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Up the Hudson River to Scenic Lake Champlain

Posted by on June 24, 2012

With the ICW and New York City behind us our cruising surroundings have changed significantly. Most of the ICW was set in the lowlands and marshes of the east coast, but as we headed up the Hudson River the hills and eventually the mountains of upstate New York (the Adirondacks) and Vermont (the Green Mountains) have become the background for what we see.

The Hudson is a fairly wide and powerful river for much of its length (about 140 miles) and is navigable by large ships all the way to Albany, New York. A little further along, at Troy, we encountered our first of 23 locks for this section of our trip, which will end at Sorel, Quebec on the St. Lawrence River. Managing our way through the locks of the Champlain Canal was uneventful and enjoyable, although as you will see, one of the bridges was another story.

We arrived at Whitehall, New York, the final lock of the Champlain Canal and the start of Lake Champlain, on June 15th. Since that time we have gradually travelled up the lake, moving back and forth between the states of Vermont and New York, enjoying its beauty and a variety of surroundings along the way. An added bonus is the interesting history of this route, which has French, British and American  aspects , including significant conflicts such as the War of Independance and the War of 1812, that shaped both the U.S. and Canadian nations.

Cruising the lake has some similarities to cruising the coast of British Columbia – rocky cliffs and headlands, an abundance of green everywhere, and interesting small towns to visit. There are plenty of boats on the lake, many of them visiting from Quebec, which is less than 100 miles away.

With the very hot weather we’ve had (over 95 degrees a fe days ago), the opportunity to swim in fresh water has been a  relief. The lake temperature is about 60 degrees, and probably a bit warmer in the protected coves where we’ve anchored, so it’s very comfortable and refreshing.  We hope to have more swimming chances before we reach the Richelieu River and the Canadian border sometime later this week.

 

Looking back towards Manhattan as we depart New York City.

 

The West Point Military Academy, first fortified in 1779, dominates this section of the Hudson River.

 

We saw an interesting selection of historic lighthouses along the river – this one is at the entrance to Roundout Creek, Kingston, New York.

 

Albany, the state capital of New York, and still an important port city.

 

Waterford, New York, the start of both the Champlain (heading north) and Erie (heading east) Canals – this view looks back towards the Hudson from the first Erie locks.

 

Getting ready to enter the first lock of the Champlain Canal.

 

Some of the locks are quite deep, the largest vertical rise being almost 20 feet.

 

The railway bridge at Lock 4 – with mast down we need about 16’6″ clearance, but the minimum had been set at 15’6″ – we waited while the lockmaster asked the local power company to lower the pool for us…..

 

…….and we made it with only inches to spare (the light area in the picture is our canvas bimini top). Whew!

 

Terminus of the Champlain Canal in Whitehall, New York – one of many ‘rust belt’ towns that prospered during the heyday of this historic 19th century marine highway.

 

The town of Vergennes, Vermont, our first stop on Lake Champlain after a winding seven mile sojurn up Otter Creek – but definitely worth it.

 

A Fathers’ Day bike ride respite – relaxing in a roadside Adirondack chair.

 

Even though the War of 1812 is over, some folks still aren’t taking any chances with those pesky Canadians.

 

Sunset view from our Kingsland Bay anchorage after a very hot day with lots of cool swims.

 

Thanks Dave for helping us find our way to the end of the trail – it was a great ride!

 

“Come on in Admiral, the water’s great!

 

It’s difficult to capture the scenic beauty and diversity of the lake in a few photographs, but this vista is a favourite – it reminded John of the Deep Cove view of Sannich Inlet and the Malahat.

Coming up next – La Belle Province!


4 Responses to Up the Hudson River to Scenic Lake Champlain

  1. Doug

    As the honorary First Mate I am glad I wasn’t there for the trip under the bridge. I am not sure I would have been able to hold my breath that long as I watched the approach and the going under. Wow! Somewhere your written comments on your New York visit and the New York pictures have disappeared from the blog, unless I am doing something wrong…hardly likely!
    I have been sending out the link to your Blog to all that show interest, which is everyone I mention it to, so perhaps you will find some comments from strangers.
    Cheers,

    Doug

    PS. 95 degree weather??!!! Not so much here on the Wet Coast!!

    • john-and-ria

      Hi Doug,

      The Admiral was pretty nervous too, but come he** or high water, the Captain’s just too dumb not to carry on.

      We reposted the “New York, New York’ pictures. Thanks for the quick tip.

      Tell your friends not to be shy about asking questions or posting comments – we would welcome them all.

      Cheers,

      John & Ria

  2. Joe Barton

    Hello, we enjoyed your pictures and comments! Being a Chesapeake sailor, we were wondering is it possible to navigate the Hudson River all of the way to Lake Champlain without dropping the mast? Thank you!

    • john-and-ria

      Hi Joe,

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the blog.

      Unfortunately the low bridges along the Champlain Canal preclude travelling this route with a mast up. We just squeaked under the lowest at 17 feet, and for this we needed to lower our radar mast. It’s a great trip though, and for the opportunity might be worth getting your mast stepped.

      John

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