• Published 3rd Feb 2023
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Up The Ohio Canal - BlueBook

J.H. Wilkins is a prominent Cleveland businessman in 1850. He takes a trip on the canal boat Sylph to Akron. However, it turns out to be more than he bargained for when he catches the eye of the boat's captain... a lady pony!

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Lock 28: Deep

We now met a lock which seemed, to me, some twice the depth of those which we had heretofore encountered. I turned to Rosemary, and gestured with my thumb. “This is a deep one!”

The Captain studied the high, stony walls which were closing ‘round the Sylph. “It’s the deepest on the canal. My second least favorite; always makes me nervous.”

Wordlessly, I stood and entered the cockpit alongside her. Thundering falls of water ran from down from the 'paddles', small doors in the lock gates, and began slowly filling the basin and raising the Sylph. Ropes dangled slackly, crewmen nervously holding the boat to the lock’s side as if they were holding the leash of a sleeping tiger. I glanced to the side. Rosemary’s eyes were clamped shut.

I scanned for something new to comment upon, eyes darting about. They landed on the other side of the lock, where I could see a small channel, branching off the main canal. “Where’s that branch lead, Rosemary?”

Rosemary exhaled heavily, and drew a deep breath. She began again slowly, voice shaking slightly. “That’s the Quarry. When they were building the canal, they mined all the stone and what not they needed for the locks from there.”

I watched as the Sylph finally rose to the same height as the bottom of the preceding locks. Rosemary seemed to notice as well, and softened.

“Thank goodness.” She whispered to no one in particular.

I sat again on the roof, only my feet remaining dangling into the cockpit. I faced the Captain once more. “Is it still in use?”

“Hmm? Oh, yes, from time to time. We meet local stone boats here, sometimes.” Rosemary nodded her head, as the Sylph rose upwards, towards the highest level of water. “Today it’s smooth sailing through.”

“Thank the stars for that!” I nodded, as the lock gates swung aside, and the boat moved forward once more with a lurch.