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Niagara Whirlpool and Glen

Today, after getting up and again enjoying coffee by the pool while Calvin swam, we packed up, checked out, and said goodbye the falls. Yesterday we walked along the class 6 rapids about two miles north of the falls, and today we went even further north to the Niagara Whirlpool and Niagara Glen.

The Niagara Whirlpool is just down river from the class 6 rapids we saw yesterday on the White Water Walk. It's a large pooling of the water in the elbow of a ninety degree turn it makes before heading north again toward Lake Ontario. Watch the water and you'll see the entire pool steadily turning counter-clockwise. Apparently at night, when they divert more of the water for the power station, the rotation of the pool is reversed.

The Whirlpool Aerocar travels over this pool of water (not over the river, so it stays in Canada) and is another of the tourist excursions on the list of things to do around the falls. Jump on their new WeGo bus line in town and the Aerocar is a quick ten minutes to the north. It's also only a 12 minute ride, but if you're following the path of the water like we are, this is the next stop: from Lake Eerie through the falls, down river to the rapids, swirling through the whirlpool at a ninety degree turn, then down river to Lake Ontario.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm not fond of heights? I won't say phobic, but uncomfortable wouldn't be a stretch.

No matter, it was worth the shaky knees.

Then, just a hop farther down river (north) from the whirlpool is the Niagara Glen. Standing on the ridge above the glen and looking back, you can see the whirlpool back behind us.

The glen a Carolinian microclimate full of beautiful plant and animal species, amazing rock formations, and even a few fossils. It is crossed with a variety of paths and trails, none of them paved, all of them rocky, and most of them steep. The Welcome Centre, also a great education center and small gift shop, offers guided hikes, which we took along with a few men who eyed Calvin suspiciously when we joined up, and with a newfound respect at the end.

I think that hike may have been my favorite attraction of the entire trip.

After the hour plus long hike we ate a picnic back on top of the ridge, then enjoyed the educational room in their Nature Centre.

Then...did I say we'd said goodbye to the falls? Well, we were done with the hike earlier than we'd thought and still had use of our two-day bus pass, so we took the WeGo back into town for a snack at the Maid of the Mist food court, one more relaxing look at the falls, before heading back to our car on the bus and straight out of town.

On our way to Kitchener we made one more stop drawn by the image of Toronto as a floating city on the lake. And a ghost ship to boot. Tomorrow is dinosaur museum time.

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