On the edge

American Falls and bridge

For someone so afraid of heights, you wouldn’t take me for a crazy waterfall fanatic.

But something about cascading water — plummeting, falling, twirling, twisting — always holds me captive. And of all the cataracts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing? Well, Niagara Falls stands alone. (Until I see the Devil’s Throat, anyway.)

My first visit was in 2004 on a family trip with my sister and parents; we hit Buffalo, Toronto and surrounding areas one muggy week in July. I had my first “legal” beer at a bar on the Canadian side of the falls, my dad teaching me how to tip the bartender as I tried not to gag on the light-colored brew. (Pretty sure it was Labatt Blue. Kind of a thing up north.)

My husband grew up in New York south of the famous sight, so they’re a wee bit “old hat” to him. On my first-ever trip to meet his family, we detoured from Buffalo to see Niagara — my second visit ever, and my first on the American side. I was captivated, especially when we donned ponchos to see American Falls from below. We got soaked; we smiled and laughed; I felt far away and happy.

Niagara 2010

American Falls from below

When I think of Niagara, I think of looking over the precipice with Spencer. Wind in our eyes and our hair; mist gathering around my shoulders. I remember our romance and how exciting it was to visit when everything was bright and bold and Technicolor. We were with the kind, wonderful woman who has become my mother-in-law, and the very dear friend who would someday serve as the best man at our wedding. The sun was shining, the roar was pounding in my ears . . . and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so happy.

Because of the company, of course.

And because of the giant, exhilarating waterfalls.

Niagara II

When I stand at the edge of Niagara, I have that free-falling, free-floating feeling — like my feet have gone out from under me. My toes tingle. My stomach flips. It’s like I’ve been dropped into a barrel and that barrel is ricocheting toward the edge. Like I can’t be righted, as though I’ve lost my balance; everything is topsy-turvy and uncontrollable.

It’s a strange sensation, an odd stomach-gripping feeling; it’s like I really do need to grip the railing and hold on.

Just a little like love, perhaps.

Niagara I

Though I’m many years out of school, it’s spring break!
And I’m breaking to enjoy time up north with our family.
I’ll see you back here on April 21! Happy Easter, friends.

17 thoughts on “On the edge

  1. I read you are also heading to Niagara on the lake, my neck of the woods. There is a cute hay shop called Beau Chapeau where I worked for 3 years. Balzac’s has excellent espresso, the chocolate chip peanut butter brownie gelato at Nina’s literally best I’ve ever had, every one I know has enjoyed the stone road grill for lunch, the red rooster is my grandfather’s Saturday brunch place, and bistro 41 has delicious creme brรปlรฉe. So there’s a few of my favourite selections as a local. I look forward to reading about your time away ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Thank you so, so much for the recommendations! We’ll be there tomorrow and Sunday, and I can’t wait to explore. Off to look up addresses so we can be sure to check some of these out! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Thanks so much! I’m a total waterfall fanatic. Yosemite Falls was absolutely incredible, and I can’t wait to get back there and just stare straight up.


  2. I looooooooooooooooved Niagara. A lot more actually then I thought I would. We took a heli ride over it and I highly recommend it.


  3. Iguacu Falls is one of my favorite places in the world. There are numerous falls, trails, and viewing locations, and there’s lush vegetation everywhere. Don’t miss it if you get a chance to visit South America! Plan at least 2 days to see it all, from both sides of the border, and there’s also the nearby hydroelectric dam at Itaipu in Paraguay.


  4. My wife and I had one of our first dates, if not THE first date (she would kill me for not remembering for sure) as a much smaller waterfall in Alabama (Noccalula Falls)…. this post took me instantly back to that date, minus the memory of exactly where it fell on the timeline. A sweet kiss with the mist in our hair. Nineteen years ago. I must make a point to take her back there.


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