Last year – during the winter from hell – I was intrigued by stories of the frozen Great Lakes and Niagara Falls. That lethargy created by a long and cold winter caused me to do nothing about my curiosity. I regretted that inaction and decided to do something about it this winter.
The opportunity finally presented itself yesterday, and Helen – my intrepid partner in various adventures – agreed to take the 90 minute drive with me to Niagara Falls. We were both familiar with the sight of the Falls during the glory of summer, but I had never visited in winter. The weatherman had promised us sunny skies, but instead we were given another grey and lifeless day.
Our first view of the Falls was from several kilometers away as Helen pointed out the large plume of mist on the horizon – a detail I would have missed against the grey sky. In fact, the spray from the Falls shrouded most of this incredible waterfall. The Niagara River was frozen at the bottom of the Falls with massive ice boulders accumulating from the spray.
That same mist created a layer of ice on everything down wind from the Falls. The effect was a magical icy wonderland.
What a difference it was from the traffic and heavy crowds of summer. In comparison, there was only a handful of people out braving the cold.
In my enthusiasm to take photos, I leaped out of our car – illegally parked in front of the Falls – and left my mitts behind. I promptly froze my hands. It became harder to steady the camera as my fingers became increasingly numb from the cold.
The most striking feature we noticed was the incredible blue-green water. The drabness of winter and its lack of colour seemed to highlight this remarkable blue-green neither of us had noticed before on summer visits.
We drove down the river, away from the spray of the Falls, to the Whirlpool Gorge where this blue-green was even more noticable. It was so interesting to see the river lumpy with chunks of ice.
We ended our afternoon in Niagara-on-the-Lake with a steamy hot bowl of French Onion Soup and a glass of Merlot at The Olde Angel Inn founded in 1789 – claiming to be the oldest operating inn/pub in Canada.
I can’t run away from winter, but at least I can take advantage of the opportunity to try some new experiences.