We made it to our first city stop at 17.15 hours, its name similar to the grandest water feature on the continent, Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York State of USA. It took us another hour or so to get to our target site and by the time we’d entered the park and paid our entry fees, it was slightly past 18.00 hours. Still, under the bright sunny blue skies of mid-summer, it was the ideal moment as it was two more hours before sundown so plenty of time to enjoy the adventure before us.
That morning, about 8 hours prior, my friend TG and I had embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. A road trip from Boston, Masachusetts on the East Coast of the US, to Los Angeles, California on the West Coast. We had 3 weeks to get there and back, and she’d purchased special season tickets to allow us entry to most National or State run Parks across the entire country. So our route was decided on this basis, with our desire to visit as many as possible along our journey. This being Day1, Niagara Falls was the first and unquestionably the best destination to motivate us on our epic journey.
As we approached, we saw the large volume of steam or mist rising from the humongous body of water flowing powerfully towards an edge beyond which it cascades heavily out of sight. As we got closer, the sound of the heavy water mass crashing against rocks in its way, or hitting them far below as it lands became louder and louder. We got drawn to the view point to get a closer look, and by then the noise of the massive waterfalls that went on for hundreds of metres was deafening, we had to raise our voices to talk to one another!
While there were hordes of visitors already filling up the place and milling everywhere, the park is designed such that viewers have many options from which to stand and marvel at the grandiose feature of nature. And because of its sheer size and magnificence, any spot is good enough really.
A group of three colossal waterfalls, Niagara Falls spans the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and the State of New York in the United States. The water volume, expanse and area of coverage makes it one of the most spectacular landscapes of nature to behold and receives millions of visitors each year.
We found an empty spot near us and for an extended moment, stood in silence in awe and wonder. On this US side, the Niagara River flows from Lake Erie in the south heading northward towards Lake Ontario in Canada. From our vantage point, the flow appearing black as it passed over solid rock was moving from our left, just before transforming into brilliant white cloudy mass of water cascading heavily down 50-100m down below. If you watched it for too long you could begin to feel its power & force right to your bones. The waters at the bottom where the colossal waters fall, form a choppy river flowing through a huge channel varying in width at different points ranging 500-1000m or more across. The huge rock faces on either side of the two countries form a deep gorge that holds and guides the powerful waters along their commanding way.
It was breath-taking to view it from above and when we spotted 2-3 little boats full of people in similar colour, bobbing on the rough waters down below, we sought to learn how we could get there. It would be at an extra cost and after hesitating for a bit, decided it was worth it for the experience.
Descending to the drop level of the waters was astounding! You come face-to-face with the curtain-like mass of water tumbling heavily down in front of you. You hear and feel the roar of the water obeying the law of gravity come crashing loudly on huge boulders over 50 metres below (about 100m in front of you). From this point it’s like being in a theatre and the stage before you is nature displaying its grand performance across the vast distance of the cliff face, as water lands with thunder so loud you can barely hear each other speak!
We had to wear raincoats because of the natural rain caused by power of the wind on the mist that is generated when the water hits the rocks at the bottom, carrying it for miles. At times it felt like it would carry us away, too! Even taking pictures was treacherous because of the waterfall generated rain.
What was going through my mind was: Water, water, everywhere! Powerful, beautiful, mysterious and scary even, in its potency and continuous flow, like it has for tons of centuries past and likely for many more to come – who knows??! We felt like teeny-tiny minions in our little boat getting bobbed about at the mercy of the river waters.
To attempt to describe its magnificence is an exercise in futility. The best way to experience it, is to go there yourself!! Yes, it’s totally worth the extra cost to descend and advance closer to the water spray, just to feel the deafening power of the water mass drop. And no, it isn’t as scary as it looks!
It was hard to tear ourselves away even after the boat had returned and we’d ascended back to the view points on level ground. The only reason we left was that it was getting dark, the park was closing and we had to find our camp site quickly so that we could settle for the night in good time. (It was going to be camping all the way to keep costs down and to spice our grand adventure).
To get to Niagara Falls, approach the US-Canada border either from within the State of Ontario (Canada) or the State of New York (USA). Depending on where you are located, you can enjoy it as a one day excursion on your own, as a family or with a larger group of friends.
If it isn’t on your bucket list, add it please!