Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anniversary #42--Still Paddling Together

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We have had a really wonderful and memorable anniversary today! We woke up to haze and wondered whether it would really be kayaking weather, but it was all burned off by mid-morning. We went directly to Locks 2&3 of the Seneca-Cayuga Canal. We were the only ones there besides the lockmaster. We pumped up our kayak and dropped it into Van Cleef Lake right in front of the locks. We paddled a little bit, then called up the Lockmaster on my cell phone and said, “Drop us down, please!” There is a 49-foot difference between the height of the lake and the canal below.

Our view of the lock gates--Samantha is in the background
Soon enough, the doors of the lock slowly opened and we paddled into Lock #3. We used a bungee cord to tie the kayak against the wall so we wouldn’t drift around inside the lock while the water level went down. It took about 10 minutes or so—we watched the walls go higher and higher above us. It is a much different feeling in a kayak than it was in the boat in Lockport—we are really just sitting on the surface of the water. It was very cool!
Joe taking the bungee off the rope after we dropped down

We head toward the open doors--another boat is waiting to take our place in the opposite direction
When the lock opened, we saw that there was a boat in Lock #2. He very slowly moved in next to us as we paddled past him, and we switched places. Then we tied up again, and were lowered down to the level of the canal. The doors opened again and out we paddled, past yet another boat and some folks fishing on the side of the canal just past the lock. More paddling, and we were completely alone on the canal—there was just nature on either side. One more boat did pass us going toward the locks, and we moved out of its way and waited for it to go by. Then we kept going downstream. We found a stream flowing into the lock and went in to explore it a little bit, and we saw a huge bird (I think it was a heron) which flew over the water and landed in a tree, posing for me so I could take its photo. It was SO QUIET out there, and we spent a lot of time just floating there drinking in the solitude. Totally lovely!

We finally went back to the lock, and had to wait a bit before the doors opened—when we called, the Lockmaster told us he had a boat coming toward him on the other side, and he was going to drop that boat down to meet us. Sure enough, the gates finally opened, we paddled in (such a cool feeling to paddle into the lock!) and when we got up to the next level, there was a largish boat coming toward us. Again we passed each other carefully before we finished our rise back up to the lake level. Then we paddled back to the dock and pulled ourselves and our kayak up onto it. Wow! What an experience!!

We were hungry after that (it was 1:30 pm) and also Joe had to make a few phone calls. So it wasn’t until around 3pm that we started driving. We really had no idea where we were headed exactly, only “east” was pretty much it! So we got back on Route 20, the road which had taken us through the northern end of the long Finger Lakes. I looked for a campground that was about halfway to Caroga Lake, where we have reservations for Friday and Saturday night. On the way we stopped in Skaneateles, a charming town right on the northern tip if the lake of the same name, and enjoyed the waterfront a little bit. 

We drove on from there, now heading to Oneida Lake State Park. On the way we passed right by Chittenango State Park. I knew there was a nice waterfall there, so we pulled in. Sure enough, the waterfall was GORGEOUS. The park overlook was at the top, so we (including Roxy) hiked the quarter-mile down a steep path to see it from the bottom as well. It was really beautiful.

From there it was only 20 miles to Oneida Lake. There are only 48 campsites here, but we were so lucky—we got one just off the shore of the lake.  It was already after 7:00, and we sat on a bench at the lakeside watching the sun set. There was a lovely breeze and we just enjoyed the view and the sailboats in the distance until the sun completely disappeared. It was the perfect end to a very special and memorable anniversary day.
Our campsite. The lake is right beyond the trees.

No comments: