Thursday, September 6, 2012


September 1st, Saturday- September 3rd, Monday

The KOA Campground is located about 8 miles from the American Niagara Falls. We arrived midday, got settled in and drove over to the State Park to purchase our Discovery Passes for Sunday. With the passes we would not have to wait in line to purchase ticket the next day. We could not believe the hordes of people everywhere. Even for a holiday weekend, this was extraordinary.  Fortunately, the line for the passes was not too long and we were able to purchase them and get out of the mayhem before too long.

Sunday we arose early, drove to the Niagara State Park, parked and got in line first for the 25 minute Maid of the Mist cruise knowing that it was sure to be as crowded as the day before.  We were glad to be there early as many busloads of foreign tourists unloaded and crowded into line behind us. There was much pushing and shoving from them as we made our way to the boat, but we made it to the entry, donned the ponchos we were given and boarded the boat. As we approached the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the mist and water were all over us. We managed to get a few pictures, but were afraid to leave our cameras unprotected from the water too long.
Horseshow Falls

American Falls
American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls
Tim on Maid of the Mist
Maid of the Mist Near Horseshoes Falls

The boat stayed in the one spot for a few minutes before heading over to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The thunderous roar of both the falls was very intimidating and reminded us once again how forceful Mother Nature is.  The Horseshoe Falls span 2600 feet wide and are 167 feet high. About 600,000 gallons of water flow over it every second! The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls together span 1060 feet and are 176 feet high with 75,000 gallons of water flowing over them every second. The hydroelectric plant regulates the flow of both of these and slows the flow somewhat during the night hours.   There are two stories that folks here tell about survivors of the Falls. One was of Annie Taylor, a school teacher,  who, on her 63rd Birthday in 1901, went over the Falls in a barrel and survived with only minor cuts and scrapes. The second was of a 7 year old boy who fell out of a boat with his sister when the boat had engine trouble. The owner of the boat drowned, the sister was pulled to shore by onlookers before she went over the Falls and the young boy went over the falls with his life jacket on and survived with minor injuries. The Maid of the Mist rescued him at the base of the falls. There have been many other stunts at the falls, including hire wire walking across the falls, going over in barrels, boats and rubber balls.  Some of these people survived, but there was a high incidence of death so now all stunts are banned.

Our next stop was the  Cave of the Winds. Here they not only gave us ponchos, but also rubber sandals. We ventured down through the tunnel to the staircase leading down to the base of the American Falls. The wind was strong and the water was flying everywhere as we made the climb up the other side. At several places you could stop and almost reach out and touch the water and at one point, if you stood against the rail, the water would come through the fencing and drench you thoroughly. It was a wild experience!

Base of the American Falls

Kate at Base of American Falls

Staircase at the Cave of the Winds-Note the people near the water

We ventured on back up to dry land, had lunch, and took the shuttle through the park over to the top of Horseshoe Falls. The incredible volume of water and its forceful nature are a marvel.

Horseshoe Falls

After viewing the movie at the Visitor Center, we handed back to the RV to rest a bit and then catch a tour to the Canadian side this evening.

The evening tour took us with 15 other travelers through customs into Canada to tour many different sights. However, we thought we would be out of the bus more often than we were and thus were a little disappointed in the tour. The highlights of it were the Observation Deck from which you could see all three falls at the same time, the Whirlpool Rapids which are North America's largest area of standing waves and classified as deadly, and the Skylon Tower from which you could see the illuminated American and Bridal Veil Falls and gave us an awesome view of the Ontario skyline at night.
Whirlpool Rapids
Illuminated American Falls from Skylon Tower in Canada
Ontario from Skylon Tower

Thoroughly exhausted, we called it a night. Tomorrow is a day of relaxation before we start our travels once again,

Niagara Falls were bigger and much more impressive than I thought they would be and we were glad we added this to our itinerary.

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