The good of the eclipse


It was eclectic pedaling to Devil’s Hole to see 21 cars in both parking lots and some folks lined up gorge side.

At Whirlpool State Park, the parking lot was half full. The bathrooms were open. A woman painted the Spanish Aerocar en plein air as her husband photographed their toddler. A picnic basket rested nearby.

Niagara Falls Fire was staged at the Whirlpool State Park entrance with a rescue vehicle and ambulance. The State Parks Ropes Team trailer was parked adjacently

People were gathered along the rim with cameras and telescopes.

At the overlook near the stairs just south of Whirlpool Bridge, there were more people lined up staring at the gorge.

I heard a couple on scooters next to the Suspension Bridge relic not being able to find the stairs and pointed them in the right direction, just in case.

The Gorge View trails were full, not crowded. The Discovery Zone lot was full and closed but not crowded.

I locked my bike to a light pole by the Maid of the Mist ticket booths and ascended the stairs to the visitors center. The stone walls were filled with watchers just as the architects intended.

The area around Prospect Point was filled with lawn chairs and people with picnics, cameras and telescopes.

Again, full, not crowded. Law enforcement was everywhere.

As the eclipse began, cloud cover was mostly opaque with only a few breaks giving a hint of the moon biting the sun.

I used my media credential to gain access to the viewing platform by the Maid dock.

About a dozen electronic media types had quiet, pleasant workspace on the platform.

Across the river, every space seemed filled with people. So was the Rainbow Bridge. As the eclipse progressed, the clouds revealed glimpses.

Every time some glimpse of the eclipse became available in Canada, the crowd cheered. 45 seconds later or so, the glimpse had crossed the border but the crowd stateside could not be heard from where I stood at shadow set.

As totality passed and dusk set it brought a dank chill. The gulls went crazy. The lights came on on the Rainbow Bridge. The looming skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario came to life.

The darkness seemed disorienting. Then it passed.

A NASA scientist said the thermometer he brought reflected a 6 degree decline in temperature.

Upon the dawn, I retrieved my bike and pedaled to check Goat Island. As I crossed the pedestrian bridge it was crowded but not overwhelmed.

People were everywhere but it wasn’t bad. At Three Sisters Island it was much the same.

Circling back off the Island to Old Falls Street, the T-shirt merchants were selling their wares 2-for-1.

I turned and headed for home.

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