Niagara Falls!!!


Wow. You know you’re going to get close and you’re going to get wet, but you don’t realize how close or how wet. It’s so fun, it deserves three exclamation points! (And its own blog post.) Definitely the top side-trip of The Great Loop so far.

I heard about Niagara Falls as a place for Midwestern and Northern honeymooners. Since I never had one of those, and had no other reason to visit this part of the country, I never made it there…but was of course fascinated by all the human drama and daredevil activities that have happened there. Well, we added a little drama of our own, with our shrieks and laughter, during our tour into the falls on the Maid of the Mist. And I do mean into them…close enough to feel the wind they create and get doused by a driving rain.

I’m the umpteenth person to experience this thrill. The first Maid of the Mist was a side-wheel steamboat ferry in the 1840s! Ours was an all-electric boat launched (with its sister boat) less than two years ago and is powered by high-capacity battery packs. At least 1.5 million tourists ride the two boats each year.

My thanks to Stephanie Burgess, a local resident who I met through other Loopers and who acted as our tour guide and chauffeur. She made it easy to get there from our boat in nearby Tonawanda.

Photos of the thrilling ride below. Now I want to go back and have more time in this spectacular national park…

View of Canada and the Niagara River from the observation deck before you board the boat.
The first thing you have to do when you take this dousing boat ride is get into these huge blue hooded ponchos. This is Rachel from Rachel Ann helping John into his. Or trying to, anyway. 😉
Approaching the falls, we passed by this boat from Canada. Canadians wear red ponchos.
As you approach the falls, the excitement grows but you still don’t realize how close you will get to them.
John and Rachel have a front-row seat here, but then we all did because the boat spins around a lot.
As we got closer, the wind got stronger and the mist turned into a rain. Hoods went up!
Soon, it was a pelting rain—like being caught in a sudden violent summer storm.
This was the best shot I could get when the wind and rain was strongest. It’s quite a thrill but feels perfectly safe.
Jeff took this one…pure water-power.
You can also walk close to the falls, but didn’t have time. Next visit!
This is what they look like from the top…
See how close the city is? That surprised me somehow.
Just imagine going over this. According to Wikipedia, more than 5,000 people have done it–either intentionally (as stunts or suicide attempts) or accidentally. Only 16 of them survived. The first of these “successes” was in 1901, in a barrel. Stunting at Niagara Falls has been illegal since 1951.
Upriver from the falls, the Niagara River is beautiful and dangerous. It’s not hard to imagine falling in accidentally and getting swept down….
Stephanie was not just a generous chauffeur but a very informed tour guide.
A memorable day.

4 thoughts on “Niagara Falls!!!

  1. Hi Mary,
    We used to take out of town guests to the Falls on a regular basis. So powerful and so much water. My sister, young and not comprehending, wanted to see the bunnies near the Falls… The rapids (rabbits in her mind). I also recall and have several photos of the American Falls when they were “turned off” in the 1960’s to study the erosion. Quite something, but I never rode the Maid of the Mist.

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  2. Appreciate you continuing your blog. I remember the Lockport locks as a young kid being scared because of how high we had to go up. One thing I can’t see on google maps is how my dad navigated us without a lot travel to see the mist coming off the top of the falls in crystal clear water so much that we could see the very rocky bottom. We actually took out a tow line incase the one of the boats we were traveling with broke down so no one went over the falls. Maybe my dad was pulling our legs and I will ask him next time we talk but will never forget seeing the most and the rocky bottom of the river. Continued safe travels.

    Ben

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    1. Wish I could see what you are describing! So nice that these posts bring back good memories for you.. Thank you for your comment on the Great Loop FB page, which did nudge me to start writing again. 🙂

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