Medina, New York

July 8th, 2012 by thomas9070

This is becoming one of my favorite places to paddle in Western New York.  There is a boat launch just east of Medina at the Bates Road bridge, as well as another 1.5 miles east of Middleport, so access is easy depending upon which way you would like to travel.

One of the great features of Medina is that you will travel on the aqueduct that goes over a creek that fills Glenwood Lake.  The picture shows the basin that is right in town, with the aqueduct in the background.  It is interesting to be about 25-30 feet above the ground on either side of the canal as still be paddling on flat water.

You will find Medina to be an interesting place to stop.  The town really has an outstanding sense of its history, from the sandstone quarrying to apple processing and the Medina Railroad Museum.  I also  recently went to see a World War II vintage PT boat that was making its way up the canal to a museum in Ohio.

If you dock in Medina, there is a directory in the park with local restaurants and services all within walking distance of the dock.  The basin can handle just about any size boat and even has some low dock space for kayaks and canoes.

Little Falls Harbor

November 10th, 2010 by thomas9070

I can’t say enough nice things about this place.  The Harbor Master was reallly great and a fountain of information.  He really takes an interest in what he is doing and actually added to the experience.  This section of the canal trip was one of the most scenic.  It was here that I started seeing the dams that could actually be troublesome for kayakers.  Going under the bridges to get to Lock 17 was some of the swiftest water I had come across so far.  I just went up to the lock and then back to the take out and paddling upstream was more of an effort than I wanted after putting in almost 40 miles that day.  Whatever you do though don’t miss the highest differential lock and make sure to stop at the visitor center there.  they actually have kayak/canoe cradles at the dock for easy in/out.

Owasco Lake and Moravia, NY side trip

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

Friday, July 16th, 2010. Took what started to be short paddle down Owasco Lake about 3 miles to the marina at the end of the lake. As I was paddling I noticed a fairly large creek inlet, so up I went. I have only seen this area from the hills above the lake and it always looked like swamp land, however, there is a good size creek winding through the middle that drains all of the area. I figured that the creek would eventually flow by the town of Moravia and possibly to Fillmore Glen just south of town. Unfortunately the creek was getting narrower, the current was getting faster (paddling upstream) and large trees across the creek made it very difficult to get all the way into town. I did manage to get to the bridge at Rt 38, but climbing the banks and leaving my kayak for the walk to the nearest store was not that appealing. When I stopped at the bridge, someone had left all of their stuff, including some expensive field glasses and a pellet pistol on the ground, but no one was around. I took that as a sign to head back.

Total time of the trip was about 6 hours, with 3 miles of lake, and 3.5 miles of creek, so it was plenty of exercise, but just a nice side trip.

Onandoga to Oneida Lake

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

Buffalo 188 miles

Buffalo 188 miles

Thursday, July 15th, 2010 Paddled from Onandoga park to Brewerton at the head of Oneida Lake . Went through Lock 23 with 7 other boats. Remember to go to the back of the lock to let the other boats get out of the way. Other wise you will get swamped. Also saw the (or another) bald eagle with a fish in its clutches. Flew within 100 feet of me up the middle of the channel, and then flew off into the woods in a desolate part of the woods.

Took a picture at the top of the Onandoga Canal that said that Syracuse was 7 miles south, and Buffalo was 188 miles west. Unfortunately a bush in front of the sign made for a lousy picture. By my estimation then, my distance east of Buffalo, is 206 miles. I have 67 miles of canal to fill in, so I have done 139 miles of the canal.

Brewerton is really nice. There were two bars on either side of the road on the north side of the Route 11 Bridge. Lots of people around and a lot of questions about where I was from and how I got there, etc, etc. There really were not any other opportunities for stops.

Total for the day was 17-18 miles. 199 miles to go. I have done 41% of the canal.

Total for the 3 days according to the Erie Canal services book was 61 miles, so I figure that my distance reckoning has been pretty good.

Trying to get to the Old Erie Canal

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010.

I am trying to find a way to avoid paddling Oneida Lake. It is about 30 miles long, looks to be pretty busy, and is susceptible to the Central NY weather, which means nasty little storms can crop up out of no where, drench you and about blow you out of the water, then it becomes an beautiful day again.

In an effort to avoid the Lake, I drove downtown Syracuse with the kayaks strapped to the top of my car, looking for the Erie Canal State Park. Apparently getting to this place is a State Secret. After driving around for 20 minutes looking for some water, I gave up and went to the Erie Canal Museum in downtown Syracuse. That was no help at all. The guy there said that there was no longer an Erie Canal, that I must be looking for the Barge Canal that was up on Oneida Lake. Bunch of semantics, but at least I got a great map of the canal system (which I cannot find online or at any other information station). A guy who is following the canal by bike said that the State Park canal had only a little water in it and that it was pretty murky at that. I had been hoping to substitute this secition of the original canal for Oneida Lake, but it looks like I am out of luck. I think that I will drive out to Rome and see what it looks like before deciding what to do. Anyway we went back to Onandoga County Park to get some paddling in.

Took a short paddle from Onandoga Lake back up the canal about 3 miles. My friend Donna came along, and I was hoping to get her inspired to join me on a few legs of the canal. She is especially interested in the wildlife I have seen over the past couple of trips, and unfortunately we did not see too much other than a few herons.

Weedsport to Onandoga Lake

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 Went from Weedsport All the way to Onandoga lake. Paddle broke or would have finished in downtown Syracuse. Estimate 21 miles in 10:15 to 5pm 6.75 hours. Original plan was to get out at Baldwinsville , but I was two hours early so I kept on going.

Highlights were an otter swimming along side, tons of blue heron, fish bumping the boat in the weeds, and seeing a Bald Eagle. When paddling Cross Lake I saw some black birds that looked like they had the body of a heron, but had short duck feet. saw seagulls with black heads and red beaks all perched on a sand bar in the middle of the lake.

Baldwinsville was really nice.  Some people know how to live.  Some really nice homes on the canal and lots of boats and toys to take advantage of the easy access to the canal and lakes.

My brand new Carlile paddle broke about 3 miles from the end of the trip and I ended the trip using one end of the paddle…. ouch. End just fell off and sank. I thought it would at least float, being plastic and all. I had to call for a ride and my son came and got me at Onandoga county park. This place is super! Lots of services, a tram to take you all over the park, lots of stuff going on. I had always wondered about this park as the Thruway goes right through it and there always seems to be a festival or something happening during the summer. Anyway I did not get to paddle Onandoga Lake which would effect my plans to paddle into downtown Syracuse and catch the old Erie Canal.

Gasport to Albion

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Went from Gasport to Knowlesville, 15 miles, plus the return into Gasport for a total of 16 miles. AJ and Kevin had to pick me up a dusk at the bridge in Knowlesville. Found out what an aqueduct really is. Going through Medina I was paddling 30 feet higher than the ground around the canal. With only a 6 inch lip on the canal, this was pretty exciting. At least now I am well into Orleans county. I hope to do one more run before going to Owasco Lake for a week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010. Put in near on the west side of Albion, paddled back to Knowlesville. 7 miles upstream took from 6 to 7:40 pm, then paddled back to Albion. Got there just at dusk, 9pm. Total trip was 3 hours, with a time difference of 20 minutes. Upstream speed is 3 miles per hour, down is about 4. Fishing Derby is going on, so there are lots of people

Lockport to Gasport

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

July 5th, 2010, Monday

Went back to the Nelson C. Goehle boat launch with the tandem kayak and my wife Joanne. Paddled up to the locks and then back to the boat launch because Joanne had had enough. AJ and Emily came and got her, and they went sailing, and I struck out for Gasport. I left at 1:30 and made it to Gasport by 3:20. Turned around at the gates on the far side of town and then started back. 20 mph winds were in my face which made paddling very hard. Could not stop or I would start going backwards.

This section of the canal was pretty bland other than the towns on either end.  There were a few folks out and they were very friendly.  Lots of fishing going on.

Ended up back in Lockport at 6:10. Total length of the trip was over 13 miles, but only 6.5 counts. My new buddy Bill came out to chat when I pulled into the marina. He really likes working there and the people he gets to meet. Who can blame him. Had to have another white hot from Wide-Water Drive In. The people who work there were the best.

Pendleton thru Lockport

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

July 3, 2010 Saturday

Took longest trip yet, almost 12 miles, which is pretty straight, with steep cliffs on either side, the closer I got to Lockport. I went from the mouth of Tonawanda Creek out past the Lockport locks #35, 34. The attendant lowered me 25 feet in each lock. About 100 people were watching and taking pictures so it was pretty conspicuous. This was my first experience with the locks and the lockmaster could not have been more helpful. He handed me several brochures about services along the canal, maps, and general information. I felt bad for all the folks who had been waiting at the lock to see a large cabin cruiser go through. All they got was me in a kayak. Got my picture taken a couple of hundred times… pretty funny.

Paddled .4 miles past the locks to the Nelson C. Goehle marina on Market Street and Coldspring Road. The park superintendant Bill was great and let me use his cell phone to call home for a ride. Took an hour or more for AJ to find me, but spent time at Wide Water drive in and talking to Bill and another Thruway worker who walks the canal every day looking for trouble, mainly leaks and hazards. His turf is the section between Lockport and Gasport. I can understand this as the canal was not so much “dug” as built up, at least the northern berm, which is much higher than the road that runs next to the canal.

A new kayak and finishing Tonawanda Creek

July 19th, 2010 by thomas9070

July 1, 2010 Thursday

Put in at Amherst Museum and went down to the Park just beyond Bear Ridge Road. Went 4 miles and back. Took 2.5 hours.   Man, this tandem is slow.  Unfortunately, my son does not seem too interested in paddling.  Another kayaker put in along the way with an Old Town Vapor and blew right by us.  hmmm……

Went to the Ship-n-Shore where Tonawanda Creek meets the canal proper. Next trip I should put in at the park near Bear Ridge off Brenton Rd and paddle to the Botanical Gardens. I will check the mile marker at the Ship-n-Shore as well. I hope to get this leg done this weekend.

July 2, 2010 Friday

Put in new kayak, started at botanical gardens in Tonawanda and went out to the Park at Bear Ridge Rd to complete the Tonawanda Creek portion of the Canal. Next up is the Canal itself from Tonawanda Creek to the first lock at the western end of the canal in Lockport.


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