Thursday, July 20, 2017

Niagara Falls

Ella and I took a trip to upstate New York.  We flew a red eye flight from Salt Lake to Boston, then a flight from Boston to Buffalo, New York.  (We had to jog through the airport to make it on time for our flight to Buffalo!)

After we arrived in Buffalo, we headed toward Niagara Falls.  We stopped at Gratwick-Riverside Park to take a few photos and stretch our legs because it was beautiful.  And a little snake startled us as it quickly slithered into the brush near us.

 Then we  spent a day and a half at Niagara Falls. I knew they were big and pretty spectacular, but I honestly had never realized that they were THAT big! Or that there are actually 3 falls.  Or that they were so absolutely awe inspiring!  We bought a pass that allowed us to get on and off the trolley all day and to go on the Maid of the Mist, the Cave of the Winds, the Discovery  Center, the Adventure Theatre, and the aquarium.  We went to everything but the Discovery Center and the aquarium on the first day...and also walked to the Three Sisters Islands and some other little short walks.  We started by riding the trolley to the Cave of the Winds. There we got sandals and ponchos because when you get close to the falls, you get wet!

Cave of the Winds

Bridal Veil Falls

Cool shoes and poncho, eh?  But really, when you got up to the "hurricane zone", you got quite wet.  The power and majesty of the falls was pretty incredible.

statue of Tesla!

walking around Goat was named this because a man brought some livestock to the island but the weather was so fierce that all of his cattle died...all except one goat

 After we visited Cave of the Winds and walked around Goat Island, we took the trolley to the Horseshoe Falls stop.  I wasn't even prepared for the sheer magnitude of the falls.  I thought the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls were enormous and amazing, but Horseshoe Falls is breathtaking and overpowering.  I didn't get a very good picture because if you get anywhere sort of near the falls, the spray is getting you soaked and I didn't want to ruin my phone or camera.
I'm not unhappy in this picture...just trying to see into my wet phone to see if I'm capturing the falls behind me at all...all while trying to hurry so the water didn't ruin my camera or phone.
Then we had lunch.  There were several squirrels around us, eating food people dropped and even crawling in the garbage can to get leftovers.

 Next we headed on the Maid of the Mist.  That was definitely my favorite part!  The boat takes you to see the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls.  Again, the power and the majesty of the falls is beyond what my words can describe or what my photographs do justice!  One of the things I really liked is that the trolley rides and boat ride were narrated so you learned facts as you go.

Here are a few things I learned:
*Horseshoe Falls used to erode over a foot per year, but once they built the control it erodes less than one inch per year.
*There's a spot of rapids called The Point of No Return.  If a boat passes this point, it has 3 minutes until it goes over the falls (to their death).
*Rapids in the US are typically ranked from a 1-5.  These American rapids are ranked a 6...meaning unsurvivable.  They are 3-5 feet deep but moving 30 mph.
*About 675,000 gallons of water go over the Horseshoe falls every second.
*9/16 attempts to go over Horseshoe Falls have been successful.
*Annie Taylor was the first person to successfully go over the falls.  She went over on her 63rd birthday.  She had an oak and iron barrel designed to go over the falls and had a mattress crammed into the barrel with her.  A couple of days before she went over the barrel, she sent a cat over the falls in the barrel.  The cat survived and posed with her in a photo.  She hoped the fame of successfully going over the falls would help her obtain financial security, but sadly that was not the case.

Three Sisters Islands 
By about 4 PM, we were both exhausted since we hadn't slept much on the plane the night before. So we headed to our hotel.  We swam for a little bit, ate a small dinner, and turned on a movie (Harry Potter)...but we fell asleep before we'd watched much of the movie at all.  We were so tired that I slept almost 12 hours and Ella slept almost 14!  Then we headed back to Niagara Falls to explore the Discovery Center and the aquarium.

 The aquarium was pretty small but did have some cool fish & animals.   Then we took a short walk along the Niagara Gorge trail.  Then we headed to Palmyra, almost 2 hours away.