After Chicago, Corbin and I spent a couple of days on the outskirts of Grand Rapids, MI before heading to Niagara Falls. This would be both of our first time at Niagara Falls, and we could not wait to see the massive waterfall. We chose to visit the Canadian side, since we had heard the view beat New York’s side. So, we made our way across the border again, and pushed our way through the tourist traffic until we could park the van.
We lucked out on parking, since the meters were down and the attendant said we didn’t have to pay. Parking at Niagara Falls cost a pretty penny, and we were more than happy to save a few. The walkway along the river that runs along the falls was beautiful on its own, and as we made our way along we could see and feel the mist from the falls the closer we got.
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The falls were epic! We stood there forever just taking it in. We were surrounded by crowds of other tourists taking pictures and trying to get the best views. Nearby stands were selling ice cream and hot dogs, and the blistering heat made everyone think at least once about jumping into the water. But, the views seemed to drown it all out with the cascading water falling over 150ft and the rising mist kissing everyone’s skin. It made us feel small and grateful to have made it this far across the country to witness this view.
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There were boat tours we would have loved to go on, but not sure Paris would have appreciated the experience (or have been allowed). These boats took crowds of people covered in what looked like brightly colored trash bag parkas to the bottom of the falls. I can’t imagine just how soaked these people must have gotten, parkas or not, but I’m sure it would have been a blast. Adding it to our future bucket list.
After the falls, we made our way back across the border where we were bombarded with questions by the border patrol that made us feel like criminals. We were even asked to show the title to our van. But, we made it through and headed to upstate New York where we had plans of spending a few days in some dispersed free camping in East Otto State Forest.
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The area was beautiful, with lush green rolling hills and farmland all around. We found out we were in Amish country and even saw some buggies on the roadside. Everything seemed peaceful with rocking chairs on wooden porches, and children playing in front yards. It was such a relief after spending the day surrounded by people and traffic.
Our camp spot was great, surrounded by trees with plenty of space between the 10 or so sites available, and we even had a real fire pit. We set up camp and after an incredible, but long day we couldn’t wait to crawl into bed and fall asleep under the trees instead of under the glare of parking lot lights.
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