Experiencing Niagara Falls

It was reasonably easy to get to the falls (Ontario side) from Buffalo, a Megabus to Niagara Falls, and then a straightforward walk from the bus terminal along the Olympic Torch Trail. We’d been able to leave luggage at the bus terminal, in what felt like a slightly under-the-counter transaction but apparently happens fairly often.

The trail ends right around Rainbow Bridge, and the first view of the Niagara River here is pretty incredible; bright blue and wide, at the bottom of a steep gorge. The intense colour of the water is said to be a result of the erosive force of the Niagara River itself, which grinds an estimated 60 tonnes of rock and salts into the water every minute.

There are so many vantage points along the river approaching the falls, looking out at Niagara Falls State Park on the NY side. We had only a very short time before we had to be back to the bus terminal, but I spent most of it taking photographs as we made our very slow progress towards Horseshoe Falls. I love long exposures, and waterfalls are perfect subjects, even when the lighting might otherwise be disappointing. These are amongst the most mighty waterfalls in the world, and are absolutely no exception.

I’m entirely in awe of water. It has power and endurance beyond imagining. When I stop to think about that, it seems crazy just how close it’s possible to get to the Horseshoe Falls. The water is rushing at (an average of) 2,400 cubic metres per second, and you could reach out and touch it. I absolutely, categorically, didn’t want to. It’s a visceral experience, standing on top of so much power, feeling the sound of the thundering water drown out everything else. Astonishingly it used to be even louder – before part of the river’s flow was diverted to a couple of hydroelectric power stations. But there aren’t words to describe the feelings arising from standing at the edge of the falls. The feelings beyond the deep thrum of the water, and the fine mist on my face; a sense of menace, as though the water portends disaster. A reminder that we are powerless in the face of nature.

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