I was watching my sons nodding off in the truck. We had just killed some touristy sites to take off the bucket list. Alden had just said, “Dad, I forgot how much energy you have”. So what’s a dad to do? Stop and make them hike!
A friend had mentioned the area of Devil’s Hole as a place for me to check out. I had done no research on it and had actually forgotten about it…that is until I passed the sign! Yes, I slammed on the breaks, threw it in reverse, kicking the front end around, powered around to a parking lot and slid into a parking spot. Crazy how awake the boys were now, no caffeine needed!
So not knowing where to go we just started walking. After crossing the highway we walked towards the Niagara River. The greenery was stunning in this area and the Niagara actually looked almost tropical in this location. The old wall built at the top of the trail had a definite old world feel to it. We started seeing a few very weary hikers coming up off what seemed the cliff. As we moved toward their area we could see parts of a cement stair case…a very steep stair case!
So if you attempt this hike please do as I say and not as I do…Converse shoes or basketball shoes are NOT very smart…also not taking water or my first aid kit…NOT smart! I think the boys and I were just excited to venture to the bottom of this cliff. Tristan commented that the people who were coming up off the cliff didn’t seem like they were in good shape so we should be okay…famous last words!
Devil’s Hole is definitely not like me disappearing in the Montana back country but these stairs down the cliff are not for the faint of heart or anyone who is clumsy! Just remember that what comes down must go up also! This area is ripe in history so here is couple things to do some reading…The Devil’s Hole Massacre occurred in 1763 when the Seneca natives ambushed the British. Our history that we have been taught in school is probably far from the truth and I think the naturalist in myself would probably have joined in against the British. That being said the battle might have been won by the Seneca but obviously we know eventually what happens when you step on an ant hill.
I also found this site to be a unique quick guide to the Devil’s Hole Cave .
Originally, from what I’ve read, that this area of Devil’s Hole is where natives would dock there canoes and carry them up the cliff, then carry them on their backs to the other side of Niagara Falls to continued their journey. This area had generally a lot of peace to it. I could almost feel the presence of this path being worn over thousands of years. I know I have some of my friends that claim many evil spirits wander this area, mostly having to do with the massacre, but I did not feel that and normally a sense of evil comes upon me very quickly. So, go enjoy the hike…just bring water!
I have to be honest, while this is very much a “city” excursion it will not be a slouch on your fitness and maneuvering skills. The trail is often very muddy. So what you’re looking at is roughly 1.8 miles down, 1.5 miles across, back up and back over!!! So basically to do the whole circuit plan on 6.5 half miles…again bring water! The views are amazing and it was a blast watching the jet boats blasting through the rapids…yes, next trip ideas!
So I enjoy finding caves, its my thing…this trail is ripe with lots of little ones and great rock structures. The Devil’s Hole cave is a fun one…minus all the idiots who think its cool to spray paint these locations. I think my boys enjoy finding these caves and daring me to go in them…I noticed they would always kindly wait for me and not follow inside! Here is one the bigger ones we found.
Well I don’t think it is possible to have a blog without having a great story right! Is there any better moment to teach our young when we are out of breath, sweaty, without water, and very tired? What is an adventure without a story!
So we hear a really annoying yapping dog on the trail above us. The stairs on the way back up are more deeply wooded and more frequent switch backs. Eventually we came across a woman reaching an incoherent status, or at least displaying one. Her service dog was alerting and wouldn’t stop barking until it saw we were rendering aid. According to the woman she was diabetic and her blood sugar had dropped. Where the teaching lesson came in is watching your surroundings as you still gracefully give first aid. It wouldn’t be the first time a damsel in distress turned into a chump being robbed scenario. The boys and I worked together like a regular old team and got the woman some sugar, got her to the top of the trail and best of all didn’t get robbed by anyone!
It was a good lesson on how to give first aid but still staying safe and as a father I’d like to think my sons got to witness how to handle multiple situations in high stress and under your own fatigue. The ironic part was the woman we helped was a die-hard feminist…I’m glad we could help her and show her all men aren’t bad (forgive me a chuckle).
I leave you with some breath-taking pics. Thank you for coming along on our journey.