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  • Day45

    Chasing Waterfalls

    August 12, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Despite having visited Niagara when I was 14, on finalising my itinerary it seemed daft not to stop by this natural phenomenon on the way back to NY. I'd booked myself into the HI Hostel which was in a very sleepy part of town about 25 minutes walk from the falls but conveniently less than 5 minutes walk from the train station.

    Steve and Monica very kindly dropped me down to the station in downtown Toronto. I was really sad to leave their warm family home but was also starting to feel ready to return to my own family home back in Gloucestershire. I've been pretty good on the homesickness front to date. I've been far too busy to really have time to experience it. However I did experience my first bout of utter loneliness today. I'll get to that later.

    Niagara was a short train ride away and once I'd dropped my cases at the hostel, I set off along the river towards the falls.

    I still found their sheer size and power mesmerising and was glad I'd made the added stop to my trip. I'd resolved that I wouldn't be doing any of the tourist activities as I'd either done them previously or had heard bad reviews - 'Maid of the Mist' for instance is notorious for being an overcrowded soggy boat ride on which you cannot easily take photographs. As you can probably imagine that didn't really appeal to me. However, I was not expecting to discover two new attractions which did draw me in. One was a zipwire which ran down towards the horseshoe falls for about 2000 ft and looked appropriately frightening. Another was a big wheel which overlooked the falls from the Vegas style strip further back from the river. In a quandary, I sent Dad a text asking which I should do. His response was simple - 'BOTH!' As most people know I don't often go against my Daddy Beard's advice so both I did. The zipwire was phenomenal. It was actually my first zipwire ever so it was a little frightening on a number of counts but I felt exceedingly safe and was glad to have done it. Having done this in the late afternoon I opted to leave the big wheel until after dark.

    I was on one last mission before leaving Canada the following day, this was to finally experience the supposed Canadian delicacy which is 'Poutine'. It's essentially just chips, cheese and gravy and sadly I was a tad underwhelmed. However, at least it could be ticked off the list!

    Once the sun had finally set I stood and got hypnotized by the cascading torrents illuminated in the dark for a while and then ventured towards the wheel. This was when the loneliness hit me. Unusually there were very few English speaking tourists at Niagara so aside from the lovely family of 3 that I shared my zip wire experience with I'd barely conversed with anyone all day. The only other acquaintance I'd made was the gorgeous husky 'variant' called Grey Fire (GoT fans will appreciate that name more than I did). Not only did he let me make a big fuss he unusually (apparently) settled down next to me. His owners were much amused and told me I must have a likeable demeanour as he very rarely settles down with anyone. If I could, I'd have taken him home.

    It transpires being in a big wheel gondola on ones own is a step too far on the loneliness scale. Disneyland was fine. Big wheel felt a little sad. Still, I've no regrets as the views were breathtaking and the loneliness only lasted 5 minutes. I don't think it helped that I was wearing a pink anorak and my polka dot straw hat and so felt extra special.

    Having done both attractions and eaten my poutine I headed back to the hostel for bed. This would be my very last hostel on the trip. Thankfully I had very friendly australian company in my dorm of 4 and the hostel was very homely and helpful.

    The countdown to my journey home was upon me but there was still a fair distance to travel.
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