Niagara Falls isn’t far from the town of Tonawanda in western New York where I grew up. We went there on dates and after proms and sometimes just when we were bored and needed something to do.
I’ve seen the falls in every season and every kind of weather, crammed with tourists and virtually deserted. I have always felt that the most beautiful time to see the falls is in winter, when most tourists are long gone.
First, being close to Buffalo and Lake Erie, there is almost always a thick layer of snow on the ground. Then, because of the continuous mist that is produced by the falls, there is a layer of ice over the snow. On top of the ice is a layer of moisture. Extremely slippery!
That’s why certain areas are roped off – so you don’t slip and slide right through the bottom of the fence and over the falls.
But it is exactly this combination of factors that makes the falls so beautiful in winter. Every tree, every bush, every fence rail is coated with a thick layer of ice. When the sun comes out, it’s like fairyland – everything glitters.
The falls were turned off from June 12 to November 25 of that year. Tourism took a nosedive. Everyone was happy when the dam was removed and the mighty waters of the Niagara River were free once again. Years later, the engineers decided to do nothing about the rocks and let the falls continue to erode naturally.