From Harrisburg, we started for the Niagara Falls at 6:45 AM on 30th May 2010. Athimber drove the full way. Akka and me gave him company – I think. 🙂 It was a bright sunny day. Chats about our daily lives, Raavanan music and stops for rest, breakfast and lunch filled the 6 hour journey from Harrisburg to Niagara State Park. Akka and I walked along the Niagara River (that consequently becomes the Falls) and found the long queue to buy tickets for Maid of the Mist tour. Boy o Boy….. the queue was like the famous "Hanumaar vaal" – long, winded and twining…. only like my sister mentioned, we managed to find its end and stand there. We stood in the queue for more than an hour. It took athimber nearly the same amount of time to find one parking space!! Such was the crowd at the Niagara Falls State Park on Memorial Day weekend. Even from a distance, the Niagara Falls was quite a sight. I could hear the mystic sound of the waterfalls (just like in Kuthaalam) – a constant gushing, flowing music.
We managed to get the tickets and wore the blue plastic cover. The water dances its way through a series of stones and mud and pebbles in a joyous mood and in all its youthful splendour falls from the cliff. As it hits the rock below, it throws itself as a spray on to anyone and anything nearby. Its exuberance and force makes one feel younger, happier. The water flies into the air as it hits the rock and creates a mist which hides the foot of the falls. [The Horse Shoe falls cannot be seen completely from the boat because of this mist.]
We got on the boat and climbed to the top deck. We hurriedly got a spot on the rails. The boat started and took us closer to the falls. As we neared the falls, the boat continued to give full throttle but the force of the falls pushed it back. I felt as though we were getting closer and closer to the falls but we were in the same place! 🙂 Initially I tried to cover my hair with the plastic cover but the wind kept pushing it back. And then one jet of water fell on my face and as the boat made a turn, I let go off the cover, switched off my camera and gleefully recieved the spray from the falls on me. The chillness and purity of it was was heavenly! Feeling the Niagara on me was a special experience. A cherishable moment of my life thus far.
Water – we drink it everyday, wash dirt with it and take it for granted. But in such power and hugeness, it thrilled me beyond words. The Maid of the Mist is an experience to have, not describe! I drunk in the happiness, the peace, the fury, the force, the sound and the beauty. After a full 5 to 10 minutes, the boat turned and left me longing for more.
We climbed the Observatory deck and saw the falls from the top. From the distance, it never feels like a huge waterfall in the making. 🙂 All of a sudden the Niagara River picks up pace and begins its dance down to the Atlantic Ocean. The reason for the pace – I do not know. I do not want to also. Trying to logically comprehend and understand the Niagara Falls is a waste of time. Reliving the experience of being there is enough to keep anyone happy and content (even if for a few minutes).
Normally, I am not one who takes advice. However, I heeded something that my sister told me while at the Niagara. She said, "Wherever you may or may not go in the US, make sure you see two things – Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. The power of nature is not to be missed…."
Next stop – Grand Canyon! 🙂 Oh and before that to complete my East Coast trip – New York!