The Erie Canal Walk – Day Twenty-Two ~ Holley to Albion and Day Twenty-Three ~ Albion to Medina

Still smiling and getting younger!
Still smiling and getting younger!

Holley to Albion…

Our day off in Holley was restful even with the heavy rain that began early in the morning and persisted, on and off, well into the afternoon. Our tent, the Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 ultralight, is performing beautifully. Upstate New York is proving to be an excellent testing ground for tent performance. I was dry and cozy, reading away, while the thunder growled and roared overhead with the rain pouring down. New York rain storms can come and go, suddenly and fiercely, like a shower being turned on and off. We’re getting better at reading the sky and preparing accordingly. Here’s a picture of the dramatic stormy sky.

Thunderstorm clouds
Thunderstorm clouds

The stretch between Rochester and Buffalo has become quite agricultural with the leading crops being corn, apples, and cabbages. We have also seen tomatoes and what I believe were eggplant. Fields of food stretch as far as the eye can see, filling us with gratitude for the farmers of the world. As we walked this morning, we reflected on the farmers of upstate New York who, at least for our west coast experience, have been eclipsed by the celebrity of New York City, a city which owes its fame and success to the ancestors of these very farmers and canal laborers. We are learning that there is so much more to New York than the Big Apple.

Never pass up free ice water! AKA "trail magic"
Never pass up free ice water! AKA “trail magic”
Tomato field in Upstate NY. Note the meticulous staking of the plants
Tomato field in Upstate NY. Note the meticulous staking of the plants
Apple Orchard
Apple Orchard
The light green through the trees is cabbage
The light green through the trees is a cabbage field

Albion to Medina…

We left Albion 6:55am to beat the heat. There isn’t any shade over the trail anymore. We are glad we are walking west with the morning sun at our backs. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the constant headwind that we are walking against. We are appreciative of it as it provides much needed ‘convected coolness.’ We stayed about a mile from the trail last night and on our way back to the trail this morning we walked right pass a NY State correctional facility in Albion. All I can say is that it was a sight to see.

We have seen a bit of wildlife in the last few days, including a fox, a groundhog (the canal’s enemy…think holes), several river otters, a tree FULL of turkey vultures (I counted 15 from across the canal), and a snapping turtle who wouldn’t come out of his/her shell, no matter how nicely Aaron asked or how gently I nudged it with my walking stick.

Shy snapping turtle
Shy snapping turtle

Medina (pronounced with a long “i”) is famous for its apples, sandstone, and the Robert H. Newell shirt manufacturing company. In the early days of the canal, Medina apples were shipped as far as Africa. Barrel makers, from nearby Knowlesville, called ‘coopers,’ crafted the finest barrels from oak and metal. This is a picture of the Medina harbor covered with barrels of apples awaiting shipment down the Erie Canal to NYC and onto ships bound for distant continents.

Medina apples bound for ports around the globe
Medina apples bound for ports around the globe

Medina sandstone became the building material of choice during the growth of towns along the canal. We read that there were many sandstone quarries in this area. The stone proved strong and abundant. On our stroll around Medina this afternoon, we measured sidewalk pavers measuring 7 x 11 of my feet. So the sidewalks were/are sandstone and all the curbs are granite. Here is St. Mary’s Church made of Medina sandstone. It is utterly magnificent. Medina sandstone is also found along the trail under bridges.

The steeple of St. Mary's rises above the town. We always saw the steeples first.
The steeple of St. Mary’s rises above the town. We always see the steeples first when coming into a town.
St. Mary's built out of Medina Sandstone
St. Mary’s built out of Medina Sandstone
The front of St. Mary's, Medina, NY
The front of St. Mary’s, Medina, NY

Robert Newell made shirts in Medina for celebrities such as Bob Hope and Winston Churchill. His factory is now home to the Hart House Hotel and we are staying here tonight!

Robert H. Newell shirt factory building, now a boutique hotel
Robert H. Newell shirt factory building, now a boutique hotel

We have three days of walking to finish this walk. Our next stops will be Lockport, Tonawanda, and Buffalo. We are ahead of schedule, which gives us a little time to explore the greater Niagara Falls/Lake Ontario area. We have decided to rent a car in Buffalo, camp near Lake Ontario for a few days, and take day trips to see the sites! We’re very excited to be finishing!

All the Best,

Ann

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Erie Canal Walk – Day Twenty-Two ~ Holley to Albion and Day Twenty-Three ~ Albion to Medina

  1. acubellingham July 27, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    Thanks again for all your posts! I’ve learned a lot from you about that area I grew up in. I went to college in Buffalo and later married a guy from Buffalo so we’d go back there pretty regularly with our kids to visit their grandmother there. The Broadway Market is a pretty cool scene, or used to be–lots of Polish influence, some interesting cases of regional foods. I haven’t been back to Buffalo in 23+ years. Nice to learn about it all through your trek!

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  2. Leah Martaindale July 27, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    Amen to your comment about the wonderful parts of New York that are NOT city. Isn’t it amazing! Hope you get to take a canal ride through the locks in Lockport. And we recommend eating at Tom’s diner while there–near the big canal bridge. Nearly done! Way to go!

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  3. artmaker85 July 28, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    Thank you do much for your pictures! It does a lot to help us see the land and your sweet faces along your trail adventures. So happy you are near the end if the trail when you will get rest and more time for fun exploring! Ann, how great all of these pics and your writings will be to show your students if you so choose. A great education on that part of our great nation. Blessings, Lynne

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