The road into town was narrow and busy, and we didn't know exactly where the falls were, so when we got to the RV Park last night, we set up camp and stayed put. They had an information office that sold tours to the falls, but by the time we finished our hook-ups, the office had closed.
This morning we went to the tour office, looked at our options, and selected the All American tour. We could have gone on the All Canadian tour, or done both over two days. The Canadian tour would have taken us to some gardens and the waterworks for the hydroelectric system (or something equally uninteresting--I didn't pay much attention to that part), when what we wanted to see was the waterfall. The American tour gave us lots of places to see the falls.
It was a four-hour tour with our guide, Martha. We all had to wear nametags with her name, even the men, and everyone had a good time calling each other Martha. This was my mom and me near the beginning of the tour. By the end we looked like drowned rats and we were exhausted, but it was a good kind of exhausted.
We started at the Whirlpool then went to a park that overlooked the American edge of the Horseshoe Falls, where the river slips past the last edge of rock.
A bicyclist had her dog in a trailer, although the dog didn't seem particularly interested in the view.
After looking from above, we went to the Cave of the Winds, where we were each issued a yellow rain slicker, a pair of neoprene velcro-sandals, and a plastic bag to (hopefully) keep our shoes and socks dry. I got an extra plastic bag, so I put my camera in it.
Then we went down to the wooden walkway at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. Martha (the real one) had recommended rolling up our pants legs, but it proved futile. As we walked closer to the falls, we were met by the mist, then the spray, and then the splashing of water as it hit the rocks and continued down to the river. We were all soaked up to the knees.
After a short break, our time for the Maid of the Mist boat ride had come. We all kept on our Cave sandals and were issued a blue rain slicker. The ride started by taking us past the American Falls and its close companion, the Bridal Veil Falls. We could see the walkway we had been on not too long before.
Then the boat approached the Horseshoe Falls, where the mist rises in a plume that obscures anything behind it.
As we got closer, the mist got heavier.
In the center of Horseshoe's curve, the spray was so severe, my eyes stung and I couldn't look at anything. I finally pulled the hood of my rain gear down over my eyes, so I could at least see the waterfall, even though it looked blue.
After the boat ride, some of us climbed up the stairs that took us above the midpoint of the Horseshoe Falls' plunge to the bottom.
Our tour ended after a trip up the elevator to the Observation Deck, where we could look down on the Horseshoe Falls and the Maid of the Mist boats below.
After Martha dropped us off at our RV Park, my mom and I discussed our plans for the evening. We would have liked to have seen the falls lit up at night, but we were too tired to pull the car off the dolly, figure out how to get to the falls without Martha, find a parking spot, and then get back again afterward. So we put our wet clothes in the dryer instead.
Tomorrow we start heading north for New Brunswick. We don't know how long it will take to get there.