You shouldn’t be surprised to know that we didn’t surface at the time we were meant to again. Largely for 4 reasons: One, were on holidays. Two, were still Jet lagged. Three, were on holidays. And the most important reason is because were not working, and on holidays.
So, we do the thing where you wake up when you want to wake up.
I’ll be honest, Its a nice change of pace.
9:00 am, and we are on the freeway to Niagara. We’d had a hard time trying to decide what we should do with our lives last night. Aunty Jen has the day off, so she’s said we can pretty much go and do whatever we want. We couldn’t come up with anything without someone missing out, so we decided we would go to Niagara and have a good look around. We’ll be heading there for christmas, but this gives us an opportunity to just take 5, and see the place.
The drive is about 2 hours, but there is so much going on that it passes faster than I’d imagined. So Canadian freeways have got this weird thing where you can drive in the centre lane if you have 2 or more passengers. Partly to promote car-pooling, and partly to… I dunno, make us happy or something?
We come up to this bridge. Like, a mammoth bridge which snakes through the sky like a giant concrete ribbon. It looks just like the Westgate bridge for the Melbournites among us. As were approaching the bridge, Jen tells us about the great lakes. I’m looking over my right, and I’m thinking, “Oh yeah. Thats a big lake”. I can see a km or two is the other side of the lake, and there is a few freight liners sitting in the lake. Its a big lake.
But, not like what I was expecting to see. I look over my left, across the 4 lanes traveling the other direction, and I cannot see the edge of the lake. “That is a lake?!” I say with more surprise than even I was expecting to hear. It is better to describe it as a freshwater ocean, than calling it a lake. It is literally endless. Drew’s comment about Canada having 1/3 of the worlds fresh water is making a lot more sense now.
Jen proceeds to tell me that this is only one of 5 great lakes like this, and its not even the biggest one. I am utterly blown away. Were continue for the next hour to reach Niagara, passing largely industrial suburbs of outer Toronto.
As we get closer to Niagara, Jen proceeds to tell us that Niagara (the town), is right next to the falls. We drive into the town, and she tells us that just over there *signalling to the other side of the buildings* is the falls. “Really?” Bec and I probe. Its seems so obscure to us that this insanely iconic and unbelievable powerful waterfall is only a couple hundred metres away, but we cannot see any sign of it yet.
We turn the corner, and the protection that the buildings provided from the roar of the falls diminishes. Instantly, you can hear the low rumble of the millions of litres of water pouring over the rocky cliff edge every passing minute. It instantly suggests a feeling of reverence for the immense power that the falls offer.
Its something like I’ve never seen.
We park up, and despite the fact that most of the town is in hibernation due to the lack of tourism, there is still a good 30-40 people standing by the barrier of the falls, all being engrossed by the awe of the waterfall.
To be honest, I think this is the first decent waterfall I have actually seen. I don’t even bother getting the camera out yet. Just looking at the water pouring over the edge of the fall is enough to wow you. I know water distorts perception a little, but still, there is no denying how deep the torrent really is. Jen points to an abandoned barge around 150m away from us, and says “If you get to this point, you’re going over the edge”. The barge is nestled on these rocks, and I can only imagine how the occupiers of the boat would have tried to reach the shore.
Simply by watching the speed of the water flowing, its not hard to imagine the impending doom that awaits anyone who would try to navigate the waters. I get a touch more curious, and peer over the edge of the fall itself. Instantly, I am introduced to the shrill of the water pounding the surface of the water beneath it. Looking only around 50-100m further down stream, the water is so calm, that it suggests a waterfall of that magnitude is nonexistent.
I take it all in for another few minutes before I start snapping away.
I try a few different angles. But I am pretty much pointing my camera any direction and snapping the shot. The whole scene is so foreign to me, I am just going troppo on the camera. I remind myself to be intentional with my shots. Quality over quantity.
I start to assess the area around me and what I would do to make the shot better. As much as our current spot gives us a good view of how thick the water is, it doesn’t really show the magnitude of the water pouring over the edge of the falls. I know the better shot is further along the walk.
The maid of the mist is making it’s way up stream, as we are following the river downstream. I know that if I can get to a certain point, having the maid of the mist in the shot is going to give the falls the scale that it really needs to add the wow factor to the image.
I’m forever looking over my shoulder to make sure that I am going to get to the right place at the right time for the right shot.
The timing is right. I look over my shoulder, and kind of hobble on the railing that I’m not meant to be hobbling on. The voice of my Aunt in the background is acting as that guardian angel sitting on my shoulder reminding me of the things I have been trying to not remind myself of. She notifies me that every year, some punter falls over the rails. I kinda already knew this would be the case, but I just ignored it until I got the shot I needed.
We get our visual fill of the falls, and make our way over the road to non other than the infamous Tim Hortons! 3 Coffees and pastries for just over $10. This is real life ladies and gentlemen. Tim… Tim is my best mate now. Were on a first name basis. It’s more like, “Hey. Wanna go to tim’s place?”. Its the real deal.
We wanted to see what the tourist stores had to offer us, and as per usual, were inundated with overprice and commercialised Canadian-ism. There is literally everything there, but the thing we were after was the sock beanies. We didn’t buy them, largely because of the overpriced and over commercialised Canadian-ism.
We zig zag our way along the riverside walk, until we hit the town of Niagara. Its like a Las Vegas for kids. Everything in this town is screaming for parents to go broke at the expense of their kid’s enjoyment. Its unreal. The entire town is wired for tourism and making you surrender money you didn’t think you were going to surrender.
We wander and wander and take in all the steroided Canadian-ism that is Niagara. Pretty much every motel is branded as Niagara’s best motel. We wander enough to wonder if where were wandering is possible to get back from. Aunty Jen grew up in Niagara, and even she isnt sure. I’m thinking that its probably in our best interest to wait till night fall and just let the stars navigate us at this point.
The moment we make our way back to the water’s edge, we’re greeted with the same low rumbling roar that we’d said goodbye to only an hour or so before. And just as wed first
reacted to the falls the first time, both Bec and I instinctively utter an “Oh my God…”. It really is one of those sights that demands respect. There are only a few things that I have seen my my lifetime that you can’t not respect, and this was one of them. There is no way you can stand in front of these falls and witness the power that they hold and not be in awe. It is truly remarkable.
We just cant get over it.
Jen is loving it though. It’s where she grew up for most of her childhood, so for her, its so familiar and she is loving watching our eyes widen and widen again at the awe of the falls.
We jump in the Car and decide to explore around the area. We’ve taken up far more time that we had imagined and were already into the early afternoon. The road we follow mimics the river, gently bending and curving around the corners which hug the edges of the hills. The forestry is dense and not like anything I am familiar with, which makes it all the more picturesque to me.
After a brief walk, we decide that our time in Niagara is up. We’ll be back for christmas, so its no big deal, as we know we will see it later anyway. Were making our way back home, and we decide to stop by two places, one is called MJ’s Own Munchies, which is actually just a garage which has been converted into a little takeaway spot. We eat this thing called Poutine.
There are a variety of things that it reminds me of that it shouldn’t remind me of, so naturally, I am still warming up to it, but the whole idea is chips with cheese and gravy. Its not bad. But its a national icon, so there has to be a really good one somewhere.
The second place we stopped at is a shop which is on all the steroids that a shop could be
on. Its called Bass Pro. If you get a chance, don’t think. Just do. We walk in, and immediately, you are greeted with a gargantuan exposed ceiling and displays that entice the kind of human that exists. Even, my not camping Aunty Jen said that she cant walk into a shop like this and not buy something. Oh, and bulk guns and bows. Its crazy.
Now. I’ve had a shot in mind since before this trip for a shipwreck. There is this spot in iceland that I want to visit for that very reason. But, unbeknown to me, my opportunity to capture such an image would present itself sooner than I anticipated. As we were headed to Niagara, Jen told me about such a boat. However, it was on the opposite side of the road. So, being that we are now headed back to Orangeville, we made the brief detour.
The sun is descending and casting this light pink hue among the clouds. The clouds, in turn softly kiss the landscape below with a hint of pink light. Its exactly what I need. The boat looms over the edge of the water with it’s bare steel skeletal structure serving as a reminder that shipwrecks aren’t just for the early 1900’s. Its an odd mix. A rotting vessel propped up in the shallows that it probably should never have attempted, perched among the calm water and tranquility of the landscape around it.
I tip toe along the water’s edge with my camera until I capture the shot I am after. I’m more than happy with it and it is time to go home.
Come back later,
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