Leaving Holley at a reasonable hour did not make the 9 hour trip back to Tonawanda any quicker. The trek back through, what we consider the most boring stretch of the Erie Canal, was still full of surprises. We definitely saw more boat traffic along the route going in both directions. We had heard that the canal had both opened and then closed a portion of the canal on the eastern half. Maybe that is what created folks deciding to push on.
We did have the opportunity to watch the geese, a lonely doe, a few ducks, and a few osprey along the way. It was our first time locking up at Lockport, NY. We didn’t realize that the locks were as large as they are. Being a set of flight locks the two locks did seem a bit cavernous after the much smaller locks that we have had. We did lock down them but they didn’t seem as large. It’s all perspective, I suppose.
It was a hot, hot day too. Not able to swim in the canal makes it all seem even hotter. Surrounded by water and no way in. Not fun. The waterway is so silty and polluted at this portion not a sole goes in. As we made our way closer to our end stop of Tonawanda the water did open up to the more clear green, blue colour of the Niagara River. A welcome sight.
Upon arriving in Tonawanda, after the dinner hour, the harbour was full with Canal Fest going on. The first day. Not a spot available anywhere. We saw a couple boats from our home club of the Greater Niagara Boat Club on the wall and were going to ask to raft but “John” said he was leaving and could have his space. We didn’t even know that this was a space. Actually it isn’t, but at Canal Fest it is a free for all and anything goes scenario. You have got to see this place for the next week to believe it. Bands every night, a carnival, streets shut down, vendors, games, food, literally everywhere. It starts at 10:00 am and goes till 11:00 pm every single night this week. It is truly amazing to see all the boats, lights and sounds. So if you are looking for things to do this week, trip on over to the Tonawanda Gateway Harbour. Don’t forget your bathing suit!