Day 15 – Medina to North Tonawanda

IMG_1973Last day in the canal! I completely soaked up the protected paddle. Really, not much is going to happen to you in the canal (the lake crossings are always the exception), no matter the weather because it is that protected. There are a few stretches where the cliffs rise up and take outs would be impossible, but still, it’s a flat canal. You can always eventually float to where people are.

People ask me if I’m nervous about the Great Lakes. I figure I’ll worry about that when I get there-it certainly wouldn’t be a challenge if it was all easy. What is going to be tough is just getting there. The lock keeper at the very cool final lock-a “two in one”-gave me some info about transiting the last lock, which is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. He also told me if “I went by Wardell’s I’d gone too far.” Well, the only way to access the river with its raging current in my face is to go by Wardell’s, so I’m really a little unsure by what he meant. The guy at Wardell’s didn’t know, either! Definitely gonna check the charts John Vargo gave me so I’m sure, tho.

So my plan is to enter the river and hug the left shore as close as I can without running into another rock. Gorilla tape still covers the hole I put in the hole from the rock I met with on the way to Oneida  Lake. This will be a workout for sure, and let’s hope the wind stays with me once I finally do make it to the lake. Or rather, my first inland ocean, because that is really what these lakes are. They are HUGE. And their bottoms are littered with wrecks.

Thanks so much for Chris and Jen, with two young kids, who hosted us last night! They are a great family who enjoy getting outside and camping with their seven month old and three year old. Fun times!

My buddy at home who got me hooked on the North Branch of the Rancocas, with its own unique history dating back to the 1600’s, has been doing some delving into the history and more for the areas where I’ve been paddling. He has a pretty entertaining blog of his own, and is trying to get the Rancocas Creek designated as a National Paddle Trail. I hope he succeeds, the Rancocas is chock full of beauty and history, plus it’s a pretty good workout. Please take the time to poke around his website-

That’s it for now- gearing up for a hard paddle- continuing my upstream salmon/herring style run.


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