Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Walk Along Niagara Parkway

Yesterday we had an incredible day - it was busy and fun and long. So this morning we slept in and when we did get up we moved slow and took our time getting ready for the day. It was some time after 9:30am before we left the room and walked from the hotel along the promenade to Murray St and then to Queen Victoria Park. This is where we wanted to catch the WEGO bus and ride it the 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) to the Floral Clock. Our plan was to walk from the Floral Clock along the Niagara Parkway and take in some sights and do some letterboxing (which you can read about at A Day of Boxing Along the Niagara River). The bus dropped us off in the parking area for the Floral Clock where there is also restrooms and a gift shop. We spent a little time taking pictures, walking around the area and just sitting and relaxing. After about a half hour we started our walk back. We crossed the road and took the Niagara River Recreation Trail heading back toward the Falls.

 We walked along the paved trail and we passed in front of the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations (we were across the road from the station overlooking the river) and at that point there are structures down below on the edge of the river on both the Canada and United States sides. While studying the structures we noticed some movement just on the other side of the fence. I noticed part of a head sticking out of a hole along a concrete slab. We waited a minute or two and finally the animal came out of the hole and I was able to take a couple of pictures. I am sure it was a marmot and it was so cute but looked really scared. So I stopped taking pictures and we moved on to leave the little fellow to relax. We continued along on our walk enjoying the wonderful views of the river. It was only a short distance until we arrived at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory. By this time we were hungry so we had a little snack at the Butterfly Café before visiting the gardens. At first we thought we would visit the Butterfly Conservatory but after checking out the price we decided it wasn't worth the money so we grabbed a map of the garden and took off exploring. We walked around the gardens admiring the flowers, pond and layout. I kind of lost track of time and I am not sure how long we were there but I have to guess it was over an hour.

Our walk along Niagara Parkway and the Niagara River Recreation Trail next took us to the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. From the parking area (we were walking - no car, but that is where we entered the area) we went down some stairs. There was an open area with a large picnic pavilion and some trees and then there was a viewing area that overlooked the river. We spent a little time just enjoying the view and then we continued on our way.

We next arrived at a golf course, a ropes course and some hiking trails at Thompson's Point. We did a little hiking on some trails that went through a wooded area and lead us to some incredible views of the river. We spent about 40 minutes in this area before returning back to the Niagara River Recreational Trail.

Continuing our walk we made our way to the Great Wolf Lodge. We were only here for a letterbox and you can read about that at A Day of Boxing Along the Niagara River. We did walk around the building and quickly noticed that this Lodge is geared toward families and kids. There is a large water slide and a mini golf course. We didn't spend much time here and soon we were on our way again.

From the Lodge we crossed the road and arrived at the Whirlpool Aero Car. We didn't ride the car we just watched it as it crossed over the whirlpool. We decided we had walked enough and decided to catch the WEGO bus to the Table Rock Welcome Centre. We had to wait about 15 minutes for the next bus heading south and then we were on our way. The bus made around three or four stops before arriving at the Welcome Center. Here we decided to grab a couple of souvenirs and gifts and some snacks before heading back to the room. So we shopped for a bit and then went upstairs to Pop & Lolly's to grab some sweets for later on. Then we took the pedestrian walkway to the Falls Incline. We had walked about 8.5 miles today and we thought that we deserved to take the ride up to our hotel instead of walking all the way around and up the hill (probably another mile or so).

So, once we were back in our room we took showers and relaxed. Around 6:00pm we decided to go and get something to eat. We found an Italian restaurant about two blocks from the hotel. Even though we had pizza last night we decided we wanted it again tonight. So we walked the two blocks to Zappi's. And we did have pizza again, and it was delicious. We really enjoyed our meal and the staff was friendly and the service was excellent.  Then after eating we walked back to the hotel to get packed. Tomorrow we leave Niagara Falls, Ontario and drive to Albany, NY.