The Champlain Canal and the finish of the Triangle Loop portion of our travels

A completed Triangle is in sight! Final leg!

The nearly 60 mile long historic Champlain Canal runs south from Whitehall NY (end of Lake Champlain) to Waterford NY (start of the Erie Canal) and includes a northern section of the Hudson River. Once done, we will have completed the Triangle Loop portion of our 2019 Great Loop travels.

Back to locking we go with 11 locks On this canal – Lock 12 to Lock 1, but Lock 10 was never built – some locking up in elevation then some locking down. It really is intriguing that at a specific point, the canal changes directions at the high point between locks 9 and 11 – flowing north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, then changes to flow south out the Hudson River. The first 24 miles are man-made canal, with the last 37 miles primarily on the wider and natural Hudson River.

One guidebook called the Champlain Canal the “history canal” and we can see why! Check out all the forts!

Whitehall lock is our first lock heading south, #12, and is a busy town with an Amtrak station. Lake Champlain officially ends at Whitehall, although it feels like we left a proper lake miles ago. Historically, Whitehall is known as the “birthplace of the US Navy,” after the first fleet of 12 navy vessels were built here in 1776. These vessels were used by Benedict Arnold, when he was an American naval officer, to control the attempted British Invasion of the colonies.

A mature eagle with either a female or a juvenile – majestic and beautiful in flight

We saw so many herons (hundreds!) and, for us, an abundance of eagles! The birds have been in abundance on this canal, and are lovely to watch and photograph. Working to master photographing birds in flight but….

The day started off cloudy and raining, with dark clouds and thunderstorms swirling around us. Thankfully, the storms never centered over us so we didn’t have to pull over at a lock and wait for weather to pass, although Dean kept a good eye on all the weather apps.

They dug this canal super straight!
We are dry and warm underneath our Bimini (canvas top)

Kate did great in the rainy locks as she learned the rhythm of “locking through.”

Daughter-in-love, Katelyn peeking over the top as we lock up!

Mid afternoon, the sun emerged and the skies cleared into a beautiful afternoon so we could dry out and watch the passing scenery and wildlife. Cruised by many silos and farms and small NY canal towns.

We pulled up to a lovely lock wall above lock #8 Fort Edwards for the night, probably the most secluded and rural free wall we’ve found in all our travels this year. Surrounded by farm land with cows mowing as they traveled back to their barns, resident eagles, and a gated road that closed at 5 pm. Once the lock master left for the night, we were alone and enjoyed a very quiet starry night.

Early start the next morning, traveling through Lock 8 Fort Edwards by 8 am. We had been warned earlier that there was a “bloom” of toxic blue-green algae between lock 8 and lock 7, several miles apart so we took extra precautions with gloves, avoiding touching the water, and not flushing the head (which draws the canal water in to flush). We were quite astonished by the fluorescent green and extensive bloom as we cruised through.

We finished the remaining locks easily as the canal widened with the joining of the Hudson River.

Kate even discovered a new “thing” on her lock line, which we promptly named “Lock Star.” Not sure if friend or foe so we left it undisturbed.

I did learn from a gracious boater that this is an invasive European “water chestnut,”
The cable in the lock which we attach a spring line to keep us close to the wall as the waters flood in or empty out – can be quite turbulent!
Egrets! Haven’t seen as many but they are stand-outs along the shore

As we entered the town of Waterford, NY, we rounded a familiar turn after Lock 1 (the final lock heading south of the Champlain Canal) to re-enter the Erie Canal and tuck back into Waterford docks. We were last here at the end of June, when we officially started the Triangle Loop portion with Sue and Al Reetz.

Wonderful adventures through the Erie Canal, Lake Ontario, the Thousand Islands, Rideau Canal, Ottowa River, Richelieu Canal, Chambly Canal, Lake Champlain, Champlain Canal, and the Hudson River. We traveled about 1128 miles (980 NM)* between June 30th and September 5, 2019, met countless new people, seen hundreds of beautiful birds (and even caught a few in photos), had 12 precious family and friends aboard as crew, and finagled 77 locks successfully. Some time I will estimate anchorages, moorings, walls and marinas. All priceless!

*our NEBO tracking estimate. Dean’s calculations from the boat measures are larger?

We have a few more travel weeks ahead of us as we retrace our route on the Erie Canal up to Brewerton NY, where we will put dear trawler “Clare” into heated winter storage at Winter Harbor Marina for the winter months and head back to Maine to our “land home.” We are eager to see family and friends and return to work (at least Karen is!).

So, more locks to come this year, more biking, more new friends, and we hope to rejoin trawler “Clare” next summer for more adventures on the Great Loop. Stay tuned – more stories to come!

By the grace of God we go,

~ Karen and Dean

We are so bad with selfies -sorry!

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Categories: Champlain Canal, Erie Canal, Hudson River, September 2019, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , ,
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