By Joe Olenick
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
LOCKPORT — While on an epic 500 mile kayaking adventure along the Erie Canal, from Buffalo to New York City, Richard Harpham and Glenn Charles will make a stop in Lockport on Tuesday.
The two kayakers will start Tuesday in Buffalo’s Historic Erie Canal Harbor while spending the night in Lockport. The goal is to continue east in the Erie Canal and by May 15, head south on the Hudson River.
The tour, “New York State’s Spare Seat Kayak Expedition,” will see Harpham and Charles kayaking in double seated kayaks through all 35 locks of the canal, including the Flight of Five. Harpham will chronicle the journey on the Spare Seat Blog.
The pair is working with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. as well as New York state’s Division of Tourism. The NTCC’s outdoor sports specialist Bill Hilts will join the kayakers from Tonawanda to Lockport, then Erie Canal Discovery Center Director Doug Farley will join them from Lockport to Medina.
“The Spare Seat Kayak Expedition shines a spotlight on Lockport, Erie Canal and Niagara County, along with the recreational opportunities available along the Erie Canal and events and attractions within the surrounding communities,” said John Percy, NTCC president and CEO.
The community is invited to meet Harpham and Charles at a free event, at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises, 210 Market St. Harpham will speak about how his inspirations allowed for him to accomplish his dreams, as well as advice on water safety and kayaking.
Harpham has kayaked 5,000 miles and 11 expeditions in the last two years. He has also canoed the Yukon, 1,000 miles from Vancouver to Alaska and crossed the English Channel twice. Harpham has also kayaked and cycled from London to Marrakech. He also managed the Ghana ski team at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.