Bucket List, Travel, USA
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Niagara and Our Tour Guide’s Big Yellow Umbrella

“A strong man and a waterfall always channel their own path.” – Unknown

Once, to get away from our respective hectic 9 to 5’s, my friend P and I decided to take one of those tour buses that leave from the city.

Niagara Falls was our destination du jour — there were about forty passengers, some out-of-towners, others from out of the country, and a handful of locals like us who just wanted to get away from the tristate area for the weekend. Our tour guide, whose name was Vicki, was a very enthusiastic and energetic lady who always tried her best to get everyone’s attention. Not an easy task for this group of excited and diverse travelers.

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There is no denying the beauty, and power, of Niagara Falls. We got there by night fall so we didn’t really see much that evening, but we could hear the water and the impact of every splash it makes. This made us even more excited to see it in the morning, and hope it doesn’t rain — the forecast was 70% chance of rain (P and I shared this with friends back home, and one of them responded: there’s still that 30% chance it wouldn’t!).

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When we woke up that morning, it was drizzling, but it was good enough weather to be able to see the falls (the 30%!). So we all went, Vicki leading the way. During points when we weren’t exploring by ourselves, Vicki had a big yellow umbrella and was waving it around so our tour group would recognize her and wouldn’t get separated or mistakenly mix in with other groups. P and I somehow found this funny and were giggling the whole time. I can still picture that big yellow umbrella until now.

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The highlight of the visit for me was experiencing the falls up close on board the Maid of the Midst, learning the story of Lelawala and how the horseshoe falls were formed, being soaked and feeling the water on my face.

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The weekend was full of laughs as my time with P always is, and it was of course a great way to unwind. Spending a few days in a naturally beautiful environment was something different from the norm.

Just as the maid of the midst Lelawala chose her own fate, waterfalls flow and power through toward one direction, strong and unyielding. We always forget to remind ourselves that within us is the strength to stand by our convictions, goals and who we want to be. I am notoriously guilty of this, and as we made our way back I knew I had to take this lesson back with me. As I write this now, I question myself how many times during certain points in my life since that trip have I thought back of Lelawala’s and the waterfalls’ lesson. I am for sure thinking about it now.

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