Maid of the Mist.....Niagra Falls..

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
Green Tortoise - In the coffin

Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Annabelle woke on the bus to the sound of Chris whimpering at the sight of his badly bruised toe. Turns out that at around 1.30am Chris decided to go to the toilet, as it was pitch black and he had no flashlight he walked into the curb and bashed his toe which is now almost black with bruising...  poor little sausage.  We both slept well in the back section of the bus as most people slept in their tents (thank god) though it was a bit hot it was much better than the coffin experience the night before. 

After another forest breakfast we had a few hours to chill out, gets bags out again, have our first shower and generally do not much before getting on the bus and heading to Niagra Falls.  After a 3 hour drive via Buffalo we arrived on the American side of the Falls around 5pm and were told that we had until around 10pm to relax and enjoy the area.

The falls are set in a national park on the American side and they have made quite an effort to mould it into a very relaxed experience.  One thing we did not appreciate is that the falls, though mostly on the American side, are quite an attraction and probably easier to view from the Canadian side, in fact it almost looks like the Canadian side is more commercialised with a large number of hotels, a ferris wheel, Casino etc for good views of the falls. 

We teamed up with Colin and Susan to attack all there was to see on the American side.   The falls are split between the 'Horseshoe Falls' (the view you generally see on the movies) and the American Falls.  There are several viewing points along the cliff edge and you can literally stand within feet of where the stream finally plummets over the edge of the cliff.  We then headed along the cliff edge to the Cave in the Wind attraction.  We paid $11 dollars per person and were given a pair of slip proof shoes and a huge poncho that went down to our ankles.  We then followed the line and eventually hopped in a lift to descend approx 200 feet down the side of the cliff to the walkway.  As we descended in the lift the attendant informed us that each year they re-build the entire walkway as in the winter the ice that travels along the river and as it plummets over the edge, it smashes on top of the wooden walkways.   When we arrived at the bottom we found ourselves on a one way wooden walkway that takes you within 10 feet of the bottom of the falls.  As we followed the walkway around the spray became more and more intense and we eventually found the Hurricane Platform (aptly named as you feel as though you are on the front of a fishing boat in an extreme storm and get just as wet!!).  We got soaked but it was a nice relief from the heat of the day.

We then head back up to normal ground level and follow the curve of the cliff edge until we could see the Walkway we had just been getting a drenching on.  You then have the option of taking a boat called the Maid of the Mist, well, as we could not resist (poet and didn’t know it), we headed across the pedestrian bridge and paid our dollars which allowed us a trip on the boat and access to the observation platform.  The platform they have built protrudes out from the American side allowing for some great views of both sets of falls.  We then jumped in the line and descended in another lift to the side of the water where the boat was just arriving, after heaving on yet another massive Poncho we stood right at the front of the boat.  As we headed past the American Falls we received a light drizzle in our faces but could generally see the falls face on which was fantastic.  The boat then headed over toward the Horseshoe Falls which are the ones you generally see on the TV, as we headed in we all got absolutely drenched by the sheer volume of water and mist that just flew in our direction.  Once the worst was over we got an amazing view of the falls, awesome and really worth the money we had paid, a real box ticked.

We dried off to purchase our obligatory postcard and fridge magnet to add to our collection and had dinner prior to getting back on the bus for another night drive...tomorrow we will wake in Chicago..
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