Friday 5: The Icy Niagara Falls

I planned on writing a post about spring jackets, but I had a change of plans after my parents sent me pictures from their visit to Niagara Falls this week. I thought they were beautiful and my dad told me I could share them on the blog. (Thanks, dad!) Spring jackets can wait, these pictures are too pretty not to share!

February was very cold here in Ontario—in fact, it was the coldest February on record in the city of Toronto. You know what happens when it gets really, really cold for a month? Stuff freezes! For example: pipes, car locks, my brain, and waterfalls. Well, as you can see above, big waterfalls only partially freeze but the result is gorgeous. 

Looking towards New York

Looking towards New York

The frigid temperatures in Niagara Falls cause the mist freeze into giant ice formations at bottom of the falls. Nearby railings and trees get their own icy crust. It’s something that happens often around February during cold winters and it brings in plenty of tourists to see the frozen wonder for themselves. 

I know that was 5 pictures for the day, but I love history too much to not mention the February 1912 tragedy. 

In the 1880s it became popular to walk and play on the ice bridge that sometimes formed across the river. This usually happens when ice from Lake Erie breaks up, floats downriver and freezes into a giant mass at the base of the falls. 

By Barker, George, 1844-1894 -- Photographer [Public domain], via  Wikimedia Commons

By Barker, George, 1844-1894 -- Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On February 4, 1912, the fun ended when the ice started rumbling and cracking. It quickly broke into chunks and began rushing down the river. Eldridge Stanton, his wife Clara Stanton, and Burrell Hecock got stuck on a fast-moving ice floe. Hecock nearly made it to safety, but when he saw that Clara Stanton was struggling, he went back to help the couple. Attempts were made to save the trio by lowering ropes from bridges, but they ultimately failed and all of them perished. It's a famous tragedy that lives on as a reminder that the falls are not just beautiful, they are powerfully dangerous. 

I can't end today's post on that note, though so I thought I would at least post this video of Will Gadd's recent historic climb up Niagara Falls. I find it inspiring and terrifying all at once. I don't think I'll ever have the guts to be an ice climber!

That's it for this week. We're supposed to get above freezing soon, so things are starting to look up (and hopefully heck of a lot less icy). I hope you have a wonderful weekend!