Kayaking on the Hudson

Friday, July 15, 2011

Erie Canal - Lockport to Rochester Part 2

Medina recently installed a low dock for kayaks
July 4 – We left Middleport and paddled on to Medina for our lunch stop.  We ate at the Country Club Diner.  The menu was basic fare with a down-home appeal.  The portions were large and no one left hungry. After lunch, we waddled back to the dock and launched our kayaks hoping the canal current would carry us to Albion for the night.  With a little help from our paddles, it did and along the way we picked up a giant, basketball.  You find the strangest things when you go kayaking.  At the ramp in Albion were five girls who were jumping into the canal.  They explained that they were making a movie for YouTube and were sure to get our names as we landed.  I gave them the giant basketball and they had a great time swimming after it in the canal.  

Kayaking with the giant basketball

The ramp in Albion is right across from a rather serious looking prison and there are no bathrooms (at the ramp, I am sure the prison has them).  So, we had previously arranged to camp on the lawn of a local bed and breakfast.  You meet some very nice and generous people when you take a trip like this.  The B&B had some cancellations, so a few of us grabbed up very comfortable and air-conditioned rooms, while the remainder pitched their tents.  A short walk away was the Crooked Door restaurant.  Once again, the food was amazing.  We couldn’t find bad food on this trip if we tried.  (We didn’t try).  

Kayaks waiting along the Erie Canal towpath
July 5 - In the morning, our hosts at the B&B put out a huge buffet spread for breakfast and we ate entirely too much.  We drove back to the prison and launched off the ramp.  We paddled east again until we got hungry for lunch.  There was no lunch stop this day, so some of us scrambled out of our kayaks and up the rocks, while others ate lunch on the water. 
After a long day in the kayaks, we reached Holley.  We were all tired of eating out, so we sent a party to the local Wegmans supermarket to bring back hot dogs and brats.  We had a wonderful cookout right at the local terminal wall and pitched our tents right among the picnic tables.  After dinner, we went for a walk on the nature trails in the adjacent park and got some ice cream in town.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Erie Canal - Lockport to Rochester Part I

Erie Canal Kayak Trip, July 2-7, 2011
The Flight of 5 locks from the old Erie Canal
This trip was done as a series of car-camping shuttles.  We moved the cars each day and set up camp.  This allowed us a certain level of luxury not normally associated with kayak camping.  We arranged all of the camping in advance.

Underground in Lockport
  July 2 - We arrived in the afternoon and started our trip with a visit to the underground tour in Lockport, NY.  We walked through the old canal run-off cave that once carried water that powered the factories lining the banks of the canal.  After a visit to the canal museum, we launched our kayaks and headed east through the double locks that drop a total of 49 feet.  Sitting in the lock, looking up, we were in awe of the engineering and ingenuity that was required to create this man-made wonder.  A few miles later, we arrived at our campsite: the spacious lawn of the Widewaters Drive In.  The owners graciously allowed us to camp and even left the bathrooms open all night just for us.  We drove into Lockport and had a fantastic dinner at Wagner’s restaurant.  Try the beef on weck and the wings!

Lock 34 in Lockport
Kayaks seem very small in the lock

Our 1st Kayak Campsite
The Campsite was at an ice cream stand, great root beer floats!
July 3- A few of us snuck into Lockport and had breakfast at Tom’s Diner.  The food was simple, and good.  After breakfast, we launched from Nelson Goehle Marine Park (across from our campsite) and headed east to Gasport where we stopped at a defunct Marina and ate lunch.   

Roughing it with a plastic wine glass.
Then it was on to Middleport.   We did not like the landing situation in Middleport, so we arranged to take out at a private house and leave our kayaks on the lawn until morning.  We walked into town and camped at the terminal wall.  It was a very scenic spot and close to the bathrooms and showers.  After some wine and snacks, we took a short walk along the canal to the Basket Factory and had an incredible meal.  The salmon was terrific, the margaritas were spot on and the cherry-chocolate cobbler was amazing.  All of this “roughing it” was starting to get to us.
We had a great meal at the Basket Factory.