They come fast, the locks on the Erie Canal, when you enter on the east end. Some were less than a quarter-mile apart. The first set of five locks as we left Waterford is called a “flight”… like a flight of stairs…because they collectively take up just a few miles. It took two hours to go through “the flight.” Further west, the locks were five or 10 miles apart.
That’s how we ended up going through nine locks in eight hours during our first day on the Erie Canal. (What’s the rush? Ask Skipper Jeff! 😄) Almost 40 miles later, we are still in the Mohawk River segment of the canal; the fully-manmade part comes later.
By the time we reach Buffalo N.Y. on the west end, we will have traveled through 35 locks and 350 miles. This normally takes at least a week. I hope it will take us quite a bit more. (That depends on whether I can persuade Jeff to slow down a bit.)
Canals were first used for transportation in the U.S. at the end of the 1700s. Of course they were small canals then, built for transport over short distances. The Dismal Swamp Canal, which opened in 1784, was my favorite part of the Great Loop (though the Hudson River comes close.) The Erie Canal opened in 1825 and was very successful until railroads arrived in the early 1900s.
Photos and captions below of our 1st day on the Erie Canal. (I am doing this blog on my phone, so please excuse any typos. If I wait until we have electricity, I’ll forget half of this so I try to blog each day.)