Monday, July 27, 2009

Niagara Falls

Location: Niagara Falls, American Side

We only had one day to spend at the Falls, and our plan was to see the U.S. side first, and then drive to Canada to see the other side. It almost worked -- we saw the American Falls and took a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist, but then we spent so much time waiting in line at customs that we were tired before we even set foot on Canadian soil. When we finally got across, we found out we'd have to fight a zillion other people for parking spots and our only real hope of seeing the falls on foot was to park way, way, far away and take a shuttle in -- but by then we were too tired to even consider that logistically challenging maneuver, so we just did a Canadian-falls-drive-by.

From the American side, you can see the wide American Falls and the smaller Bridal Veil Falls, on the near left in the photo below. Horseshoe Falls and Canada are in the distance:

It was blustery and chilly as we stood overlooking the American Falls -- the wind blew curtains of water off the falls, in some places making even seeing them a challenge. If that didn't get us wet enough, we decided to take a trip on the Maid of the Mist, the excursion boat that leaves from either side and sails to the foot of the Falls. To make the tourists feel like they won't be soaked, everyone is given a blue rain slicker -- and we started off nice and dry at the boarding dock:

We motored out into the channel, approximately on the border between the U.S. and Canada, and then past the American and Bridal Veil falls to our left:

We then moved into the middle of Horseshoe Falls, where the white mist of spray made the middle of the falls all but disappear. It was very much like being in a rainstorm except the water didn't just come from above -- it came from our sides too, and then the churning water below was added in to make it seem like we were in a high-pressure shower with scores of strangers who all inexplicably decided today to dress like Smurfs:

It was fun, but we sure ended up a lot wetter than we were when we started!

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