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Niagara Falls, Day One

August 19, 2012

Rinda, Nell, Zachary (in front), the other Ralph, Aaron, Jennifer

On Monday, the day after we shut down at the Dan Emmett Festival in Mount Vernon, Ohio, we climbed into two cars and drove to Niagara Falls, New York.  The crew included Nell’s sister Rinda, brother-in-law Ralph (yep, two Ralphs on this trip), our youngest daughter Jennifer, her husband Aaron, and their 2 1/2 year old Zachary.

We arrived in Niagara Falls on Monday afternoon, got settled into a hotel, had dinner, and then crashed.

The Niagara River

On Tuesday, we drove into the city to Niagara Falls State Park, which is, by the way, the oldest state park in the United States.  The initial closeup view of water is the Niagara River which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  The view above shows the bridge crossing over to Goat Island.  We would walk across there later in the day.

One quickly reaches the edge of American falls…

After a short walk along the river’s edge, one quickly reaches the edge of American Falls.  Watching this water rush over the edge is impressive… and a bit intimidating.

And like millions of others before us, we took the first photo opportunity, that initial shot that says “We were here!”

On the first day, we each bought a package ticket.  The $33 package included five activities: the Maid of the Mist boat ride; the Cave of the Winds; the Niagara Aquarium; the Discovery Center; and a movie showing the history and legends surrounding the falls.

We started by taking the Maid of the Mist boat ride…

Maid of the Mist boats departing and returning at the base of the observation tower (lower left)

Everyone is provided a lightweight plastic poncho before boarding the boat.

Passing by American Falls on the Maid of the Mist boat.

Approaching Horseshoe Falls. After taking this photo, the spray became so heavy, I put the camera in my pocket until we turned around..

Coming out of Horseshoe Falls.

Going into the foot of the falls, Zachary had looked a little wide-eyed. Coming out, he seemed to be enjoying it all.

After the Maid of the Mist, we decided to walk across to Goat Island and see what the Cave of the Winds was all about.  The weather was gray and it was starting to rain as we got on an elevator that took us down once again.  The elevator opened onto a tunnel that led to the edge of the river.  After a short walk, we found ourselves at the base of Bridal Veil Falls.

Steps and platforms at the base of Bridal Veil Falls.

Standing here is like standing at the edge of a storm.

And it’s very wet.

Above us, was the overlook at the edge of Luna Island.

Luna Island, lower right

Luna Island, a squared-off protrusion next to Goat Island, sits between American Falls and the smaller Bridal Veil Falls.  It provides an overlook above the river.

Umbrella Man… Among the international crowd of people standing at the Luna Island overlook was this little boy who was doing an impromptu dance with an umbrella.

We crossed the small bridge from Luna Island back to Goat Island, then made the long walk back over the Niagara River to the main part of the park.  It was late afternoon, we were tired and wet, and decided to call it a day.

Next:  Seals, Legends and a Walk Into Canada

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