We were racing nightfall, with sunshine fading fast as we drove west towards Niagara Falls. The driving wasn't as busy as Manhattan, but Chelsea was actively navigating the entire way. We eventually ended up taking the non-scenic route through the back suburbs and industrial properties of the city, which was neat.
Despite my reassurance, Christian was convinced he'd be letting me down if we didn't make it to the falls before the sun set. I was just happy to be en route given the hiccups we'd had with the ac compressor earlier that day. It was the only place I'd specified wanting to go on our entire roadtrip, so to actually get there was enough for me.
There were pictograph signs to follow once we were close. After parking we raced to water's edge, and I went from tired/nervous to giddy once I saw the rapids above the falls. There's at least a quarter mile of good looking ledge holes and wave trains (technical terms) above the horizon line of American falls. I only saw one problematic must-make move in the entire section.
Even though the detour to the falls was for me, watching Christian run up to the rushing water when we got near was well worth the trip. He's a raft guide, which means he obsesses about water and the lines through rapids. He stood there in absolute awe of the massive waves for a solid minute before we were able to move on to check out the falls.
Due to the season and a handful of construction projects, most of the viewing platforms were closed. The crowd at the falls was concentrated to a small amount of space, and we had to vie for uninterrupted shots. This became even harder when Chelsea wanted to do some longer exposures later in the evening. Regardless, it was magical.
When we first got to the falls and struggled to find a spot for photos that wasn't completely filled with people in our background, we were both a bit underwhelmed by it all. It wasn't until we did a little walking and poking around that we realized we weren't even at the massive Horseshoe Falls yet. We stumbled our way to a path that wound around through a poorly marked and poorly lit park, finally making our way to the other side and on to the famed falls I'd been anticipating.
Night fell and Canada turned on the lights. The falls glowed white, pink, yellow and green as the lenses changed across the border. A drizzle started to fall, but we ignored it. The falls are a different place at night, and arriving late turned out to be a blessing.
Despite the fact that the best viewing areas for the main falls were also blocked off due to the massive chunk of ice covering most of it, once the spotlights turned on, we couldn't help but gasp in amazement at the scene before us. The contrast between the Canadian side and the US side is quite stark, with high-rises and colored lights lining our northern friends and a dark lush park on our side. I was disappointed at first at what this did to our view until night fell and it added a nice cityscape to the background of all my photos.
We ended the night with a couple more hours of driving west. After a quick Walmart shopping trip, we parked at a truck stop, cooked dinner, and went to bed in an ambulance that was really starting to feel like home.