Friday, June 7, 2013

The Hudson River to the Erie Canal

It's time to get into rural New York State.  NYC was great but we definitely prefer "country."  We're actually already about 35 miles up the Hudson River. It really gets pretty from Croton-on-Hudson northbound, and we're really looking forward to the Erie Canal.  Hope you enjoy this post of mostly scenery with a few small towns along the way.  It's generally a long straight run up the river, so I also want to say this - AUTOPILOT IS A WONDERFUL THING!

This is the general topography and setting.  I don't follow the actual geography that closely, but I believe there are two mountain ranges in this area - the Palisades and Catskills.

As you can see, it is quite beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing.  West Point Military Academy is nestled along the western shore.

It looks like a fortress and is very different from the Naval Academy that we had free reign to tour in Annapolis - much more controlled here and no longer accessible by boat.  The interior section looks pretty cool.

Having an aviation background, it was a little distressing to see this once probably perfectly good amphibious plane on the banks of the river.  It's going to need some work before it flies again.

This is the Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island.  It's an unusual story - it was built to store ammunition sold by a private entrepreneur.  He built a smaller castle adjacent to this one for his home.  Apparently, he had a "booming" business until the government decided he could not continue the business.  Consequently, he went out of business, the castles were left to the elements of nature and the structures are falling to the ground bit by bit. Not much left now.

We had a large flock of Canada Geese land in front of us and take flight again as we approached.  Folks, I know this is simple stuff, but you can't see this walking around in NYC!  You know what I mean??? This was our traffic jam for the day.

After a 49-mile run, we stopped for the night at Norrie Point State Park.  There is absolutely nothing to do here except hike and ride bikes, exactly what we needed, and we did very little of either of those!

Hostas grow large here, definitely "huger" than most we have seen.

Nice sunset at Norrie.

The next stretch of the Hudson has four lighthouses along the way.  Pretty nice.

This must be a treacherous swimming area to need 3 lifeguard stations so close together!

The wind was pretty calm this day - maxed out at about 3 mph I think!

There are lots of small towns along the way - this one is Castleton, NY.

A tour boat of I'm guessing junior high age school kids.

A heron hanging out on a buoy.

You lose the serenity of the river for a while as it runs through the state capital, Albany.

A lot of the architecture of Albany displayed the cathedral/castle look......

.......only to be complemented by a full-size U-Haul truck mounted on other building tops!  It really is an actual  truck mounted on a pole, not a billboard or sign.

Leaving Albany, you return to the serenity of the river for a while.

And it's time to hit the locks again - been awhile.  The positives are no more tides or salt water to deal with.  This is Troy Lock, much smaller than we are accustomed to on most other waterways we have traveled.

View from inside the lock with the river waterfall area to our left.

No idea why they have a metal dog sign mounted on the wall.

Lots of things happen at this junction of the river.  The Hudson ends and you can choose the northern route up the Champlain Canal to the St. Lawrence Seaway or hang a left on the Erie Canal, both considered part of the New York Canal systems.  We're taking the Erie Canal to the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario which we'll cross to go into Canada on the Trent-Severn Canal.  The Trent-Severn exits into Georgian Bay and the North Channel which eventually gets us into Lake Michigan down to Chicago where we'll pick up the Illinois River to the Mississippi River to the Ohio River to the Tennessee River and then we'll be home at mile marker 287.  Whew, I'm tired just typing all of that but looking forward to it.

This is Waterford, NY where the first lock is located for the Erie Canal.  It's actually named Lock #2.  Troy Lock was originally #1 but was later taken over by the feds.  Waterford, the oldest incorporated village in the U.S.,  is a quaint little village with free city docks right at the entrance to lock #2.

We were really surprised at the easy access afforded everyone to the lock.  You can walk all over it and around it 24 hours a day, even while boats are locking through.  We finally understood when we checked in with the lockmaster to get our permit for accessing the Erie Canal.  The security of these locks is determined by NY State, not the feds, and apparently NY has less concerns about security. The cost is a pretty sweet deal also - for $100 dollars you can come and go as much as you want on any of the NY canal systems for the season (May to November) and there are many opportunities to dock at the lock walls or small town docks with electric provided!  We're usually busy while locking through so here's a little different perspective from the top of the lock looking inside when it's at its "empty" level.  This lock is only about 44 feet wide and raises/lowers you 33.55 feet.

The original lock is adjacent to this one and is only about 15 feet wide.  It is used only as an overflow water area now, but it's interesting to see the original lock system. The original canal  was widened and deepened three times to accommodate higher demand and larger barges. Now even the "new" canal is inadequate for the larger barges, so the canal is a pleasure boater's vacation destination.

When you leave Lock #1, you enter the canal only for a short distance and have to transit four more locks in short sequence, raising you a total of 169 feet. This Waterford Flight raises/lowers vessels the greatest height in the shortest distance of any canal in the world.

 The city dock sidewalk has the entire canal system identified and portrayed in the brickwork.  Here are the five locks just referred to.

Nice view from the top of the lock looking down on the Waterford City dock.

Waterford is conveniently located just across the river from grocery shopping and a Rite Aid pharmacy, so we got on the bikes and restocked supplies as needed. If you want to buy a lot of groceries, the grocery store will even let you push the shopping cart back to the dock  and they will come pick it up!

We did some more sightseeing before leaving Waterford, but I'll include that on the next post.  Got to go gets some stuff done.  Hope you enjoyed scenic New York State - much more to come on the Erie and Oswego Canals.  


Clocked Out said...

Hey Guys, I am really enjoying your blog and the pictures are great. Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Larry & Linda
"Clocked Out"

Wayne and Rhonda said...

Thx Larry and Linda, good to hear from you. Tell all at Harborwalk hello for us. We'll have to stop in there on a trip to Austin one of these days after we finish this trip and visit some. We should be on the Erie tomorrow, been waiting for some of this rain and excess water to clear out a bit. Wayne

S/V La Strada said...

I just asked Rob if he remembered the "Erie Canal Song".

ArmDon Glenville, NY said...

I served as a Past Commander of and present Executive Officer of the Lake George Power Squadron. Together with my wife, we have dreamed of a great loop trip and enjoy your blog. We reside just East (about 1 mile) of lock E-9 on the canal/river. You mentioned locating to share an electronic copy of the feature article in the local Gazette newspaper. It would be available at their website with username: daily
password: gazette

On behalf of the Squadron, despite circumstances of course, we welcome you to our rich in history area. If we can be of any assistance during your stay, please e-mail us at
Armand and Donna