Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welcome to the Erie Canal

Today we traveled another 30 miles or so up the Hudson to the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal.  Each mile that passed the river choked down a bit more, but it's still quite significant all the way.  The heavy commercial barge traffic ends just south of Albany where there are numerous power plants, oil depots, scrap yards, gravel yards, and just about anything else you can imagine wanting to transport by barge.  But from Albany north the water depth drops from about 40' to 20', and 90% of the traffic becomes recreational.

Hudson Light House
Another Hudson Light House
Albany Appears in the Distance
Industrial Waterfront South of Albany
City Skyline
USS Slater Destroyer Escort
Albany Buildings
Albany Buildings

Albany Buildings
Maybe 5 miles north of Albany comes the first lock which is the Troy Lock.  It's the only federal lock and delineates the tidal, brackish waters of the Hudson from the controlled level, fresh water of the Erie and Champlain Canals.  Did you know that there is a 5' tide on the Hudson all the way up in Albany?  I didn't.

Troy Lock and Dam

Waiting to Enter Troy Lock

Another mile north of the Troy lock comes a fork in the stream in Waterford.  Continue north and you enter the Champlain Canal which runs all the way into Lake Champlain.  The bridges on that route are just a little too low for us, but a few of the boats that we have been playing tag with are heading up that way.  But if you turn left, you enter the Erie Canal.  Right at the junction is a big visitor's center and long pier where you can tie up for a couple of days.  We are tied up for the night, but will continue on tomorrow.

The visitor's center apparently has some very good displays about the canal, but only the very basics are currently open.  The eastern Erie and upper Hudson were very badly damaged last summer by Irene.  On the Hudson, all the marinas at the mouths of the various feeder rivers got trashed to one degree or another.  Some are back in operation, so are partially operational, and at least one is gone completely.  The visitor's center in Waterford was flooded up to the 1st floor ceiling, and that's where the main office, bathrooms, showers, laundry, etc are all located.  The prioritized getting that working again first, then the visitors are will follow.  We are expecting to encounter a lot of places with only partial services compared to what they normally have.

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