NY Road Trip: Niagara River Gorge Hiking Trails

Posting at nearly a 2-month delay – not to undermine the sheer joy and catharsis I felt following the results of the election, but based on a desire to round out my documentation of this beautiful trip properly 😊  

It would have been inappropriate to travel this far and do little more than drink at wineries. On-brand, but inappropriate. We’re in our 30s (or so my ID tells me). To resolve this moral enigma, we went on a short hike during our final day upstate. The Niagara River Gorge has several pretty hiking trails and can be accessed from a few nearby state parks. We chose to enter it at Whirlpool State Park and stick to the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail, walking alongside the water from high above. The water, an overflow from the falls, was a piercing shade of teal and swirled into a range of whirlpools. Some of them crashed violently into rapids and others swirled slowly around large embankments. It was still warm enough for t-shirts.

That night we had a quiet outdoor dinner at Carmelo’s Coat of Arms, slicing plates of steak against the chilly evening air with only a stray pedestrian nearby. When we went to pack our suitcases back at the house, we counted a total of 22 bottles of wine. 22 bottles were purchased in 8 days. I’d like to think that our motivation was supporting the local economy. Our apartment’s wine cabinet only holds 12 bottles, but I have faith that we’ll reduce our numbers in no time. It’s going to be a long winter.

I was feeling a bit lost on our final night, unsure if sadness, or “stuck-ness”, or just uncertainty was eating at me the most. When I’m surrounded by nature, it’s clear to me how much I really need it. But I worry about how quickly I forget that once I’m home. I don’t want to forget about how the pieces of my brain fit together better and my head just clears. That my dream may be owning a little winery on a quiet road somewhere.

But I woke up the day we were leaving feeling more peaceful than expected. Something in the swirl of my dreams told me it would be okay, that I could breathe. The light was bright and the waves had calmed. I could still see Toronto in the distance. Not everything needs to be carried with us at all times. Life can be lighter.

I fall just a bit in love with every place we go. Every place becomes “my favorite”—the place I’ve “been needing”, the atmosphere I thrive in. Every place becomes home. What I’m grateful for is the fact that I can feel at home so quickly somewhere new and foreign. That I can be fulfilled in an instant and then re-fulfilled the next day by something else. It means that even in the darkest times, I will always love the new, the discovery.

The horizon will always be my home. 

4 thoughts on “NY Road Trip: Niagara River Gorge Hiking Trails

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  1. This one literally made me cry. You understand, you really do. I love the horizon imagery…it has always defined my life motivations and left me frustrated when I could not take to the road. Its about being thrilled, rather than afraid, by the unknown, the not yet seen or heard or experienced. Its a thirst for newness which is what is so sorely needed in this tired, paunchy, dully lived world that surrounds us. Its the heroic encounter–a lived life vs. a mediocre one of stasis–experienced over and over again while you inch ever closer to the meaning of existence itself. Dont ever stop this “wandering” of yours. Let it fill you up over and over and over again.
    Love, your mother

    Liked by 1 person

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