Day 15 - The Hudson River
Day 13 saw us finish up a monster long day, more than 40 miles, at lock 3 of the Eerie Canal. After a much needed day of rest and catch up, we set out on Day 15 to complete the last 2 Eerie Canal locks and then the Federal Lock, the last lock before officially entering the Hudson. As we cleared lock 2, we were joined up by 3 kayakers, 2 of them from Florida/Virginia and one, Hannah, a local. We had about 3 1/2 miles to go before clearing the Federal lock which made for a leisurely paddle with our new friends.
The forecast was for winds and rain, so we really had no idea what to expect as we left the relatively protected waters of the canal for the more open and tidal waters of the Hudson. As we cleared the Federal Lock we had to push off and put it into gear. The NDK Tritons can really cruise, and we had a press conference in Albany to attend. With our competition winners, Mike and Claudia, it was relatively easy to ramp things up, and before we knew it we were being greeted by a flotilla of local kayaks. Such a humbling experience to have so many people out to greet us.
The winds had begun to pick up and the rain was beginning to fall quite hard, but Rich and I were undeterred. We dropped off Claudia and Mike at the docks and proceeded to paddle the Tritons solo as we greeted other kayaks, rowers, and one of those amphibious boats full of school children. Again, words like humbled, and honored struck us both, neither really able to comprehend what has been happening all along the trip. As Rich likes to say, we have become somewhat of a "mirror" for the local communities, using our words, images and enthusiasm to remind them of how special their communities and this waterway actually are.
The rain was in full swing and we had a major press conference in the works. Local dignitaries, people from the canal and the Albany Mayor were all in attendance. A row of TV cameras and film cameras were there to document the entire event. A special guest, my mother, had flown all the way up from Florida just to attend. Both Rich and I had a chance to speak, trying desperately to share our feelings and emotions about the journey. A difficult challenge to say the least as we have been completely overwhelmed by the entire thing. The Mayor was kind enough to provide us with a proclamation announcing the day as 'Glenn & Rich day in Albany'. What an honor and a privilege. We were both speechless, something very unusual for the two of us.
The final bits of the day were a bit of a grind as the rain continued to fall for another 3 hours. The change from the canal to the river has been dramatic. The wildlife has gone up exponentially as we almost immediately began to see more Eagles, Heron and Osprey. In the midst of the final push for the day, we managed to stop at one of the many water parks set up by the Water Trail to dry off and brew some tea. The park is a model example of what kayakers and canoeists want. A safe place to pull out, an area for picnics and drying out, and easy access for local put in / put out. The Hudson has a large number of these parks and we are looking forward to exploring as many as possible.
The day ended near dusk with the local yacht club greeting us with beers in hand. This part of the valley, situated right at the foothills of the Catskills is tranquil and scenic. We are looking forward to a nice evenings rest camped out on the banks of the river. Agh, Life is Good