6. The Next Leg, Eastward Toward the Hudson

I spent a few harried days in Sylvan Beach running errands, and moving more stuff. This is as close to my house as I would be for the foreseeable future, so I wanted to take advantage of that, and get the rest of my junk aboard the boat. I didn’t have much left after the initial van load, the remainder fit easily into the cabin of my not enormous truck. I did wind up asking myself ‘do I really need this?’ about 57 times, though. The result was that I got everything I really need aboard, and still had some storage space left over.

The Morning of the 15th, Dad and Step Mom Cindy joined me aboard. Dad would be staying on as crew for the trip out to the Hudson River, and Cindy would only be joining us for the day.

After bagels and coffee, we set off eastward. We enjoyed really excellent weather, calm and clear. We made four locks and 40 miles in pretty good time, and considered pressing on past Ilion to St. Johnsville. Everyone was enjoying themselves and wanted to keep going, but since Cindy had already staged her car at Ilion, we decided to call it an early day.

The next morning my good friends Avi, Mel and their son Ashwin came down to visit, and check out my new digs. Ashwin seemed to enjoy himself, and even got some helm time in.

That’s actually his staple gun. He wouldn’t let me use it.

A short time later, the dredging operation that had laying quietly on it’s spuds a hundred feet astern of Sylphide, decided not to be so quiet any more.

Ashwin was fascinated by this roaring beast, so we stared at it for a while.

After we all got tired of the racket, Mel, Avi, an Ashwin decided to GTFO, and dad and I decided to do the same. It was a perfect day for it. Temperature in the mid seventies, a light breeze, low humidity, and lots of sunshine.

Early in the day, we passed through Little Falls. I’d been here as a lad, and distinctly remembered the guillotine style lock gates, and the deepest lock in the canal. What I didn’t remember was the rest of the area, which is much more varied and interesting than I expected. Lots of steep walls, and narrow parts, which makes sense when you think that this whole area used to be rapids and waterfalls.

Little Falls. The deepest lock in the solar system. Or at least on the Erie Canal.

The farthest east I’d ever previously been on the canal was St. Johnsville. We’d spent a couple of days there when were a lad on the ol’ family cruiser Over the Wall. The dockmaster, Bernie, had a potato cannon, which we all thought was the bee’s knees. He may also have had stinky armpits, but he was a nice enough guy.

Over the Wall, next to the wall at St. Johnsville sometime in the mid 90s

A little further down the line, we transited a part of the canal that I’d been looking forward to for years. It’s a stretch of the Mohawk River that runs along route 90 through the foothills of Catskills to the south, and the Adirondacks to the north. I’d passed by there hundreds of times on the road, and always wished I was on the river instead. Today was the day, and it lived up to my expectations. It was beautiful.

We’d originally hoped to make it to the Hamsterdam wall for the night, but since we’d gotten off to a late start, we only made it to Fultonville before the locks closed. The wall there is free, but is mainly used as a staging area for canal corporation work, so it’s a little rough, and you’re fenced in. It was pleasant enough. We were plugged into power, and had the place to ourselves. We slept well.

New York State, The Improved Canal System — from: The Canal System of New York State / Charles L. Cadle — Re-issued and revised (Albany : J.B. Lyon Co., printers, 1921)

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