Niagara Falls

I don’t know how I underestimate the intensity of the supposed “fun” I plan on vacations, but it always happens. After crossing the border on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls, we immediately took a steep lift ride down to the walkway right beside the falls so that we could check it out. First, you walk through the welcome center building to go out into the mist that’s spraying from the power of the falls. They call it mist. I’m expecting a nice light mist. Even the boats are called “Maid of the Mist.” Sounds enchanting and harmless, right? That’s not an accurate description. We opened the door by pushing hard into the gale force winds created by the falls, and immediately got swept into a vortex of an airstream and blinding water. It took my breath away, so while I’m gasping for breath as I’m trying to stay on my feet in the puddles and take pictures with my phone, I look to see where Russ was and noticed he’s gone! Like the honeymoon is over, every man for himself gone! He’s sprinting like an Olympian, weaving through tourists at a high rate of speed, trying to get to where the “mist” ends! I’m thinking ok, I’m fine, don’t worry Russ! I guess he assumed I was going to take off running too, but I thought we were there to see the falls? We were not on the same page there. Eventually I can barely see him, and at that point he turns around with a “where even are you” look on his face. I had my hood up and tied for “protection” against the mist, but it blew off immediately, so I was basically drenched at that point and waving to show that I’m still alive. To him I looked like one of those insane reporters defying mandatory storm evacuation orders, trying to stand upright in the path of the storm while showing viewers safe in their homes what it looks like to try to stand outside while a tornado blows through. We ended that crazy day at the casino overlooking the falls, and it turns out you can lose Canadian money just as fast as American money! Who knew? Day 2 we signed up for the boat ride right up towards the falls, the gorge excursion, and the behind the falls excursion, thinking it sounded like some nice, light entertainment. The tour guide guy said as soon as we get to the tunnels behind the falls, go towards the light because that’s the best tunnel. Ok. So we put on our flimsy rain ponchos they provided that didn’t cover our arms at all, and walked towards the light like anybody facing death would promptly do. I thought the night before had gail force winds? No. This location told last night’s location, “Hold my beer.” This excursion is behind and beside the falls at the bottom where nature is really angry. As if the falls are sick of people polluting the waters, punishment level angry. I think they use the word mist because if they described it properly by calling it a category 2 hurricane, or the equivalent of trying to stand beside the base of a waterspout/tornado over water, people might not sign up. I just kept saying to myself breathe (because I couldn’t), and hold onto your phone with all you’ve got so your family can trace your final moments. I wanted to see but every time I opened my eyes, the water and wind moved my contacts! So I kept blinking my contacts into place and literally moving them back with my finger where they belonged, and basically had to squint to see the falls. I couldn’t even take in their full strength because I needed goggles, a wet suit that actually provided adequate cover, and a spelunking oxygen mask to fully appreciate the experience. I think if I jumped straight up at all, I’d be swept up into the air and blown against the rocks like a piece of paper. Luckily I had a big breakfast, so that didn’t happen. Every now and then the wind would shift for a second and I could wipe the water from my face like a windshield wiper and fully open my eyes to see the falls, so that was nice. The boat wasn’t as bad because it didn’t go as close to the falls and felt more like a category 1 hurricane, but the poor lady next to me on the boat kept having her rain poncho blow straight up, similar to an umbrella that flipped inside out from strong winds. Russ was trying to be polite and reached up high into the air to pull her poncho down while telling her, “Ma’am, you’re going to get soaked!” I’m not sure how, but she was oblivious to the fact that her clothes were sopping wet and her poncho had taken flight! How can you not feel that?! I guess that’s how you know you’re having a good time, when your poncho is mostly blown off straight up into the air and you don’t even notice! That’s how good of a time it was, and I highly recommend the exhilarating trip to anybody! If it sounds too intense, skip the excursions and stay up on dry land where it’s peaceful, pretty, and your contacts stay in one place.

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