Me and the bf were borrowing his brother's van yesterday. Usually we don't have a vehicle and usually take nice long walks around the area looking for nice places to live, and places of nature and beauty.
Yesterday we went to Niagara Falls... but not to see the falls like thousands others this Labor day weekend... but to see the whirlpool.
(Here's a picture of where I was yesterday)
Driving through Clifton Hill, the area where people flock to see the falls and spend their tourist dollars, I felt really overwhelmed with all of the traffic, pedestrians, and flashy advertisements at every turn. There were soooo many people walking around... I couldn't take it. So we skipped the falls... we've both seen it plenty of times. So yeah we got away from the hustle and bussle, and parked our van outside a wooded area and started our journey to the bottom of the escarpment.
It's a huge hill with a series of stairs leading down. It's about a 10 minute walk to the bottom. The walk it's self was beautiful. Lot's of trees, rocks, beaten trails, and what have you. It gave me that sigh of relief I was after, after leaving the crowded areas that everyone flocked to. Once we got down there, I was taken away by the view.
The first thing you see is the huge escarpment you just conquered. A wall of rock, channeling away from the falls. You hear the water rushing about in every which way. You watch the aggressive currents swirl around in a mad dash to escape this natural wonder. Then... you hear the helicopters.
Apparently you can pay a pretty penny to go up in a 10 minute helicopter ride over the falls and the whirpool. You can also pay into a ride on a little red car (you see it in the picture) that dangles over the whirpool, looking over to the falls. You can also take a 10 minute ride in a jet boat that rides into the whirlpool, stops in a strong current, goes around a couple times, and then takes off. There isn't a long wait for these either, because they interrupted my enjoyment every 5 minutes or so. Two helicocksuckers and 2 boats. It almost ruined a great thing for us.
For the most part, I enjoyed my free experience. I found it funny that people would spend money for the same thing I got for free. Sure they get a ride in a cool machine out of the deal... but the ride is short, expensive. I also thought it was funny that there were signs everywhere for these experiences, but the path leading down to where I was, was unmarked. It had an unpaved parking lot, park surroundings, and little to no tourists. Just locals who know where it's at.
This reminded me if nothing else, that the more untouched a place is, the more pure the experience. The people like me know that indulgence doesn't have to be expensive... and in fact we do these things, and go to these beautiful places to get away from the world ruled by money.
It's too bad... I know people are just trying to feed demand, make a living, etc etc.... but it doesn't have to be that way everywhere. I'm glad I've seen the whirlpool... I had no idea something so immense and beautiful was so close to where I live... It's too bad that people have turned this wonder of the world into a way to make money. It helps the economy... yeah yeah... I know... but it's not about that.
I like the places that so few have seen before. The places where the view isn't obstructed by "$100 fine for throwing litter over the side" signs... a place with no guard rails... a place with little to no path to follow. And to think... this was the way it was before. I imagine a time where the falls were just the falls. A place of natural wonder... and not just a tourist attraction filled with more places to spend money, than places to sit and enjoy the view.