Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Once upon a time in 2004, Anne and I got married and had a honeymoon! A week later, we (and my son) embarked on our fifth annual road trip: a drive northeast from Indianapolis up to see the watery wonders of Niagara Falls and its adjacent tourist traps.
On our November 2015 trip to Colorado Springs I spent a few hours at an attraction near Manitou Springs called the Cave of the Winds. It was a genuine cave in which I felt actual winds, but it wasn’t my first “Cave of the Winds”. At long last we backtrack to our first encounter with that label on the other side of America.
After our tour of Fort Niagara up in Youngstown, we made a beeline right back to Niagara Falls to fulfill our remaining tourist duties there. Next in line was the Cave of the Winds tour, one of a few heavily advertised attractions that offer copious waterfall access, which was a much more alluring form of dampness than the rain that had been chasing us the past few days.
We weren’t guided into the titular Cave and felt no special winds, but it was otherwise all the touring one could ask for without choking on the steady streams coming at us from above. Located on Goat Island, participants receive a borrowed poncho and a pair of sandals that are included with admission price, then take an elevator down near the base of Bridal Veil Falls.
We were led up and down and around a wooden catwalk whose ultimate destination is the Hurricane Deck, where all the action is for the most foolhardy of tourists dying to stand within ten feet of the Falls. Really, the water and mist are absolutely everywhere throughout the entire experience, but the Hurricane Deck takes you Right There, and it feels like the most exhilarating nonstop water-oriented amusement park ride ever.
The boy and I climbed to the permitted pinnacle and got drenched despite our rain gear. Anne stayed a few levels below on what my son nicknamed the Chicken Deck. Throughout this experience, all previous thoughts of fun, puny hotel pools were buried and forgotten.
Meanwhile across the way, Canada beckoned to us, yearning for our tourists dollars. They would have to wait two more days.
If you want a worm’s-eye view of Niagara without paying Cave of the Winds admission — but, by extension, without getting as authentically misted up — the other side of Niagara Falls from the Cave has a few free catwalks.
To be continued!
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