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Look what you get!

These are the Canalway Challenge gifts for completing the challenge. 

A month or so ago my husband signed up the family, well us and the two dogs, Olive Olivia and Stella Luna, for the Canalway Challenge, tracing history, tracking miles.

We had the choice of signing up for 15, 90, 180 or 360 miles to be completed along the Erie Canal by Aug. 31.

Worried we wouldn't have time to get in 90 miles along our short portion of the Champlain Canal in Whitehall, we signed up for the Tomaselli Family Challenge and 15 miles. 

My daughters, one a professional ultra runner and another who clocks 20,000 steps a day got a kick out of our modest goal, sometimes reached in 1.5 mile blocks.

Designed for families of all sorts, with the Canalway Challenge you can walk, ride, run or paddle your miles toward your goal. We decided we would only count the miles we all walked together, doggies included. 

Within a couple weeks we had already reached our goal and signed up for a second challenge before the August deadline.

Because of where we live, we are walking The Champlain Canal that begins at its junction with the Erie Canal in Waterford and runs north to Whitehall, where it connects with Lake Champlain.

As my husband, who is in love with the history of the Erie Canal, tells me, it was critically important in the French & Indian Wars, American Revolution, and War of 1812.

Most surprising, we received a packet in the mail, along with a hand-written note and even a hand-drawn doggie paw print, thanking us for completing  our challenge. There were four "15" mile stickers, two magnets, two nice Canalway Challenge backpack bags, all for free.

Not to mention, our names, even Olive and Stella, are listed on the Canalway Challenge finishers page online.

It's great fun to keep track of the miles logged, even if just back and forth in your own town or village. And if you have friends or family living in another location along the Erie Canal, you could get them to do a challenge too. 

The Canalway Challenge is funded in part by a grant from Market NY through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

To sign up for the Canalway Challenge visit their site.  

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Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli covers Washington County government and other county news and events.

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