Sunday, October 17, 2010

Biking - Local Erie Canal History Ride

Today, the Albany Bicycling Coalition, a local advocacy organization, offered a historical tour of Erie Canal artifacts between downtown Albany, the Canal's original terminus, and Cohoes, about 12 miles to the north. Many of the 18 former locks in this stretch have been nearly lost or forgotten, and the original canal long since paved over. But with a little research, it's possible to find them, and our leader did just that. We probably saw stonework or other evidence from at least 12-14 of these old locks, and many were far off the beaten path and covered with weeds. Others, like Lock 1 in North Albany, have been excavated somewhat and preserved as historic sites. This one was actually a "weigh lock", one of only 3 on the system, where canal boats and their cargoes were weighed to determine the appropriate canal toll.

Continuing northward and passing many of the other 17 locks, we finally arrived in Cohoes, where the falls of the Mohawk River were running high and were spectacular. Click on the picture for a larger image.

After lunch in Waterford, we headed back south, crossing into North Troy and then back into Watervliet, where we joined the Corning Preserve Bike Path along the Hudson River, and back to our starting point. It was an interesting and relaxing way to spend a fine October day.

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