The Best Seat on the Maid of the Mist
Morning in Niagara Falls
The morning came quick and before I knew it, I was back in the packed car again. I grabbed a hot almond milk latte from Power City Eatery to get started. I was ready to go and see what I was actually standing in front of last night. We whipped back into the front lot, although this time parking was far from free.
Now, knowing the path like the back of my hand, I led us across the tiles and over to the steps…except that the steps weren’t there anymore. A huge fence was somehow installed between midnight and eight in the morning, blocking our old route. Though it was a longer route, we were pleased to find that the scenery was worth it.
We passed by a squirrel with a cheek full of acorns and a local selling homemade jewelry. The sun glinted through the trees above, reflecting off of the rapids with a blinding twinkle. Twisting through the auburn brick path in the green grass, we made it down to the falls in no time.
Arriving at Niagara Falls Park
Here, stretching across the entire waterfall was one giant, swooping rainbow wavering in the mist. Down below, the Maid of the Mist was making its first round of the morning. It crossed through the colorful archway like some sort of Magic School Bus plot. We followed the fence line around the edge watching the scene unfold, until we realized it would be way more fun to be a part of it.
Grabbing a pair of Maid of the Mist tickets from the cashier, we stepped into the elevator, as the attendant pressed the button for Floor 1. The ride was silent besides the automated voice on the speaker, explaining the rules for how-not-to-die when we board the boat. The attendant stood in the corner, mouthing every single syllable the automated voice announced on the beat. He must’ve ran out of hobbies aside from the ten second interactions he gets with thousands of tourists each day.
The Maid of the Mist
The doors opened up, as we traded our tickets in for giant pink ponchos that were supposed to keep us less-drenched when riding through the feet of the falls. The last boat was just getting back and I began to question if these ponchos were really for our benefit or for their free marketing. Each person that glided off the boat looked dry as could be. I think there were only about 5 people who came off with wet hair.
“Free shower!” one of the women shouted to us onlookers, as she squeezed out her golden locks and continued up the steps.
“I don’t know about free…” the worker mumbled under her breath, knowing full-well that woman paid good money to get on that boat ride.
Unlatching the chain link fence, it was our turn to test the waters.
The Best Place to Stand on The Maid of the Mist
“Where’s the best place to stand?” A father asked the worker excitedly while juggling his kid on wobbling shoulders.
“Middle front,” she exclaimed, ushering him to keep the line moving.
Strolling up the ramp onto the boat, we beelined it for the middle front. In less than 5 minutes, the pink swarm of sardines were packed in and detached from the dock, scooting off into the river. Down here, I no longer saw the rainbow that the boat had gone through. I wondered if the onlookers above thought we looked just as magical.
A Ride Into The Falls
Seagulls took turns dipping in front of us and then soaring through the mist, calling out to each other. The roaring water became louder and louder the closer we got, until, eventually we had to shout to our neighbor about what lied ahead of us.
“LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FALLS!”
Where the top of the stream met the bottom, a whirlpool was sizzling. Millions upon millions of tiny bubbles swirled from below to the surface, releasing an astronomical amount of mist. This motion must have been what slapped me in the face just outside of the parking lot last night. It was unnerving how far it traveled.
The streams of water dumped so heavily that it no longer looked like a clear stream. Instead, a wedding veil fit for a skyscraper looked down at us. Our boat sat here idling —or maybe it was going at full speed ahead and the current pushed us back with the same velocity— either way, we were floating in the abyss of one of the greatest world wonders to be found.
Tourists squeezed above me and as I turned around to see what the fuss was about, a billowing gust of wind swooshed over us, just about lifting my poncho right over my head. With quick reflexes, I snatched the edges and pushed it down toward the sopping floor of the boat, but it was to no avail. The wind was too good of a fighter for my measly forced-on tourist merchandise.
Heading Back To Shore
The boat was now turning around. A rainbow flashed out of the corner of my right eye as we hit the sun at a perfect angle. Back to the birds, we went. The other section of Niagara was on my right and I watched as people from above stared at us in awe, ready to join the action. I knew that feeling.
It was autumn in New York and the riverside was filled with fiery colors as the leaves changed and floated down into the vibrant grassy hills. We stopped just short of the bridge connecting the United States with Canada and hopped off the boat, probably being one of the five wet-haired people from my previous statistic. The worker was right—middle front totally wins.
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