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Wild Raven Adventure

Waterford (NY) to Verona Beach (NY) - Erie Canal / June 5 - 15, 2015


*** To see the pictures, click here! ***

June 5, 2015

Today is the 365th day of our adventure, already one year! On June 6, 2014, we left Ottawa (ON, Canada) for a fantastic journey filled with discoveries and wonderful encounters. After a year, we are proud of what we have accomplished. We are grateful for the generosity and openness that people have shown us. We have built lasting friendships along the way, and we have engraved strong and unforgettable moments in our memories. Thank you all for this amazing year. Thank you for your kindness, your generosity, your hospitality and your openness.

We left late today after catching up with Andrew. We only traveled a short distance, to the gate guard # 2, where we will call it home for the night. Andrew came to join us for the night.

From Lock # 2 to Lock # 6, we climbed 169 feet in less than 2 miles. If the information is correct, this section holds the world record for the highest ascent in the shortest distance in any lock system.

June 6, 2015

Day off. The wind was blowing too hard, even though we are in a channel. We spent a beautiful day with Andrew. We also had the pleasure of talking with the lock master from lock #6; a man who loves his job and loves to share his knowledge. A beautiful experience!

7-8-9 June 2015

We left in the morning for Arrowhead Marina & RV Park located in the town of Glenville. We were welcomed by Wendy (owner). The park is well situated along the canal. It is easily accessible and has all the necessary amenities. The day was beautiful! We saw several turtles, birds and even a bald eagle! Andrew joined us later in the afternoon at the campground.

On June 7 and 8, it rained, so we stayed put at the campground. On the 7th, a small tornado touched down less than 3km from where we were. We were thankful that it only rained where we were. The owners of the campground (family owned) were really nice to us. We would like to thank them. They watched over us and made sure we did not lack anything during our stay.

June 10, 2015

Today we left Andrew. A big thank you Andrew for coming to see us and spending time with us. It's been awhile since we have seen you and we were really happy to spend time with you.

We left the campground around lunch time. I did not feel well at all when I woke up this morning and even had to go back to sleep. But, by afternoon Pierre, and the canoe, were calling for me and we decided to travel a short distance to Lock # 10 where we stopped for the night. We met Cindy, the lock master. She is a lovely lady and has a big heart for her job and the people she meets.

A little history of the Erie Canal:

  • Its construction began in 1817 and was completed in 1825. At that time, the other canals (Oswego, Champlain and Cayuga & Seneca) were not built. It was not until 1918 that all of them were completed.

  • The Erie Canal is 340.7 miles long. It was the dream of Governor Dewitt Clinton. When the canal was officially opened, a boat named "Seneca Chief", with Governor Clinton on board, traveled all the way from Lake Erie to New York. It was the first boat to travel the entire distance. Upon their arrival in New York City, two barrels filled with water from Lake Erie were poured, by Governor Clinton, into the Atlantic Ocean. This ceremony is called "the wedding of the waters" and it was symbolic of the union between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The Erie Canal brought a new economic dynamics to the city of New York. New York quickly became the major seaport, taking the title away from Philadelphia.

June 11, 2015

Beautiful day, although very windy. We had to paddle against the current and the wind all day. Still, we traveled 51km and locked through 7 locks (10 to 16 included). The Erie Canal is beautiful! Nature is abundant and there are pretty villages to visit along the way. We were happy to see so many fish, turtles and birds. The environment appears to be healthy. Jasmine has quickly become accustomed to sleeping when we are in the locks. There is not much to see or smell. She had several opportunities to rest today.

The rain of the last few days has raised the water level of the lakes and the canal. It displaced several tree trunks and we came across many today. Just before entering the locks, we had to be even more careful, because debris tends to accumulate near the doors.

June 12, 2015

We left a little later this morning, even so, we traveled 40km. We locked twice during the day. One lock we went through is the highest system with 40.5 feet elevation (lock #17).

We stopped for lunch, under the recommendation of a fisherman, at Little Falls Municipal Marina. We were very well received by the manager on the premises. Too bad it was so early in the day, because we would have probably made the decision to stay here for the night. The facilities are well maintained. There are new docks, a boat launch and a nice park. The village is charming and the people friendly

We ended our day, under a threatening sky, at Ilion Marina & RV Park. Again, we were treated to a warm welcome. We could set up our tent where we wanted and we had access to all facilities. We also met a lovely couple from Wisconsin, Connie and Phil Martini. We had fun chatting with them. They were really nice. They also gave us a bottle of white wine, ice cubes, one beer and cookies. We spent a great evening!

Here is some interesting things about the village of Ilion:

  • In 2000, the population was estimated at 8,600;

  • Ilion is the name of the ancient city of Troy;

  • The community began to flourish in 1816 when Eliphalet Remington created his first fire arm and later the Remington Arms Company.

June 13, 2015

It rained hard last evening, very hard. It also rained overnight, but much less than the day before. After doing our laundry, we packed up and left Ilion. We traveled to Lock # 20, where there is a state park. We were not the only campers. The site is busy. We met a man who, with his 12 year old son, is biking the trail along the Canal. What a great experience for both the father and the son. They will take about 6 days to cover the distance. This route is 360 miles, at an 80% grade, on a path located along the side of the Canal. It is very safe, as there is little traffic and accessible to all. Just like us, the cyclists can pitch their tent at the locks.

June 14, 2015

Another beautiful day under the sun, but, very hot (30 ° C) and we had little wind to cool us. We paddled, when possible, under the trees to stay in the shade. We did make Jasmine swim, along the way, to refresh her. It was not until the end of the afternoon that we experienced a light breeze. It was more than appreciated!

At Lock 22, we saw a turtle in the lock with us. We did our good deed by ensuring the turtle could get out of the lock once the doors opened. She had appeared suddenly between our canoe and the wall, a snapping turtle about 2 feet long.

We arrived, in the afternoon, at Verona Beach on Lake Oneida. It's always seems strange to see a large expanse of water appearing before us, when it has been several days that we have paddled in a narrow channel where everything is visible and close.

June 15, 2015

The lake does not want to cooperate with us today. We will wait one more day to cross it.

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