Welcome to the first “Sporadically featured OCNA Cache”, a feature promised in the very first blog post. Above is a picture of Niagara Falls, more specifically, the American Falls, as taken by the blog author from the Maid of The Mist tour boat. If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls, you can read about the three waterfalls collectively known as Niagara Falls on Wikipedia. The task of visiting Niagara Falls from below, which can be accomplished only through one of four “paid” access options, is the object of the Virtual Cache A Virtual Made in the Mist, created on July 6th, 2011, by Opencaching North America Admin DudleyGrunt.
|DG “placing” the Virtual Cache|
The cache owner, Dave (AKA DudleyGrunt) hails from Maryland, between Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. So he was asked how he happened to be in the area, and create a unique virtual cache, to which he replied “before Geowoodstock IX, my uncle (ROOKIE49), aunt, mom, son (JuniorNimrod) and I decided to “overshoot” Warren, PA and head up for one one night in Niagara Falls. Of course, we had to take advantage of the opportunity to see the Falls up close. This was the first time for at least my son and I. It was extremely impressive to see such power and majesty up close.” He went on to add “It was even more special that I was able to enjoy it with my teenage son.Time spent with our teenage children is always at a premium.Seeing there was no virtual that involved being below the falls, I just had to put one together for OCNA.”
|DG’s Son, Junior Nimrod, on the Maid of the Mist|
This blogger couldn’t agree more with both points! And from a Geocaching standpoint, there never had been a virtual (or Earthcache) that involved being below the falls. There are currently 3 separate Geocaching.com Earthcaches above the falls. As previously mentioned the lower River can be accessed in only four ways, with the unique distinction that there are two each on opposite sides of the International border. In Niagara Falls Ontario, the lower river can be accessed from the Journey behind the falls attraction, which has an observation deck at the base of the Canadian Falls, as well as a tunnel which extends about 1/3 the length of the falls, with viewing portals along the way. Also in Canada, one can descend into the gorge and take a ride on the Canadian Maid of the Mist boat tour. In Niagara Falls, N.Y., the lower river can be accessed from the Cave of the winds attraction on Goat Island, which separates the American Falls from the Canadian Falls. As you can see from their
|The $1 cheapskate version of the virtual|
website, you are given a complimentary raincoat, and special sandals to walk along wooden walkways at the base of the falls. Also, on the N.Y. side, you can
access the lower river via an elevator in the Prospect Point observation tower, which also is the entry point for the American Maid of the Mist boat tour. There is, however, no obligation to take the boat tour. The elevator ride to the bottom of the gorge costs only $1 (free in late Fall and Winter). Once at the bottom, you will find a nicely landscaped section of Niagara Falls State Park, and a concrete walkway with metal railings that climbs about 1/3 the the height of the falls.
So the next time you’re in Niagara Falls, access the lower River, you will not be disappointed. While you’re at it, snap some pictures of yourself or your GPS unit, and log an excellent OpenCaching North America virtual! If your visit is confined to either the U.S. or Canada, no passport is required.