaler did not survive. Tanglewood II is a tad more comfy.
|Lock #7, Birthplace of this Trip|
Last night we stayed at the Schenectady Yacht Club which isn't in Schenectady, but is adjacent to the remains of an aqueduct that was part of the original canal. It was a stone and wood "bridge" that carrier the original canal across the Mohawk. SYC's club house is one of the original houses used for canal operations. The next morning brought a nice mist rising off the river.
|Schenectady Yacht Club|
|Around Rotterdam, NY|
To many, Irene was a big-nothing of a storm, but the Mohawk Valley and upper Hudson really got the crap knocked out of them. I previously described some of the damage along the Hudson and in Waterford, but the stretch that spans locks #8 through #12 is astonishing. Lock #9 probably got hit the worst with all the land to the north of the dam and lock having been completely taken away. The pictures show the approach and you can see how the entire right side has been rebuilt.
|Lock #9, Pond where Gate House Used to be.|
Lock #10 was a similar scene.
|Not Much Action at The Fonda Terminal|
|Canal Work Boat Keeping Us Company|
|Itty Bitty Work Boat|
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment......