“Was that the exit we needed?”
Niagara Falls; it’s one of those places that’s usually described as “you can’t truly appreciate it until you see it in person”. I’ve always wondered how true this statement holds to a lot of places I haven’t visited yet (Grand Canyon, Great Wall of China, Pyramids at Giza, etc.). So what about Niagara Falls? Do they really hold true to that statement?
We were on our way back to the United States after spending some time in Canada and decided to check out the falls on the way. We missed the exit we were supposed to take and got off at the next one, we then missed the on ramp going back. A big part of traveling is enjoying the journey, instead of getting frustrated, we actually ended up having a laughing fit about it. I’ve learned that the best people to travel with, are the ones who take mistakes lightly. It’s hard to travel with people who are uptight and serious, traveling is fun, so it should stay that way!
After getting off at the correct exit we headed towards the city of Niagara, now I had never been here before and I’ve also not been to Las Vegas yet, but it really felt like a miniature Vegas, the buildings and store fronts have this very fake yet show-off feel to them. And there are a lot of casinos and hotels!
After we broke through the buildings of the city we could see a large cloud of mist rising into the air not too far in the distance, we were now very close. After parking, you can immediately hear a roar when you open the car door, faint, but you know what it is. After about 10 minutes of walking we arrive at the welcome center, many people from all over the world visiting and the walls are covered in amazing photos of the falls at different times, some show them lit up at night in a rainbow of colors, other show them frozen in winter, and some were taken decades ago. Several stories were up as well explaining some of the bizarre events that have taken place, such as the woman in a barrel going over the falls and surviving! Another explains how the falls have been slowing receding over the years and that eventually the entire city will be gone, though it’s currently rate of deterioration is only 1 foot a decade I believe, so it’ll be awhile! It’s was originally worse, but steps have been taken to minimize it down to its current pace.
Finally arriving to the viewing area of the falls we got the full effect, the millions of gallons of water rushing down into the pool below, you can get a feel for the power that the water has by the tremendous roar that’s bellowing out from the horseshoe shaped arena. Little fact here is that the rough amount of water estimated is 34 million gallons every minute! Among the people witnessing this, was also a very friendly bird who didn’t mind pictures being taken of him. In fact, it almost seemed like he was posing for a lot of people!
After taking in the falls from above, we decided to go below and get a closer look, and also went for the behind the scenes!
The close up view from the side was breath-taking. This is a must see for anyone who visits, but be prepared to get very wet!
The tour behind the falls is very different. You can’t really see much behind the falls, but you can really feel the force here. As you walk through the tunnels which have multiple off-shoots leading to a view like you see above, all you here is rushing water echoing down the yellow concrete hallways. The mist and moisture fills the tunnels, but don’t worry, you’re given a poncho to keep your clothing dry! Taking pictures and videos is very difficult, water droplets are constantly forming on the lens. So if you get a good shot, take it quick!
After the tour, we took the shaky elevator back up. While they work fine, you really must question the state they’re in.
Exiting back outside you get a great view of the city of Niagara. We also passed through a souvenir store. I grabbed myself some maple sugar candies and pure Canadian maple syrup (this stuff was EXCELLENT by the way, no picture taken though unfortunately).
After that we continued our way back to the U.S. So, in conclusion, I must agree with everyone else, Niagara Falls really is something you must see in person to really witness the magnitude of the water. I probably wouldn’t do the tour behind the falls again, one time is great, but I feel that a 2nd time wouldn’t be worth it. Seeing the falls again themselves though and perhaps taking one of the mini-cruises that go right up to the falls is defiantly something I would be interested in trying!