Gateway to the Erie Canal


We’re about to enter the Erie Canal. Exciting! We’re tied up tonight at a free wall/floating dock in the town of Waterford, N.Y., some 25 miles north of last night’s marina. Mainship Many Moons is tucked in cheek-by-jowl with many other boats waiting to go west into the canal or further north up the Hudson.

This is where the Hudson River meets the Mohawk River and the eastern end of the Erie Canal. The town calls itself the gateway to the canal, and I guess it is that since the first lock is right in front of us tonight. We will go through at least six locks (probably more) tomorrow to start our 35-lock journey through one of our country’s most amazing canals. Much of it is an enhanced natural waterway and much of it is created “from scratch.” More about the canal to come in following posts. See photos and captions below of Many Moons’ 309th day on The Great Loop as she arrives at the Erie Canal and closes on 5,000 miles under way.

As we left Shady Harbor Marina behind this morning, I was a little sorry to miss the big pig roast there next weekend. Many Looping friends plan to attend that.
While passing under the Castleton-on-Hudson Bridge, a sheet of something wet rained down on us! Maybe they were washing the bridge?
Albany, the state capitol of New York, where the necessary highways mar the view of historic buildings.
We had to wait about 20 minutes to enter Troy Federal Lock in Troy, N.Y., just south of Waterford. As the lock opened for us, about 12 jet skis left the lock in front of us. So jet skis can indeed go through the locks…
As we approached, I did a quick mental review. (I haven’t done a lock since last October.) Bumpers? Lines? Headsets? Also a quick look-up of the lock itself. What is the attaching mechanism? Bollards? Lines? The website said “bollard, pipes and ladders.” I didn’t quite understand that, but in we go!
Well, this is new! In this lock, you wrap your line around a pipe. (I didn’t see any bollards. News flash: information on the web isn’t always accurate. But I would expect it to be for a federal lock!) We rose about 15 feet–much less than some of the big locks on the Mississippi.
The lock master, waving good-bye on the lock wall, said we won’t hear any horns (to announce the gate openings) in New York State. In other states, we couldn’t leave the lock until we heard the horn. Always something new to learn on the Loop.
Leaving Troy Federal Lock behind. From here on, the locks are operated by the State of New York. They are numbered, so it will be easy to track our progress.
The town of Waterford is clean and very welcoming to boaters. It’s actually the gateway to a whole canal system, not just the Erie Canal. New York does indeed have a system of canals, but we will see just one.
We rode our bikes across the Hudson River to Troy, on the other side.
This view of the Hudson from the bridge connecting Waterford to Troy was our last encounter with this great river as we turn west into the canal.
These signs are seen on lawns throughout town – apparently a community-wide effort to combat the increase in meanness in our society. Amen to that!
Posted at a local ice cream shop. What a great idea!
How many American towns have a Flag Day parade? My mom, who is 100 and still kicking, always puts out the flag on Flag Day.
This picture is taken from a bridge in Waterford very close to our first canal lock, which is actually Lock #2 (E2) because there is no Lock #1 on the Erie. Many Moons is parked directly under the bridge. (We paid $10 for electricity, since it’s still cool at night and heat is nice.)
The red building on the left is the Visitor’s Center, where we picked up some maps of the canal. That’s the Hudson River in the background, looking east.
See the blue flag behind this fanciful town sculpture? “Don’t Give Up The Ship!” Uh, ok. I’ve come back twice already…
Loopers enjoying “docktails” on top of the waterfront wall at Waterford, discussing plans for tomorrow. You can see a few of the boats on the upper left, far below the wall on a floating dock. Floating docks respond to the tides. From here on, we are done with tides.
This is what the “free wall” looks like from on top, with seven boats tied up to it.
This 42-foot sailboat, parked directly in front of us, is captained by two French-speaking Canadians who are returning north from the Bahamas. (He’s wearing a mask here as a joke.) They had quite a tale to tell about entering the U.S. by boat during COVID. They were determined to make it happen but had to run several gauntlets to do so.
This sign is posted just down the wall from us. How cool is that…a waterway for paddlers, from Albany all the way down to Manhattan. We saw several kayaks today but I don’t know if any were doing this route.
We stopped to chat with fishermen throwing out a line where the Mohawk and Hudson rivers meet. Carp were jumping! Always a good idea to visit with the locals. They are very interested in the boats passing through their town.

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