Saturday, March 28, 2015

Beauty is in the Experience

Spring had official begun, and on that snowy morning of late March I caught bus number 40 from Downtown Buffalo to Niagara Falls. I was in the city of my favorite childhood NFL football team the Buffalo Bills, and just two years prior to my visit, my high school teammate, Omar Quintanilla, had played for the Triple A baseball team, the Bison’s. I had many entertainment related reasons to be in Buffalo for, but this visit was simply focused around experiencing one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world.

While growing up, I would read about the famous Niagara Falls in my school books all the time, and I never thought I would get the opportunity to experience such distant place. As I got off the bus, the freezing wind hit me hard because I was under dressed, but when I saw the magnitude of water and power flowing in front of my eyes in the Niagara River my focus changed. I didn’t care if I felt cold or there was snow falling, because all my attention was captured by the intense Class VI rapids that rushed in front of me and those rapids looked like a death trap for extreme water sports. Later, I learned that most people that have attempted to ride those falls without any sort of protection usually don’t make it back alive to tell the story. It seems as if the least popular, but very simple and basic barrel has been the vehicle of choice to survive. It is well known, that even the most fearless dare devils have been and will continue to be left shaken up after attempting to ride these mighty waterfalls.

I met up with my guides, Mrs. Blackley and Mrs. Diachun, who had 27 years of experience and expertise in the subject of the falls. I honestly felt bad for taking those lovely ladies out of their warm office to guide me on such a chilly day. Unlike me, those ladies were appropriately dressed for the occasion, so they were able to soldier through that climate even though I could see they were cold. I rarely get cold because I’m such a rugged military vet, but that day I didn’t prepare for it so I paid for it. Mrs. Diachun shared about her tummy twisting, heart stressing experience watching Mr. Nik Wallenda became the first man ever to cross directly over the Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012. The last man to cross over the gorge near where the International Rainbow Bridge is now located was the French man Mr. Charles Blondin on June 30, 1859.

After the Niagara tour, Mrs. Blackley took me across the river to a lovely historic place named the Red Coach Inn. I immediately fell in love with the place, because the place made you feel warm, cozy and welcomed, not to mention the smell of the food made me hungry instantly. Once we finished our delicious meal and conversation, we drove 15 miles north to one of the first forts built in America. Old Fort Niagara made me feel like a kid at a playground, and I wanted to run everywhere and climb everything. This was a playground perfect for parkour, yet I kept my composure because I was on business. The main attraction known as the French Castle was built like an impenetrable bank by the French in 1678, and they actually managed to deceive the Iroquois Nation by using it as a trading post. One of the most interesting buildings, besides the Castle, was where they kept the gun powder. It is said that Mr. William Morgan, the man that threatened to release a book exposing the Masons was last seen in that location. No one knows what happened to that man, he strangely disappeared.

In closing, everyone that I came across kept apologizing or telling me that it would have been better to have seen the falls during warmer weather or better climate. Maybe they were correct in telling me that it would have been better to see the falls on a nicer day, but all I could think about was that I was blessed enough to experience the falls in person. I would like to inspire you to experience Niagara Falls for yourself, because no matter what climate it may be they are still amazing. I would like to leave you with the thought I learned that day.

“The could have been’s or the should have been’s, will never compare to what you have already experienced at that moment in time. Enjoy the moment, because the beauty is in the experience.”

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