Niagara Gazette — Once on the other side, it was like being on another planet. The chaos seemed to dissolve, the smoke and grime disappeared, and the urge to follow the water overtook us.
We were on a mission to explore the completely different world outside of the crowded factory workers neighborhoods we lived in. We were learning that there was a great big universe just on the other side of the tracks, one that we’d hear of, but certainly never really seen up close.
Oh sure, we knew there was a river there; our parents drove past it; we visited the Falls, but we had no idea the river that feeds it was so close, so accessible, sort of, but for the walls of factories and their disturbing chaos. We were discovering plants, trees, flowers, and bugs of all kinds that we had never known to exist in our four square block world; this was something new and totally exciting!
Our curiosity taunted, we wanted more of it; over the years, as we made it up the ranks to full-fledged Boy Scouts, geared to the hilt, we ventured farther and farther, becoming more and more daring.
We hiked closer to the brink where the soft rumble of the falls slowly amplifies into a deafening roar; for the foolishly daring, the urge to get closer can become over powering, almost hypnotic, outrageously dangerous. Our hearts pounding loud enough to drown out the thunder, we got close, but we chose the wiser course, the gorge.
By the time we made it to early puberty, at an age when most boys begin to discover girls, and fast cars we were forging our way along the lower river gorge walls, sometimes hanging on by our fingernails for dear life; often dangling from the skin tearing, bone cracking jagged rocks, headed for Devils Hole.