Sit tight dear readers as a tell you a tale of my journey to the edge of the earth. Well, to the edge of Canada… but there was a serious drop off!
Yesterday was our MIX trip to Niagara Falls. The 90-odd international exchange students hopped aboard three yellow school buses and travelled the hour from McMaster to Niagara Falls.
When we first arrived we were greeted with a view of the falls. We were obviously on the Canadian side, but if you look of the river you could see the USA. I can’t imagine that you would be able to see much from the states as you would be looking from above the falls.
We took a minute to try to take in the enormity of the falls (the highest drop is 53 m and about a million bathtubs full of water fall over every minute). Mark and I then decided to jump on the Maid of the Mist boat. Tickets were surprisingly affordable at $16.50 (taxes included – yay!) and that even came with a poncho!
I was worried that we wouldn’t get a good spot on the boat because we were some of the last to board, but once on there the falls were kind of hard to miss. I mean wherever you looked there was water falling and no matter where you stood there was a bucket load of mist.
The American Falls were very picturesque with their white curtains hitting shiny, sharp rocks. Apparently those rocks weren’t always there, but fell in two rock slides (one in 1931 and the other in 1954). There was one particularly interesting rock that was covered in the bravest seagulls I have ever seen. I was standing on a boat in a blue poncho and nearly was blown over by the force of the wind created and was dripping wet… but those seagulls just sat at the base like it was a casual drizzle.
As we motored closer to the Horseshoe Falls (woo go Canada, something bigger than the US!) the mist got really thick. Now I say mist, and maybe it technically was… but standing on that boat it felt like sheets of water dropping everywhere (especially into my shoes). Standing at the base of the falls looking up was a great experience. As the water fell from the top and hit the river below it sprayed back up into the air. It’s hard to believe anyone has survived going over them. After I saw them I have read some stories of survival and death of the falls and it is really scary/fascinating. Aside from gaping in awe of the falls we also walked around the town a bit. The city was much more commercial than I expected, with endless souvenir shops selling the same thing (I did buy one bottle of water that had plunged over the falls but actually only saw that in the one shop), candy stores and other gimmicks.
Although I did enjoy the Hershey’s shop – mainly because North American junk food is so unhealthy it is worth looking at – I didn’t really like all the commercialism. I much prefered looking over at the river and the falls.
In addition to the water, Niagara did have some really lovely flowers. Everything must just grow so well there as there is so much water in the air, and on the ground, all the time. There were some huge bees that shared my enthusiasm for beautiful flowers. These bees (no joke) would have been at least 3cm long and 1cm wide.
The flower boxes looked so big and heavy it seemed as though they would pull down the street lamps. We walked along the top of the cliff and admired the flowers on the way to the Niagara river before it plunged 16 storeys. As we got close to the Horseshoe Falls the mist became so thick it felt like rain. We were lucky enough that the sun peeped out and showed us a beautiful rainbow. Because we were so high and the mist so thick, we almost got to see the whole thing.
The river above the falls was a sight in itself. I kept imagining that before the whole area was settled and commercialised, the native people must have had some serious creation stories about this river. It looked like it was cutting through the earth in a very angry way. We saw some very brave (or oblivious) Canadian geese chilling in a little eddy. They were very synchronised in everything they did. I imagine that the river is full of fish because there a lot of birds. The water is beautiful and clean, I mean, if I were a fish I would swim there… but maybe not too close to the edge.
While we were up at the river end it started to pour rain. It was OK though because we were drenched anyway. I really loved Niagara Falls. It is amazing when a natural feature is the border between countries. The idea that the U.S was just across a river seems so odd, but also makes you feel a bit like an explorer. Well, maybe that’s just me… feeling optimistic under my red umbrella.