Kayaking on the Hudson

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Erie Canal - Canajoharie to Fonda

Canajoharie to Fonda

A few months before the trip, I received a panicked email from two of the paddlers.  It seemed they had decided to scout our route and were in Fonda where they could find nowhere to access the canal and launch or land a kayak.  “We’ll figure something out.”  was my response.

Now it was the day before we were supposed to land in Fonda or Fultonville (which is just across the canal from Fonda), and we still had nowhere to land.  My wife and I decided to take a drive over to Fonda and see for ourselves.  (Yes, we actually leave some of the scouting until the last minute.  It makes the trip more exciting.)  We headed over the bridge to Fultonville and noticed a Canal Corp. work yard that had excellent canal frontage.  As we were on the bridge, I noticed a point of land that jutted out into the canal.  We headed toward what I had glimpsed and discovered the point was behind a condemned hotel—one of many that had been flooded out—and despite the “keep out” signs, it was possible to drive right to the point which had a cement boat ramp!  Then we headed back over the bridge and stopped at the Canal Corp. work yard.  The folks working there were very helpful.  There was a small dirt launch spot under the bridge and we were welcomed to use it so long as we got there before the yard was locked for the day.  They even let us drive our cars on the lawn to get to it.

We got back to camp in St. Johnsville and informed out “scouts” that we had found not one, but two launches in about 45 minutes, after which they resigned as scouts.  It hadn’t occurred to them to check for a boat launch behind the condemned hotel.  (And they call themselves kayakers).  This episode highlighted the fact that there are still many sections of the canal that are tough to access.  Ask the locals, and you’ll usually find someplace.
View from a hilltop above Canajoharie
July 6, 2012.  The paddle from Canajoharie to Fonda was peaceful, and scenic.  The hills surrounding the canal grew a bit larger and closer which gave the canal a more rustic feel in this section.  We “locked through” at lock 13 and arrived at the Canal Corp. yard well before they locked the gates.  Of course, we stopped at the Parkside, in St. Johnsville, for ice cream--again.

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