Waterford – Last Stop on the Erie Canal
Waterford is a really cool stop since virtually all boats tend to stop here when they are starting the Erie Canal or ending the Erie Canal depending on which direction they are traveling. They have a great visitor center with helpful staff, lots of space on the wall for at least 12 – 15 boats. There’s a great little town to walk to as well.
We left a bit later this morning from Crescent since we really didn’t have far to travel today. We only have about 4 miles to travel today. However, in that short distance is the 5 locks of the Waterford flight that we have to go through. I can’t imagine encountering the Waterford flight heading west on the canal as your first experience going through locks. This would definitely be a trial by fire, but I guess on the flip side, you would learn to locks quickly.
The good news about these locks are once you start, they open the next lock and and ready and waiting for you to enter the next. They are so close together that you literally leave one lock and enter the next just a quarter of a mile further. We were able to get through all 5 locks in about 90 minutes and we were the only boat going through. As a general rule of thumb, it takes about 30 minutes per lock to get through, so 90 minutes for 5 locks was doing really well. Not that we are in any kind of a hurry.
Over those 5 locks, we drop about 170 feet in elevation. That’s about 33 – 34 feet per lock. As evidence by they drop in elevation. The landscape has also changed in this area. No longer is it flat ground for miles but we are starting to see some hills and contours to the landscape.
Once we got to Waterford, we checked in and got settled and decided to explore town. We also had to do some laundry. We haven’t done laundry since we were stranded on the wall at Newark. So, we loaded up our bags and headed into town. We were told there was a laundromat in town, no laundry at the visitor center by the wall where we are parked. Conveniently enough, we found the laundromat right across the street from an Irish pub. I think every laundromat should have an Irish Pub across the street. We popped the clothes into the washer and headed to the pub. Put them in the dryer before our food arrived and had fresh laundry waiting for us after our lunch. Easy-peasy!
Of course all the walking around town and the hard work of doing laundry and perhaps a bit of the Irish Pub, led to an afternoon nap.
I spent some time walking the dock and getting acquainted with all the other boaters on the wall. I met a couple on a large 45 foot motor yacht who just purchased their boat and were headed back home in Ohio. Also met another couple on a sailboat who had just left Ithaca, NY; Michelle and Robert. They too are headed to the Bahamas, so perhaps we will see them along the way. After a bit, we heard the lock opening at the far end of the wall, so we looked to see who was exiting the lock. Sure enough, it was our friends on Blue Moon, David and Kendra. They pulled up to the wall in Waterford for the next day or two. We also saw Dale aboard Veritas coming out of the lock. However, Dale kept on going and didn’t stop in Waterford. We also heard through their blog that s/v Undone had passed us this morning and kept heading down the Hudson and didn’t stop in Waterford. It’s fun keeping track of the people and boats that we know or have met along the way.
Waterford is a pretty area.
Here are a few pictures from town. I guess I didn’t get a shot of the Irish Pub.
So now that we are officially done with the Erie Canal. Here are some stats for the entire length of the Erie Canal. Because a lot of people have asked me already, how many locks did you go through? Definitely, a lot! But hey, we got pretty good at them and after one or two clumsy attempts early on, we rather enjoyed it. The scenery along the Erie Canal was really beautiful and it’s a area we would really like to go through again in the future.
Total Erie Canal Stats:
Miles traveled – 303 miles
Lift Bridges – 11
Fixed Bridges – 250
Guard Gates – 19
Locks – 35
Countless pictures and beautiful vistas, priceless new friends met along the way. It was a great experience on this leg of the journey. We are looking forward to the next part of the journey as we head down the Hudson River and into NYC.