Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Niagara Falls

Michael and I were invited to a wedding in Cleveland this past weekend. We made a long weekend of it and went to Niagara Falls "on the way." Niagara Falls is on the way to Cleveland in the sense that they are both northwest of here. Michael had never seen the falls and I wanted to go back and see them again. There is a story here.

I visited Niagara Falls in January of 1994 with two friends. All of us were freshmen in college and none of us had any money. We drove from Missouri to Cleveland, then on to Buffalo and falls, and back in a weekend. The road trip was ostensibly to see a college that Friend One was interested in transferring to. After we picked up Friend Two, he helpfully pointed out that the AFC Championship was being played in Buffalo that weekend, a mere three hours beyond Cleveland. Gas was only a dollar a gallon and Friend One's 1984 (?) four-door Honda Civic wagon got some astronomical number of miles per gallon, so we figured, "why not?" The first thing we did when we got to Buffalo was go to Niagara Falls. I think it was 11 p.m. when we got there. There was more snow on the ground than I had seen anywhere up to that point in my life. The place was completely empty and silent except for the roar of the water. I don't remember how long we stayed. I do remember that, after not nearly enough sleep, we got up and bought tickets for the football game.

We hadn't told any of our parents where we were going, so we surprised the heck out of Friend Two's parents when we called from the stadium (on a pay phone! with a calling card!) just before the game they were going to watch on television to say, "Guess where we are!" We were rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, who ended up losing. We went back out to the falls after the game and then made the long drive back to Missouri for Monday morning classes. That trip was the start of a long tradition of road trips and traveling and calling (now, texting) to say, "Guess where I am..."

This past Thursday night, we drove up to Niagara Falls after Michael got off work. We arrived after midnight and went straight to bed. This time, though, we did something I never would have done then: we got up at sunrise so I could take pictures of the falls. We weren't able to get to some of the better viewpoints because of the the snow, but we enjoyed walking around and exploring the area. We also visited the Frank Lloyd Wright Darwin house in Buffalo,which was interesting and well worth the ticket price. They don't really allow much photography, so I don't have anything from there.

Lots of pictures:
American Falls at dawn.
This is me at nearly the same spot in 1994. Note the completely inappropriate footwear. I think I bought the scarf that morning before the football game.
Looking towards the falls and Canada at sunrise. I didn't remember any of the buildings across the river. Going back and looking at pictures from 1994, it was completely fogged in, so they could have been there for all I know.
American Falls from Goat Island at sunrise.
Looking upstream on the Niagara River from the south end of Goat Island.
Ducks finding shelter from the current in the lee of ice-covered rocks.
A duck taking off from the water.
 Red Breasted Merganser ducks on the Niagara River
A rainbow in the mist over American Falls
We drove up to Fort Niagara on the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. This is the castle the French built at the fort.
Fortifications from one of the towers at the fort.
Long-Tailed Ducks at Fort Niagara
A White Winged Scoter on Lake Ontario. Another duck-sized waterfowl. I'm not sure what this one is, so if anyone has any ideas, let me know in the comments (click to enlarge).
The Niagara River Gorge at Whirlpool State Park between Niagara Falls and Fort Niagara.
 The American Falls side of the river between shore and Goat Island in late afternoon.
The tall buildings in Canada beyond the mist produced by American Falls.
A huge chunk of snow on the falls.
American Falls in the late afternoon light.

1 comment:

  1. Your unidentified bird appears to be a White-winged Scoter.