Check

Finished
Thirty-five days into our trip found us where the Erie Canal flows into the Hudson River.

Tuesday afternoon, once we completed our end-to-end walk of the Erie Canal, I again wished Leah a happy birthday.

 

It’s something I had done every day for the past five weeks. Sometimes it came when we were struggling with some aspect of our trek. Sometimes when things were going giddily well.

By Jennifer Embt
This is how it began on May 4 as we started next to the Niagara River. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Embt.

“Happy birthday.”

 

“Thank you.”

More than two years ago, when Leah gave me permission to do something big for my 60th birthday, I chose a trip to South Africa and we managed to throw in a transatlantic cruise on the return trip.

With such a precedent, she was surely authorized to come up with something wild and crazy for her 60th. She decided on a long hike.

Initially, she was looking at the Lone Star Hiking Trail, some 100 miles long in the Sam Houston National Forest. The thought was we would park our RV in the area and use both vehicles each day to get to and from trailheads. It would happen late this year, shortly before her birthday.

Then, last summer, we fell in love with the story of the Erie Canal, learned there was a trail pretty much following the canal and started making plans.

Along the way, as we met many people – from innkeepers to restaurant workers to people we passed on the trail – she told them, this is my 60th birthday present. Yeah, it sometimes brought strange looks.

Now it’s done. Early on, we had good reasons to suspect we might not be able to complete the walk. At the end, it’s strange to think we won’t be walking 10-12 miles today or tomorrow.

We hope you’ve enjoyed traveling with us. We’ve tossed out bits of advice for those who might be considering such a trip. Soon, I plan to add a page more directly addressing these topics. If you want to pick our brains about anything related to our trip, leave a comment here.

More images on the photos page.

Leah’s notes

Tuesday’s journey started by the hotel near the airport. The trailhead is actually a short distance from there. So the trail was in a green belt area that used to be the Erie Canal.

Now, the canal runs through the Mohawk River then goes north to bypass the Cohoes Falls. The falls are amazing. You should put them on your list of things to see in New York. In fact, even if you don’t want to walk the Erie Canal, most of the places we’ve seen can be visited by car.

We picnicked at the falls overlook and then strolled through the village of Cohoes. Neat historical buildings and markers. Even one place where you could (supposedly) look through a pipe to see where the old Erie Canal lock was under the street. It wasn’t working right, but cool idea.

Across the street was an old mill. Huge old mill for cotton and textiles. It had been converted into “the Lofts at Harmony Mills.” Very classy and expensive.

Not much further, across a bridge, we made it to Waterford, the oldest incorporated (1794) village in New York State. This is where the Champlain canal and Erie barge canal empty into the Hudson River. Wow!!

Along the harbor, there was a brick map of the Erie Canal. We literally walked down memory lane as we remembered all the towns we’d been through as we walked over them on the map.

Then there it was – the Hudson River. We did it, walking from the Niagara to the Hudson.

But where were the marching bands and cheering crowds??

14 thoughts on “Check

  1. Mona KENYON

    Congratulations. An amazing achievement accomplished. So happy that you were able to continue til the end. I look forward to walking the Erie Canal route myself one day soon. Thanks and really enjoyed the daily updates. Mona KENYON

    Like

  2. Judy Bichner

    Congratulations. I’ve enjoyed your journey.
    We were on a train in Alaska. I would recommend that for next year. You could work at Denali.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Judy.
      Working in Alaska has always been on our list but hasn’t been at the top. We did ride the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks when we vacationed there several years ago. It was pretty awesome.

      Like

  3. Thomas Walls

    Congratulations Steve and Leah! It’s Tom Walls, the transcontinental walker you met on the trail east of Little Falls. You’ve completed your journey and I’m only a tenth done with mine. What a great feeling of accomplishment you must have. It was so nice meeting the two of you on the trail. I can’t wait to be able to read all of the older posts one of these days. Don’t follow along with me on Facebook under Thomas Walls as I continue on my journey. Hope the rest of your summer is as rewarding!

    Like

  4. David

    Congratulations! Many of us have been riveted to our screens waiting for you to complete your journey. Great job! We look forward to your return and all the stories you’ll bring.

    Like

  5. Thinking of hiking the Erie Canal next year. Have a few questions.
    1. Are there places to camp out every 15 miles or so?
    2. Drinking water availability; Bathroom availability, Shower availabiity
    3. Replenish food, where?
    Thank you, Woody Bullard
    T

    Like

    1. To put it succinctly, the trailway is not designed for this. We did not camp, so we may not have been aware of some of the spots. The most reliable were the locks. I believe every lock provided camping. Drinking water we replenished each night in the motel or B&B where we stayed. And food was available near most of them. Rest rooms, again, are usually — probably always — at the locks, even if they’re only porta-potties. However, we often had to find quiet spots off-trail to relieve ourselves. As for showers, I do not recall.

      The fact we stayed in beds every night made our trip quite different from camping, including that we often had to wander a ways from the canal to find a room.

      An excellent resource is the state’s parks and trails department at http://www.ptny.org/, which has (or had 2+ years ago when we walked) a great map.

      Good luck. Our hike is one of the greatest things we’ve ever done.

      Like

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