Before I begin, I would like to say that this is the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent on a blog post. I’m not sure what came over me, but every time I sat down, I felt as though I wasn’t giving enough credit to the experience. Today however, I was finally able to find the words I wanted, hence the final post.
It’s funny. I say all the time that we don’t take many road trips as a family, but it seemed as though we made up for that this year. We went on this trip during the second week of August and it was spent with my uncle and his family.
We started our drive at six in the morning. It seemed to take forever, most likely because the scenery didn’t change as much as when we drove to Tennessee in April, so for nine hours we were staring at cornfields, cornfields, and more cornfields.
Once we arrived at our little hotel in Niagara (around eight o’clock), we checked in, ate a quick dinner we had brought from home, and headed off to see the falls. The receptionist had informed us that there would be fireworks as well and it was our intention to see them, but unfortunately we missed the show by seconds. We did catch glimpses as we were hurrying from the parking lot however.
The next day, we got up early, ate breakfast (shoutout to the hotel, they had the most amazing waffles) and around ten o’clock, we drove to the Niagara Visitor Center. The plan was first to take the the Maid of the Mist boat tour which would take us very near the falls, and then later in the day, we would do the Cave of the Winds tour during which we would walk under the smallest waterfall of the three, the Bridal Veil.
Now, what we didn’t take into consideration was the amount of time we would be spending in line for tickets. And oh my, the line was long. We were standing there for almost an hour. To entertain ourselves, we took turns going down to the railing to see the rapids. The further the line moved, the closer we got to the waterfall itself.
The following photos were taken from the railing that separated us from the water.
Finally, we purchased our tickets and boarded the Maid of the Mist. We went much closer to the falls than I thought we would and honestly speaking, it was breathtaking. I remember looking back and seeing nothing but water; it was as if we were surrounded by 3 enormous walls of water and mist. I don’t think I stopped smiling; it was all just so beautiful.
Taken from the boat…
Once we were off the boat, we found ourselves in another line that led to the exit. We were standing there for almost half an hour. But, we had a stunning view.
After all this, we walked around until we discovered a lookout point just above the American Falls. There, we sat for a while, just enjoying the beautiful weather and the noise of the water. For a while, I stood on a rock and looked out over the water, enjoying the feeling of mist on my face and just taking deep breaths of the fresh air. This beautiful sense of calm turned into intense panic just some minutes later when I realized I had left my camera charger (with the battery inside!) in the women’s bathroom just a half hour or so before. (There were no other outlets since we were outside and my camera was dying; I was desperate.) I ran back and by some miracle it was still there, but I seriously wanted to slap myself. And all this after telling my sister multiple times that I wouldn’t forget it, even after she reminded me twice. A rare case of the younger sibling being correct. 🙂
Anyway, this isn’t a great picture, but just so you get a sense of what I was looking at for ten minutes…
(I don’t have any pictures from the Cave of the Winds since my camera isn’t waterproof and I didn’t want to take any chances, but here is my account of the experience.)
We had already purchased our tickets for Cave of the Winds, so as it was getting close to our allotted time, we headed over. They showed us a short video on the falls, and then we were given sandals with firm grips on the soles to prevent our slipping. After this, we walked through a dark tunnel, emerging onto a ramp where the ground was extremely slippery and the mist made it difficult to see ahead. Each of us putting on a rain poncho, we started to walk down the ramp.
Looking back, I feel as though it all happened quite fast, even though we were probably outside for a good twenty minutes. Starting the walk down the ramp, we stopped for a minute to look out over the Niagara River, marveling at the colors of sunset that were starting to appear in the sky and laughing at the hundreds of seagulls swooping over our heads. As we started walking further however, the light mist turned into a heavy spray, causing us to get extremely wet. The noise of the water grew louder and as we walked, we could see the falls just above our heads.
I think the most thrilling point was the Hurricane Deck. It is positioned almost directly under the Bridal Veil and I can safely say that if I wasn’t overwhelmed before, the Hurricane Deck certainly did the trick. I remember looking up for about five seconds before I became so overcome, I had to walk away. The image of the crashing waterfall above my head was fixed in my brain and the noise of the roaring water filled my ears. My legs were wobbling and it seemed to me that my heart was pounding loud enough for everyone else to hear.
We exited the ramp soon after. For the next fifteen minutes at least, I was taking deep breaths and I wasn’t speaking much, not to mention my not being able to walk straight. All this may sound rather exaggerated (it isn’t!), but all I’m trying to do is give a sense of how thrilling and awe-inspiring the whole experience was.
And that concludes our trip at Niagara Falls! We were back on the road the next morning with new memories, stories, and, thankfully, a camera charger.
Thank you for reading and have a lovely day. ❤️