Sept 11, 2016 Niagara Falls

Picturesque Seneca Falls exceeded our expectations and we would have stayed a couple more days but we had reservations at Four Mile Creek Campground about fifteen minutes from Niagara Falls.  It was an easy drive and as soon as we got settled in our campground we drove to nearby Fort Niagara.

20160911_15410920160911_160445Originally the fort belonged to the French and was built in 1726.  It was expanded to its current size in 1755 because of increased tensions between the French and English.  The fort played an important role in the French and Indian War and fell to the British in 1759 during the Battle of Fort Niagara.  It served as a British base during the Revolutionary War and was ceded to the United States in 1783 at the end of the war.  The British recaptured the fort during the War of 1812 and held it during the remainder of the war.  After the war ended they gave it back to the United States.  It is now known as Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site and is a National Historic Landmark.  It is said the fort is haunted by a French soldier who was beheaded there during a duel and he wanders the grounds looking for his head.  The paranormal claims have been investigated by the “Ghost Lab” on the Discovery Channel and on the Syfy series “Ghost Hunters” in 2011.20160911_15583320160911_15585020160911_160405

20160911_161513We also found a marker that indicates that WW II prisoners of war were kept here.

Our campground is located along Lake Ontario and we have a lovely view of the lake from our campsite.  On a clear day you can see the Toronto skyline across the water.20160911_15474920160911_154622
Of course our main reason for coming here was to see the mighty Niagara Falls.  Monday morning we left bright and early for the short drive to Niagara Falls State Park.  There is no charge to enter the park but you do have to pay $8.00 a day for parking.  Niagara Falls is America’s FIRST state park, established on July 15, 1885.  There are few words to describe the power and beauty of the majestic falls where 750,000 gallons of water PER SECOND flows over Niagara Falls. Today we visited the American side of the falls and can see across the water to Canada.  Our first stop was the Observation Tower which provided us with a view of both the American and Horseshoe Falls.20160912_09435620160912_09454120160912_095132

20160912_10043720160912_100347Next up was a ride on the boat, Maid of the Mist.  The boat takes you right to the base of Horseshoe Falls where it hovers for several minutes while we are sprayed with water and feel and hear the thunderous falls above us.  But first we have to pay admission where we are handed a poncho to wear before boarding the boat.  The ride was short but it was exciting to be that close to the bottom of the falls and we could only gaze in wonder.  It was hard to get pictures because it was so wet we had to place the camera in a plastic bag to keep it from being ruined.  Between the water and the heavy mist it was hard to get pictures but I think Bill did a great job as always.  In some of the pictures you can see the boat we road on down below. 20160912_10014020160912_10133520160912_10065220160912_132252

We walked on some stairs near where the boat let us out.

Next we wanted to do Cave of the Winds, but first we had quite a long walk from one side of the park to another.  For those unable to walk there is a shuttle to take you around the park for a small fee.
The walk was a wonderful way to see the falls and park.  We walked across a pedestrian bridge onto Goat Island.  There we walked to the overlook to view Horseshoe Falls which is on the Canadian side. We walked past a memorial to Nikola Tesla, an idol of Bill’s. This is where the first hydroelectric power plant was made and used to provide electricity to Buffalo NY.20160912_12032220160912_12133920160912_12151720160912_121257

We viewed the American falls from Goat Island.20160912_11515820160912_11530320160912_11534720160912_11552420160912_120517

20160912_123617We then bought tickets to our next attraction, Cave of the Winds.  Here we were given another poncho, water shoes and a bag to put our own shoes in.  We were then taken 175 feet down in an elevator where we walked along a series of steps and boardwalks at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls.20160912_123953

20160912_124319One location was called “Hurricane Deck ” where the power and wind from the thundering falls simulated a hurricane.  It was really fun and despite the ponchos we both got wet.  One amazing thing is every November the walkways and boardwalks are removed so they do not get caught in icy waters in the winter.  In the spring they are rebuilt for summer tourists.20160912_12500720160912_125023

We finally took a view of the Horseshoe Falls which has one side in the USA and the other in Canada.20160912_13172820160912_132105
After a walk back over the pedestrian bridge to the parking lot, we were tired and hungry.  We grabbed a late lunch.  On the way home we stopped by Whirlpool State Park where we walked down to an overlook of the Niagara Whirlpool on the Niagara River and the Niagara Gorge.
Tuesday we drove across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.  The view of the falls is prettier from this side because you have more of a direct view of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls.  The Horseshoe Falls is located on the Canadian side of the river.  Another difference is when you look at the falls from the United States you look across the water at Canada.  The Canadian side is very touristy with hotels, casinos, a ferris wheel etc.  When you stand in Canada and look across the water at the American side you are looking at Niagara Falls State Park with plenty of trees and green space.  Much more appealing!20160913_18072720160913_18121420160913_181939

We also took this video of the American falls from the Canadian side

After getting a few pictures in daylight we grabbed dinner and waited for it to get dark.  At 8:30 PM they illuminate the Horseshoe falls with multicolored lights.  We were a little disappointed that the lights were not deeper in color.  It was really hard to get a decent picture with the darkness, moving water and mist.20160913_204514

This is chart that show how the Horseshoe Falls has receded over the years because the rock wall face underneath crumbles.20160913_211109
It was going to be a long walk uphill back to the car in the dark so we paid to ride the Inclined Railway (funicular) back up the hill.  After driving back across the border into the United States we arrived back home.
We enjoyed our short time at Niagara Falls and will next head to our last stop in New York State.

Here is a nighttime video of Horseshoe falls taken from the Canadian side.

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