Night driving to the edge of the falls

When I want to be alone sometimes, I take a drive. One of my all-time favourites was a midnight run to Niagara Falls.

Here’s a description of that drive slightly edited from an article I wrote for the Independent on Sunday.

One evening, between Christmas and New Year, I wanted to escape the hustle of the holidays. I got in the car, not really knowing where I was headed, and pointed west along the Queen Elizabeth Way. When I saw the sign for Niagara Falls, I thought, ‘Why not?’

It’s a drive of an hour and a half over a lovely stretch of highway. The road hugs Lake Ontario. At Burlington, the Skyway bridge points me toward the stars. When I reach the crest, the expanse of the town is stretched out before me, a roller coaster worth the view. The drive is a quiet one until you reach the city of Niagara Falls.

Unlike a daytime trek, though, you have to get right into the heart of the city, near the Peace Bridge over to the United States, before you begin to see people. Then, drive straight through to the park with the luxury of no traffic; all the parking spots are free on this December night. And I’m there.

I put on a hat, a big sheepskin coat, a thick pair of gloves, and get out of the car. The air is still and clear and crisp. Mist is rising from the foaming downpour. It has frozen along the cast-iron fence, the barrier between the sightseers and the Niagara gorge, and the bushes that line it.

As it’s just past midnight, the falls are in darkness except for the lights from the city and the full moon. The amazing thing is that all I’m hearing is the thunder of the water, without being drowned out by the cacophony of voices and cars that usually overwhelm this part of the park, and I’m able to see the falls without the spotlights that usually shine on them at night.

This picture shows the frozen bushes near the edge of the Niagara Gorge, looking over to the United States – the snow was falling and there were no other lights.

It is, perhaps, the closest I can get to getting a sense of their natural beauty. I imagine what it must have been like for the first people to hear and see them, wondering from afar about the cause of the thunderous roar. At this time of night, the falls have become a natural wonder to contemplate and a reminder, amid a populated tourist destination, of the size of the country.

Here’s a link to the full article on acting the tourist in my own backyard.



  1. Nice article – I read the full Certainly you see and feel different aspects of familiar places by visiting them at strange times.

    Also pleased to find your ‘Dingle’ post. I’ve often said about the west of Ireland that you can almost sense the ghosts of times past there. Living there was hard at the best of times without throwing in famines and man-caused atrocities down the centuries.

    1. Aw, thanks for that, Roy. Sometimes it does open your eyes to do the tourist thing in your own backyard. I haven’t yet taken the double-decker bus tour but that’s on the list.

      Ah, Dingle. Yes, it captured me from the moment I lay eyes on it. The history really does ooze out of those hills – seeing the ancient dry stone walls and dry stone building ruins … if the idea of banshees, etc. came from anywhere, it had to be from here. A stoic, strong breed of people. What I liked best was, even it it was raining there, as long as it wasn’t too hard we’d go for a hike anyway. If you waited for the weather to turn your way, you’d wait forever. Carpe diem and all that…

  2. Wow, lovely images! Must have been amazing!

    1. Thanks, Gretchen. Yes, it was an all-time favourite. Still do that drive every once in a while!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Sharing a love for nature, heritage, animals and pets, including all things beautiful and surprising, driven by passionate curiosity, and compiled for you in articles, photographs and intriguing regular snippets.

Back On The Rock

Settled back in Jersey, heart still in Ireland....

Dream, Play, Write!

Today, make a commitment to your writing.


Writer, Columnist, Contributor, and Editor


Digital Transformation - Poetry and Photography @VersesInMotion @VIMMedia

the bippity boppity beautiful blog

let's create something beautiful - Katie Ann De Crescenzo

J T Weaver

And in the end the love you take, is equal to the love you make. -- The Beatles

Dianne Johnston

Living Life after 60

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

Smashing Through Life!

kicking the shit out of life every day, right in the nuts

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Top 10 of Anything and Everything!!!

Animals, Gift Ideas, Travel, Books, Recycling Ideas and Many, Many More


Just another site

EXPATLOG without borders

Eat, Sleep, Television

Watch as I amaze and astound with opinions about what TV shows I like!

Shannon A Thompson

You need the world, and the world needs good people.

Dear Life, Said With Love.

Life as I usually, somewhat, sometimes, clearly see it.

%d bloggers like this: