Today is Memorial Day, May 30th, and we have arrived to our first destination. Last night we stayed in Syracuse, New York. This morning we woke up and headed on the road and only have a 2.5 hour drive to Canada. We crossed the boarder with no issues, (besides boarder patrol asking where we are from and Lynda blurted out Maine instead of Hawaii, but then we explained our circumstance and it was all fine). We got to our hotel in Canada at around noon, even though check in is at 4:00. We had the nicest man help us with our bags, and there was a little confusion on where we should leave our bags, because we wanted access to our cooler to eat lunch. The bellboys ushered us to a lounge with all of our belongings, and as we sat down to make lunch out of our cooler, the kind man (Kitt) told us he was able to get into an upgraded hotel room earlier instead of waiting. He brought us up to the suite, which had the most spectacular views. There is a huge bathtub with a window into the bedroom. The bedroom has two queen beds with one wall facing both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls, made completely of windows. We ate lunch in the bedroom as we enjoyed the incredible view, then headed down to the viewing areas. I have never experienced a waterfall quite as powerful and majestic as this sight. Horseshoe falls is a very wide waterfall, roaring into a basin of bright blue/green water.
In my nature writing class in Dickinson, we read archives of visitor logs from the 1800s of individuals thoughts on Niagara Falls from Table Rock.I don’t have my book to quote these encounters, but I can recall some people referring to the falls as “God” and “making me feel small”. I had a very similar view, and felt the awe of nature really inspiring. I have never visited these waterfalls before, or even seen images online, which made the experience even more memorable. Getting up close to the falls and sensing the incredible force was a very moving and spiritual experience. It made me realize how miniscule we are in the scheme of things, and how powerful nature is, in a good way.
One unexpected aspect of Niagara was an area that was dedicated to tourist shops and attractions. This tacky section of the city had shops, restaurants, ferris wheel and rides, haunted houses, oddity attractions, wax museums, all of those types of things. It did not fit in next to such a beautiful natural landscape. It totally reminded me of my trip to the Smokie mountains, where Gatlinburg stood right outside the national park. I hope this isn’t a trend, built up tourist attractions right outside of natural attractions.
Anyways, around 4:00 we returned to the hotel for free drinks/food. We had sangria and snacks and enjoyed them next to the pool on a nice little patio. We also purchased tickets to take a boat ride tonight to view the lit waterfalls and fireworks show! I am very excited for this trip, it will be very exciting. Tomorrow, we will wake up early and head towards the Badlands in South Dakota, and probably will spend the night half way around Wisconsin.