Why Kayak the Erie Canal?
The idea to kayak, or at least make my way across New York state via some non-motorized method actually started when I moved away.
In the spring of the year two-thousand I took a job with Intel in Massachusetts. Back then my now, wife and I were only dating. Sometime within the next few month I proposed and we began planning the details of our wedding, which would still take place back in Western New York. From the end of summer, through fall, winter and the next spring we must have made the six hour drive hundreds of times. Getting to travel and see other parts of New York was fun, the seasons added some changes between trips but eventually the 65mph behind the wheel journey became a little boring.
Seeing the little towns along the way and view of the Mohawk River sections of the Erie Canal made me think about a slower pace of life. Exploring the quaint little villages and taking in their history. Back then I don't think I had even given kayaking a try, although the idea for a non-motorized trip was forming in my head.
Over the year there were times when I would dwell on it, researching and pulling data, trying to map out all the details. After transferring my job with Intel from Massachusetts to Oregon in 2003, I finally took to the water with borrowed and rented boats. I had plenty of new waterways to explore out here, but the idea of paddling the canal, now some 3000 miles away stayed with me. In summer of 2006 Sea Kayaker Magazine ran an article from NYS outdoor recreation author Sue Freeman. I was less than a year from my first sabbatical (eight weeks of extra vacation earned every seven years), although a two year old and soon to be 2nd child on the way the next year left little room for big adventure.
In the time between the first sabbatical and second, the number of adventures I sought out had increased, many with the kids joining me, snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping. I'm proud of the little adventurers they are becoming.
My job changed a few years ago, working twelve hour shifts though the night. I have little human interaction and my mind wanders more and more each passing day. Checking the weather, seeing what friends are up to and planning the next outing. As the fourteen year mark with Intel approached and a chance to escape to the outdoors for a lengthy period of time it was clear what my plan should be.