This is a somewhat slow/sleepy post, much like the town we were in.
If you don’t have much time, go directly to the post on our 2nd day here – Tuesday July 17, and read the post about the Moss Island Pot Holes.
Jul 16 – Mon
We are again on the move with Ashley & Dave.
We covered another 42 miles heading east along the Erie Canal, from Amsterdam to Little Falls New York.
The ride was another beautiful ride (for most of the day), accompanied with 7 locks today.
This section of the Erie Canal runs along Hwy-5.
So at times, we were able to see the highway & some civilization (even a McDonalds). Other sections were completely encircled with greenery and seemed like you were in the Amazon.
The long ride again made for a tiring day, especially given our pace of movement over the last few days. The crew was wearing down, but we will have a 2 day rest in Little Falls.
Near the end of the ride, we approached Lock #17.
Lock #17 is different from all the previous locks, in that it has a drop door, not a swing door to enter the lock. The lock is also newer than most of the previous locks. Built in the early 1900’s, it is the largest lock in New York State, lifting/dropping every passing vessel 40 feet & replacing four old locks on the old canal with just one. The design includes a guillotine style lower gate and a concrete arch of which the boats pass under – the only implementation of such a design along the Erie Canal system.
The lock entrance was somewhat hidden around a blind corner.
The water fill into the lock was pretty turbulent, and we also had a 15 minute drenching rain with high winds while we were locking thru.
Deck Hand Nellie had to use all of her arm muscles to hang onto the drop line.
While exiting Lock #17, the rains subsided.
We arrived at the Little Falls Marina @ Rotary Park about 2pm.
We were the only boat at the marina/seawall.
Little Falls is a sleepy town, not much going on.
Ashley & Dave took a bike ride over the Mohawk River Bridge into the small town.
I attempted to reserve a car to drive 1 hour north to Cooperstown NY to see The Baseball Hall of Fame, and the park where my nephews Jake & Brad played ball when they were younger.
Unfortunately, the town is so small, I think they have only 1 rental car, and it was signed out (boo, no Cooperstown on this trip).
For dinner, we went to a place called The Copper Moose Ale House.
Marina dockhand Steve gave us a ride over to the restaurant.
After dinner, we walked the sleepy town a little, then walked back to the boat, about 1.5 miles, arriving home at dark and just before another round of rain storms.
We had lights out about 10pm, and it rained all night.
July 17 – Tue
Tuesday started out as a boring rainy start to the day.
When the rain let up it was still dreary out, but the kids took the bikes into town anyway. They went to the coffee shop, the bead store, & the Alpaca store.
Nellie did laundry and Mike watched TV in the marina courtesy room !
It seemed like the day was going to be a bust for tourism.
But about 3pm the rain stopped for good & sun came back out.
We went back to our original plan for the day, which was to go to nearby Moss Island and search for the famous “Moss Island Potholes”.
We had heard about The Moss Island Potholes from several locals.
But, exactly what are the potholes, and how interesting can a bunch of rocks really be ?
The end of the day turned out to be spectacular.
The story goes –
Moss Island is a small island, only 1500 feet long and 625 feet wide.
It is bordered by the Mohawk River on the north, and the Erie Canal to the south.
The Moss Island Land was made over a million years ago by Magma from the earth’s core, injected above ground, and crystallized to become hard rock.
It became an island when the Erie locks were built so boats could avoid the 40 foot falls. It is known for its extremely large (40-50 ft) potholes, as well as being popular with local rock climbers. It was declared a National Landmark in 1976. There are ongoing efforts by the local community to turn Moss Island into a New York State Park.
The potholes were created by huge volumes of water falling over prehistoric cliffs once located on Moss Island (like Niagara Falls).
Around 20,000-80,000 years ago, the melting glaciers that created the Great Lakes drained through the Mohawk Valley / Hudson River, supplying the water pressure which created the huge potholes.
We took a taxi to Moss Island.
We had to search around for the trailhead to get to the Potholes.
Once at the trailhead, we then had to walk about a half mile thru the woods to find the potholes.
We arrived at The Potholes about 15-20 minutes into the walk.
The rest of the story was just beautiful, spectacular, rock formations.
On the walk back from the Potholes, we saw some Rock Climbers, at least one good climber and some younger teens. Moss Island is supposedly famous for this also.
Rock Climbing Video (no Murphree’s involved)= https://youtu.be/shsGuo-KiYc
We also took a stroll to the Lock #17 that we had passed thru yesterday.
It was interesting seeing the lock from the land side.
We could see the motors, gearing, and links which activate to open/close the lock doors.
You may remember that the westbound entry door was a guillotine style, drop door.
The one in the photo below is the westbound exit door, a normal swing door.
After looking at the lock mechanism, we went to see some of the downstream side of the lock, dam & powerplant. The powerplant at this dam #17 supplies enough energy to power about 8000 homes.
There was a mechanism arm which is used to pick up large debris/logs from blocking the water intake. Ashley decided to see if the mechanism grabbers could fit a human.
After the fun time at Moss Island, we walked thru a tunnel under the river, and went to dinner at Ruggiero’s Italian Restaurant. It was an authentic Italian place with Sinatra all over the walls and on the music speakers. It was a nice setting and good food.
The night ended with Ashley & Dave going on a final bike ride in Little Falls. They rode along a path that follows the Erie Canal, and is supposedly right above the old path of the original canal and series of locks that were replaced by Lock #17.
Nellie read her book.
Mike worked on the blog.
Ashley thought that we must add this final note to the Blog, hope you enjoy it !
Next Stop = Sylvan Beach New York
48 miles , 5 Locks