Since Simon finished his end of year Arrowsmith assessments on Monday we decided to whisk him and Amanda to Niagara for a couple of days of fun! We walked into our room at the Embassy Suites to a stunning view of the Horseshoe Falls which seemed to be just right outside our window. We sat and watched them for a while and we could have sat there for the rest of the afternoon but we decided to make the most of the day so we ventured out to look at the falls more closely. First we did “the Journey behind the Falls”, catching a lift deep down into the tunnels behind the falls – there is an area to the side of the falls where we stood awe-struck by the power of the water gushing down, being grateful for the lovely yellow ponchos which stopped us from being soaked! We walked along to the holes in the rock behind the falls – the noise of the rushing water was so loud we couldn’t hear each other speaking, it was amazing! There were extraordinary stories of people who had gone down the falls, both deliberately and by accident, the woman who went down in a barrel with her cat particularly intrigued us! Onto “Niagara’s Fury”, a short animation featuring a beaver and an owl, telling us the geological story behind the formation of the falls, followed by a 4D experience simulating that story. We stood on a platform in the midst of a circle of water with handles to hold, rain poured down on us, the wind blew, thunder and lightening struck all around and all the while the water surrounding us roared, making big waves which soaked us from below. We were shaken, stirred and soaked!
Another look at the falls themselves and we headed back for dinner at the Keg, with a window table which was worth waiting for as we were overlooking the falls directly. We waited and waited for the night time illuminations but unfortunately the warm temperatures meant there was a lot of mist which obscured the colours! We walked down to see the illuminations but we still couldn’t see too much! Oh well, we had had a great view earlier in the day!
The Hornblower cruise was how we started the second day of our Niagara extravaganza! We were amazed by the power of both the American and the Horseshoe Falls though the Canadian Falls are the more stunning. Once the boat had approached the falls it was almost impossible to look straight at them as the water was coming so fiercely towards us. It was, to use a word which is often overused, awesome!
Equally awesome, but quite different, was the White Water Walk – the power of the world’s wildest rapids was frightening to see as we walked the boardwalk. We loved the stories of the, in our view, mad people who had thrown themselves down the rapids to seek their fame and fortune. The biology of the Niagara River was really interesting too – amazing that salmon can manage to swim up those rapids!
Onto Simon’s choice of entertainment, we enjoyed a fun game of Wizard’s “glow in the dark” mini-golf with the most tasteless carpet (all glowing!) that I have ever seen, with a three way draw for the winners and Jean trailing far behind! A quick pizza and then off to the very picturesque Niagara-on-the Lake, via a couple of vineyards, Riverview (for old time’s sake!) and the Peller Estate where the choice of wines was so much more interesting and exciting than in the LCBO! We had a wander through Niagara-on-the-Lake but we were all too tired and not hungry enough to stop so back to the QEW and the 401 to Peterborough! I don’t think we could have done much more, as evidenced by the 3 sleeping passengers on the drive back!
Yesterday I went on an excursion with some of the Arrowsmith parents to the Petroglyphs – finally, one of us has made it there, having failed with Stella and Simon and then Simon with his class (though they had the consolation of the glacier lake and a turtle the size of a 20 Cent piece!). The park around the Petroglyphs is beautiful, peaceful with a spiritual atmosphere. We watched a short film about the Petroglyphs and wandered through the information centre reading about the beliefs and life of the First Nation peoples. The Petroglyphs are known as “The Teaching Rocks”, they are the largest collection of Aboriginal carvings in Canada, and are carved out on a White Marble, depicting turtles, snakes, birds and humans. According to our very interesting and informative guide the stories can be interpreted in many different ways depending upon who is doing the interpretation. This sacred site is still used for ceremonies and offerings today. Abandoning our plans to eat in the picnic area due to the massive number of massive mosquitoes, we ate and chatted inside. We enjoyed a lovely walk to Minnow Lake, not much in the way of wildlife other than a small(ish!) Garter snake – Lynette and I were very impressed with ourselves that we didn’t scream! A quick peak at the Glacier Lake.
Back to Arrowsmith where the programme has gone back to normal after assessments – Simon and Zac were waiting for us! Jean, meanwhile, having decided not to come with me to the Petroglyphs, and had walked the length and breadth of Peterborough and was quite worn out!
A delicious dinner at Elements featuring local ingredients including fiddleheads finished our day!