Stop #4 – Falling Head Over Heels
A good night’s rest was necessary after 2 days of driving. Going through states at this point is flat, dry, and uneventful. Scenery can’t keep drivers awake as there’s nothing – NOTHING – to see except for the flat lands that stretch for miles and miles from every direction that you turn. If I looked behind us or in front, the road looked the same. It made me feel like I was trapped in a dessert and should be following the sun for guidance on our path.
Luckily, there was only 3 hours to get to Niagara Falls in New York – a small town with a small-town atmosphere on an island so close to the biggest city in the U.S.
Tim Horton’s was a must-stop for our lunch. Originating in Canada, these restaurants are only found in Northern states. It’s dubbed a “cafe & bake shop” which slightly reminds me of Dunkin Donuts, but with less emphasis on donuts, and more inclusion of sandwiches and soups. Simple, warming, cheap food to satisfy us very weary travelers better than any simple coffee and donuts could have.
Being on the border of Canada, naturally I wanted to venture across state lines and add another stamp to my passport… if only I had my passport on hand. I will curse myself for the rest of my life for not getting it updated in time for this last-minute trip.
Much to my dismay, we remained on U.S. soil, where we viewed the “American Falls” (i.e. Niagara Falls from the American side). Supposedly, the Canadian view is better, but I wouldn’t know first hand.
Parking was $5 in the morning (though free, seemingly, in the late afternoon, with a missing attendant). Walking through a large gift shop and information center, we found another lot in the back and small signs leading to a walk-way. It’s not obvious until you see where people are headed, then you follow the crowd. When you smell sulfur, you know you’re headed in the right direction. Further down the trail, we passed along the Canadian gates, and eventually began to hear the distant sound of stampeding water. There were trees and a drop off along the side, but not much of a view. My excitement resurfaced, however, when I saw a cloud of mist in the distance. After a very long walk from the parking lot, we finally saw it.
An amazing fall of water that rushes along to an incredibly terrifying drop that is both beautiful and scary. To see such a strength and magnitude in a natural monument is truly awing. It’s as if God’s creation has a presence as we stand at the height of its beauty.
Seeing the falls from both sides of America soil, we also trekked along to view the Horseshoe Falls. Though slightly small in scale compared to Niagara, the u-shaped falls were none-the-less impressive.
Before and after reaching the falls, you can’t help being mesmerized by the beauty surrounding you. Numerous patches of seeming brooks and small streams surround you, all heading the same direction, all eventually gathered together to add to the tumultuous site of Niagara. Together, each smaller stream contributes to the magnitude at the end of the falls. Each beautiful in their own way, combined to make something so spectacular that people from all around the world come to see it.
Though a tiring hike, after sitting in a car for most days and allowing my legs to become lazy, the fresh air was a much needed respite after four days of driving east. Another 8 hours to go before reaching Saugus, MA for a family visit and five days of rest over the Easter weekend. A perfect means to recharge our batteries before heading back west, taking the southern route on the 2nd half of our cross-country trip. Our trek home.