//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsBecause our school started so late this year we were able to take a summer vacation in September. The trip was built around being in Toronto on a certain date, and since we all loved our Niagara Falls trip two years ago we planned to drive there and spend the night before continuing on our way. Although we were not planning on doing much more than seeing the falls, we ended up having a very marvelous time there and cramming quite a bit in. We arrived in late afternoon and walked around the falls. Seeing the falls was just as magnificent as we remembered. It was a bit overcast, but when the sun broke through the water was a gorgeous blue-green, rainbows popped up, the Maid of the Mist bobbed around down below like a little toy boat, and it was all spectacular. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
After dinner we ended up doing something we never do, which was enjoying over-the-top gaudy, tacky, arcade/boardwalk like amusements. It was so much fun! This one street in Niagara Falls (Clifton Hill) is just ridiculously all the tourist things you might see in other places-Ripley’s, a was museum, neon arcades, etc. It’s all very noisy and bright.
We only intended to use our complimentary voucher for a few minutes in an arcade, but ended up all having so much fun together that we allowed it to get late before walking past the falls on our way back to the hotel (where we crammed in a 10 minutes swim because if there’s a hotel pool we’re going to use it!). They were not as gloriously lit as we had thought they’d be. In the morning we of course had Tim Horton’s doughnuts for breakfast and then the plan was to walk across the bridge back into the U.S. and check out the American side, specifically where we had seen people in yellow slickers walking along the bottom of the falls. It was so foggy and cloudy that the tall Skylon Tower outside our hotel, looked like it was in Cloud City. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
This ended up being so much fun, so interesting, and taking so much longer than we thought (uh, I think the “short walk” was really like 3 miles at least.) To cross the bridge into the U.S. you pay a 50 cent toll and walk through a turnstile. We had our passports with us because it’s a proper border crossing on the other side, though very easy. The international border is halfway across the bridge. Here’s Clark in the U.S. and Tabby in Canada:
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsHere’s a view from the bridge-the U.S. is to the left and Canada to the right. One of the very beautiful things on the American side of the falls (Horseshoe Falls is the Canadian side, Bridal Veil the American) is that you can walk along the river and see how idyllic and lovely it looks. Then turn your head and see that if you were swimming or canoeing in that part that looked so nice, you would be quickly swept over the falls that are not far away at all! We got tickets to the Cave of the Winds and got suited up in ponchos and non skid sandals. We took an elevator down 18 floors and you are allowed to walk around all the stairs and decks built into the base of the falls. It quickly became apparent why footwear was issued as soon as we started walking around-the water and spray are pouring and splashing right out onto everything. You can reach your hand out and stick it right in the falls (and for the record, that water was super cool and refreshing.) I want to know-how did they build this? It’s not like they turned off the falls to do it. So they had to build this in the midst of gushing forceful water. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
The “Hurricane Deck” was especially neat-a spot where the falls are just pummeling you.
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsAfterwards we returned to the top and followed the path so that we were now the ones at the top of the falls, looking down at the yellow poncho people where we had just been. //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
I think the thing that amazes me about all the falls is that it’s so sudden. It’s not a gradual drop-off, it’s a sheer plummet.
Also, the water is relentless and never stops flowing or slows down. After a well deserved ice cream we began the long trudge back into Canada.
We fetched our car then and headed off around Lake Ontario to Toronto. For something that was just meant to be a short stop along the way, we had a marvelous time seeing the falls again and felt like we got a really different view by crossing back in and checking out the American side.