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The time he fell into the waterfall

Sometimes, really smart people do really stupid things. 

We visited a couple of Hamilton, Ontario's beautiful waterfalls a couple of weeks ago. Did you know that Hamilton, Ontario is considered the waterfall capital of Canada? It is! There are over 100 waterfalls in the city, thanks to it's location on the Niagara Escarpment. In the depths of winter when temperatures reach far below zero for days in a row, the waterfalls freeze, creating a spectacular display of ice and water.

On the day we visited, one of the falls had not completely frozen. It was a beautiful sight and a very cool experience to be able to walk along the frozen river and stand so close to the water that was still spilling from 17 meters above our heads. It is more than cool, actually. It is enchanting.

As Emma moved close to the rushing falls, Alex stopped her with warnings of being very careful around the water and ice. When you are hiking with kids, you always need to be hyper-vigilant about safety. Especially when you are near water and ice.

And then it happened. My really smart husband did a really stupid thing. He stepped too close to the falls.

And he fell in.

Thankfully, the water wasn't quite chest deep. As we looked at him in shock - not quite able to comprehend WHY he was almost chest deep in water at the base of the falls -  he pulled himself out of the sub-zero pool.  

Without missing a beat he stated "I'm done" and marched back along the frozen river to the Jeep, parked only 200 meters away to get out of his wet clothes and warm up, wrapped in a blanket with the heat on high.

Yes, I took a picture.
Don't worry, I took it after I made sure he was ok.
I didn't really know how to feel about the situation right after it happened. On the one hand, I was relieved that Alex wasn't hurt and actually saw the humour in the crazy situation. But on the other hand, I was really mad that something so stupid had happened.  A bunch of what-ifs flashed through my mind.

What if the water was above his head and we couldn't get him out?

What if we had hiked two hours along the Bruce Trail to get to this waterfall, as we had originally planned? 
What if he went into shock from the cold the minute he hit the water?
What if this whole thing ended in a really, really bad way that I can't even think of at this very moment?

The drive home to Guelph was pretty quiet in the beginning.  But I'm not very good at giving the silent treatment and couldn't resist asking Alex how, exactly, he ended up falling into the waterfall. The conversation went something like this:

Me:        "Emma, why did you want to go close to the falls?"

Emma:   "I wanted to touch the water."
Me:        "Alex, why did you stop Emma from going close to the falls?"
Alex:      "I didn't want her to fall in."
Me:         "So why did YOU go so close to the falls, Alex?"
Alex:      "I wanted to touch the water."


** Alex gave me his full permission to publish this post and the pictures. He is a very smart man with a very good sense of humour. We both want you to take this little story as a very important lesson: Be very careful around water and ice. And don't try to touch the water.

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