Utica Man Canoeing From Utica to Brooklyn to Montreal
A Utica man is taking on an epic trip from Utica to Brooklyn to Montreal...via canoe.
Marco Martoccia left Utica on July 14th, putting his canoe in the Erie Canal near Aqua Vino. Since then, he's paddled 100's of miles, down the Erie Canal, ultimately reaching the Hudson River and Brooklyn.
According to Marco, the trip to New York took about two weeks:
I canoed to The Palisades across from Yonkers, and biked to and from the canoe. Canoeing took 14.5 days, and that includes taking one full day off in a hotel.
The uncertain weather has definitely posed some issues. Marco is carrying a life jacket but has accidentally lost some equipment overboard when the wind got to be too strong:
The weather can make things dangerous. Especially the wind, but also the rain. The rivers flood after the rain, creating high current carrying lots of debris. The wind alone can be almost unbearable, but it also produces large waves. Boat wakes are also a problem, especially as they snowball in the wind, break near shoe, or reflect off banks.
Marco paddles kayak-style 8-12 hours each day. Finding somewhere to camp along the waterways can be very difficult. Marco has his canoe loaded with food, small solar panels, camping gear, and his bicycle. Sometimes, it's even a challenge to get the canoe out of the water:
...coming to shore is usually difficult. I try to find beaches or low hanging trees to tether to, but sometimes it takes a few hours just to find something. My canoe, being fiberglass, is vulnerable to damage by rocks.
Marco takes particular satisfaction from conducting his journey will relatively inexpensive gear. All his hiking equipment was purchased for less than $300. His canoe was donated by a friend who found it in a storage space; Marco outfitted it for the journey for $150. What does Marco claim as his most-valuable, least expensive piece of gear: a $1 water pump gun he bought at a dollar store that he uses to bail out the canoe.
You have to admire the determination and courage it takes to embark on a journey like this, without a host of technical equipment and without any type of escort craft. Marco should be beginning his journey back towards Montreal soon. If you'd like to follow his progress, you can find him on Instagram. Fair warning, his pictures are so beautiful, you might be tempted to grab a canoe yourself.