Take the Erie Canalway Challenge/ Wheelchairs welcome!
My husband and I just finished walking the newly connected and constructed Empire State Trail from Camillus to Syracuse and Syracuse to DeWitt, a total of "15 miles on the Erie Canal." We walk small segments of the Trail at a time as we tackle the 360-mile Erie Canalway Challenge between Buffalo and Albany. Still in our first year taking the Challenge, I wonder if we will ever finish--but at least this new section of Trail made finding bathrooms much easier! Plus, I learned a lot about Syracuse and the Erie Canal through the signage along the way. We commenced our Erie Canalway Challenge on April 21, 2020, at the Camillus Erie Canal Park where we found the first "Wonder" of the Erie Canal (I'm searching for "7 Wonders")—the Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct, the waterway bridge for conveying barges over the creek. According to the Park, it is "the only restored navigable Aqueduct in New York State."When we learned about the new Trail through Syracuse this winter, we strapped on ice cleats and grabbed a walking stick and trekked through the snow and ice from Reed Webster Park in Camillus to downtown Syracuse then onto Butternut Creek Aqueduct in in Old Erie Canal State Historic Park, DeWitt. Along the way, we came upon the ruins of Lock 50, known as Gere's Lock; enjoyed the side view of the New York State Fair Grounds; heard strange, loud machinery from Crucible Steel; crossed over the highway (690) to stroll above and beside Onondago Lake to its southern end; crossed the new pedestrian bridge over CSX's railroad tracks from where we watched bald eagles feeding at the Lake; imagined the warm bathrooms from our view of the largest shopping mall in New York, Destiny USA; learned about Syracuse's salt mining industry from path signs on the connecting Onondaga Creekwalk beside Inner Harbor; watched ice skaters at Clinton Square, where there are still remains of the Old Erie Canal; headed to the Erie Canal Museum, housed in the only surviving Weighlock building in the world (which I consider a second "Wonder"); strolled in the center of Erie Boulevard, once the Erie Canal itself, where we imaged barges floating by the fast food restaurants and dollar stores, came upon a strange, lock-looking structure with a stone etched, "Kasson--1848", which we learned from locals was the Erie Canal Monument made from old Lock stones (it had its plaque stolen); took a left on Bridge Street then onto Tow Path Road, where we could see remains of the Old Erie Canal again; then crossed over another highway (481) to the spectacular ruins of Butternut Creek Aqueduct in DeWitt. From there, we are heading to Rome--where construction began on the first Erie Canal over 200 years ago on July 4, 1817.
Jim, now a retired Pfizer scientist, has been sharing in my latest adventure in hopes of raising awareness of another "C-virus" plaguing the country, cytomegalovirus (CMV), the leading viral cause of birth defects (our daughter was born severely disabled by congenital CMV and died at 16 in 2006). Will our fight for a revision of the current CMV law in New York be as tough to pass as the legislation to build the original Erie Canal of 1825? Will Jim and I agree on the 7 Wonders and find enough bathrooms on the Trail to trek on--to impact the country, much the same way the Erie Canal did? I believe by walking the Erie Canalway Trail, we can share with Erie Canalway/Empire State Trail walkers and readers our belief that women have a right to know how to protect their unborn babies from CMV.
In 2000, Congress established the "Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor" because it was "instrumental in the establishment of strong political and cultural ties between New England, upstate New York and the old Northwest and facilitated the movement of ideas and people ensuring that social reforms like... the women's rights movement spread across upstate New York to the rest of the country...".
As I blog about our Erie Canalway Challenge while commenting on our progress toward revising the CMV education bill, I hope CMV awareness will become a movement, like women’s rights, that will "spread across upstate New York to the rest of the country" to help prevent birth defects caused by congenital CMV. I believe the recent connection of the Erie Canalway Trail to the 750-mile Empire State Trail may just make that possible.
See you on the Trail--wheelchairs are welcome!
To take the Challenge, visit: eriecanalway.org/explore/challenge
To join our journey, visit my blog at: Authorlisasaunders.blogspot.com or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaSaunders