I am a little late jumping back on the blog responsibilities . . but here is my first entry of the 2015 season.
The inspiration for this trip started on Friday, February 20th while watching a feature segment on the evening news of the very frozen Niagara Falls. Freezing at Niagara is not the rarest of occasions (it happened last year during the polar vortex) but this is the first year that we could make an overnight, unplanned dash for the falls -- due to Tom's retirement status! We figured there ought to be a couple out there somewhere that would want to jump on board.
Thus, Monday morning, February 23rd, we drove 3 hours to LaGrange, Ohio to pick up Airstream allies Larry and Lou Woodruff. We arrived at the American Falls at 1:30, with bright sunshine, a cloudless sky, and a temperature hovering near 0 degrees. At that point, as we approached the American Falls parking lot, still in warm van, there was not hint of the severity of this raw weather combination.
Experienced falls observers know that you can have a totally different experience -- depending on the direction of the wind. The closer that we approached, the more we zeroed in on the fact that the mist of the mighty falls was blowing directly towards us! With 0 degree temperature, the wind-chill alone was horrific, but add to that the instantly-freezing spray, and it was almost too much to endure.
Larry kept his big camera covered deep in his parka, and bought it out for quick pics before burying it again. Tom and I did the same with our phone cameras. Taking pictures was painful! For encouragement, we focused on the beauty of the frozen falls falls . . .and peeled off the gloves, shot a few pics.
The falls never freeze over, but they do freeze on the sides, and become much more narrow -- as seen in this picture. Even when they appear to freeze over the water still rushes over the edge, underneath the ice. Once in the early 1800's the water did stop flowing over the brink, but this was due to an ice jam in Lake Erie.
We did not linger at the American Falls. We took the fast track along the river walk, down to the observation tower and climbed to the top - then a quick clip back to the van. FROZEN! Our hotel was only moments away at #1 Prospect Pointe, and at that time it seemed like a great options. The hotel sat right on the Niagara River, upstream a little bit from the falls, and we had a good view of the area.
We relaxed in the hotel rooms for 30 minutes, thinking about how the temperature would be falling as dark came on. At 4:00 we loaded in the van, pulled out the passports, crossed the border, and found a parking spot just adjacent to the expansive Canadian boardwalk.What a pleasure to step out of the van to find that the wind and mist were blowing away from us; it was still below "0", but without the wind and spray it was immensely more comfortable. We followed the causeway for 40 minutes, beginning at the American falls and making our way down to the Horseshoe falls and the Table Rock Welcome Center that sat on the brink.
The Horseshoe Falls were running full force, although we could only see the first half -- the far side was mostly misted in.
Briefly the mist thinned and we caught a glimpse of the other side of the Horseshoe Fall on the Goat Island side.
After 45 minutes we arrived at the Table Rock Welcome Center; the inside was open, but the shops and restaurants were mostly closed. There was a nice photo bench left over from Valentine's Day that we took advantage of for a couple's pictures.
The lobby had some interesting pictures, and I was especially intrigued by this one showing the rate of erosion of the falls in the past 400 years.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown