6/5/2011 – Day 60 – Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Today the sky was clear, the sun was shining, and even the hotel’s included continental breakfast exceeded our expectations.  We decided we would make the pilgrimage to that most famous and fabled Niagara Falls attraction — The Maid of the Mist boat ride!

We donned shorts, t-shirts and sandals in anticipation of a soaking, and walked down the hill from our hotel, through a portion of Queen Victoria Park and into the mass of people who shared our plans.

Actually, although the line was long, it moved smoothly as each boat filled up with complementarily blue-ponchoed thrill-seekers eager to survive a close encounter of the moist kind.

Diana and I discreetly positioned ourselves on the lower deck in a relatively sheltered location and bobbed along toward our rendezvous with those 750,000 gallons per second of drenching delight.

Soon we were moving close to the base of Horseshoe Falls, and the captain maneuvered his craft through the swirling surface of the freshly fallen water, turning left and right to assure an even delivery of lighter and heavier mist on all the paying customers.  Occasionally a particularly drenching portion would elicit shrieks and laughter from the willing victims.

The air was heavy with moisture and filled with an indescribable freshness from all that oxygenated H2O.  It was delightful, and over all too soon.  The ponchos had done their job rather well, and we only sustained minor areas of wetness.  As we returned to our starting point, we experienced veterans shouted encouragements at the boats we passed that were headed for the falls.  Our courage was proven, and it was important to empower those who would follow in our splashy footsteps.

Back on dry land we paused to enjoy the view of the falls from this lower vantage point.  As we did, Diana spotted something bobbing in the water below the falls.  It floated like a small boat, albeit a rather roundish one.  She spoke with one of the staff who said it probably was a boat and that lots of things went over the falls and their battered remnants often floated downstream past the boat docks.

We returned to street level and strolled back to the hotel, relishing the experience and glad we had been adventurous enough to give it a try. The park is beautifully green with lovely flowers such as azaleas with many touches of annuals as well as roses.  Something, probably the flowering trees, smelled unbelievably sweet.  We walked smartly from shade to shade, enjoying the cool breeze from the falls.

After showering, we ventured out for lunch.  We sat down at the Macaroni Grill, but upon seeing their prices ($19 for mushroom ravioli and 7” personal pizzas) we declined their fare and settled for a less pricy but still tasty meal at a pub in the big casino across the street from our hotel.

In the evening we got another shot of serendipity when the sky came alive with a very lavish and vigorous fireworks show.  Again our room’s view was perfect and we watched the bombs bursting in air with colored lights shining on the American Falls.  These festivities, we’re certain, were especially dedicated to our anniversary celebration and we enjoyed them immensely.

Dreams of Niagara delights tonight, new experiences tomorrow.  CU then!

Maids of the Mist Cross Paths Below the American Falls

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