Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall trip 2011 - part 3

The next attractions that we visited in Peterborough was the world famous (not that the place is getting overrun with tourists but it does have a distinction which I’ll gracefully reveal in a moment) lock 21 – the lift lock. One of the only two hydraulic lift lock in the Trent-Severn waterways it is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world. Located in the eastern part of the city it does have a visual impact on the visitors. The visitor center is located at the bottom of a hill on the lower part of the waterway. There were stairs and also a paved road to go up to the upper level of the waterway. The height difference between the two levels is 65 feet. (Wikipedia tells me in Belgium the lock located in Strépy-Thieu is the highest with a difference of 73 meters; the distinction here is hydraulic).
Initially when I planned a visit there after finding it from the net I was not expecting too much. In the pictures it did not look something out of the world. I wasn’t even sure if I could motivate the rest of the team to visit it. As I mentioned before – it is hard to appeal to everybody’s taste. The kids goes left, the adults right and I am in the middle. One of the main reason why everybody agreed to go to the locks was to find a suitable spot with some leaf colors to take some pictures. The day before we had driven around and found practically no spot that had any noticeable amount of fall color left (the amazing red-orange-pink colors of oak and maple). This year something strange had happened with the weather and the leaves seemed to either just dried up or had changed color too early, before we came to this trip. But no fall trip can be full filled with some images of us in colorful surroundings.

The area around the visitor center of the lock was not a total disappointment. We identified three trees with partial colors left and took snapshots in various combinations of family, friends, males, females, kids and so on. My interest in photo shoots have been diminishing over the years as one thing I have figured out – anybody rarely had time to check these pictures out. They were taken and forgotten. But I guess, they did provide some excitement during the procedure of being taken. I just didn’t want to have anything to do with it anymore. While the rest of the team got busy with their cameras I went to find out what I really came to see – the view from the top of the lock.

As I climbed up the stairs to the higher part of the lock the view that greeted me was truly amazing. Standing at the bottom of the lock the view of the concrete and steel may look a little overwhelming but the actual beauty of it all await above. A water channel not wider than 30 feet met the upper level of the lock. 65 feet below ran the canal where the lower level of the lock was. A tour boat was sitting on the lift pad, waiting to be taken down. I saw the operators running around wearily suggesting something wasn’t going smoothly. This provided me some time to run down to the visitor center the get rest of the team. Watching a lift lock this high working is definitely a good experience, especially for the kids.

Thankfully, the kids and adults equally were awed by the operation and the view. The lift operators were able to resolve the problem in time and the tour boat was lowered down to the canal in minutes. We saw it float away out of the lock pad and mooring in nearby dock to unload some of the passengers. Another round of photo shoot took place. The view was great with much more color visible from that height. Everybody was happy. Their happiness was my satisfaction. After all I was the convener. It was in a way my responsibility to keep them entertained. All good is what ends good (went a proverb in Bangla, my mother tongue).

We had a plan to eat in an Indian restaurant located in Peterborough downtown. I had found the name of the restaurant in the net. However, unfortunately we found it closed around noon. Not knowing when they would open, or if they opened at all on Sundays, we looked for other options. Apparently Sunday afternoon didn’t seem like a preferred time to do business for any of the non-fast food restaurants in the area. After some more exploration we hoarded into a Harvey’s next to the lake. We occupied half of the sitting lounge and instantly destroyed the tranquility of the place.

Hours alter, with our bellies full and mind happy we started back for the city.   

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