Staffer walks under Niagara Falls

I tucked my phone into my pocket, tightened the bright, yellow poncho over my head and walked under Niagara Falls.

In June, I took a trip to Niagara Falls with my family. I had never been, which made the experience that much more impressive. I was mesmerized by everything as we walked closer and closer to the Falls for the first time; I constantly stopped to take photos of the huge cloud of mist that hung, the mass of people holding selfie sticks and taking group photos in front of the Falls and the rushing river leading up to the Falls themselves. As we approached, I was almost skipping; the mist spraying us and the roar of the gushing water became more and more obvious. We finally made it to the drop off: the point in which I saw all three Falls from the American side. I could not stop smiling at this force of nature: how powerful, yet how beautiful, it was.

After viewing the Falls from this lookout, my family met up with our tour guides and two other people who would join us on a four-hour tour. The guides took us to three different lookouts of the Falls. It was incredible just how close tourists could get, almost touching them.

From there, our tour guides dropped our group off at the Cave of Winds. I honestly had no clue what to expect or what we were doing as an elevator crammed with people took us down 500 feet and opened up to a dark, wet hallway filled with tourists in highlighter yellow ponchos. We received special sandals and ponchos to wear. We followed the crowd out onto a deck. I looked up, and there it was, Niagara Falls, right in front of me. There was a long, twisty deck built around the large rocks at the bottom of the Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the three. We took a bunch of photos of the Falls, and then the moment came to walk under it. Well, actually under the part of the Falls that hit a rock and bounced onto the edge of the deck; otherwise it would be too dangerous to walk under. Our group walked up the slippery steps, cautiously trying not to slip in our fancy, plastic, deck shoes. I made sure my poncho was tied tightly over my head, unaware that this would do little actually to help, and walked backwards into Niagara Falls. Although it felt like I was being kicked in the back repeatedly, it was incredible to feel the force of Mother Nature.

Once we made it back up the elevator sopping wet, we met with our tour guides who took us to the Niagara Whirlpool. After the water falls, it travels downstream quickly, causing Class 6 white-water rapids that are too dangerous to raft in, then hits the whirlpool where it takes the water in it seven days to pass through. It is incredible.

The most anticipated part of the trip was the Maid of the Mist: riding a boat that would take us up close to the Horseshoe Falls. Decked from head to toe in our water sandals and banana ponchos, we set foot on the Maid of the Mist, not fully prepared for the mist that was to come. We first passed by the American and Bridal Veil Falls, where I was again mesmerized by its size, beauty and power; even from afar, we felt the mist. As we approached the Horseshoe Falls, however, the mist grew heavier and heavier, and the water below our boat became more and more rough. Although I knew I should put my phone away, as it was soaked, I kept it out and look a bunch of photos and videos, along with all of the other tourists on the boat. Eventually, we were as close as we could safely be, the boat stopped, and our captain announced, “This is Niagara Falls.” A simultaneous “wow” sounded on both decks of the boat. It truly was a “wow” moment. The Falls were so large that by standing at the edge of the boat, I could not see all of it in one look. I was completely soaked, and the wind coming off of the Falls was so powerful that the hood to my poncho did not stay on, even after I tied it under my chin. Somehow, I did not seem to care.

I was sad to leave. This trip was so captivating, and I enjoyed everything the Falls had to offer. I definitely plan on going back sometime and bringing a Passport with me to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.

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