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Epic paddle through the locks

Monday, October 22, 2012

This weekend LESLIELENORE and her brother joined me and two others for what we’d planned to be a 20-mile paddle through the canal from Cayuga Lake to Seneca Lake and then down along the shore of Seneca.

Here's LESLIELENORE's blog post about the trip:

Pics and the gps track here:

Since they live so far away she crashed at my place and after she arrived we used the elliptical and equipment in my basement for our workouts. It was kind of fun having someone else down there, kickin’ it too. Usually I’m by myself, rockin’ out to rude pop songs.

Then we had protein shakes and played with the cats while waiting for another kayaker to show up, who also lives pretty far away.

Sunday morning we all got up at the crack of doom, dropped my car at the end point and went to the put in where a bridge crosses the canal. We launched at 9am.

The fall colors were stunning. And the temperature was great, and the sunlight felt so good.

Going through the locks was definitely a high point (no pun intended). The first set we did was actually two locks, and raised us 50 feet total.

In one of them the walls were covered with zebra mussels that would squirt and slam themselves shut when I touched them.

So I had fun brushing my fingers over them and making them squirt while the water rose.

We paddled through Seneca Falls (its claim to fame is the site where the the movement to allow women to vote began, and as one of the models for Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life.")

There is a trail along the canal with interesting sculptures:


The second lock, in Waterloo, was only about 14 ft. Waterloo claims to be where the idea of Memorial Day started.

In both cases we didn't have to radio them or get out and ask them to open the gates, or anything, they must have a motion alarm or something because they opened right up. We were the only craft we saw in any of the locks, and we only saw one other boat going on the canal (it was a big fishing yacht).

There was no danger of us exceeding the 10mph speed limit, even LESLIELENORE's brother, who specializes in paddling Very Fast.

At the beginning of the trip the water was still. But as the day continued the wind kicked up and was almost perfectly lined up with the direction of the canal so there wasn't much of a lee side to paddle on. LOL

By the time we got to the restaurant I was pretty well tired and had switched to my euro paddle from the Greenland stick.

We had lunch there about 2pm and then tried to get out onto Seneca lake.

By the time we got there was good sized chop and whitecaps on our rear quarter. About 2 miles down the lake our weakest paddler capsized and swam so we all hauled out onto shore and I decided it was time to stop. He wanted to keep going but I said no; I've read enough bad stories to know as a group we weren't strong enough to go 6+ more miles in those conditions.

We carried our boats up some steep steps by an empty cottage and around 4pm I walked with one of the other kayakers a mile to the main road where we thumbed a ride back to my car at the takeout. Once I got there what remained was a lot of shuttling of boats and people, trying to connect everyone with their cars and then with their boats. In the end everyone was headed home by 7 or 8.

Although we were about 6-7 miles short of our final destination we definitely had an epic paddle, and I don’t regret it one bit, although I’m sore enough to take a rest day today. The only thing I do regret is forgetting to put on my heart rate monitor strap, so I have no idea how many calories I burned. I’m estimating about 1000 total.
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