WPC Challenge – Off Season


Niagara Falls in March

Most of the traveling we do is not in “high season”, summer. We are usually on our adventures in the spring, April or May, or the fall, October or November. That’s generally known as “shoulder” season rather than “off” season though November would be the beginning, flowing through to March in our North of the Equator winter.

It’s trickier in those months if you’re flying in and out of most of Canada due to the weather. Both of us have had flights cancelled or seriously delayed because of winter storms so we try to avoid it. Even November is tempting fate but sometimes our schedules were such that it was the only time I could fly to see my now-husband in the UK. Once in the UK, weather was a lot more stable with delays the exception. He was delayed once in Heathrow because a flight from Toronto was grounded (in March) due to a major winter snow storm. That plane would have changed crew in London and loaded up again for the trip back to Canada but it never made it.

Anyway, off season for us does happen. We went to Rome in November which was actually pretty awesome. The weather was clear and sunny and warm all week. I’ve been to London in January and March, Toronto and Montreal in various winter months (November, February and March), and I visited Vancouver in November once. Vancouver weather is fairly mild and wet so there’s no worries about the snow.

TorontoNiagaraFallsbothI think the most glaringly obvious off-season destination I’ve been was to Niagara Falls one year in March. It was a chilly day, overcast and a little rainy at times. There were very few of the throngs of tourists you usually find there. The really interesting part is seeing the river iced up. The mists from the falls freeze and there are huge ice boulders along the edges and at the base of the falls even as the water thunders down the cliffs.

It’s one of the natural wonders of the world, though there are higher falls elsewhere. When you look at it from above by the visitor area, you think “Is that it?”. My other half was not overly impressed. But it’s a lot higher than it looks and when you see the boats on the river below, you get a much better perspective and I’m fascinated by the power of the water endlessly crashing down.

The Maid of the Mist boats don’t run in winter and are dry docked for the duration but you can still see the falls from the visitor centres above. The rails of the fencing is often coated in ice, again from the mists that the falls generate.

This past winter was a particularly cold one and the falls nearly froze altogether. There are some wonderful photos on the CBS news website here.  The river below can ice up but the falls themselves have only ever stopped completely, one time. According to the Niagara Parks website, it was 1848 and ice further up the river stopped the water for 30 hours until it broke through again.

More Off Season photos from WordPress challengers here.