The Voyage of Krogen 58 Billy The Eagle: The Downeast Circle Route — Charlie and Marcia Corbett
As you travel up the Hudson from New York Harbor the tension and frantic activity of this busy city quickly fades. By Mile Forty you can see why Henry Hudson called this the “great river of the mountains.” In this section the river cuts through the backbone of the Appalachian chain leaving some impressive promontories such as West Point, home to the famous military academy. At Mile Fifty the terrain once again becomes gentler and gradually winds through the Catskill Mountains. These mountains have been softened by centuries of erosion and lend themselves to beautiful countryside and sunsets. The tidal section of the Hudson ends just past Albany at the industrial town of Troy, NY. In Troy we lowered the mast and prepare the large round fenders. Troy is home to the Federal Lock, the first lock in the New York Canal System. Just past the Federal Lock one enters the town of Waterford, NY. Here, friendly volunteers greet you and help you tie to the town wall. Dockage, electricity, and water are free. They ask only that you enjoy their town (spending a few dollars shopping or eating is much appreciated). Many towns in the canal system are experiencing financial difficulties and welcome cruisers by providing similar amenities. Waterford sits at the junction of the Erie and Champlain canal systems. And now was decision time. We chose the path less traveled and headed north through the Champlain Canal and into Lake Champlain. (Most cruisers choose to go east through the Erie Canal to the Oswego Canal and then into Lake Ontario. This route takes them through the Thousand Island region before entering the St. Lawrence Seaway, and provides an opportunity to visit Montreal before joining the Champlain route at Sorel, Quebec, Canada.) For us, the Champlain route was perfect. The lock tenders were friendly and helpful. Each maintained his own landscape and most offered beautiful, free overnight dockage at the lock walls. Lake Champlain itself provided anchorages of great beauty, as well as the energetic small city of Burlington, VT. We visited historic sites such as Whitehall, where Benedict Arnold led the first ships of the U.S. Navy, Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga and Valcour Island. We began to appreciate the fact that this scenic area has hosted five centuries of European exploration, warfare, and commerce.