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Story and Photos by:  ROBERT STOPPER, Lyons

 The Erie Canal waters glistened. “One, Two, Three- Break!” The words were loud and clear, and suddenly,   WOW kayaks scattered from their assembled lineup and began an 8.5 mile paddle from Wide Waters Park in Newark to Abbey Park in Lyons, NY.  The date was July 13, 2013. The time was 9:15 AM. They would arrive at their destination at 1:15 PM.

The first rest and water stop on the excursion was at the Newark Dock and Interpretation Center. Greeted by Newark Mayor Peter Blandino and Kimberlee Meeks, a Chamber of Commerce and Village Representative, the kayakers viewed the center, photographed themselves surrounded by murals, and learned a bit of history about the village.

Kayakers preparing to launch from Wide Waters
After locking through Lock 28B and continuing for several miles, the kayakers disembarked and toured the historical double- chambered Lock E 56 area. They walked above lock chambers, viewed remains of a 150 year old lock gate, stood on the grounds of the old lockmaster house, and photographed the former canal store.

While resting at the E 56 location, WOW opened a bottle which had been floating in the canal waters.  The bottle contained a promotional flyer, somewhat faded, for a Relay for Life event to be held in Palmyra in 2011!

The expedition continued on, and soon locking through E 28A and dropping 19.5 feet in the water was history. WOW soon arrived at Abbey Park in Lyons, and all agreed that the 8.5 mile paddle had been really a wow!

Members of WOW then participated in the Lyons Peppermint Days Celebration. Among other activities, they toured the NYS Canal Corporation flagship boat the URGER, toured the Hotchkiss Building, offered sales of autographed copies of their book, Women on Water, and ended the day by riding in the Fire Department Ladder Truck in the festival parade!

WOW standing above lock E-56
The WOW Kayakers from the North Country included Ruth Dandrea, Kathy DeLong, Carol Moseman, Audrey Mihalko, and septuagenarian 46er and runner Bonnie Sanderson (Bonnie left Lyons immediately following the kayak paddle and headed for Utica where she planned to run the Boilermaker on Sunday morning!) WOW was joined by local kayakers Seth Burgess, Adam Chapin, and Mark DeCracker.

WOW is an organization of female friends who enjoy and frequently paddle the waters of the Adirondacks and Central New York. They have published a book about their experiences titled Women on Water, available from North Country Books, Inc., Utica, NY or www.northcountrybooks.com


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