Beginning the Great Rioux/Hannan/Wall Road Trip, my mother and I decided to stop at Niagara Falls. The falls get their collective name from the indigenous people, who gave it a name meaning thundering water. Despite popular belief there are actually three falls right next to each other: the Horseshoe, Bridal Veil, and American Falls. Words just don’t do this natural wonder justice, and so I will merely say that the falls are breath taking.
After wondering around, in confused circles, we finally found directions to the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour. We quickly found that for about the same price of riding the Maid, and walking on the wind cave trail, we could also see a movie about the falls, check out a discovery center and see the aquarium. Opting for these discovery passes turned out to be one of the best decisions we mad that day, as it allowed us to skip ahead of the huge lines for tickets.
For the Maid of the Mist tour we were stuffed like blue poncho coated sardines into a tiny boat. Then the steamboat carried us next to the American, and Bridal Veil Falls, and than cruised right into the middle of the Horseshoe Basin. In the basin we got pelted with thick mists, but we were rewarded with rainbows everywhere (yes even a double rainbow). Later we found out about the Maid of the Mist’s namesake. A local legend tells the story of a women, who stricken with grief threw herself over the falls. A great thunder spirit, living in the falls carried her to safety, and took her as a wife. It is said that she lives in the mists of the falls, and every rainbow you see is her playing in the mist.
Next we took a small trolley around to the falls to the Cave of the Winds. We walked around next to the Bridal Veil Falls, and hiked up to the Hurricane Deck. Large winds from caves behind the falls blasted us as we were pelted with water from the falls. While very wet, being this close to the falls gave us an appreciation of how immense these falls are.
We made it back to the center in time to catch the last showing of The Niagara Legends of Adventure Theater. While cheesy at times, there are a lot of interesting stories around the falls. The Legend of the Maid of the Mist for one, and The first Maid of the Mist steamboat, sailing down the rapid filled river to it’s new owner. Also offered in the film, are aerial views of the falls, without having to pay for the helicopter ride.
Finally, we visited the Falls one last time, to see it at night. After dark, lights illuminate the Falls in Neon Colors giving them an eerie glow. While pretty, it feels to EPCOT too me, and I much prefer the sight during the day.
One thing during this trip that surprised me, was the amount of trash and waste at this place. Although the park does a good job in recycling all of the unwanted ponchos from various exhibits. I didn’t see much other recycling. A lot of the more congested areas were dirty with trash, mostly I think from the sheer number of people (mostly foreign) who visit every day. It just irritates me that after seeing such a magnificent natural beauty, typical tourists leave trash everywhere. When will we ever learn as a species to respect the environment around us, I don’t know.