Nothing makes my travel bucket list like a natural wonder. I don’t care if it’s the biggest or widest (although that’s pretty cool), if it’s beautiful and iconic, I’m there. Having already ticked the Grand Canyon off my to-see list, my next American must-see was Niagara Falls. Fortunately, I had a trip booked to the Northern States and Canada in April with Trek America, so I was able to experience it for myself.
Niagara Falls State Park
Just like when I visited the Grand Canyon, it was raining cats and dogs in Niagara Falls. Driving from New Jersey, we reached the State Park via Niagara Falls, the city. That was my first fun fact of the trip, Niagara Falls get’s its name from the city it’s located in. Who knew?! Somehow, we managed to drive all the way from Newark in New Jersey to the top of New York with enough time to take in the Falls. Sadly this we didn’t have time to stop off in Buffalo, for Buffalo Wings. Maybe next time?
Parking down the street, we all walked through the State Park, which is a 400+ acre park surrounding the actual waterfalls, and made our way to the Vistors Centre. After being given our tickets, we then moved across to the observation points to admire the full force of the falls. As you can see from the photos, the rain made the falls look beautifully eerie. Not thinking I’d need a waterproof jacket, (because this was April, and Niagara Falls was scheduled until the next day), me and my hoody were drenched.
But as soon as I saw the falls, all thoughts of being freezing were soon forgotten. The roar of the Falls, the colour of the water, the incredible mist hiding Canada, it’s a sight everyone should see. Another fun fact for you, Niagara Falls is actually made up of three waterfalls; Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Am I the only one who though Niagara Falls was a single waterfall?! I will say that as well as absolutely chucking it down, it was also extremely windy on the observation deck. Like most observation decks, it is very open. Loosing all feeling in my fingers, I’m pretty happy with the photos, although they will never do justice to actually being there.
After taking a ridiculous amount of photos, it was time to go down to the ground and board the Maid of The Mist …
The Maid of the Mist
To say I was excited to go on The Maid of the Mist was a complete understatement. To put it into context, a couple of weeks before I was due to fly out, Niagara was frozen solid like something out of, well, Frozen. Checking the Maid of the Mist website daily, the iconic boat tour wasn’t supposed to run until May because, obviously, the boat can’t navigate thick sheets of ice. However, just a week before I went, I decided to check the website just one last time, and miraculously, the date had been updated to 1st April, a couple of days before I was there. It was fate.
Making our way down the steps to the dock, and handed a complimentary blue poncho (wear it, you’ll need it), I was ready to experience the Falls up close and personal. A couple of tips for if you are planning a visit to the Falls, make sure you have waterproof shoes on with some sort of a grip as the boat obviously gets wet and slipped. I’d also recommend putting ALL your belongings under your poncho unless you never liked them. Oh, and a word on the boat. I know it doesn’t look very big in the pictures thanks to the mighty falls, but the Maid of the Mist is a fairly big boat. For those of you without sea legs, you won’t feel at risk at all. Of course it bobs a little, but nothing scary.
Deciding that we were already as soaked as we could ever be, we braved it, and got a prime position at the front of the boat on the top deck. Yeah. Now I didn’t take any photos on the Maid itself, because I didn’t want to risk breaking my camera and having nothing for the entire trip, so you’ll have to trust me when I say it was incredible. As you sail into the basin of Horseshoe Falls, you get to appreciate some things you might not of though before like the birds. Essentially, Niagara Falls is like a giant bird bath for lots of gulls. Swopping in the spray or nesting on the rocks, they looked like they were having the time of their life. Sadly, I’ve got a bit of a bird phobia. Their squarks were and made me feel like an extra in The Birds. There’s also an audio commentary over speakers, but the roar of the Falls is so loud we couldn’t hear a lot.
Then the fun began. I’ve put rings round the Maid of the Mist, especially the one right in the Falls, because, to be honest, I had no idea it went fully into one of the Falls. Right at the front, we suddenly experienced strong winds, and a freezing cold spray that only got more intense as we got close. As we neared there was a horror film like mist, as in you could clearly see the divide on where there was no mist, and where there was. It was the most incredible sight I have ever seen. Nervously looking at each other we remained we were and experienced the full might of the Falls. It was at this point I was pretty darn pleased with my decision to keep my camera in my bag. So did the Falls beat us? Let’s just say it was a draw.
Thanks to being soaked before actually board The Maid in the Mist, we were absolutely freezing. After nipping into the Niagara Falls gift shop (like the good tourists we are) we headed straight across the road to the Hard Rock cafe to warm up.
Have you ever been to a Waterfall? Visited Niagara Falls, or planning a trip? Let me know in the comments below!