The first few weeks of our stay in Boston in the US July last year had, at times been exciting, at times eventful, at times boring … To make our trip more exciting we decide on visiting the Magical Niagara Falls!
Spanning across the borders of Canada and the US is the popular cliché of American tourism, the world renowned Niagara Falls. A nature’s masterpiece carved by Nature comprising of ice, water and wind along Niagara River Gorge existing for more than 12,000 years, it comprises of three separate waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, most of which lies in Canada, the American Falls and the smaller sized one next to it, the Bridal Veil Falls, both in the US. Six million cubic feet of water, falls over the Crestline every minute over a 180 feet high cliff, one kilometre in width.
The twin cities of Niagara Falls are known as the “Honeymoon Cities” as newly wedded couples come here to pray for the longevity of their marriage. A legend has it that two lovers committed suicide here and their spirits roam here! As we approach the falls, we hear its thundering sound and feel highly excited by the proximity to mighty force of Nature. Niagara River starts its flow from Lake Erie in the US, tumbling into series of rapids along the way in the falls and later on empties itself into Lake Ontario in Canada.
We start this exciting tour and first alight near the American Falls and stand on the observation tower from where American Falls can be viewed up close. For a moment, I forget all about the hustle and bustle around me as I witness the inky river transform into limpid green just as it commences its downward journey. The incessantly pounding water enshrouds the Niagara gorge in a perpetual mist.
The Bridal Veil Falls is the site of “The Cave Of The Winds”, which is an exciting wet experience. This experience starts as soon as you discard your shoes and wear the waterproof sandals and the yellow rain gear. Going down to about 200 feet in an elevator and climbing up a spiral of steps lead you to the American Falls. Yet another elevator takes you to the gorge. We reach the base of the Niagara Gorge. A series of wooden stairs and decks below the falls zigzags towards the Hurricane Deck, which is just about twenty-five feet from the cascading water. We are bashed by a torrent of water so powerful that we have trouble keeping our eyes open, let alone seeing the falls! We are able to face this close encounter with the thunderous falls just for 15 minutes.
The prominent attraction here is that of the Maid of the Mist boat ride. This world-famous boat journey embarks from the base of the Observation Tower for a trip into the frizzy waters under the American and Horseshoe Falls. At approximately 280 feet in height from the base of the gorge, the Observation Tower that has an elevator carries tourists to the Maid of the Mist dock below. After the elevator ride to the bottom of the Niagara Gorge, you slip on the blue plastic poncho and jump into one of the small ships that ferry tourists past American Falls and into the heart of the towering cloud of mist thrown up by the semi-circular Horse shoe Falls.
You get to see the spectacular falls from the base, as it skirts past the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. As the boat starts her half-mile journey, we race up and down in the deck looking for a spot from which we can see something else other than the flutter of blue plastic covering the entire the boat. The rough wind lashing through the ponchos nullify the commentary from the loudspeakers in the boats. As we pass American falls and get closer to Horseshoe Falls, we hear the stupendous and exploding voice of water reverberating from the rocks and are completely drenched by sprays of mist on our faces.
At the foot of Horseshoe Falls, we are barely able to see one another or hear each other’s voice. Our boat lingers for a few moments here as it fights the tough currents, facing the deafening sheet of white water. Soon we feel the vibration of the boat from the bottom and the mist suddenly roars and we dash into an opening by the railing and find the Niagara Falls right in front of us. The spray from the falls is so thick that we hardly see the falls! But we do feel the power of Niagara Falls, inflating our ponchos, with all of us running about like kids scuffling past in front of an open fire hydrant, barely able to stand up to the blast! Excited voices screaming ‘Fantastic, Awesome……’ is what we hear! An ultimate experience!
Holding steady in the swirling waters for a minute, the 72-foot Maid of the Mist emerges unscathed. As I wipe the waters from my eyes, I understand why this roaring icon has attracted people for ages. Come explore Niagara and get an up close and unforgettable experience!