Shubha Renjith tries to explain the wonders of the Niagara Falls, which straddle the border between Canada and the United States, but finds that every visit shows her a whole new side of the majestic waters
Walking by the Niagara Falls was as refreshing as it always is. The water droplets from the falls splattered all over my camera lens, my winter jacket and me! There is a feel to it that makes me relax and maybe a few moments where I inadvertently look for a hand to hold.
That first trip to the majestic falls was more than eight years ago. Everything was new to me then—Canada, the roads, the driving side, food, even Tim Horton’s! As I walked past the signboards looking to get to the falls, as a stranger to this city, everything was refreshing, new and that feel of excitement of the new and unknown filled my spirits. The sound from the falls invited you from quite far and the mist rising from the falls pin pointed you to the centre of the falls. But you still had to follow the signs. I’m sure the excitement of seeing the falls were spilling over from my wonder-filled eyes. It has an aura of itself, a magnanimity to itself that seems to touch us each time we feel the water from it fall on our faces!
All those years back I had to protect my camera from getting wet and I still have to do the same now—that way nothing seems to have changed except that my phone now has a better camera and I decide to ignore my ‘real’ camera for my phone camera in this situation.
I have been at the falls many times since. Each time I find it as refreshing. Every time I stare into the mist rising from the centre, I keep looking at the flowing water for minutes, and search for the rainbow that I have been able to spot most of the time I’m there. And each time I count the number of falls there to make sure they are all intact.
The difference was more in the little details that I felt. Now I knew exactly what I wanted from Tim Horton’s, I knew I wasn’t spending more on any of the souvenirs—which I probably have quite a few now at home, and I knew exactly which way to go to reach the falls without looking for the signs!
My daughter is not that 2.5 ft something little fidgety nonstop talking thing anymore. Well, she is getting more than 4.5 ft, but I can say the other things still stay, pretty much. My husband ‘appears’ a bit wiser, or so I tried to imagine and I have no doubt I am wiser and smarter! I wondered how different the falls might actually be from when I saw it the first time. Facts about the falls say it must have eroded at the rate of less than an inch per year—that’s close to 8 or 9 inches.
It’s not always that we decide to go see the falls in winter, though every year, the peak winter makes me want to have a look at the ‘frozen falls’. I do not know if the ‘credit’ goes to global warming, but surprisingly it wasn’t ‘winter cold’ in February and so walking by the falls sounded doable. The advantage of being there now was it was unbelievably less crowded than what I’m used to seeing. We even managed to get pictures that can be titled ‘Niagara falls and Myself’! With absolutely no one else in the frame! For anyone visiting, I’m not bragging, but that’s a difficult picture to get!
Plan your visit
· If it’s your first time visiting, I would not advice picking winter (that includes February). The frozen falls are awesome, the ‘Niagara Falls and Myself’ pictures are very tempting but non winter months would be the best choice for that first or one-time visit, unless you are a great fan of snow, minus temperatures and the feeling of being frozen as you walk by the falls.
· Be ready to get some water over you, if you plan to walk by the falls. Have a phone camera or some camera that is waterproof or a camera you don’t mind getting wet.
· Be ready to see a lot of people and a lot of people taking pictures. At least a few cute couples requesting you to click some snaps for them (if they still want something more than the selfies they anyway are taking).
· Be prepared to see some crazy ‘brave’ people trying to sit on the rails which clearly says ‘Danger’ and warns ‘Not to climb on the walls and fences’!