About a year ago, my girlfriend and I decided to visit Niagara Falls. I’m American, so of course I visited the American side of the falls. For those of you who have never been, they say that each side of the falls offers a very different experience, and I could definitely understand what they meant while I was visiting. The American side has the actual waterfalls, so you can get up close and personal, feel the misty spray of the water splashing against your face, and feel the roar of water pounding against the rocks.
The Canadian side is a totally different experience, because they can get a full panoramic view of the falls, which are opposite them. I’m certain that seeing things from the land of our maple syrup-loving neighbors would have been breathtaking, but I’m glad that I got to experience the American half.
Without doubt, the single event that captured essence of the American falls better than anything else was the Cave of the Winds. Named after the cave located behind the falls, the Cave of the Winds is an enormous wooden structure, almost like a dock, that allows people to walk down near the foot of the falls – and, indeed, sometimes directly under the streams of water — to get as close to waterfall as humanly possible without getting into lawsuit territory.
I still remember the Cave walkway clearly. The sides of the red planks were covered in stringy green moss. The thunderous water was so loud you had to scream just to talk to you neighbor. Endless buffeting winds would hit you so hard that it nearly took you off your balance, carrying with them plumes of mist that plastered your drastically insufficient raincoat to your skin. I wore one of those ridiculous banana raincoats, and I was soaked for hours after the visit.
If you ever get a chance to visit Niagara Falls, take it. While you’re there, spend the few bucks and the 2 hour wait time (it’s well worth it) to take a walk on the Cave of the Winds. This simple wooden dock structure will afford you an experience unlike any other on earth. Be sure to bring your kids; it’s hard not to love getting wet.