On the second day of my vacation, we all went to Niagara Falls. I had never been there before, but I wasn’t expecting much. It’s a huge and famous waterfall, but it also has a sappy reputation, thanks to all the honeymooners. Now, as a soon-to-be honeymooner, I still don’t get why it’s such a honeymoonish destination, but I do think every American (and Canadian) should see it at some point in their lives. It’s amazing.
It’s hard to capture the majesty and scope of the falls in a photograph. At the same time, it’s almost impossible to take a bad picture of the falls. Almost all of the pictures I took were acceptable. Choosing just one of them was the hard part. This picture gives you some idea of Niagara’s size and the amount of mist that it generates.
After oohing and aahing over the the view from the side, we hopped on the famous Maid of the Mist to get a better view. One of the fun things about the Maid of the Mist tour is that everyone gets a bright blue poncho to wear. It feels like wearing a garbage bag, and boy, does it get hot in that thing, but once you’re in the mist, you’re glad for the protection. Without it, you’d get soaked.
While we were deep in the mist, I had my camera safely tucked away. Some crazy people were trying to film the whole tour. They risked their cameras, and for what? It’s an incredible experience to be surrounded by mist, with the deck of the ship heaving beneath your feet and the roar of the falls filling your ears, but that experience can’t possibly translate to film. It’s one of those “you had to be there” things.
This next picture was taken while we were on the ship. That’s the American Falls on the left and the Bridal Veil Falls on the right. You can just make out the stairway in front of the Bridal Veil Falls. That’s the Cave of the Winds tour. Soon we would join it.
It’s necessary to cross the river in order to get to Goat Island, where the Cave of the Winds tour is. Not realizing we could drive there, we trekked across the footbridge and, arriving tired and (in my case) a mite sunburned, we were devastated to find out that the Cave of the Winds has been inaccessible since the ’20s. What a letdown! And such false advertising! We almost skipped the tour, but having come all that way, we felt it owed us something, so we donned the special plastic sandals and yellow ponchos, took the elevator down, and started on the stairs.
These people are headed for the Hurricane Deck, where you can step into the spray of Bridal Veil Falls. The decking is reassembled every year (they disassemble it for the winter). If you look at it closely while you’re there, you can see that the support beams are just wedged into nooks and crannies, rather than bolted, and there are random pieces of wood just lying around, presumably left over from decks of the past.
I knew I’d find a rainbow if I looked hard enough. Finally, on a platform near the Hurricane Deck, I found it.
Stepping into the water at the Hurricane Deck takes some courage. The water is coming down hard and it finds ways into your poncho, soaking your clothes. It buffets you around and gets in your mouth. I enjoyed it so much, I had to do it a second time. I told my mom I was going back in and—this is one of my favorite memories—her face lit up and she jumped into motion, saying eagerly, “I’ll come with you!”
In the end, we all had to agree that the Cave of the Winds tour was worth the time and money. But why don’t they rename the tour so that people won’t be expecting a cave? How about calling it “The Hurricane Deck”? That’s what the tour is all about, after all.
I will not be returning to Niagara Falls for my honeymoon, but I may go back someday. The view from the Canadian side is supposedly better, and they also have the Journey Behind the Falls. My efforts to enter Canada have been thwarted again and again. This time, I was just a stone’s throw away from the Canadian shore, but I didn’t have my passport. Just you wait, Canada! Next time, I’m getting in!
So the second day of my vacation was as good as the first. On the third day, we went to the Corning Museum of Glass. More on that later.