The trip to the American Falls at Niagara Falls

Following the shore line from this point you come to a spiral stairway that leads to the little wooden bridges that connect the various rocks. Many visitors still go in front of that superb sheet of water called, "The Bridal Veil." But owing to an accident resulting in the death of three people, they no longer permit visitors to enter the Cave of the Winds. A huge rock whose estimated weight is many tons fell from above, crushing the luckless victims. Even though you do not go behind the falls this trip is full of fascinating interest. The Cave of the Winds is situated between Luna and Goat Islands, at the foot of the rock. At the present site of the Falls the edge of the cataract is formed by a stratum of hard limestone reaching to a depth of about eighty feet; and by the action of the spray the softer shaly strata below have been hollowed out so as to form this cave. It is about one hundred feet wide, one hundred and sixty feet high, and about one hundred feet across.

You will perhaps go from here to a very commanding point known as Porter's Bluff. Here, when the wind is favorable, you are away from the drenching spray of the Falls. Here, too, the American Falls are seen in all their grandeur. They shoot free from the upper edge of the cliff, owing to the velocity they have acquired in descending from the rapids above. As this vast mass of water strikes the rocks below, loud, thunder-like detonations are heard not unlike the reverberating tones of the breakers of the ocean. There is a mellowness in the sound that is soothing rather than a deafening roar as some seem to think.

At one point in the American Falls the water strikes a projecting shelf of rock a short distance below the upper ledge and is pulverized yet finer, making it gush out in silvery plumes, which are worn to lustrous threads of marble whiteness. They form long gauzy streamers as fine as sifted snow, giving to it the name of "Bridal Veil." No bride ever wore a veil of such delicate and exquisite texture unless it was some water sprite, fit creature to be adorned with such gauzy and wind-woven drapery. Only the fairy looms of Nature can produce lace-like gossamer films of such intricate and varied designs.

From this point the colors of the American Falls are superb. How remarkably soft and fine they are! The pearl-grey, snow-white, lavender and green masses seem to mingle together, blending imperceptibly from one to the other, making a novel and beautiful effect that surpasses the rarest dreams of the most gifted decorative painter. The extreme beauty of delicate and striking variety of coloring, like evening skies and sunset seas, baffle any attempt at description. When the morning sunbeams stream through the mist of the Falls their exquisite tones of purple and gray and the marvelous fineness of the American Falls come to one like a revelation.

One can never forget his morning visit to the American Falls when the sunlight comes from the required angles, heightening the beauty of the whole wild mass of waters, sifting in ravishing splendor through the clouds of drifting spray. What an artist Nature is! One has seen nothing in the delicate colored wing of night moths, in the purple bloom of the ocean, the color of autumn woods or clouds of fair Italian skies, that could rival this "evanescent bow" in exquisite fineness. A huge mass of lovely colors, like an arch of glory, rises from the boiling spray near you, while a breeze causes the larger mass to waver from color to color and mingle with the trees on the Canadian shore. A secondary bow with softer colors is visible like a long remembered dream you have had with which you associate some real event of life.

What a sublime view we get from the Terrapin Rocks! "Here are tremendous flat-shaped boulders left here ages ago, when those vast geological forces were at work hewing out this gorge. Here you gaze through ever rising columns of spray into the bright green water. Here the velocity is amazing and in its deep bass roar that, "night and day, weeks, months, years and centuries, speaks in the same mighty voice," you gain the real might and majesty of Niagara. Here you will have that trinity of grandeur, power, and beauty indelibly impressed upon your memory. Here, too, you gaze again in silence and admiration at the awful mass of troubled water. The marvelous flood of livid green waters rushes into the yawning abyss below, where it is broken into fine spray that rises like steam from an immense cauldron. One feels an irresistible fascination at this point but all good things must end and you reluctantly turn away.

Now you find yourself observing the wild flowers, ferns, and grasses with which the cliffs are clothed. All along these inaccessible walls are "hanging gardens" whose masses of the dainty fern make smaller Niagaras of brightest verdure. Virginia creeper and various vines throw down long ropes of green, as if to help their flower friends up the steep walls; thatching their sides with softest beauty. The bluemint, butterfly weed and harebell venture far out along the slightest ledges where only a few, "who are willing to gain beauty as well as bread by the sweat of their brows observe them."

People are after all more interesting than natural phenomena. Here some will sit through the long summer hours discussing morals, industry, women's suffrage, the immortality of the soul or some item about the latest divorce scandal, while the sublimity of Niagara lies all unnoticed before them. One feels as if his senses were playing him false, and that he is back again in some particular town, the memory of which is painfully familiar, where from daylight till dawn and dawn till daylight such timely topics are discussed from that loafer's haven, the village store.