On the third day of my trip, I left the small town of Little Falls to head for Syracuse. I passed over the Mohawk River as I left the town, in order to get back to the trail. Here’s the view from the bridge (click images for full size versions):

View of river rapids over rocks, with old stone building on edge of water, and lots of trees on both sides of water.  Cloudy sky above.

I quickly got on the trail, heading west again. After riding for a little while I came to lock #18 on the canal, which had a boat in it, being elevated to a higher water level:

Looking across canal lock with concrete walls, with metal gate visible toward the left.  There is grass on the far side, with trees beyond.
Looking at lock with top of white boat visible down between the walls.  Entry gate is visible at the far right side of photo, as well as a bit of a building.  There are trees on the other side of the lock.
Looking along edge of lock - the lock itself is to the left, with top of boat visible inside.  Two buildings are on the right side, with grass in foreground.

From here I continued along the path and came to a small marina and park in the town of Ilion. Here’s the waterfront there:

Wooden boat dock in foreground, with another dock nearby on the same side of the canal.  There are trees on the far side of the canal, and a bridge over the water in the distance.

On the other side of the trail from the water was this picnic shelter:

Wooden picnic shelter, with posts painted grayish blue, and several picnic tables under it, as well as my mike with luggage on the back.  There's grass and trees beyond the shelter, and in front of it is the paved trail passing by, and a picnic table near the dock.

Not too far past Ilion, the route got back on-road, and I followed a fairly quiet road for a few miles. While riding along there, I noticed a turkey vulture sitting on top of an electric pole a little ways from the road. Fortunately, I had a camera with a zoom lens, and was able to get some closeups (the bird was at least 50 yards away):

Turkey vulture with wings folded, on the top of a wooden pole, with electrical wires on either side of the pole.

As I took pictures, another vulture came by, passing perhaps a little too close for the first bird’s comfort.

Turkey vulture on the top of a wooden pole, with electrical wires on either side of the pole.  The bird reacts as another bird is partially visible at the top of frame, flying by.

Then the bird turned around to spread its wings. I would think it was sunning itself, except that the sky was overcast.

Turkey vulture with wings spread, on the top of a wooden pole, with electrical wires on either side of the pole.
Turkey vulture with wings spread, on the top of a wooden pole, with electrical wires on either side of the pole.

This on-road section turned right and went north over the canal (here known as the NY State Barge Canal), where there was then more off-road trail to ride. That trail almost immediately came to a little bridge over a tributary to the canal. Here’s the bridge (looking back eastward), as well as some views of the canal from it:

Looking along trail bridge with metal superstructure and rails, and concrete deck.  There are trees and brush to the left of the trail, and canal water to the right.
View of canal water with a barge parked on the far side, and trees lining the far bank.  There is construction equipment visible on the barge.
View of canal with trees along the far side, and a bit of bridge and trail visible on the near side (right side of frame).

And this is the view north, up the tributary:

Looking along wide stream with trees and other greenery all around.

Shortly after this, the route used a road to cross back to the south side of the canal, then was on separate trail again, and entered the city of Utica.

Most of the way through Utica, there was a side canal that entered the main one, and there was a small lock to cross (I had to walk the bike across the little bridge part. This is known as the Harbor Lock:

Looking along small concrete lock filled with water, with metal gate visible at far end.  There is grass on both sides of the lock, with a small building visible in the medium distance, and trees beyond.
View of gates leading out of lock to larger canal, and small metal walkway over gates.  Water and trees visible beyond.
View of wide canal water, with some concrete and a metal plate in the foreground, and trees and electrical towers on far side.

A little ways outside of Utica, I passed Lock 20 on the main canal. Here are the east gates (a good place for fishing?):

Large metal gates of boat lock, seen from outside the lock.  They are framed by concrete, with railings and other structures above, and there is grass on either side of the canal below.  A person stands by the canal, fishing.

Here’s the upper end, and the canal continuing west:

Lock gates mostly submerged in water, with concrete walls on either side.  There is grass on each side of the canal, and trees beyond the grass.  A few small buildings are visible by the lock.
Canal with very still water.  There is some grass on each side, and lots of trees on the far side.  There is also a small dock on the other side of the water.

Not long after this, I came to another spot where the trail stopped and I had to ride on roads. I first rode a bit south, crossing the Mohawk River, which is quite small and gentle at this point:

Looking over guardrail along river covered in green algae, with many trees lining each side.

I then followed a surface street west by northwest, and eventually crossed the canal again, entering the city of Rome. There was a park and visitor center there by the water, where I stopped briefly:

Canal with concrete walkway on near side, and trees on the far side.  A steel bridge crosses the water, with lettering on one abutment reading "Welcome to Rome, the copper city."
View of canal with concrete walkway on near side, including some lampposts, and trees on the far side.

This duck swam by while I was standing there:

Male mallard duck with green head, swimming left to right in water.

A bit of trail headed through the park and across a dam, then let me out onto streets to travel through downtown. I stopped for lunch at a place called Arizona Taco, and had a burrito and some horchata, which was quite good.

After lunch I headed out of Rome, getting back onto a trail that was mostly dirt and gravel. While traveling that route, I saw a small animal up ahead that I at first thought might be a dog, but I stopped as I realized it was a fawn. As I stopped, I noticed its mother a little further away, and the doe ran and hid behind a building. I took a few pictures from a distance, then went on my way to avoid stressing out the mother.

Brown fawn with white spots, walking through tall grass and wildflowers.
Brown fawn with white spots, standing in tall grass and wildflowers.

After this, the trail began heading somewhat south as it went west, and following a more historic, less navigable canal (identified on maps as Pools Brook). Also, while much of the trail from Albany to Rome had been asphalt, the section between Rome and Syracuse was largely stone dust. That’s basically a very fine gravel, usually on top of packed dirt. Here is what it looks like:

Stone dust trail receding into the distance, with some grass and a lot of trees on either side.  To the right there is a sign indicating a stop ahead.
Close up of stone dust surface, which is very fine and gray.

Most of the remaining distance for the day was also part of Old Erie Canal State Park. Here’s typical scenery from the last 10 miles or so before Syracuse:

Stone dust path next to canal, with many trees on far side of water.
A bit of stone dust path next to wide, calm canal, with trees on far side.

The park ended just as I entered Syracuse, and I then followed a series of streets to where I was staying, which was near the University campus. After getting a shower, I walked to Strong Hearts Cafe, a vegan restaurant that I’d eaten at a few times in the past. It’s not the same as it used to be, but the food was good.

This was the shortest day on the canalway, covering just over 83 miles. The next day would not be the worst distance, but it would prove to be the worst weather of the trip.

Odometer reading eighty-three point six one miles.