I have dreamt of looking at the wonders of the world. Probably touching them. Each, if not more, at least once.
Late Spring 2016 I was on my road-trip around the Midwestern states in the US. I drove around the Appalachian Mountains and along the three Great Lakes — Michigan, Ontario and Eerie. The preeminent Niagara Falls was one of the premier milestones to be stepped upon in the journey.
The drive was pretty. I drove from Chicago, passed by the vast flatlands of pastures, grasslands and deciduous trees along with numerous cities. It was raining heavily, and the landscape had a real makeover. Everything felt fresh and washed. Though as pleasant, as were the bathed flatlands; the rain that accompanied was not that impressive for a drive especially when you have narrow lanes :P
Niagara has been my family’s must visit destination. The falls formed a part of the great Ice Age Legacy and been world renowned for its beauty. I am not sure why it gets an entry so late in my travel diary.
Driving at seventy-five miles as the plains and speed limits, allowed on a beautiful sunny evening we reached the city of Buffalo, by Lake Eerie. It’s the nearest city before reaching the Niagara. The city was busy but the lake was quiet. The cold wind and the water around make this place worth a stop. I faced Eerie (The Lake)and spent some quality time here to get a flick of the spiritual self before heading to the place where I had traveled all these miles for.
30 minutes and I was in the Niagara Zone. As you get out of your car, you can hear the falls, and feel the wind. Believe me, you can feel the strength, power, and energy, in the air though you might not have reached the Vista Point yet. Dropping 600,000 gallons of water per second from a height of 51 meters; it makes the nature’s largest roar.
My stay was next to the falls. After a quick two minutes walk, I was walking by the Niagara River. As, I start strolling, the river starts running faster and the roar gets louder. Two minutes more and I was at the top of the falls.
Stranded between Canada and the USA; this falls is shared by both the countries. It has numerous vista points but falls has three primary parts — American, Horse Shoe and Bridal Veil.
I will never forget this first glimpse of the falls! It felt the superlative of gigantic, powerful, strong and beautiful. Next time I need a metaphor I know what to refer.
Every night Niagara lights up. The state parks in Canada and US do the wonderful job of lighting her up. She has a theme that goes with her every season. I visited in the last week of April, and they had set a theme for the lighting.
As lights are turned on. I could see those massive gallons of water dancing on the rainbow of colors before falling on the ground. The water sprinkles your face as those tiny droplets, bounce back from the fall. The water reflects it and with Niagara Falls City in the background, it is one of the most picturesque scenes.
I could have spent hours, but the Wind keeps you cold. Moreover, it feels like Niagara says don’t look at me too much.
George Tour — Cave of the Winds
First Thing. I went down an 800 feet elevator. It was called George Tour. The access is through the Niagara State Park, which is on the Goat island. It takes you to the foot of the American Falls and as you bend your neck 90 degrees to look up! You can see those gallons of water falling. You get wet fully and can spot some beautiful birds who would be taking a shower. It was closed for the most part but I could almost touch the falls and its bed. Go in the summer you literally will bathe yourself in it.
Maid of the Mist
Next was the World renowned Maid of the Mist boat tour. You get to your boat and wear your blue raincoat. The boat takes you closest to the two other falls of the Niagara.
The boat tour felt pretty normal with you being taken to ‘see’ the falls. But don’t judge till you end. #maidofthemist
The tour starts. We passed through the first part of the Niagara falls called The American falls. The white water that falls from the gorge just made the perfect sight. I still can’t forget that freshness in the view. Unlike, other waterfalls the broad width gives a nice view of the bedrocks of the falls. You can see the water falling and washing off the rocks at a wide angle. Which has been one of the rare sights of my lifetime.
Within minutes you pass through the falls. But the roar of the waterfalls goes stronger as we get closer to the Horseshoe Falls. The Bridal Veil and Horse Shoe falls are gigantic. The boat takes you almost to the point where you are surrounded by the falls on three sides; fourth being you on the boat. I believe this is where you feel you are in Niagara. A natural wonder that sets itself apart in so many ways.
As you spend some time by the falls, the sound of the falls is more calming then a roar.
Who would say don’t go to Niagara! (:
With Niagara I think my senses get amply satisfied. My eyes had a feast with the view, my ears were drunk with the sound and my skin was tickling with the sprinkles. Which is hard to find in a single tourist spot. This feels as authentic as Jurassic Park. However, I also felt it was too perfect to be natural. For a first timer like me it’s a beauty hard to blend. But travelers! its a beauty not to be missed.
P.S — My dad accompanied me for the trip. As a kid, he had always wanted to visit The Niagara. As life unfolded, he almost forgot about it. I felt a real pride when he hugged me for helping him redeem his childhood bucket list. Forgive me, but Niagara didn’t feel better than that.