Thursday, December 29, 2016

New York in November - Niagara Falls

We woke up very early, missed breakfast ... the kind lady packed us some apples,bananas and two bottles of drinking water ... and drove down to JFK airport to catch the 6 o'clock flight to Buffalo. We were going to see the Niagara Falls!!

Landing in Buffalo, we ate a filling breakfast at one of the cafes inside the airport. Since we would be roaming all day inside the State park, which does not have any provisions for food, we stuffed ourselves to last the day without feeling weary.

Our cab was waiting and we started for Niagara.
The cabbie chatted all the way, describing Niagara, its source and other details. We also chatted about the hottest topic of those days ... the American Presidential elections.
As we reached nearer, the good man slowed down and showed us what would be our first glimpse of the Niagara ... the Niagara river.
Unassuming and flowing quietly, this scene gave nothing away what we were about to see.

Stepping inside the park, the first sight that greeted us was, naturally, the Fall colours. The leaves were all orange and yellow and brown. And the beautiful, bright sunshine shone all over. We had been very apprehensive about the weather when we were planning this trip and were expecting it too be very cold in November. But the weather took us by surprise and stayed beautiful and sunny all day through.
After talking to the people at the Information Center, we got an idea about how to go about inside the park. They gave us a map that helped us to go about ... once we had marked the spots and the routes to them.
The first stop is the Observatory Tower, from where we would go on to the ride in the Maid of the mist. We bought the tickets for the Maid of the Mist and went through security before climbing up to the observatory tower.

The tower stood high up on the river and from there the view is awesome. On one side was the bridge that connected the USA and Canada.
And on the other, there was the Niagara, in all its glory.
Here is one of the first snaps of the Niagara from the Observatory tower.

The first thing that you feel so high up is the how huge this waterfall is. And the second is the sound.
The roar of 75000 gallons of water crashing down takes one breath away.
The US side of the Niagara falls has the Bridal veil falls, the American falls and a part of the Horseshoe falls. You can see all of them from the Observatory tower.

Here are a few snaps from the Observatory tower.

The bridge that connects to Canada.

The Skylon tower and the ropeway on the Canadian side.

The American falls

We took the high speed elevator to reach the ground level, on the river, where the Maid of the Mist boat was waiting. All of us picked up the fresh souvenir waterproof rain ponchos (Blue for the US side, Red for the Canadian side ) and walked down to the boat. We had seen such boats making their trips from the Observatory tower.

Here is one such boat.

On the Canadian side (red suits )

We trooped in a line and as soon as we were on the boat, people started to get hold of a good place. We stayed up on the deck and on the left.

Soon we were off, slowly moving ahead towards to Bridal veil falls.

As we approached it, we could feel the burst of wind and spray of water on us. There was a lot of squealing and laughing and everyone was happily taking in this once in a lifetime experience.
Mobiles came out and photos were taken.
And then, as we moved on to the American falls, we looked back and caught sight of a rainbow!
From thereon, the boat slowly moved on to the Terrapin point and then the Horseshoe falls and stood right there in the middle of the river ... with huge gallons of roaring water gushing down on us from all sides.
There are no photographs for obvious reasons.
It was moment that just has to be experienced.

The spray hit us, the sun, hidden in the mist, shone down as a huge sparkle and the wind went crazy.
Standing there, with this dance of nature all around us, we felt the force that we have no control on.
Like little specks, we stood there, watching in awe all around us, this wonderful creation of nature.

After a while, the boat made a turn and started its return journey.
There was a sudden silence as people tried to take in the awesome scene that they had witnessed just.

After leaving the boat, we took another route to climb up , that has stairs just beside the waterfall.

And then walked down this beautiful walkway. We needed this quiet after that stunning visual experience.

We started to walk towards Goat Island. The Niagara was calm here as it flew by our side while we walked uphill. It was going to be a long, long walk.
We stopped by a water fountain for a drink and then saw this quaint little wooden bus.

It stopped by us and the driver asked if we needed a ride and where to. On hearing Goat Island, he said "Hop in".
They call these buses Trolleys and you are supposed to buy a ticket for them. We said we had no ticket to which the jolly man replied "You can buy one where you get off".
Once you have a ticket, you are to wrap it like a band on your wrist, where the driver can see it.
Then you can hop on and hop off anywhere inside the Park all day through.

View from the Trolley window

We got off on Goat Island, bought a ticket for the trolley and walked on to see the falls from this side.
And what a beautiful view it was!
With the sun on our side now, we could take as many beautiful photographs as we wanted to.

That is the Observatory tower and the bridge in the background.

Yes, we were this near to the water!

After spending a good while here and clicking numerous photographs, we walked on towards the Three sisters Island.
To reach this island, we walked through some very quaint wooden bridges while the Niagara gurgled merrily beside us all the way uphill.

The Niagara river from one of the bridges uphill
This is a view of the Niagara river, uphill, from the Three sisters Island.
These are white waters and are famous for white water rafting camps held here in the summers.

Downhill, there is the Falls.

After spending some time in the quiet of the island, we started our walk back to the falls .... this time nearer to the Horseshoe end.
And instead of taking the roads for the cars and Trolleys, we decided to take the adjacent parallel walkway.
It meandered through a forest and the narrow road slowly opened up to the vast huge of the falls ... so near that the spray actually hit you and the whole walkway was wet.

The water was so near you could actually touch it, if not for the railings. Evening was setting in by now and the sun was visible only through the mist and spray of water.

We spent some time sitting in the mist. And clicked more pictures too.
This view of the giant waterfall was awesome.
We climbed the steps back up as we prepared ourselves to leave.
Our day at the Niagara was over all too soon.

As we started our way back to catch a Trolley to the main gate, we turned back to catch a last glimpse of this beauty of nature.
The Niagara was busy spewing mist and spray up towards the setting sun, making it look like a little ball of light.

Next post coming up soon.
C'ya !!

Hope you have been with me on these days too -

New York in November - Arriving and exploring

New York in November - Fall colours at Central Park and Bethesda Terrace

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