Winter Road Trip: Canajoharie Adventure

There were two things in Canajoharie that were on my list.

The first has been on my list since the summer when I learned that Canajorharie was a Mohawk Indian word that meant the “pot that washes itself.” It was named for a circular rock formation in the Canajoharie Creek.

I wanted to see this geologic feature but never got there this summer so . . . we went today.

When we asked directions, a local said “You mean the boiling pot?” and she pointed us down a steep trail with the warning to watch our footing. It was a little snowy but manageable.

Unfortunately, the pot wasn’t turbulent when we were there. I have read that when the water is high, it moves so violently that it gives the appearance of a cauldron boiling over. It wasn’t that way today. It was cold and the water was moving but not furiously.

The beauty of the shale and slate along the gorge, the long smooth rocks and cooling water would make this a great place to visit in the heat of the summer. I may bring a picnic next time.

Afterwards, we went to look at the gorge from the observation deck near the water tower off Moyers Street. We didn’t stay long, it was cold and windy and getting colder.

Our next stop was the Arkell Museum to see the paintings of James Gurney, author and artist of the Dinotopia series. If you don’t know the work, look here.

The exhibit provides a glimpse into the way Gurney’s imagination works and it is inspiring. In one of the interpretive panels, it says that Gurney’s father told him everything begins with drawing. If you can draw something, you can create it.

What a wonderful thing to say to a young artist.

And it seems that Gurney was listening. The exhibit included many paintings fans of the books will recognize, but also explained how the artist works, how he creates models of the dinosaurs to determine where the light would fall, etc., and how he develops story boards as an outline for his books. It is magical.

You feel like Gurney has shared a bit of himself with you.

Note the details of the imagined world . . . like how Gurney developed an alphabet and how the shop signs are written in that alphabet. Or how along a steep village street, there are stairs for humans and another much larger set for dinosaurs. Gurney is so absorbed in the world of Dinoptia that after a while you believe it is indeed possible that such a world exists. And, furthermore you would like to visit.

The paintings are dazzling in their details. The art is fantastic in content and execution. And the depth of Gurney’s imagination is limitless.

I’m a huge fan and this exhibit is a must see while it is in our area. The exhibit ends Feb. 9th, 2014.

For more information on the hours, directions, etc. visit the museum’s website

Afterwards, if you are hungry, you might like to try Erie Station on West Main Street in Fort Plain (about 10 minutes away). It was open on a Sunday afternoon – many places weren’t – and the food was good and the staff welcoming.


2 thoughts on “Winter Road Trip: Canajoharie Adventure

  1. WOW!!! Canajoharie!!! Glad you had a good visit! Today was frigid here and visiting the gorge is not something I would have chosen to do – BUT something I love to do in the summer is take a lounge chair, my book, and set up on the beautiful flat rocks in the base of the gorge with just a little water to keep my tootsies cool while I read — it is always a few degrees cooler there on a hot day!!!

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