Niagara Falls - Ontario, Canada
We stayed at the KOA campground. It is conveniently located on the WEGO bus line, meaning that we didn't have to drive the truck once during our stay. We acquired the Adventure Pass from Niagara Parks. The pass offers entrance into the attractions that we wanted to see, 48 hours of unlimited rides on the WEGO bus, and other discounts. We used the pass to explore for two days.
Our first stop was the Journey Behind the falls. It begins by being issued a yellow poncho and then taking an elevator down 125 feet to near the base of Canada's Horseshoe Falls. From there you walk through tunnels built 130 years ago, to several portals where you look out from behind the massive amount of falling water. On the observation deck, up close and personal, you can feel the emended power of the falls.
The falls are located on the Niagara River, which separates the United States and Canada. The water from the Great Lakes of Huron, Michigan, Superior and Erie flow over these falls before emptying into Late Ontario and finally the Atlantic Ocean. Fully 20% of the Earth's fresh water makes this journey. At peak flow almost 800,000 gallons of water flow over the combined falls, every second. That is over 3,000 tons of water flowing at 32 feet per second. At Horseshoe Falls, which is the largest of the three, the water hits the base with 280 tons of force. Standing at the base of the falls, you can feel it.
Horseshoe falls is just under 160 feet tall and the water in the pool at its base is 160 feet deep. The fallserodes at about 1 foot a year.
|Behind the Falls|
After walking a half mile along the high bluff above the falls, we arrived at our next excursion. If you visit, take this walk as it provides the best views of the American and Bridal Veil Falls. The next stop was the Hornblower Niagara cruise.
|Nicola Tesla - It's all about the power...|
|American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls|
|Rainbow Bridge and the American Falls|
The Hornblower is Canada's answer to the Maid of the Mist, a similar boat trip operated from the US side of the river. These are half hour boat tours that take you to the base of the falls. You will get wet taking this boat ride. The mist from the falling water turns to rain, and the wind from the force of the falling water turns the mist into wind driven rain.
The boat, a two hulled catamaran, pulls up into the current below the falls and holds there before turning the bow into the current and spinning the boat around. The ride gives you a river level view of all of Niagaras' falls.
|American and Bridal Veil Falls|
White Water Walk
|Niagara Gorge Rapids|
|Tunnel to the water|
Day two had us walking. We took the WEGO bus to the White Water Walk. Here we took an elevator down a hundred feet to a boardwalk where we walked along the river as it enters the narrowest section of the gorge. All that water coming over the falls then flows through the gorge entering the Whirlpool, not quite a mile below. The river here become Class 6 rapids. Standing waves through this rapid are 6 to 10 feet high. While the Parks Commission doesn't allow running the river without specific permission.
As late as the 1990's two river rafting companies have attempted commercial trips through this section. Both soon shut down following accidents where clients and guides died.
Whirlpool Aero Car
Our last attraction was the Whirlpool Aero Car. This 40 person cable car has been in operation since 1916 and travels over the Whirlpool located below the Niagara Gorge. The car places you about 200 feet above the water. You get a birds-eye view of hydrodynamics!
|Niagara River below the Whirlpool|
|Niagara Gorge above the Whirlpool|
The Whirlpool is where the Niagara River takes a 90 degree turn to the north, flowing to Lake Ontario. Over time the river has cut into the western bank before being forced back on itself. After hitting the bank, the water then flows under the stronger current running out of the gorge, causing the whirlpool effect.
Leaving Canada we were reminded again how beautiful it is here and how friendly the people are.