We said our goodbyes at the marina and hurried toward the Wilson Lock 3 miles upstream. Keith had called the lock master on the phone earlier making arrangements for the lift. When the final word came over the radio we were told to hurry, the gate would be open about 10 minutes. As we approaced the Wilson Lock at mile 259.4, it began to appear like a large black hole.
Inside the 110' wide x 600' long chamber the vertical walls were awesome. As the gate shut behind us the closed in sensation was certainly prevalent. The lift is 93' and took it 40 minutes to fill the chamber.
Rising to the top and looking out at Wilson Lake is quite a thrill. Construction of this magnificent lock, dam and hydroelectric power plant was started in 1918 as the country was preparing for World War I. The project was completed in 1924 and remains one of the largest single locks ever constructed.
In another 15.5 miles we arrived at another lock at mile mark 274.9. The Joe Wheeler lock has a 48' lift and seemed almost tame compared to Wilson Lock. This one also produces hydroelectric power.
Upstream about 2 more miles is the Joe Wheeler State Park Marina. We chose to anchor out across from the marina. The open cove showed some activity as a few bass fishermen made steady casts until dark.