October 23, 2017

Niagara Falls

by Steve W

I had never seen Niagara Falls, so when we had the chance to drive through on our way from Cleveland to Toronto, we decided to stop. Niagara Falls is the collective name for three separate waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, in order of size. Horseshoe Falls is on the US/Canadian border while American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are on the US side of the Niagara Gorge.

As we drove up to the parking area, we could see the Niagara River headed for the falls. The first thing you notice when you step out of the car is the noise made by the water falling over 100 feet from the American Falls, and over 170 feet from Horseshoe Falls. As you approach, you can see where the water reaches the edge of the American Falls before going over. Once you get to the edge, the sight is unlike anything I have ever seen. The sheer volume of water from the three falls averages over 600,000 gallons per second and up to 1.6 million gallons per second during the peak seasons.

Don't forget your barrel!

Aside from the observation posts, there are ways to get closer to the falls. One is to take a boat ride that goes right up to the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. Both the American side and Canadian side have these boats, The Maid of the Mist being the US version.

Passengers are given ponchos to wear to try to protect them from the spray of the water hitting the bottom of the falls, a measure that, speaking from personal experience, is only partially successful. But the noise and grandeur of the falls is in full effect as you get closer. Pictures don't do it justice.

Where's Waldo?

After the boat ride, we walked across the Rainbow Bridge (no, animal lovers, not that Rainbow Bridge) to the Canadian side of the falls. Leaving the US, you walk through a revolving gate and go through a brief Customs check on the Canadian side.

Who needs a wall when you can have a revolving gate with a sign showing the way?
Once through, you can walk along the cliff above the river towards Horseshoe Falls. From the Canadian side, you can get a better look at the US side as well as get next to Horseshoe Falls.

American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, from the Canadian side.
The other way to get close to the falls is to take the "Journey Behind The Falls", where you once again don ponchos and descend to the floor of the Horseshoe Falls to an observation deck almost under the falls. Again, the sound and fury of the water falling from great heights is overwhelming and wonderful.

This is the same picture as above, with the observation deck circled.
Less than 50 feet from the falls.
We crossed back over the Rainbow Bridge (paying $0.50 each for the privilege of leaving Canada) to the US side before driving to Toronto. If you get the chance to see Niagara Falls, don't miss it!

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