Jun 15, 2014

Cave of The Winds, The Rainbow Bridge, Canada...and Unicorns?

I can not imagine living in this amazing world and not wanting to see all of it that you possibly could. I pathetically live for the moments that I get to go and see things. "Things?" yeah, that means pretty much anything and everything in Jennifer language. What if you stayed in one place your whole life and never saw anything? Nothing to compare? Nothing to help you appreciate? Nothing to give you perspective? No experiences? No views?

What brought this string of questions on? Well, this weekend happened to be, "fill up two cars and, trek across upstate New York" weekend. We spent two days and we visited Palmyra and Niagara Falls. I wish I could remember the first time I saw Niagara Falls. I know it was when my kids were all little and I am pretty sure we lived in Kansas at the time. It had to have been before 9-11 because I remember that getting over the border into Canada was super easy. But I do not remember the exact day or time of year that we went. I do remember the thrill of seeing the mist from the falls rising in the distance but not much else. How does one describe the thrill that comes from seeing a place you have only heard about and read about for the first time? The moment that you marvel to yourself I can not believe I am actually here. I have been to Niagara Falls many many times since that first time and I fear that a lot of the trips have all blended together. Each time I go I discover something new. Some easier way of doing something. Some new lookout. Some new parking spot. Or some new way to spend money. Whatever it is I never get over the basic majesty and wonder of Niagara Falls.

One time when we were at Niagara Falls my Natalie lost a tooth. She threw her tooth over the waterfall because we decided it would be a great story for her to tell for many years to come. Yeah, her tooth fairy is pretty magical :)

There was the time the kids and I were driving from Indiana to Massachusetts on our own and we just randomly decided to stop at the falls.....no planning, no mapquesting just doing it. Which is so crazy for me :)

There was that one time the kids spent the whole time we were there giggling about the the designated spots in the Niagara Falls State Park for smokers to deposit their cigarette butts called "butt depots."

There was the time we saw everything from the Canadian side.

This particular visit we had two goals;

 #1.Get into Canada
 #2. Check out the Cave of The Winds tour.

I had read and read about getting across the border into Canada and I learned that since Natalie and Tatiana are under 16 they only needed their birth certificates and not actual passports. And I discovered that  walking across the Rainbow Bridge was the simplest, the best, and the most beautiful way to accomplish the "see the falls from the Canada side" goal. We got to Niagara Falls at about 9:30 in the morning and thankfully there was no line at the border. We just walked across the very cool Rainbow Bridge stopping to ooohh and ahhh at the great views of the falls. We showed our passports and birth certificates and answered a few questions at the border and that was it. Well, except for the small detail that it turned out that Canada would not let Madeline's husband Carlos into Canada because he is in America on a visa. So we left them behind in America and we headed on our way to take more pictures and do some looking in the Canadian souvenir shops. It has been many years since I looked at the falls from the Canadian side and I have to say it here and now that it definitely is a better overall view. The Canadian side is definitely more manicured, more organized and cleaner. On the American side you can get so close to the falls and I do love watching it rush over the edge and feel the mist. But the American side is definitely not as polished as the Canadian side.

I am not the kind of girl that is into spending money for touristy things especially when we go visit National Park sites. I have never ever been tempted to pay lots of money to go on one of the Maid of the Mist boats at Niagara Falls but the minute I read about the Cave of The Winds tour I had a feeling I could be persuaded. I knew this would be our last time at Niagara Falls for a long time so I decided it was worth it to go out with a bang so I offered to the Baird kids the potential of the Cave of the Winds tour they know how often this happens so they quickly snatched the opportunity. I am so glad we did this. It was amazing. They give you a pair of sandals to wear because at certain points the water rushes over the boardwalk you are walking on. They take you down in a elevator and then after you walk through a tunnel they also give you a yellow poncho to cover your clothes.

We happened to be visiting during the annual seagull convention. It must be where they teach each other how to snatch your food at the beach and drive you freaking crazy. I had never seen so many seagulls in one place. I am so not a seagull fan..... I mean who is? But there was one small game changing detail it was seagull egg hatching time and baby seagulls happen to be adorable. There were thousands.....no, I think it was millions of seagulls and their babies everywhere you looked.....did I mention everywhere? ALL along the base of the cliffs were seagulls and their babies. Can you see them in this picture? They are almost the same color as the rocks.

Once we got done with the exclaiming about the seagulls we headed down the path to the boardwalk. The boardwalk weaves all around next the American falls which are just gushing as fast as they can over the edge. There is mist and deafening water noise. The power and majesty and wind and water is so much that you can not help but laugh out loud at it all. I loved it. There was a place where you had to turn around and back into the spray because the wind and water were so strong. That spot was called the hurricane deck. The water felt so invigorating and exhilarating. This was definitely worth the money. I am one tough customer so if I say it is worth it I hope you would think the same. And the best part? You totally can keep the sandals they give you :)


We had a five hour drive home so we left about one o'clock to drive back across New York. I really wanted to stay and see what the falls look like at night and I really wanted to stay and see what it is like when they shoot fireworks over the falls and I definitely needed to stay and see what it looks like in winter and it would have been perfect if I could have stayed and spent the night in the Sheraton on the Canadian side that overlooks the falls but you know.... no one ever wants to play with me :)
I think this face says it all.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

That looks amazing! Since I may not get there anytime soon, I really appreciate your vision of Niagara Falls.