The canoes were taken up in the train and when the Grand Falls station was reached
a team was procured to haul to the basin below the falls the big wooden canoe or
boat that Mr. Phillips had brought along. The broad-shouldered, muscular guides
picked up the other three canoes-canvas-swung them lightly over their heads and
walked the half mile or more to the water's edge with as little concern as if they
were carrying an ordinary valise into a hotel.
New Brunswickers themselves and all visitors to the province should see these falls,
the grandest, excepting only Niagara, found east of the Mississippi. They can be
seen in comfort by the tourists, for the town boasts a first class hotel, the Curless,
recently greatly enlarged, improved and thoroughly modernized. The falls themselves
are most beautiful, and can be seen to splendid advantage from the quaint suspension
bridge that spans the gorge in front of them,
or if a nearer view is wanted, from the rocks against which the raging waters beat
in unceasing fury. The main fall is almost perpendicular and somewhat wider at the
top than at the base. The river, running for 218 miles from its source and swollen
by many tributaries, is of a very considerable size at Grand Falls, and there is
an enormous volume of water thundering over the precipice and beating upon Split
Rock at the base seventy-five feet below, sending high in the air a huge column
of spray that hangs before the falls like a beautiful curtain, and from which the
sun's rays on a clear, bright day scintillate, lighting up the rocks with many colors.
On the right hand side the water comes over the brink in a thin curtain, a beautiful
sight, but when the water is very low there is only the main fall. At the left it
is possible to climb down so close to the falls that one is drenched with the spray,
and from this point of vantage one of the best views of the great fall is obtained.
The water races away from the falls through a narrow and rocky gorge
almost a mile long to the smooth waters of the lower basin. The gorge, the walls
of which rise almost perpendicularly from 80 to 150 feet, is in some respects wilder
and more picturesque even than that at Niagara, and through it the waters rush with
terrific force. One cannot conceive of any human being attempting, as had been done
at Niagara, to run these rapids in a barrel or any other contrivance, so wild is
the torrent and so rough the shores. In the Niagara gorge there are small coves,
in which these is slack water that venturesome lads sometimes swim, but at Grand
Falls the water tears along in its mad fury washing the edge of the rocks and giving
no opportunity for even the most daring to take liberties with it.
At several points it is possible to climb down from the high bank to the water's
edge, and this climb, difficult as it is, well repays the sightseer, for it gives
a better idea of the force and violence of the water than can be got from the bridge
or banks, and it shows Pulpit rocks,
the wells and the other wonderful features of this wonderful gorge. The wells, of
which there are dozens are holes big and little, worn in the solid rock presumably
by stones turned and twisted by the current in the days when the gorge was in process
of erosion.The largest of these wells is 16 feet in diameter and 30 feet deep. At
freshet time the rocks in which these wells are located are covered by a surging,
swirling mass of water. Everywhere the banks are steep, and in some places almost
perpendicular. Near the falls is the Coffee Mill, a cove into which the current
sets many of the logs that come over the falls. Seen about the first of the month,
the Coffee Mill was an immense pile of logs -- a million feet, one of the guides
said there was in the hole.
Additional Scenes from the upper St. John River...
More historical images
of New Brunswick...