The blue-green water plummeted down so fast it formed a gray mist that lingered above the falls. The swirls of churning water tumbled over themselves in a seemingly endless race to the waiting bottom of the pool. Mother Nature had blessed Niagara Falls with this great demonstration of power.
My trip to this wonder was on Thanksgiving of 2005. I had learned about the majestic falls in my Chinese textbook while I painstakingly looked up every word in my dictionary. The vivid descriptions of nature and its form propelled me to finish the passage. That Thanksgiving, the weather was cold and the moisture in the air seemed to imitate that of our destination, but nothing could have damped the state of my excitement.
After six hours of being in the car with my imagination running wild, we finally arrived in the city of Niagara. With my first sight of the city, the pictures conjured up in my mind of a waterfall surrounded by a forest of lush green trees and animals from Bambi, were greatly altered. The forest was composed of high rises. The lush green trees became lush tourist attractions. But the waterfall depicted in my book didn’t do the view justice.
As we walked along the trail, guided only by the sound of water hitting water, friendly tourists warned us that we were going to get wet but the sight would be worth it. I secretly grinned at the prospect of getting drenched. Jumping in rain puddles seemed silly compared to a whole waterfall at my mercy. My mom knew me too well and the next thing I knew, I was getting dragged back to the car to put on another layer of clothing.
Thankfully, the second time on the trail, there were no more delays. We cleared a curve in the sidewalk and it came into view, the whole core-pounding contraption. It was a magnificent piece of work that not even the most competent architect could imitate. I became mute, with only astonishment showing on my face and the tiny sounds I made out of admiration.
My gawking turned into curiosity so we went in search of a way to go underneath the fall. With tickets grasped protectively in my hands, we began our adventure. We descended into a tunnel built underneath the water. Throughout the dimly lit tunnel, its walls offered a history of the construction of the ground we were standing on, the many hours of work put into it, methods, and also the deaths.
At one point, we could step out of the tunnel onto a platform that would take us to the nearest point. Since it was cold and raining, my parents stayed inside along with everyone else. I was never one to stay with the crowd so I rushed onto the platform and stopped in my tracks. The sight was utterly mesmerizing to my young eyes. I circled the outer edge of the platform slowly and read about the daredevils that flowed down the waterfall in barrels.
To my environmentally conscious mind, the trip offered me hope. Despite the large hotels looming in the background, not even the most hardened mind was able to touch the falls. Every addition was to make the experience that I had more accessible and more unique. Although we only stayed for a few hours, the experience would always be imprinted in my mind. Many say that traveling to see the sights would be more effective if done at home in front of the television. But I know that such a beauty cannot be replicated even with the skills of a photographer.
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