HUDSON RIVER SOJOURN: Through Albany and then 13 locks

August 15, 2019

CHAMPLAIN CANAL - We left Albany yesterday morning.  Two days at Albany Yacht Club.  $25 bucks per night.  Not bad considering it included showers, water, access to washer and dryer. 

Working. Buying groceries.  Gassing up and watering. Dockmaster Ron all business until we talked about snowmobiling. He lives an hour away, inside the bounds of Adirondack State Park, more than 3,500 square miles of forests and mountains. Delaware would fit comfortably inside the park.

“I have to live in the woods,” he said. He snowmobiles in the winter.  New York State maintains hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails.  When the countless lakes freeze, the woodsy trails connect the open expanses of wide-open snow covered ice.  “That’s when we can open up the snowmobiles,” Ron said.  “Mine will do 100 piles per hour.  My wife’s, 80.  We go out for days.  That’s what we love to do.”

He and his wife own a bar there.  He works at the marina three days a week and helps his wife run the business the rest of the time.  When hunting season comes, they maintain a scale where deer hunters weigh their kills, each vying for heaviest honors. Celebrating the hunts is good for the bar business.

We toured the impressive downtown capital of New York.  

In the center, on 73 acres, the remarkable Gov. Nelson Rockefeller Empire State Plaza.  Dedicated in 1973, the plaza faces the long south-facing facade of the New York State capitol building, again with strong Dutch- influence architecture.

New York’s tallest building outside of Manhattan - something like 78 stories - flanks one side of the plaza. Four shorter identical structures, in the same severe modernist style of the big one - line the west side.  At the end opposite the capitol building, the contemporary New York State Museum building houses archives and other administrative offices. The anomaly in it all is an entertainment venue called The Egg.  It hosts concerts and other events. Everything else in the plaza, studded with the contemporary art that Nelson Rockefeller loved, is symmetrical, right angles, square.  The Egg is none of those.

The museum is astounding in its breadth and execution. It covers the state’s history from millions of years ago - think dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and mastodon skeletons - up to New York City’s 911 tragedy and all eras in between.  

A few miles above Albany, at Troy, we left the tidal Hudson and entered a stretch of 13 locks that we passed through yesterday and continue through today. They will eventually lift us a few hundred feet and open our bow to Lake Champlain.

After two weeks since we left Lewes on Aug. 1 we’ve put 360 miles of water behind us.  We’re averaging about eight miles per hour and burning about three gallons of fuel per hour. We go to sleep when the sun sets and rise when it rises.

We awoke today to 55 degrees, clear and low humidity. Summertime New England weather. Ate a breakfast of French-pressed decaf vanilla coffee we bought in New York City at Zabar’s, granola, string cheese, the end of a stale baguette, and fresh cherries. Then we cast off and set out compass north for Champlain.  Should make the lake tomorrow.  

Here are a few more photographs along the way that I found interesting.

Thanks for reading.