Day 13, November 12, 2011. St Catharines to Niagara Falls (Fireman`s Park).
Today we hit the 200 km mark, walked along the Welland Canal, and also along the old Welland Canal, crossed the QEW on the footbridge (opened by Bruce Trail Conservancy and several partners in 2008), and Marian struck up a warm new relationship with a big St Bernard dog who gave her the honour of his company for a very long distance (longer actually than felt comfortable – visions of sneaking a St Bernard into the hotel!). My foot was strong and whole again, and I tossed my walking stick. And the sun came out, the clothing layers were shed, so all in all it was a perfect hiking day. We finished at 3 pm and were left with a mere 7 km. left to go to our 2011 goal, the southern terminus of the Bruce Trail in Queenston Heights.
We’d planned on this last leg of our 2011 hikes to celebrate with a great hotel with a hot tub, and a wonderful dinner out – after all, this is the great culinary and winery district of Niagara. The hotel, it turned out, was clearly economy scale, and the dinner, at a supposed hidden gem in Niagara on the Lake, disappointed too. But, there was a hot tub in the hotel, and Marian did get to channel her inner Zelda by sneaking wine into the hot tub in her water bottle.
As well, the timing of our check-in was perfect – it was the magic hour of light just before sunset. Picture it: the magnificent Niagara Falls, on a November afternoon, bathed in golden sun. After months of walking in virtual solitude on the trails in the woods, sliding on mud, climbing up crevices, now we joined throngs of tourists, families, lovers, visitors from around the world, all on the wide sidewalk above the river with everyone posing in front of the falls, people asking complete strangers to take their pictures with their cameras.
A fitting way to complete this leg of the trail, at the magnificent Niagara Falls, having enjoyed so many of the other falls like Great Falls in Waterdown, Sherman Falls in Ancaster, Balls Falls and Rockway Falls in the Niagara Peninsula. magdalena