Before I delve into the blog I need to make a few corrections that my cousin, Andrea Putscher mentioned. Rather than paraphrasing, I’m just gonna lift what she wrote to me. When my Uncle Dick mentioned “my family member” who had something to do with the canal he was thinking of our family conglomerate, not his side of the family v my family (his wife, my Aunt Dot, my dad’s oldest sister). So basically it’s my cousins and he that have this awesome connection.
From Andrea- “DeWitt side of DeWitt Clinton’s family were closely tied to the New Netherland colonists who settled New Paltz – the same somewhat insular group to which the Eltinge’s belonged – the Dutch side of Dad’s family actually settled in the North American colonies before the British side of the Camden – Howard family did. There is however, also a Dutch line into Grandad Howard’s family through the Van Brundt’s …so maybe….” So Cousin Andy and her clan are the ones with the cool relatives connected to the amazing Erie Canal.
And of course-oops-I gotta get up to speed with this new century “Margo I think the Bicentennial of the original Erie Canal is coming up 1817 maybe 200 years ago???” Yes!! Wooboy. Anyway, this is more fun and easier for me to make a correction than go back and edit. At least on my iPhone!
I had this idea for a blog yesterday at the beginning of the paddle, and had all intentions of keeping it in my head…but then…meanwhile, my shorts aren’t drying fast enough after their nightly rinse.
Our host tonight is another “hasher.” Hashers are stressed out professionals that organize and participate in “hash runs” which, and figures this was initiated by the crazy rugby community, are basically running events where participants follow clues and run from beer to beer and other challenges. It is as wild as it sounds, and folks adopt pseudonyms that are full of sexual intrigue and innuendo. So tonight we were at the home of “One Trick Dick” or “OTD” for short. The conversation has been lively and no, it does not revolve around sex. Well, not always anyway.
OTD is in the process of moving AND organizing an upcoming hash run, so we literally have the floor. Lindsy is getting hooked on camp mattresses much the same way June got me hooked on them during the Pacific paddle. This was particularly useful the other day when we slept….oh never mind! That shall not be divulged in print. Just like Lindsy’s hash name!! Hahaha. It’s all good fun but one definitely needs to not be offended easily to hang with this crowd. Which I’m not. I even like cat calls! Heck, they just make me laugh. So anyway, I’m hoping to crash a hash one of these days. Heard the one in Philly is awesome and that also a Syracuse hasher has recently moved to my area. Maybe we can do a Jersey Devil hash?
And onto the BIG news- the FINALIZATION of the NEW Clean Water Rules!!! Woohoo!! This is desperately needed as the point is driven home every stretch of the paddle. Our nations water is suffering, and this is a great step to help protect it. So happy thought for the day while paddling to Oneida Lake.
I’m actually three miles shy of lock 20, so that brings up today’s milage to 30 miles, to somewhere by or in the lake where the canal joins it. I’m looking forward to it despite the somewhat storm cloudy sky I am gazing at right now.
Finally, after I’ve gone thru more than half the locks I need to go through in the canal system, I’m FINALLY getting the hang of doing the locks the right way, at least for this self powered vessel. I paddle in, go near the front where there is less swirling, ask the lock keeper which is the “better side” (some locks have one side that is less intense than the other) go to that side, grab the rope, have both my legs at the wall and lean back to keep from huli-ing, which is basically flipping the boat. Way way much better than trying to control the canoe in the intense whirlpools as I has been doing and which I’m sure have some of the lockmasters near heart attacks. I’d been doing that based on my past lock experiences going into Norfolk and out of Seattle, but those are way way tamer locks than these. Also, a kayak paddler had suggested I do that because that was how he transmitted the locks. Maybe that works for his heavier vessel, but I’m happy to grab the rope and hang out for the ride.
I also ran into two guys paddling from Buffalo to NYC. Which reminds me, I want to connect them with John Vargo and his folks along the Hudson as well as the Inwood Canoe Club. The one guy in the canoe is @jamesjwlynch on both Twitter and Instagram. He’s doing this as part of his senior thesis on adventure writing at Middlebury College.
It is starting to rain as I type this. Hey, it was due to come anyway.
The lockmasters have been so friendly, helpful, and knowledgable. I cannot imagine doing this trip and missing out on this experience. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to self power our way through our nation’s waterways and maritime history. This is a journey I wish more folks would take!