Day 6: Niagara Falls

12:00 PM

The sixth day of our east coast road trip, we continued to Letchworth State Park in New York. Voted #1 State Park (followed closely by Watkins Glen at #3, where we stopped the night before), it did not disappoint. 14,427 acres of beauty, it is known as the "Grand Canyon of the East." I suppose it compares with the beauty of the "Grand Canyon of Hawaii" and the actual thing. We visited the three main falls spread out across the park: lower, middle and upper - all equally impressive. This was one of our favorite stops. Again, we would not have minded spending more time at this park.

From there, we drove northwest to Niagara Falls State Park. We took the "Cave of the Winds Tour", which starts off with an elevator ride to the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls, where one can walk on the boardwalk to get closer. The mist from the falls are of soaking capacity. It was so cold, we did not envy the passengers aboard the Maid of the Mist boats, in their ponchos.

Slightly underwhelmed with the view from the US, we made our way to check out the angle from Canada's side. Crossing the border wasn't too much of a hassle. The lady who took our passports and questioned us had a grumpy demeanor. Perhaps that's part of the job description, as we experienced similar coming back the following night.

Spence stopped at the currency exchange building on the other side of the checkpoint for some Canadian cash, as many credit card companies will rip you off for each exchange. Made of colorful polymer (plastic), it resembles Monopoly money. Instead of bills for lower amounts, they have loonies and toonies, which are the one and two dollar coins. Yes, they are actually called that. Is one supposed to take this system seriously? All those coins weigh down a wallet pretty quickly, as a Canadian pointed out to us.

It did to take long to get to spending. Arriving at Niagra Falls in Canada, my ears turned to popsicles and I couldn't feel my fingers. At the gift shop, we bought a maple-leaf Canadian beanie to keep my head warm before making our way to the observation walkways. Sadly, I lost it before we even made it back to the US the next day. There goes 27 Canadian dollars.

Niagara Falls from the Canadian side surpassed the US view by leaps and bounds. From here, one can see all three falls - American, Bridal Veil, and Canadian Horsehoe Falls (collectively making up Niagara Falls).

While touring the falls, an asian lady came up to me and motioned to her camera. Initially, I thought she wanted me to take her and her husband's photo. When she started hugging my side, followed by him pointing a camera at us, I realized she wanted a picture with me! After snapping a photo, the man made out a question, asking if I was from Canada (pointing at my hat). I laughed, saying no, but it didn't seem to phase them. They asked how old we both were and clapped their hands and shouted joyously at the answer. "Two-two! Two-two!" Spence and I got a kick out of the conversation. They made my day.

As we still had some daylight left, we chose to make one last stop before retiring that night. Hamilton, Ontario is the waterfall capital of the world, so naturally we had to see a few (we had more time to spare than I had banked on this trip). That evening we hiked to Decew Falls. The sun was setting by then, so Spencer tried to speed things up by cutting across the trail, instead of taking the switchbacks down. Holding on to a thin rope he found, we attempted to scale down the hill, only to come to the cautious decision that it was too steep and slippery. Smartly, we tried the same thing a few yards farther, only this time we were successful. On our hike, there was another group that passed us as we made out descent, and Spencer boasted that they still hadn't made it all the way, when we were finished - that's how much of a short cut it must have been. Our pants, however, would need a washing before wearing again, as they were spotted with mud.

Driving along the highway to our hotel, we noticed an old-looking ship at Lake Ontario's edge. Of course, we had to stop for a few pictures. The lake could be mistaken for an ocean, it was so large - and to think it is the smallest of the Great Lakes! Once at our hotel, we cranked the Celsius heater up, to what I hoped was a decent temperature, before readying for bed. We were in Canada!

Letchworth State Park, NY
For real?
Lower Letchworth Falls
Middle Letchworth Falls
Upper Letchworth Falls
Niagara Falls
So many seagulls!
Niagara's Canadian "Horseshoe" Falls
Making our way to Decew Falls
Decew Falls
Old ship on Lake Ontario

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