Along the Erie Canal

One of the great benefits of buying our silly little inflatable kayaks is that we are beginning to find all kinds of facts about where we might launch them. Mark, being from the Rochester area, is pretty familiar with many of the launch sites, but when he is in a quandary regarding a location, he hones in on it through using Google Maps. Cool, isn’t it? (have you honed in on your home….that seems *slightly* invasive!)

Mark and the kids decided (as soon as my dripping wet self declared I felt better after a dip in the hot tub) that we should take a trip to Rochester for some supplies. Feeling quite revived after last night’s sweat-a-thon, I agreed.

We had some items to return in Victor, so we did just that, then headed to Henrietta, via route 96. This route runs parallel with the Erie Canal. As we drove, Mark  was looking to see if he could find any launches.  We passed through Bushnell’s Basin, where Ben asked if we could stop at the Hess Gas Station.  Mark commented that *if* (hahahahahaha) I had my camera, I might like to take a few pictures behind the store.

The station is perched high near the road, but down a grassy slope, lies the Erie Canal. I walked down only to be surprised to find many ducks! I didn’t even have to MAKE like a duck here! (quack, quack!)

I smiled, thinking about the expression getting your ducks in a row as this passed before me!


Since I have very little knowledge regarding ducks (other than I think they are cute as all dickens!) I am not sure what sex all the ducks surrounding me were! I did notice that there was one male Mallard…how could I miss him? So….as I neared this unruly gang, the little females (I think) remained in their places, whereas the single male made off to the canal! Some brave lad he is, eh?


Looking eastward from behind the station, along the Erie Canal……


And to the west. Did I mention there were a lot of ducks at this spot?


As I ambled up the hill, I turned to take a photo…..kind of hard to believe this is found behind a gas station! Looks a lot more like a park to me!


And, speaking of parks….we headed up the road a little ways to Lock 32 Canal Park along the Erie Canal.


I love water, especially when it is calm and reflects buildings, trees, and nature so gracefully. I just “had” to capture this natural still life….


To the east, the water is a much lower level than the water behind the western gates. Here, the open gate is flat against the concrete wall.


Looking to the west, one can certainly see the difference between the height of the water. (if you look closely, you can see some water leaking through the closed gate behind the white pole)


Since I did not grow up near the Erie Canal (but did learn a song about it!) I had never seen a boat come through the locks. Truthfully, I had a hard time thinking through the whole concept.

As much as I have always thought how cool it would be to live in a lighthouse or fire tower, I guess the gatekeeper’s house might rank right up there. This one, anyway. (Note: this particular lock is located in one of Rochester’s wealthiest areas. Across the road, we peeked into an indoor rowing center… had a huge tank where folks can sit and practice their rowing skills….all year round!!!)


Near the gatekeeper’s house was a sign giving some elevation stats.


Across from the gatekeeper’s house was an observation deck! Too bad for us. No boats to lift up or down…..


Looking down through the decking of the observation deck to the flower beds below…..


Looking westward….


Mark told me to take a look around the park before we left.  He mentioned that the parking lot was actually part of the wonderful path that runs parallel to the canal. So, I did wonder a bit. My tour guide was somewht camera-shy….(but all ears!)


There was lots of seating and some picnic tables dispersed throughout the area. There was also a storyboard with some info regarding Lock 32.


With a map of the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Rochester.


The path along the canal is often referred to as simply “the bike path”, although many folks walk, jog, and run it as well. I guess folks take this seriously….see the yellow (no crossing) line to divide the path neatly into two lanes…..


As I stepped forward to take a photo, I was just within inches of being knocked to who-knows-where by a young girl flying along on her bike. She waited a little long (IMHO) before calling out “excuse me!” as she whizzed right near my right foot! She apologized, as did I, feeling quite stupid. I should have been more careful.

I climbed into the truck and as we were leaving the park, Mark noticed a boat was in the locks! He urged me to hop out for some photos….








What a treat to see the boat going through the locks. It was so cool to see, even though the water level was quite high by the time we saw it and we didn’t get to observe the entire progression.

After this, we were off on a shopping excursion. Not much fun, but we did get to see some interesting things along the way!  We also found two or three launches for the little kayaks.  The most amazing thing of all about this little park is that Mark had never ever been there!

4 Responses

  1. That packet boat looks like the Sam Patch, out of Pittsford. It, and the larger, wheelchair-accessible, Colonial Belle, out of Fairport, have cruises that take you through the Pittsford locks.

    Unfortunately, Sam is not wheelchair accessible, as is it’s sister, the Mary Jemison, out of Corn Hill Landing. The Mary Jemison cruises south on the Genesee, and a short distance on the Erie Canal, past the U of R and Genesee Valley Park, but doesn’t actually take you through the locks.

    The cruises are lovely on a sunny day, and quite informative, a nice way for the kids to learn about the canal system. Maybe you’ll have a chance to try one someday, and I’m sure you’ll find lots of photo opportunities!

  2. I like canals – I especially like the locks on them.

    I posted photos on my blog from the Crinan Canal, but what I didn’t say then was that the locks gates were manually operated and the lock keeper was more than happy to have folk help him opening and shutting them.

    I had a great time!!!

    Good set of photographs by the way and I’m glad you are getting better.

  3. Madeline, thank you for the great info! I have always wanted to eake a cruise on something, but sometimes the wheelchair is a problem! Perhaps we will see about the Colonial Belle.

    Bill, yes! I do remember those locks with the impressive stone walls! YIKES…I cannot imagine opening and closing locks manually, but that is how it was done on the Erie Canal as well, until the locks were widened and (I think) deepened as well. That was in the 30’s. It sure is fun watching craft rise and fall. Oh, and did you help open and close those locks?

    Thank you on both accounts. Better days AHEAD!!!!!!

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