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St. Lawrence River

September 15, 2012

After enjoying the pretty views as I packed up, we started off with a 1.4 mile walk around the campground, then drove to the other side of the island to see the little village there. We did another 1.2 miles of walking around the west end of the island, past big homes overlooking the water. Most people seem to get around on golf carts. We walked out to a gazebo to watch another ship pass by. There’s little islands all over the place (it’s called the Thousand Island Region) and some of the islands have single houses on them – so people must own islands or something. Then I drove back over that bridge, and noticed a guy walking across it. I hadn’t noticed the sidewalk yesterday. I had to walk across! It was a pretty steep bridge that went up pretty high, and the sidewalk was kind of narrow. Once I was on the suspension part of the bridge, I could feel it rumble and bounce a little when semis drove by – a bit of an uneasy feeling…I had a few butterflies in my stomach. I decided that once I got to the top I would enjoy the view, then go back down the side I just walked up – no need to walk the whole way over and back again! When I got to the top though, the view was spectacular, and there was a freighter about a half mile out. All butterflies were forgotten as I watched the ship approach and realized it would pass right under my feet – a bird’s eye view of a freighter.

I took a couple pictures of its approach, and then the camera battery died!! So I didn’t get any shots right down as the ship went underneath. It wouldn’t have been that interesting anyway since it was just a bunch of flat metal hatches. There were a few people on deck, but mostly pretty quiet. As a result of that though, I figured out how to charge batteries right in the van – I thought the outlet wasn’t working properly, but figured out what I had to do. So I can re-charge on the run now.

The next good-sized town up the river was Alexandria Bay, and that’s where I wanted to make a food pantry type donation since I’d enjoyed so much time in this area. I didn’t see anything online, so I called the Chamber of Commerce, and the lady told me of 2 churches that are always in need of donations for their food pantry programs. Neither phone call was answered, so I called the Chamber of Commerce lady back again, and she gave me the home number of one of the ladies who deals with food donations. Never mind that I got her neighbor first; I finally got the right person, and she told me they always seem to run out of canned corn, peas and soup. So I went shopping for canned corn, peas and soup! And I threw in a few other veggies and some ramen noodles too – it was a cart full since there were some good sales. I had to drive about 8 miles to the fellowship hall of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Redwood, and the lady met me there. She said the community is definitely in need of food donations. Then she suggested I walk down the hill to the lake if I had time, so we did.

I got a Subway (and put the other half in the cooler right away so the dog didn’t eat it again!) and just drove farther north along the St Lawrence River. It’s so pretty. The leaves just have a hint of color here and there, but nothing major yet. When I was driving over the the Oswegatchie River in one of the bigger towns, I saw a walking path by the river, so I turned around and we got out a got a couple more miles of walking in. I knew at this point I was going to drive all the way up to Massena, where there appeared to be some locks that the ships go through. There was a really long walking trail along the river on the approach to town, so I finished off my walking for the day. Even though dusk was approaching, I went to look at the locks to see what the visitors’ viewing area looked like. And there was a ship headed toward them – pretty far away, but several other people were already waiting. It had been a very warm day, but temps dropped quickly and wind picked up, and there was thunder in the distance. More people pulled in to watch the slow approach of the ship, and storm clouds rolled in closer. It started to rain heavily, but the ship was lit up and I decided to watch it go through the locks anyway. It took a while to get itself positioned correctly – very little extra room on the sides of the lock and I don’t know how they get the big ship in. I had a view right in the middle of the ship and could see the big black hull and 4 stories of the white tower in the back. It was still raining, and the lock workers and ship workers all had yellow raingear on, which made it easy to see them bustling around. Once the locks were closed, it only took 7 minutes to lower the ship – it sank down gradually and gently; as though someone was just letting the air out of its hull. By the time it was lowered, all I could see was the top 2 stories of the tower and a smoke stack. A huge freighter entered, and it looked like only a little white square building glided out. None of the rest of the ship was visible. By now it was dark, and still rainy, and I drove another 30 miles to Malone, where I called it a day.

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One Comment
  1. St Paul’s Redwood Food Pantry thanks you for the gift of food and wishes you pleasant journeys. The bridge was the American span of the Thousand Islands bridge. When you looked across the St Lawrence river going through Ogdensburg towards Massena, you were looking at Canada.

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