Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Little Falls, NY

Last night wasn't as bad as it could have been. Luckily we are oblivious to the train noise at night. I guess we just got used to garbage trucks and police sirens while living in New York City. We woke up to the sound of rain on the deck, then Thom felt it on his face because the state room hatch was open. The morning began with Thom fixing the little Dirt Devil vacuum, which had become completely clogged with dog hair. So we said goodby to the Riverlink Park in Amsterdam.

Once underway, we headed west, locking through 7 more locks. Amazingly, we've had the river and canal pretty much to ourselves. Memsahib and Dunworkin were the only two boats going west through the locks all day. We saw one pontoon boat, and another demasted sailboat headed east. The demasted sailboats are quite common. Most are long distance cruising boats, and have all manner of stuff hanging all over them. 

There are several large Amish communities in New York state, many along the Mohawk River. We saw quite a few families fishing from the locks.

Damage from Hurricane Irene was extensive along the Mohawk River and Erie Canal. The lockmasters are still fishing logs out by hand, and there are piles of debris everywhere. 

And then we came to the mother of all locks, the dreaded Lock 17. This lock is the highest lift lock on the Erie Cana, and only one of two locks in North America where the entrance gate lifts above the boat. All of the other locks have doors that swing open as the boat enters.

Lock 17 lifts the boat some 40.5 feet. Entering this lock was like entering the temple of Doom in an Indiana Jones movie. Huge rumbling metal gates, banging metal sounds, rushing water, and you are down in the bottom of it. 

The force we needed to fend the boat off from the sides was considerable.  Finally we were at the top, the gate opened, and as we drove off noticed two paddlers in little kayaks entering the lock to go down. Yikes!

We have tied up here in Little Falls, where there is a nice visitor center. Very clean, with a lovely waterfront park. This was a long day, and we are both exhausted, so we'll probably stay here tomorrow to catch up on some sleep and relax.

1 comment:

  1. I never realized getting through the canal required so much work I always pictured just gliding in and the water fills and you move along. It's interesting learning more about canal travels.