Maiden in the Mist

Trip Start Jun 03, 2008
1
70
72
Trip End Aug 12, 2008


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow
Where I stayed
Niagara Falls Camprground

Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, August 10, 2008

The FUN in Niagara Falls was of course with the Griswalds, 4 of the 20 million people who visited the Falls in 2008!  We were to be out front of the campground and ready for an all day tour by 7:45.  Yes, the exciting tour Ellen signed the troops up for.  There is so much to do and see it is easier to have someone else do the thinking.  That someone else was a fabulous guide by the name of Rita.  She was born and raised in Niagara and not only was very informative about the views of the falls, but about the people, the history, the happenings, the food, and the politicians.  The Mayor happens to be her uncle, even if she didn't vote for him.  If we had a question regarding the surrounding area Rita answered it and answered it with flare!  She was a hoot!  She had a great sense of humor and made the tour a lot more fun!!!

First stop, Whirlpool State Park.  This park is a ways down from the falls where some of the most extreme rapids in the world precede the whirlpool due to the 35,000,000 gallons of water that flow over the falls per minute.   A great hiking trail is available down to the whirlpool and rapids but were not on our agenda.  Rita told stories of suicide attempts and victories and spoke of the shear strength and power of the water.  We watched an old tire that had been caught up in the whirlpool that went round and round and the kids wondered how long it had been doing that for and much longer it would be there for.   We could also see people from the Canadian side taking an "Gondola-like" ride over the waters to the American side.  Rita had many interesting and funny stories of people trying to get into the US from this vantage point.

We weren't too far from the original location of the Falls.  This was about seven miles from where they exist today.  Over thousands of years, Niagara Falls were created by water erosion, moving upstream at over 6 feet per year.  They stay where they are now because they control the water flow over the falls.   As we passed by the Control Dam we were told that the amount of water that flows depends upon the time of day and the time of year.  The amount that is siphoned away during the night hours is up to 50%.

Off to Bridal Veil Falls where we get a raincoat and a special pair of shoes.  It was raining that day, so we were glad to have the logo-ed trash bags to keep us a little dryer.  We were warned pretty sternly that anything that was not covered by the rain gear would get wet.....very wet.  We all tied our trash bags around our lower legs, pulled up our jeans to the knees, put on our special shoes on before we were allowed to take an elevator ride down to Bridal Veil Falls.  WOW!  They weren't kidding a bit about the wet!  We were all wet from the rain, but this was more like taking a shower.  It was worth every drop.  It was breathtaking.  The water flowed over the staircases and over our feet in our new stylish shoes.  Our faces were drenched with the mist spraying from the rocks as the roar of the water rushed by us.  We were only given a short time to spend down there and we stayed as long as we possibly could as the water coming off the falls was actually warmer than the rain.  We got as close to the falls as possible and stayed as dry as possible before departing.

Next stop, NY State Observation Tower.  The most impressive views of the American Falls can be seen from the deck of the park's Observation Tower. Extending out over the Niagara Gorge, the Tower allows you to look directly out into the cascading waters of the American Falls or down into the raging torrents below. Two glass elevators provide access to the base of the gorge and the boarding site of the Maid of the Mist boat ride. 

For more than 150 years, the Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist has taken visitors through the foaming waters beneath the falls and now the the Girswalds. The journey began at the bottom of the Observation Tower, where we were provided with another souvenir rain poncho. Thank Goodness, as the other one was removed at lunch.  The Maid of the Mist is a small vessel that toke us to the base of the American Falls and then to the basin of Horseshoe Falls, through the crashing waters and massive rock formations. This fabulous boat ride allowed us to experience firsthand the power and intensity of the falls.

We had been wet all day long.  In fact, so long that we were all pruned.  We were also very cold and having trouble warming up as all our clothes were soaked through.  It was pretty hard to stay dry between the wet adventures, the rain and the wind.  We were hungry and ready to get back to the campground.  There were several groups that were being dropped off and we were the last.

We had just enough time to throw in a couple pizzas, change clothes to something warmer and eat before the next bus was going to arrive to pick us up for our tour of the Canadian side.  None of us, frozen and soggy Griswalds really wanted to go, but that was our last night there and it looked like the rain was stopping.   

Clarkism, "Kids did you know the first  person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive was a  63 year old  
female schoolteacher. Also many high wire tightrope acts used to be performed across the river. Most notably 
was "Blondin" who once actually carried his manager across on his back, stopping midway to rest !  I would give either of those a try, but I wouldn't want any of you to worry about me."  Yeah right, Clark happens to be afraid of heights.  "Anyway, something else fascinating is twenty percent of the worlds freshwater lies in the Great Lakes, and most flows over Niagara Falls."  Like we couldn't live without that fact.

When the shuttle arrived to pick us up with passports in hand, the door opened and guess who it was.......RITA.  Someone called in sick and she changed buses and came back to pick up the fun Griswalds to go to Canada.  So after picking up a couple other tourists we made a mad dash to get across the Rainbow Bridge.  This is quiet the process, but we lucked out and got in front of the bus carrying all the Japanese sightseers.  Rita explained that they never have the right paperwork, don't speak the language and we would be stuck waiting on the bridge for over an hour.

First stop, the Great Whirlpool from the Canadian side.  This was much of a repeat except for the Botanical gardens and clock.  It seems to be a big deal, but not much of a thrill for us.  Moving forward we stopped and got a coffee and browsed in a shopping area.  They have large sculptural figurines out front of this retail area.  One being a moose.  Rita informed us that steeling the Moose's nuts is the thing to do over on that side.  Not sure what one does with over sized resin moose balls, but we didn't ask any more question.

Onward to the Skylon Tower.  Here is where we were able to rise above the city and falls and get a birds-eye view.  WOW was that spectacular.  We rode to the observation deck in an exterior glass enclosed yellow bug elevator in 52 seconds.  We had unbelievable views of Niagara Falls, the Great Gorge, the city skylines of Buffalo and Toronto all enhanced with a rainbow in the distance.  One can almost be guaranteed the sighting of a rainbow when they come visit the falls and with the rainy weather we were having, we weren't sure it was going to happen.  What a beautiful sight from what seemed to be the top of the world.  

Amongst many other stops we made, another more impressive one was the Journey Behind the Falls.  After receiving our souvenir rain poncho, we took an elevator ride down to a maze of tunnels that must have be built..... a long time ago.  They all lead to cubby holes and observation decks from behind the Horseshoe Falls.  The sound like thunder echoing through the tunnels, the sight not so awe inspiring as it was dark by now and it looked like rainfall through a window.  However, the deck next to the falls, was worth while as they light the falls in various colors making for a stunning view.  Unfortunately, none of the cameras would capture it under the low lighting conditions. 

The time had come and the tour was over.  It was approximately 11:30 at night and we had all had enough of the water falls, the rain, getting wet, and being so cold.  It also marked the last leg of our trip.  We only had a few more destinations left on our schedule.  Rusty was excited about that fact and the rest of us had mixed feelings.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: