Although only about 34 miles long, no man has ever traversed the entire length of this mighty river. Unlike most other rivers which begin as tiny streams, the mighty Niagara is created when a tremendous volume of water draining from the upper great lakes is squeezed into the narrow one-half mile wide river bed and begins its rush toward the falls and Lake Ontario. Millions of cubic feet of water per minute flow out of the eastern end of Lake Erie quickly picking up speed as it powerful current silently travels down river, away from the lake. Its course is soon split in two by Grand Island, an island larger then Manhattan Island.
The east river passes by the western terminus of the old Erie Canal, one of the grand works of early 19th century American engineering genius. (President Thomas Jefferson had said that it would not be possible to build a canal such as the proposed Erie Canal for another one hundred years. The Governor of New York, Dewitt Clinton went ahead and built the canal anyway. It was opened in 1825.)
When the east and west rivers again reunite they soon change into the upper rapids that terminate with a sudden plunge (approximately 165 feet) over the Niagara escarpment to form one of the largest most magnificent water falls on the planet. Just before the waters cascade over the precipice the river is again cut in two by Goat Island which leads to the creation of two separate uniquely distinct cataracts; the American Falls, located within the USA and the Horseshoe Falls that connects the USA to Canada. Both of these falls are beautiful in their own right.
Cut back by thousands of years of erosion, the falls is now several miles up stream from the rest of the Niagara escarpment, which originally caused its formation.. The Niagara escarpment was formed by tremendous glaciers in the distant geological past. In its short distance the river drops an astounding 326 feet most of which occurs around the falls area. Below the falls, deep in the gorge, that the river has cut out over thousands of years, its lower rapids and whirlpools are too wild to navigate.
White water rafters soon found this out when they tried to ride the mighty Niagara’s swirling waters only to have a number of people succumb to its magnificent treachery. Many people have tried going over the falls in a barrel - some of the lucky ones have survived. A few years ago a reckless naive kayaker sailed over its brink into oblivion never to be seen again. Over the years the river has claimed many boaters and fisherman who have strayed into the upper river rapids only to be swept over the falls.
Many years ago a young boy fishing with his uncle was caught in these rapids. Both were swept over the falls. By some miracle the young boy was not claimed by the mighty Niagara and popped up next to the ‘Maid of the Mist’, an excursion boat that makes regular trips to the base of the falls. His uncle was never found. Along the lower gorge some of the luckless hikers who fall into this river are quickly swept away to their death. The river is like a black hole just waiting to swallow its next hapless victim. Hundreds of would be smugglers and illegal aliens, over the years, have drowned attempting to cross the river.
After going over the falls and through the tumultuous swirling rapids the mighty Niagara’s waters turn into a powerful, tranquil current as it innocently heads for Lake Ontario
Historically speaking ever since the Europeans began colonizing the North American continent the mighty Niagara River has been an important strategic river for maintaining dominance over the North American mid-continent. Three historic forts, two at the mouth of the river; Fort George on the Canadian side and Fort Niagara on the American side, and at the head of the river, Fort Erie on the Canadian side still stand guard as monuments of the importance of mighty river in those past times. Many historic battles took place around these forts and along the river between the French, British, Canadians, Americans and even the Irish.
In 1866 a band of Irish-American ‘Fenians’(mostly Civil War vets) invaded Canada and temporarily captured Fort Erie. This ‘raid’ was a major factor in the decision of the Canadian Provinces to unite and become the Dominion of Canada. Earlier in the century, during the War of 1812 as revenge for the Americans capturing and burning homes around Fort George, a British force crossed the Niagara river and marched along the river burning and pillaging American villages including Buffalo. These battles have long ago ended and the mighty Niagara has enjoyed well over a hundred years of peace.
Now a days, on the Canadian side, from the beginning of the mighty Niagara at Fort Erie, along its entire length, a beautiful long thin park allows spectators to view the river in all its magnificent splendor. Lined with trees and plenty of places to park and picnic along the peaceful parkway, it is probably one of the most scenic parks in North America. As a bonus at the end of the parkway, where the mighty Niagara peacefully enters Lake Ontario, is the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Consisting of quaint tree lined streets of beautiful old homes, and a busy shopping area filled with hundreds of colorful flower arrangements, small shops, restaurants and theatres, it was voted one of the most beautiful towns in North America.
The mighty Niagara not only provides spectacular viewing, it is also a source of pollution free energy. Engineers have long recognized the tremendous power locked up in its rushing currents and have harnessed some of its energy, creating vast amounts of pollution free electrical power. They can virtually turn off the falls by diverting the river’s powerful current into the canals and reservoirs that feed huge electric dynamos. They do this late at night so as not to spoil the spectacular beauty of this wonder of nature for the daytime viewers. The only other force that can slow the mighty Niagara’s currents are extremely cold winters that can transform its tremendously powerful dynamic flow into a magnificent, crystal white, frozen sculpture of nature.
Donald L. Hamilton is the author of; “The MIND of MANKIND, Human Imagination, the source of Mankind’s tremendous power!”
Part 1. - The origin and world of the "Homo Imaginative Sapiens" and creation of the MIND of mankind.
Part 2. - New Concepts in Science & Cosmology
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