Cycling the Erie Canal – Day 7 (updated)

Miles today: 42.76, Total miles: 259.38

What a difference a day makes. We rested yesterday and got off to a much better start today. My knee is still a little tender, but it is much better now. Still icing it down tonight.

The weather was pretty hot and most of our path today was in the sun with little shade.

Tomorrow is our last day! We expect to arrive in Albany – the destination we have been planning on. We have around 45 miles left to go, so it won’t be an easy day, but I think we’re up to it.

I am blogging from my phone tonight again, so I am going to be brief and then fill in more later.

We started at the B&B in Little Falls and wound along the countryside through several small towns to finally arrive in Amsterdam.

Along the way, we saw the homestead of general Herkimer, and we also stopped by the shrine to the North American Martyrs – a group of Jesuits who were missionaries to the native Americans in Upstate NY and brutally killed.

We had a great ride, and the end is almost in sight.

Time for sleep, I need to be ready for a strong finish tomorrow.

Here is a link to today’s ride:

– Dc. Matt

(Day 7’s updates start here:)

I’m finally taking the time to write a bit more about our adventures on day 7 before they fade into the overall memories of the trip.

We spent the previous night at a B&B in Little Falls, NY.  The trail begins again in Little Falls, but we did have to put a few on-road miles together today.

The town of Little Falls is pretty small.   We had some trouble finding somewhere to eat, as everywhere we went was closed.  We finally had a pretty nice meal at the Canal Side Inn.  Not particularly cheap, but the food was pretty tasty.

The canal runs in the Mohawk river here.  Little Falls is named after a cascading set of falls that the river goes through.  It is a pretty area.  Lock #17 is here to allow boats to bypass the falls area.  Unfortunately, it looked to us like getting to the lock would require a significant walk away from the trail.  Given how late we got moving and how many miles we needed to cover, we elected to just view Lock #17 from a distance and keep on moving.  In hindsight, I wish we had taken the time.

The trip out of little falls was pretty uneventful.  We had to navigate about one mile to the trailhead, but the streets were pretty tame.   Once on-trail, we had a few miles of nice path.  Right along the path was the home of General Herkimer.  We arrived before the museum opened, so we just walked around and looked at the restored buildings from the outside and the cemetery where General Herkimer was laid shortly after the revolutionary war battle of Oriskany.

After wandering there a little while, we picked up and continued.  Most of the journey today took us very close alongside the interstate US 90.  The scenery was nice, but the traffic was loud enough to make it difficult to hear each other.  This was so much different than the peace and quiet of the forested trails we’d been on earlier.

By lunchtime, we approached the town of Canajoharie.  This is another place that I wish we had a little more time to explore.  We only saw the small sliver of the town that the path crosses through.  Canajoharie did one of the better jobs of marking the path through town and making us feel welcome.  We ran across a visitor’s booth and a very friendly worker there named Jim.  Jim answered our questions and gave us some pointers about what lay ahead.

Stephanie met us there with Subway sandwiches for lunch (Yay, Steph!).  We refueled, took advantage of the bathrooms, and got back underway.  Several more miles of trail were uneventful, taking us alongside US 90 through Fultonville, and on to the Schoharie Crossing.  This section of the trail was difficult – freshly laid crushed stone made it slow going and tiring on the legs.

After Fultonville, the trail departs from US 90 and we had a few miles of peace-and-quiet before arriving in Amsterdam.  As we were cycling along, we saw a beautiful, large, crucifix just off to our right across the street.  This was the Auriesville Shrine to the North American Martyrs (or more properly, “The Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs”).  We called ahead to Stephanie and decided to complete our ride for the day, meet her in Amsterdam and then drive back to the shrine.  We had six more miles to go to meet her, so we picked up speed to make sure we’d have time to come back.  These last six miles went quickly.

Stephanie picked us up right along the trail in Amsterdam and we quickly returned to the shrine.  It was well worth the time.  This shrine is located in the place where a 17th century Mohawk village called Ossernenon once stood.  In this village, three Jesuit missionaries were martyred during the 1640s. The beatified “Lily of the Mohawks,” Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, was born there in 1656.  To handle the number of pilgrims to this shrine, in 1930-31, a coliseum was built on the site that holds 6,500 people sitting and 3,500 more standing!

After spending a couple of hours at the shrine, it was time to get some rest.  The closest hotel we could find was about 20 minutes north.  We packed up the bike, went to the hotel, cleaned up, ate dinner and prepared for day 8.

Day 7 was complete, and we were feeling pretty good.