Here is what it looks like to approach the Rainbow Bridge from the US side:
Here is what it looks like to approach the Rainbow Bridge from the Canadian side:
It’s no secret that the views are much more spectacular from the Canadian side. But it goes a bit beyond that. Canada just seems a whole lot more colorful!
I completely get where Frederick Olmsted was going (architect who designed Niagara Falls State Park as well as New York’s Central Park) with his intent to conserve the natural surroundings around the falls. I appreciate the feeling of authenticity of the “green space” as it winds its way along the edge of the river. However, there is something quite uplifting and inspiring about the beautiful floral gardens that line the riverside path on the Canadian side.
The Niagara Gorge which separates the US and Canada is in of itself a worthy tourist attraction. There are beautiful hiking trails both along the rim, as well as below along the river. I descended the stairs at “Devil’s Hole,” walked along the river path, and ascended at the “Whirlpool.”
This is one wild river, often with rapids so powerful, the waves crest in opposite direction of the flow of the river. Just about the time I decided this was no navigable river, I hear in the distance, a roar…
Here it comes, a jet boat full of screaming, flailing tourists, barreling up the rapids at “Hey! watch this!” speeds typically reserved for the Texas redneck jet skiers.
I walked across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada with a sense of accomplishment, having reached my northeastern most turning point in my east coast journey. At first I said I would be too afraid to navigate as far as New York in the Winnie while towing a car. Then, I said I would just fly to Niagara Falls for my birthday, because I was too nervous to drive that far north. I am not sure what I was afraid of…making a wrong turn and driving the Winnie over the falls, I guess. So walking across the bridge and “tagging” the Canadian border all the way from Texas without having boarded a plane was a real milestone for me.
As if I had not had enough “soak your shoes” experiences, I opted for the “Journey Beneath the Falls” tour on the Canadian side, an elevator ride to the base of Horseshoe Falls. Tunnels lead one third of the way behind the falls with portals where you can stand and look out beneath the falls. The thundering sounds, dark water, and vibrating railing are just uncomfortable enough to keep the crowds moving.
I thought the floodlit displays of the falls at night would be the ultimate display in “tacky tourism,” but I rather enjoyed watching the ethereal effects of the changing colors on the white water. I am just sorry the fireworks displays already ended for the season, an otherwise fitting celebration for my many “turns.”