You don’t usually get to see gorgeous waterfalls which are hundreds of meters wide and at the same time plunge from a great height. And when you have not one but two (or rather three) of such waterfalls together, it is a sight to behold.
Presenting the Niagara Falls. At the border of USA and Canada, the trio of Horseshoe Falls (on Canadian side), American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls (latter two on American side) are together known as the awesome Niagara Falls. The combined falls derives the name from the Niagara river that flows through these great drops creating what is the highest water flow in the world. And visiting these falls was definitely one of the top experiences we had in USA.
We had taken the overnight bus from New York to save the day time for excursions. So we reached Niagara Falls early morning (even before breakfast). And we had planned the trip such that we couldn’t miss the illumination in the evening at any cost. So we literally had the whole day to us to explore the Niagara Falls and we took our own sweet time admiring the beauty.
As we entered the Niagara National Park, we heard the great waterfalls long before we laid eyes on them. The tumbling rumbling sound grew to roaring thunder as we made our way towards the Falls. We were finally there and were mesmerized by what we saw.
We saw the Niagara river stretching far to the other side bank. Water gushing towards us creating fast rapids only to fall hundreds of feet below our feet. The might of the fall generated such momentum that created immense impact on contact with the surface below. Mist generated thus rising high above the surface. And the bright sun shining down create a gorgeous rainbow radiating all colors in its full glory.
And fascination increased multifold when we realized that this was only a part of the Niagara Falls and that too the smaller part. The largest of the lot, the Horseshoe Falls were on the other side separated by a whole island but fed from the same river. In the distance we could see half of the curve of the Horseshoe and realized that the mighty Falls was creating its own cloud from the mist.
There are two tremendous experience at Niagara and it is impossible to choose the better of the two.
Maid of the Mist looks like a simple normal river cruise from a distance. But there is nothing normal or simple about it. As we entered the path to the cruise, we were handed a red waterproof poncho (rain coat) which rang some alarm bells. We dutifully obliged by putting it over us and covering every inch possible. We started on the cruise with a beautiful view of the Rainbow Bridge connecting USA to Canada.
When we turned around, we were greeted by the great drop of American Falls. It looked even more impressive front-on and from below. The falls sprayed a little on us and it was fun. The neighboring Bridal Veil Falls looked pretty and we noticed some yellow creatures dangerously close to the falls and we ignored them. The best was still to come.
The full blown sight of Horseshoe Falls took our breath away. We didn’t guess this humungous size of the falls from the distance. When it was right in front of us, the gargantuan width seemed to surround us and the great heights seemed to reach the sky. And the force of water. Wow!! Never would have imagined that water flow at such a strong natural flow. It felt like we were standing next to a storm. The sound was definitely like a storm. And the flow blew the water so hard that we were caught unguarded by the heavy spray of mist that now felt like a rain. The name of the cruise should have given it away but we just thought they were just being fancy and creative.
The second tour: Cave of winds, didn’t even look simple going in. We had to change out of our shoes in the sandals they provide and get in the yellow ponchos this time (wait a minute! Was these the same yellow we had seen earlier? OMG!). The we were deposited hundreds of feet down the surface by a fast lift. Here begins the adventure.
We walked along the path and soon realized the sound of waterfall was nearing. Then we saw what we had deduced earlier. The path led to really close to the Bridal Veil Falls. So close that you could actually stand below the heavy force of the falling water. What?? How could they allow this? Was it even safe? These and many other questions rans through our heads. Then the adrenaline took over and we were beyond excited to go under the falls. We nearly ran the last stairway up to the platform. A slight last moment hesitation but then we jumped under the falls.
It was so amazing. Couldn’t be compared to anything we have ever experienced. Tons of water falling from hundreds of feet had such a strong force that it was even hard to stand straight. Nearly blown away, literally. It felt like thin blades of wind was hitting us and not water. Exhilarating to say the least. No matter how hard we tried to wrap the poncho around us and cover ourselves, the hands and legs were completely drenched.
(And it is completely safe. The water bounces off the boulders near the feet of the Falls and you don’t stand below the falls directly to a large extent.)
Another must do at Niagara. Although from the USA side, we had to be satisfied with a side-on view of the illuminated falls and were not able to see the Falls from the front, it was well worth the wait. The huge beams of colored light from the Canadian side lit up the American and Bridal Veil waterfalls creating an incredible view. The waterfalls seemed to be transformed to colorful curtains sliding down the side of the Niagara gorge. The changing combinations colors of the illuminating lights was great.
Watching the waterfalls transform under morning bright sun to sunset to artificial lighting in the night was one of the most remarkable experiences.
Do you have a story to tell about your Niagara experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.