We left Westport allowing a half hour to reach the first lock when it opened at 9. Westport is at the west end of Upper Rideau Lake, which we traveled on for a few miles before entering a very narrow channel. We wound around this for awhile, fortunately not meeting other boats, before we came upon our first lock of the day. This was also the first time we locked down, now starting to drop to the level of Lake Ontario.
Today the pattern for meeting a lock was to be in a narrow channel, just rounding a corner and the dock with the blue line would be right there with the lock 200 feet further.
When encountering even a small boat going the other way, we stopped dead and pulled sideways to let them go by. We moved slowly enough so if we hit something it would just make a noise and stop us. We did just that for the boat and its follower in the picture below. Fortunately we didn’t hit anything today.
In our Merrickville post I said we may have seen the best part of the Rideau on the way there. That was really great, but today and the way from Smiths Falls to Portland were easily its equal. Sue kept saying we have to return to the Rideau Canal next year. It will be easy to do, since we’re storing the boat on the Erie Canal this winter.
We arrived at the Jones Falls locks and had to wait 45 minutes while boats were locking up in the flight lock. They timed our locking down in the upper lock so we could pass the boats exiting the flight lock in the wide pool between. Water is high this year and usually spills over the gates at the low end as we entered the locks.
It started raining lightly as we entered the top chamber of the flight lock, but stopped before we entered the second chamber. The weather has not been great the last few trips, but has not been really bad either. It’s certainly good enough and warm enough to really enjoy the trip.
We got all the way down and docked at the Kennedy Hotel at the bottom just in time to make it for lunch, which closes at 2:30.
The Jones fall area and the park around its upper and flight locks were really beautiful. We hiked up to the stone arch dam, built in the early 1800’s. At 60 feet it was the highest in North America and 3rd highest dam in the world when built. They were learning how at the time and had a few failures in this area before getting it right with the stone arch. Nathan and Troy did some fish spotting, The water here is very clear, and often no more than the 5′ “guaranteed” depth for locks on the canal.