Saturday, July 12, 2008

Niagara Falls

Thursday we awoke with fresh legs ready to seek out Niagara Falls and all its beauty. What an exhilarating experience that has to be experienced in person to reap the full benefit of the Falls’ magnificence! Pictures and words do not capture the feelings experienced while standing in the Falls’ presence. The first thing we did was ride the Maid of the Mist boat, which actually brings you within 30 feet of the Horseshoes Falls on the Canada side. You might wonder why it is called “Maid of the Mist”. There is a mist that rises from the water after it plunges the hundreds of feet to the rocks below. Also there is an Indian legend that we need to look up about the history of that name. We thought we looked pretty fetching in our pretty blue raincoats they gave us to wear! Yes, we needed them, because the mist is pretty heavy. Abraham Lincoln said he wondered where all the water came from and when Donna saw the quote she said she thought the same thing. Donna was also amazed by all of the seagulls and as you view our pictures you will notice that she is pretty enthralled by birds we see along the way. The ride on the Maid of the Mist lasted 30 minutes, but is a very powerful 30 minutes of being so close to the falls. The view from the observation tower is wonderful as you are leaving. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, we headed to the next exciting part called Cave of the Wind. The Cave of the Wind was behind the Bridal Veil waterfall. When you are viewing Niagara Falls the Bridal Veil looks pretty delicate (and small) compared to the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls when, in reality, if Bridal Veil Falls stood alone, it would be a very tremendous Falls in its own right. Guests can no longer go to the cave because of a rock slide, but you can climb to the Hurricane Deck and let the water and wind of the Bridal Veil Falls tumble and pound over you. Cave of the Wind not only provides you a slicker, this one yellow, but they also provide you flip flops because if you walk to the Hurricane Deck, you cannot leave without being entirely soaked. Definitely an adrenaline rush! Super fun! What an amazing experience….Prior to Niagara Falls almost everything we set out to see had been man-made, and we have viewed some super, tremendous, wonderful things that definitely amaze and astonish you, but nothing has been like this. It is like God showing off. “What you can do…I do better.” I am so thankful for the blessing to see this wonderful creation! I definitely would like to take my family back. We rode the trolley around and saw the Niagara River and the rapids…….. heard the story of the 63 year old teacher that survived the ride over the falls in a barrel in the year 1901. All too soon it was time for us to go……..away we drove to Pennsylvania with blinders on, saying “no, we can’t stop! We are already behind”, ……..barely getting a glimpse of Lake Erie, but Donna did manage one picture. Then on to Indiana …and a slight detour up into Coldwater, Michigan. Again, not bad for one day…Canada, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan. Whew!! Lots of fun….
Donna’s Additions: Our time at Niagara Falls. What an incredible experience! I can’t believe we were actually able to get so close to the falls! We got so close in the Maid of the mist that I found myself thinking about stories such as the Titanic… When we got really close, the falls came down around you on three sides (probably why they call it Horseshoe Falls, huh?) This made the water we were riding in pretty choppy. I found myself wondering what would happen if the boat lost power. Would we get sucked into the falls or pushed away or just spin in circles forever? The mist caused by the falls made me think of an avalanche of snow. All you could see was white. Several times when we were able to get really close, it seemed like the falls should rush towards us, but they have their own path to take. You can’t imagine how many seagulls were flying around and perching on the hillside. It said that one winter they counted 40,000.00 of them. That doesn’t even include some of the other birds there! Cave of the Winds was really exciting also. The Hurricane Deck was the best. The falls were actually coming down on us! I was sure I would have been able to wring my eyelashes out! I figured this was a good thing to do. It would keep me away from the river by the rapids that led to the falls so I could touch it. Would you believe fate gave me the opportunity to get next to the river anyway and stick my hand in? I promised a friend that I would not try any white water rafting, but I didn’t say anything about feeling the water. Of course, it was in a safe place, a little nook. Something everybody needs to experience. The whole experience gave us such a rush. We were still feeling it long after we left the falls! But, just for the record, I don’t plan on trying to ride over the falls in a barrel on my 63rd birthday!
Melody says, before we went to Maid of the Mist or Cave of the Wind we just stood and watched the rainbow over the falls. I don’t think I’ve seen a more beautiful sight breathtaking sight that seems to engage all of senses….the roar of the falls…the shimmering rainbow in the fine white mist floating down to coat arms and other exposed skin…. Super powerful! We were thankful we arrived early enough in the morning to catch the right angle for the sun to catch the rainbow. As I stood there, rode the boat, and climbed the stairs to the cave of the winds, I tried to imagine I was 6 and 10 years old from landlocked Oklahoma and tried to think how Bud and Temple would have felt when they viewed this sight. I have seen pictures, movies and other water falls in person and yet I cannot find adequate words to express the magnificence…and although they do not say much about it in their book, I have to think Bud and Temple were pretty astonished and amazed by the beauty of God’s creation here, as well as I am.

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