And the other thing. I’m still here, not on vacation yet, just haven’t posted for a few days. I’ve been riding every day generally, but going outside of my 2.5 mile radius of Hidden in Suburbia pics, and a bit tired of carrying my camera with me and looking for stuff, as opposed to just riding. So we’ll get back to that series later. Maybe.
I meant to note at some point that while I’ve been taking pictures of the old Erie Canal (and, to give it its fair due, the old Champlain Canal as well), there also remains a current, viable, usable, functional Erie Canal to this day with several live locks in and around the area where I live. The original path of “Clinton’s Ditch” is long high and dry and (in this area, at least) and is now surrounded by the cities of Cohoes and Watervliet (if you live upstate and have an “Erie Boulevard” in your town, odds are that’s where the original canal flowed). The current Erie Canal lock system is, in fact, actually on the other side of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, mostly in the City of Waterford as far as the local component goes (plus one major lock/dam in Troy).
The high number of locks (then and now) in this area was required to get around the Cohoes Falls, a significant natural feature near the junction of the Mohawk and the Hudson. Of course, most of the time these days, that significant natural feature just looks like a giant pile of rocks, because the water that once flowed over the falls is being diverted for hydropower applications. Sometimes, though, during spring melt or after tumultuous weather, the falls roar in full force, and you can get a sense of how impressive (and daunting to boats) they once were.
I rode yesterday up the Flight of Locks Road in Waterford, which local chamber of commerce PR tells me is the world’s steepest sequences of locks still operating. It’s pretty cool to ride up to the high water point and see the route that boats still have to traverse to get from the Mohawk to the Hudson. A good article about it is located here. If you’re a local and you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a visit.
I also rode over to Peeble’s Island, a very, very cool wild area that’s part of the city of Waterford, but for years was only accessible from the Cohoes side. Last summer, I think, they finally reopened the old rail bridge to Waterford for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. I rode around the perimeter and over some of the cross island trails as well, eventually taking a break at the very southern tip of the island. (See map here).
As you can see from the map, the land/road access point to the island is on the Northeast corner. But for me to get home as the crow might fly (or the fish might swim), I would need to go Southwest from the southern tip of Peebles. I got ready to ride back up to the road when it occured to me . . . the rapids between the southern tip of the island and Cohoes had a lot of rocks visible, and the water didn’t really appear to be very deep anywhere between the two points of land.
Hmmm . . . . hmm hmm hmm . . . could I bike (or carry my bike) across the river, so I wouldn’t have to backtrack to the island’s entrance? Hmmm . . . well, I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try . . . so I did, and the answer (at least when the water level/tide is relatively low) is “Yes! I can walk from Peebles Island to Cohoes across the river rapids”. So now I know. Just in case I want to do it again. Which I probably won’t, since it was actually slower and harder than just riding back to the real road. Plus, on the Cohoes side, I had to climb a tangled bank and toss my bike over a 6-foot fence to get to the road.
I do stupid things like this so you don’t have to.